In your box:
–Head Lettuce (mostly “Webb’s Wonderful”)
With the 4th of July this week, we’re at the height of mid-summer. Pontoons are launching into lakes with slices of kohlrabi for everyone on board. Beachgoers munch on fennel fronds as they soak up the rays. Hikers ward off bear attacks by munching raw garlic scapes. Life is good. If that sounds like your ideal version of summer, this week’s box is perfect for you!
As the weather warms, we’re finally able to offer some exciting new vegetables and expand your meal options for this holiday weekend. We’ve seen good growth on our tomato plants, squash bushes, and cucumber vines, so those summer staples aren’t far behind. We’ll keep enjoying the early veggies of spring for just a couple more weeks. This is sadly the end of our spinach until fall—after the heat wave last weekend many of the plants are starting to go to seed and with more humidity this week the rest are sure to follow.
We’ve been picking up good consistent rain lately, and at this point irrigation is no longer a concern. It had looked like the weeds were under control until they hit a growth spurt over the weekend, and they’ve more than made up for their slow start. Thankfully our good plants have reached a competitive size and won’t suffer much as I spend all of our dry days catching up on weeding.
We do have some unfamiliar crops in your box this week that I want to give some helpful hints on. Fennel is a close relative of carrots and celery, and it has a strong taste of licorice. Both the leafy fronds and the central bulb can be eaten, and are tasty either raw or cooked. The fronds tend to wilt quickly, so they should be kept in a plastic bag or container and used within a few days. The bulbs are a bit heartier and should last 7-10 days. The fronds are best chopped fine and added to salads, while the bulbs are great as a crunchy, flavorful addition to a stir fry.
Another less common veggie is Kohlrabi. If you’re not familiar with this crop, it is the tennis-ball sized root with the kale-like leaves on top. This should be stored in the fridge and used within 7-10 days. The leaves are edible and can be used like kale or any other cooking green. The bulb should be peeled before using. Kohlrabi bulb can be chopped into slices for dipping, added to a stir fry, grated into a cole slaw salad, or (if you’re brave) munched plain like an apple. My favorite way to eat kohlrabi is to slice it thin and dip in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and paprika. It can also be used in self defense: say your neighbor falls asleep at the wheel of their yacht and they’re bearing down on your humble pontoon boat. As hungry as you are for that kohlrabi, try throwing it at them to wake them up. The leaves serve as a sort of parachute to prevent the kohlrabi from inflicting too much bodily harm (please note: I am not legally responsible for that advice.) If that works and it saves your life, please let me know and I’ll be sure to provide another kohlrabi in your box next week.
Finally, this week brings delicious Sweet Turnips to your box. These don’t have the strong root taste of their cousins that we grow for the fall. Sweet turnips are delicious grated raw in a salad or mixed with kohlrabi for a cole slaw. The greens are a little nibbled on but are edible just like any cooking green. The roots themselves should be scrubbed thoroughly but do not need to be peeled. Just slice them thinly and enjoy.
Just a few garlic scapes are coming in this week. You can chop up the whole thing and use it in place of garlic. More to come.
Expected next week: Salad mix, sorrel, turnips, komatsuna, head lettuce, green onions, summer squash and garlic scapes.