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June 11, 2017
The Art of Eating Seasonally
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Welcome to the beginning of the summer season! Eating locally means that you are also eating in rhythm with the seasons. Technically it is still spring which means your boxes are full of green things. To the new CSA veggie eater this can seem like a real challenge, trying to finish your box of green things before the next box arrives. Everyone is excited about the tomatoes, cucumbers and snap beans that mark the height of summer, but learning how to eat more greens is one of the most productive ways to support your health.
Let's talk about a few things you can do to make the task of eating greens easier and downright delicious. As soon as you receive your weekly box take the vegetables out of the plastic liner and lay them on the counter. Now you are going to perform something like triage. You want to identify which produce should be consumed first. For example, rate a bag of salad mix before a head of romaine lettuce.The tender and delicate greens should be eaten first. You might want to wash and spin these greens so they are ready to be eaten as soon as possible. I find it very valuable to line are glass storage container with a paper towel, thoroughly spin the greens to remove excess water and then gently place them in the container without crushing or bruising the leaves. With the lid securely on top, place them where they will be easily accessed.
Herbs such as dill and cilantro usually come in bunches too large to be consumed in one week. However these herbs are cool-season friendly, so with a little work now you will be prepared for the hot summer days when you're more likely to use them on cucumbers and tomatoes. My favorite way to store herbs like this is to chop them them in the food processor with a little bit of olive oil or water, salt and lemon juice. Press the mix into ice cube trays and freeze. Once thoroughly frozen pop them out and store in a container or Ziploc bag in the freezer. You'll be surprised at what a timesaver it is when you're making fresh salsa or cucumber salad in August. Cilantro and dill will not be on the list in the hot season because they do not grow well then. That's one of the challenges of eating seasonally.
Baby bok choi is a popular item on our list, but I often discover mine shoved to the back of the crisper drawer, forgotten. Bunches of green onions often wind up with the same fate. Recently I decided to try grilling them. I chopped off the tippy tops of the choi, and about half of the onion greens. A quick toss with balsamic date vinegar and olive oil and they were ready for the grill. I had the grill on low, less than 350 degrees, and placed the veggies on the upper rack. A slow gentle cook yielded my new favorite side dish, warm, tender with a bit of crunch. Fabulous.
When you are short of time, but your refrigerator is still packed with greens, think smoothie. In a future post I will suggest some recipes, but for now try frozen banana, strawberries, Wholesome Dairy yogurt (the perfect consistency) and any green: bok choi, kale, lettuce, cilantro, dill. Whiz is in a hefty blender, like a Vitamix, add cinnamon, cocoa powder, nut butter or vanilla for a quick nutritious way to pack a lot of vegetables into your day.
March 20, 2015
A Note from the Farmer's Wife
Ah, yes. The snow has nearly melted. The robins hop around the wet clumps of last year’s grass. The sun is strong enough to revive the Farmer’s farmer’s-tan. Spring is…wait! What’s that?! Friday’s weather forecast calls for three to five inches of WHAT?!!! Here comes delay number two of the new gutter-connect greenhouse. Crew hustled this week to prepare the site for the project. Having crew back on the fields felt exciting this week. Like the arrival of the robins, the hopped around the field, stretching string, pounding stakes and pondering rented equipment designed to drill the greenhouse posts to a sturdy level. Mother Nature will have us wait a few more days. We hope for better luck on Monday. If successful, I plan to capture some moments of the raising to share with you.
What’s up in the nursery, slated for the first CSA box? Baby onions galore, baby bok choi, kale, beautiful red and green lettuces, and lots more. We have nicknamed the nursery “Florida” for obvious reasons. Take a step inside and the warm moist air will fog your glasses, moisten your dried winter skin and delight your senses with young life. It truly is a magical experience, especially when the north wind blows.
Many old-timers in this area believe that eating early wild spring greens cleanses the liver. You can find sandwich bags of dandelion greens at the local butcher, ready to be paired with hot bacon dressing. These are the very first, small toothed leaves to appear even before the grass is fully green. Compared to the monstrous ones we cultivate for the CSA this seem tough and bitter, but perhaps that is the point. Bitter flavors are reputed to stimulate the digestive powers of the body. Whether any liver cleansing, or enzymatic miracles are occurring, no doubt young bitter greens are extremely nourishing. Rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium these treasures feel like a welcome change from over cooked, starchy winter foods. Put the hot-bacon dressing aside and make your own vinaigrette. Did you know that acetic acid, aka vinegar, may boost metabolism? Choose a raw vinegar whenever possible to boost the beneficial flora in your digestion as well.