The CSA Box contents have changed in the last two weeks! The first wave of broccoli has yielded some beautiful heads, but many were disappointing in looks. This failure of the top to crown is caused by the heat wave we experienced–we think! The flavor makes up for the appearance, however. Perhaps the heads in the second wave will crown? We have had a few beautiful little cauliflower heads to go along with the broccoli.
The cabbage heads are going to be our salad replacement. We have several varieties and shapes. Cabbage can be eaten raw, sauteed, grilled, leaves can be stuffed and rolled or used on sandwiches. Time to get your imagination ready to work with the cabbage uses!
We still have plenty of kohlrabi in the garden. I love to eat this veggie raw, but it can be roasted, or boiled. How about Kohlrabi Fries? These were sauteed in coconut oil.
The zucchini and patty pan summer squash are going to be plentiful this season. Everyone love the perennial zucchini bread, but how about these zucchini rounds which Robert made?
Slice the rounds at least one-inch thick, top with your favorite spices (ie: Italian Seasoning, Marjoram, Sea Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder–or some combination!) and some roasted tomatoes (these were from last season). We bake in a 375 degree convection oven for ten minutes. Then sprinkle on some shredded Parmesan cheese and bake another five minutes. This will leave the zucchini and/or patty pan a bit crunchy. They good either hot or cold!
And if you are in more of a hurry, just make your servings larger with a different cut! Expect to find all of the above in your next box along with a few peas, cucumbers, and onions!
On Saturday, June 22 we had a close lightning strike. I heard the shaking of every window in the house. I headed for the car as I thought Robert was in the garden where he has been known to weather some storms. In the garage I met him coming in. Turns out he was in the driveway putting away a garden hose when he experienced a bright flash “in the trees” immediately followed by a loud crack of thunder. I figured out a couple of hours later that our modem had been blown. It took a few days for us and AT&T to determine the transformer had been hit–at least it was not a person! So if you got an abbreviated message from me in the last week, you know why.
We are having a season change in our local eating journey! We have sent out snow peas and the first of the broccoli. We are getting a few cauliflower heads and the first green and yellow zucchini and patty pan squash. I have seen three varieties of squash thus far. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the seed of our favorite variety–the yellow and green spaceships. Very interesting; but we trust we will have plenty of the others. The beans are flowering, the sweet potatoes are growing, and we shall have the first new, red potatoes soon! This photo was taken about three weeks ago. Now the leaves of each row are touching one another! I guess it is time for a new photo!
In you box this week expect to find baby kale, kohlrabi, onions, red lettuce, red romaine–perhaps some green romaine and green lettuce. There might be a head of endive or escarole here and there, but mostly these greens are gone for the season along with the choi and tatsoi. We will also have plenty of broccoli. There will be cauliflower as heads become available and perhaps more peas as they are flowering again.
There have been sightings of the hen turkey followed by her babies. She is teaching them to scurry off the road and into the woods when a vehicle approaches. Actually, there may be two families. The numbers are not as large as some years. No doubt the extreme rainfall when they were just hatched is why. Life in Nature!
I hesitate to say this, but we are attempting to grow sweet corn this season. Our foray into corn has never been very successful. So far it looks great and is about waist high–the best ever. The corn is located inside the deer fence because the deer love the corn, too. They will respect the fence, but we don’t know about the raccoons. Fingers crossed we can keep them all out this year!
It is going to get hot this week. We have started the drip irrigation again. As soon as the puddles dry up, we must irrigate
The rains last week caused all veggies to experience a growth spurt. The potatoes are blooming. The broccoli and cabbage heads are forming. The squash will soon be large enough to start blooming. The garden looks good in other words for our farm to table eating!
Here is a photo of my big, fat, grilled, Greek, tatsoi sandwich. Excellent hot and very good cold, too. See the link in my previous Blog entry.
A few chois remain in the garden and will be put into the CSA Boxes. The last of the tatsoi are much smaller than what you have been seeing—which will make you either happy or sad. We will have kale, kohlrabi, onions, escarole, two types of endive, and red lettuce, red romaine and snow peas! It is still salad time, but the ingredients are changing!
The gardens are the prettiest in June to very early July. Email me (Glenda) if you want to set up a visit.
Kohlrabi is a delightful vegetable which looks in the garden like a fleet of ships just arrived from outer space! It can be peeled like an apple, sliced, and eaten raw–or added to a salad or sauteed and serve. Yes, you can even eat the leaves, but you will need to sauté these leaves a bit longer. With all of the delightful greens to enjoy right now, don’t feel wasteful if you just toss the kohlrabi leaves.
The kohrabi may be new for some CSA Members. As you can see above the kohlrabi sits on top of the soil. We grow both green and purple varieties. To store kohlrabi, cut off the edible leaves about one inch ABOVE the top because when stored in the refrigerator the leafy greens will draw the moisture from the root greatly reducing the flavor and, eventually, causing the veggie to which they are attached to become rubbery. Of course, it is much better to eat than to store your CSA veggies! Read more about the unique kohlrabi in the Recipes. You will need to scroll down past the beets to find it.
