In your box:
–Eggplant or Cherry tomatoes
I wanted to start with a plug for the 14th annual Garlic Festival, coming up this Saturday in Hutchinson. Full disclosure: yes, I am on the planning committee. And yes, I really love garlic. This is a great day of delicious local foods, kids activities, kite flying, and sampling all things garlic (even ice cream!). The event lasts from 10am to 5pm and I work all day at the admissions booth so be sure to say hi! For more information, visit www.mngarlicfest.com.
And speaking of garlic, I’ve been harvesting all of our delightful crop from the field this week. It was really late to emerge this spring after such a long winter and was late to mature, but we will have garlic coming your way once the bulbs are dried out for a few weeks.
I thought the Broccoli was done for the summer, but it looks like we have enough to go around once more this week. Broccoli was late to be planted and so its harvest was later than usual, which coincided with more summer heat than it typically likes. As a result some of the heads are a little misshapen and haven’t reached their typical size. It’s all good to eat, even if it doesn’t have the perfect shape of usual cool season broccoli.
Our crop of Chard has been ready to harvest for over a month now, but there really hasn’t been enough room in the boxes to stuff it in yet. If you’re unfamiliar with chard, this is the big bunch of colorful leafy greens. Chard is used in much the same way as kale, but it is actually more closely related to spinach and beets. The broad stems are alse edible and delicious, unlike with kale. It can be eaten raw when it is small, but with such large leaves you’ll likely want to cook it down slightly. Our favorite way to use chard is in an egg dish such as quiche or an omelet. Chard keeps well for a week or so in the fridge.
We’re starting to see a few Eggplant reach a harvestable size, so some of you will be receiving one this week. Eggplant tends to be the least popular crop we grow, according to our annual survey, so we don’t grow too much of it. I’m aiming to give it to every box twice this year but if you’re a big fan please send me an e-mail and I will throw in a few more eggplant throughout the rest of the season. To be totally honest, I’m not a big fan. I think our plants know this and often don’t provide much of a crop. So this year I have been careful to pretend to be excited to work around eggplant and my dishonesty seems to have paid off in decent crop. I do like to have ratatouille twice a year with cornbread, and I’ve included a recipe below. But even then I’m mostly in it for the cornbread.
Another crop with which you might not be familiar is Escarole Endive. Endive is closely related to dandelions, chicory, and radicchio, but this is my favorite member of the family. Escarole can be eaten raw in a salad, but most folks find it a little strong and you might prefer lightly wilting it or cooking it down for just a couple minutes so it becomes tender and less bitter. Escarole keeps in the fridge for a week to ten days and prefers a plastic bag to keep it fresh.
Expected next week: Beets, head lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash, sweet onion, sweet pepper, beans, tomatoes, kale.