In your box:
- Head lettuce: “Webb’s Wonderful”
- Kale, “Red Russian”
- Salad Mix
Welcome to your first delivery of our 2021 CSA season! We are so excited to begin feeding your family and bringing in the harvest from our fields.
Pre-spring planning has actually been more difficult this year than it was last year, when the coronavirus pandemic was upsetting everyone and everything. This year, seeds were scarce and slow to arrive, tractor parts have been backordered, and tools and equipment I need for the farm have been difficult to source. Thankfully I’ve been able to piece together enough this year to keep everything pretty much on schedule, and it’s nice to put all of that planning and purchasing behind me and get focused on delivering veggies again.
The dominant factor in the gardens this year has unquestionably been the drought and early season heat wave. The Twin Cities average rainfall in June is over 4”, and in the past few years we’ve averaged closer to 6” on the farm. With June already half over, we have not yet received ANY rain. This is catastrophic on young plants, whose roots aren’t yet deep enough to branch down for water in the soil profile. Couple that with 100 degree heat and nights around 80 degrees, and I’m amazed that we have anything that’s survived long enough to harvest!
So far we have already lost our peas and strawberries to the drought, and about half of our celery has already succumbed. Even as I’m constantly watering and keeping an eye on the crops, it’s simply too much to manage everything when nature doesn’t cooperate.
The good news is that the bulk of the gardens are still surviving despite the conditions, and now that it’s cooled down I’m better able to keep the crops watered and happy. As long as we get some good rains in the next couple weeks, the season should still be in good shape.
This week’s box
This week’s box is heavy on greens and salad fixin’s as we wait for the more common veggies of the summer to size up and fruit.
In case you’re not familiar with kale, it’s the bunched green leaves with purple stems. It can be wilted lightly and added to any dish that needs some vitamins (we like it in burritos and lasagna). Some people also like making their own kale chips by chopping the leaves into ribbons, tossing them in olive oil, and baking until crispy. Kale keeps well in the fridge for 1 week, preferably in a bag or hydrator drawer.
Komatsuna is a green native to Japan that works great in a stir-fry. This plant is harvested whole from the field, so it is a head of dark green leaves (kale has a rubber band, komatsuna does not). Unfortunately this crop was nibbled on by flea beetles in the field. We use netting to keep the pests off, but the netting was delayed in shipping and didn’t get here in time to help much (thanks Covid!). The damage is just cosmetic and the komatsuna still tastes fine.
We also have a crop of spinach to start the year. Spinach is no fan of heat, and I was pleased that this planting made it through to harvest. This spinach can be chopped small for mixing in a salad or it can be cooked down for any recipe using boiled spinach.
Grains and Greens Casserole
- 2 TB olive oil
- ½ onion
- Bok choy or komatsuna or vivid choi chopped into small pieces
- 1 bunch kale; stems removed and coarsely chopped
- 10 oz baby spinach
- 4 cloves garlic; minced
- 3 cups cooked brown rice (or quinoa/barley/lentils or a combination)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 eggs; beaten
- 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 13 x 9 baking pan
- Add olive oil to the skillet or wok at medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 5-7 minutes.
- Add all the greens (in small batches) to the wok and cook until wilted.
- Remove greens from heat to a large bowl and cool. Stir in cooked grains and add salt/pepper. Stir in eggs and cheese.
- Transfer to a prepared baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove foil and cook until the top is lightly browned.
Next week’s box will be quite similar to this first one. We are expecting bok choy, green onions, head lettuce, chard, radishes, salad mix, and spinach.