I had the television on while packing today’s CSA Boxes and discovered another way to eat that delicious tatsoi. https://www.dianekochilas.com/spanakopita-grilled-cheese-2/ These spring greens are rather like the Cadbury Easter Eggs, meaning they won’t be around forever, so enjoy them while you have the opportunity!
The box this week will have three types of choi, tatsoi, two varieties of endive, escarole, spring onions, red and green kale, red/purple lettuce heads, and green and purple kohlrabi. Use the Vegetable Identification pages on the website if you need more help identifying any of these vegetables. And do not be intimidated by the unique look of the kohlrabi. It is a delightful veggie which will be “landing” in your CSA Box!
We have a saying around here that goes–If the bugs will not eat it, perhaps we should not eat it. In my opinion, no bug bites should at least give one pause to consider what chemicals must have been sprayed to keep all of nature away in a natural environment. In my 26 years of selling veggies, I have only ran across one person who absolutely refused to eat any item with a single bug bite on it. Unfortunately, we had to send this person to the grocery store to purchase the desired flawless vegetables. As the season progress, one should expect to possibly find the critter doing the damage. We try to use our organic products arsenal at the proper time, but insects can slip through the cracks!
We are harvesting just as fast as we can. What to do with that tatsoi? I can say it is not spinach, but most people seem to think it is. I suppose tatsoi is an Asian spinach type of veggie. This is my absolute favorite tatsoi dish. One can find the recipe on the T – Z page. I have been known to push more greens than the recipe calls for into my dishes, too.
Sauteing the tatsoi will use up a lot of it because it shrinks so much in the pan. Recently, I have switched from olive oil to coconut oil and then add a dash of organic Coconut Aminos as a seasoning. All of these recipes can be frozen, too!
Yesterday I made a pie using tatsoi. I did not follow a recipe at all, but use rather like a quiche base with some frozen mixed veggies added for extra texture and color. Google a recipe for Spinach Pie as just substitute tatsoi to get started!
Of course, tatsoi is also good in a salad mix! That’s fancy grade, organic Coconut Flakes on top of my salad. Just let your imagination run wild when it comes to salads!
One last thing. This time of year I never purchase celery. The stalks of the chois are my substitute. Add a few raisins and you have “ants on a log” for the kidos!
The boxes next week will be similar to first one you received as far as the contents are concerned. Read the last Blog post if you have forgotten what was in it. Tokyo Becanna was added the second week. And Endive and Escarole will be added this third week. All salad makings. Chew, chew, chew!
By Thursday, May 30 all current CSA Members will have received their first box of veggies. The crops have grown in the last week! At the same time, the plants are under the stress of heat. We are irrigating, but the heat will cause some things to bolt. Also, the heat will prevent other things from even growing. The mustard and turnip greens and collards, in particular are cool weather crops–and the weather has not been cool recently in WNC! This makes me sad because I so love baby collard greens!
These first boxes are containing Joi Choi, Bok Choy, Ching Chang, Spring Onions, Tatsoi, and red and green kale. In week two we also added Tokyo Becanna–which looks like lettuce on a stalk (see below).
CSA Farm Shares are available still for anyone interested!
I took this photo looking through the wildlife fence around the spring gardens. If I had not focused right in on it, you would not even know it was there! Can you tell how much the veggies have grown in the last two weeks? Go back and look at the first photo I posted and you will see!
We are going to start the CSA on Monday, May 20. Every CSA Member who is getting a box next week has been notified. If you did not get an email from me, that means your first box will come in week two. I WILL SEND YOU AN EMAIL. Most of our CSA Families get an every-other-week box. For this reason, it takes a full two weeks to get our CSA up and running. Robert tries to balance out the harvest and I attempt to have pickup locations in different areas of Buncombe County from week to week in order to make it as convenient as possible for everyone.
The first veggies will be the smallest in size. Don’t worry they will get larger as time passes and they have had more time to grow in the great out of doors. Everything mixed together makes for wonderful, fresh salads! If the Asian greens are bitter tasting to you, toss a few sweet Craisins into your salad for sweetness. Or add a drizzle of honey.
Robert will rinse the first layer of soil off most veggies before I pack them into your CSA Boxes. I usually wash my greens when they come up from the fields. Then I put them into these Jumbo Hefty bags and into the refrigerator. This makes salad prep for a meal a quick job of chopping before serving. You can find these bags at most grocery stores.
This was one day’s harvest of asparagus! You can see why it will not be included in the CSA Boxes–there simply are not enough to mess with. Robert and I have attempted to grow asparagus for 26 years and have been successful by most standards. Thousands of crowns have been planted and replanted at great cost in both money and physical labor.
After much contemplation, we have come to the conclusion the WNC winters do not get cold enough to make for the best asparagus growing environment. Additionally, the many drought years were devastating to the crowns. We have reached acceptance and relinquishment when it comes to growing asparagus. A farmer or a gardener must be comfortable with uncertainty in the garden. Sometimes proper planning and preparation simply is not enough when working in Nature with Nature.
Speaking of Nature, can you see the black “shadow” in this photo? We call him “Baby Bear” and he was looking through the strawberry fence and contemplating going in for a sweet bite when I snapped this photo from the front door!