In your box:
–Kale (“Red Russian”)
I wanted to start this week with a very important answer to the question on everyone’s mind: has a bird landed on Farmer Red yet this year? Thankfully, the answer is already yes. I don’t feel like I’m really doing my job, that I’m completely one with the natural world of our farm unless I have wildlife landing on me throughout the year. In our nine previous years of farming I have had two sparrows land on my shoulder and a red-winged blackbird dive-bomb my straw hat. I am not sure if I should include the blackbird as part of my tally—I’m looking to be accepted into the natural world, not attacked by it. Last week a baby robin was just learning to fly and succeeding about as well as I would. Baby robins are not cute and they are not good at flying. This one was remarkably not good at flying. The baby robin finally made it off the ground and sputtered through the air for ten feet before crash landing on the nearest object at hand—an elevated platform that happened to be my back, bent over baby carrots. Baby robin landed with a thud and grabbed at me desparately with its feet, which for the purpose of this story I will refer to as “razor-sharp talons.” The sudden presence of razor sharp talons digging into my back caused me to jump up, sending baby robin back into the air where he flew for a dozen pathetic feet and landed in the grass. Skeptics might say, “That robin landed on you because he was either drunk or exhausted.” But I humbly respond, “That robin landed on me because organic farming makes me one with nature.”
We have some nice new additions to your box this week, starting with Komatsuna. This is a Japanese green that we’ve really come to love for its heartiness in the field and its versatility in the kitchen. Komatsuna is great in a stir-fry, delicious when steamed on its own and seasoned, and wonderful as a cooked green. We’ve had komatsuna cooked into lasagna, chopped and topped on spaghetti, and baked into a quiche. I would call it a spinach substitute, except that we also have spinach in your box this week. Usually spinach has gone to seed by now and is no longer available, but this spinach has held on well despite the heat. This is the last week of spinach until the fall, however, so enjoy it while it lasts!
I had hoped to offer turnips this week but unfortunately our first planting has been lost to flooding. I do have a second batch of spring turnips that I hope to have ready to harvest soon. In their place we have a bunch of kale this week.
The loose beaked curlicues are Garlic Scapes. Garlic is planted in mid-October and is our only crop that over-winters. At this point in its development, garlic is all about procreation. It grows these scapes out of the top of its stalk as its first reproductive option. The beaked ends will open to form bulbils (miniature cloves) and flowers for seed. By cutting off the scape, we block both of those outlets and force the garlic to emphasize its third-string option for reproduction: the familiar garlic bulb. Garlic that keeps its scape grows only small cloves, so by cutting them we get the ideal clove at garlic harvest (late July). So what do you do with it? The scape has all the taste of a clove, so simply dice it up and add to any dish calling for garlic. Or, for added fun, challenge your family to a scape-eating contest: the first to successfully eat a whole raw scape wins—or loses?
Another new entry this week is the bunch of Scallions (also called green onions). The white bulb has the sweetest flavor, but the whole green top can be eaten as well. Just cut off the root base and enjoy in any recipe calling for onion.
We’ve had a few people ask about delivery for next week with the 4th of July holiday, and we want to confirm that delivery will go on as usual next week. If you happen to be traveling and will not be back in time for your box, feel free to have a friend pick up your box for you. If you’ll be gone and don’t have anyone lined up to take your produce, please let me know so that we spread out your vegetables in the other CSA boxes and avoid anything going to waste. Thanks!
Expected next week: Salad mix, head lettuce, sweet turnips, garlic scapes, komatsuna, scallions, and baby beet greens.
One thought on “Week 3 Newsletter”
My son Garrison Dyer sends me your farm newsletter. I enjoyed reading about the birds landing on you! I confess that I’m jealous. 🙂 As we transition our farm away from garlic, we have developed a new tag line and hashtag of “We Farm for Birds”. I’ll consider it a banner day if any bird lands on me! I know you don’t have time during the growing season to follow much if anything on social media but on the rare day that you do, you might enjoy the bird sightings that I write about on our farm’s Facebook page (Dyer Family Organic Farm). Best wishes for a successful growing season! Diana Dyer