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June anniversaries

Posted 6/8/2012 7:29am by Dave.

“In June as many as a dozen species may burst their buds on a single day. No man can heed all of these anniversaries; no man can ignore all of them.” 
 Aldo Leopold

Farm Note ·  a word from the Village Acres Crew:

It feels like we are solidly into the month of June now, at least enough so that we’ve stopped wondering what happened to May.  It’s always a beautiful month.  The woods have turned bright green, the lilies and mountain laurel are blooming, and the farm crew is well-satiated on the strawberries we pop into our mouths while picking. (Generally the poor-quality ones…and getting an overly fermented one every so often also helps put a stop to our snacking).  But June is also an urgent month for the farmers.  Time is ticking away on the summer now and we’re always looking for a chance to transplant the many crops waiting to get started.  It doesn’t take much rain to spoil our schedule – just a thunderstorm or two every few days is enough to keep the fields soggy and our tractors idle.  June is a month of anniversaries, and mixed in with all the happy memories of fireflies, love and strawberries are memories of some idealized past season. I think we had the winter squash planted by this time last year, one says. Those leeks really should be out by now, don’t you think? We tend to seed too much, erring on the side of too many plants rather than too few, and then forget that not all of them need to be planted. Sweet potatoes should all be in the ground now, right? Thankfully Nature has arranged things such that, as June draws on, the days get longer and longer.  If we get a chance to plant, we plant, taking advantage of the long evenings to work late into the night.  And we try to appreciate the beauty of the month and the work, to compare our pace with average years rather than exceptional ones, and to enjoy our June berries and planting a little even as we scramble for the rest of the season. - Dave

 

Produce and Cooking Notes

Lettuce – It has been salad season here lately, as I’m sure you’ve noticed.

Asparagus – The end of asparagus season is drawing close.  Enjoy your portions today as there’s a good chance they’ll be the last until next April.

Garlic Scapes – Garlic scapes are the flowering stalk of the garlic plant, pulled out so that the plant puts all of its energy into sizing up the bulb.  They can be used like a scallion, or, with a bit of olive oil, make a delicious pesto ground up in a food processor.

Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches. 

Zucchini – Zucchini decided last week that it was time for their big entrance, after hesitating just a bit too much to make it into last week’s box.  These versatile summer staples are here for you today though.

Strawberries – Strawberry fields don’t last forever at Village Acres.  We’ve got enough for the boxes – not enough to fill all of today’s extras orders – and we should make it to the you-pick festival on Saturday. (Hope to see you!). But the season is definitely ending soon.

Snow Peas – Today’s snow peas and new potatoes are from our Amish friends, the Hostetlers. They’re chemical- and spray-free but not certified organic.  Snow peas are a great addition to stir-fries with a crisp snappy texture and just a hint of sweetness.

New Potatoes – These freshly dug red potatoes are just right for a summer boil in some salty water.  We were pretty happy that the Hostetlers chose this week to offer us some of their produce, since it let us spend most of yesterday picking strawberries and getting transplants in before today’s rain.

Recipes

Sesame Noodles with Asparagus Tips

from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Marinade

  •  ¾ cup sesame oil
  •  3 tbsp dark sesame oil
  •  7 tbsp soy sauce
  •  3 tbsp Chinese black or balsamic vinegar
  •  3 ½ tbsp dark brown sugar
  •  2 tsp salt
  •  2 tsp chili oil
  •  1 tbsp minced ginger
  •  1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  •  ¾ cup chopped cilantro

Noodles and asparagus

  •  Salt
  •  2 lb asparagus, trimmed and sliced diagonally
  •  14 oz thin Chinese egg noodles
  •  10 scallions (or scapes)
  •  ¼ cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Mix the marinade ingredients together, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add salt and asparagus. Cook until bright green and tender but still firm, just a few minutes.  Scoop the asparagus out, rinse it under cold water, and set on a towel to dry.  Pull the noodles apart with your fingers, add them to the boiling water, and give them a quick stir.  Boil until tender but not overly soft, tasting them often as they cook.  It should only take a few minutes.  Pour the noodles into a colander and immediately rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water.  Toss the noodles with all the marinade and most of the scallions, sesame seeds, and asparagus. Mound them on a bowl or platter, then garnish with the remaining asparagus, scallions, and sesame seeds.

 

Garlic Scape and Almond Pesto

from http://www.doriegreenspan.com/2009/06/i-seem-to-be-on.html - similar recipes seem to abound on the Internet.

  •  10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
  •  1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
  •  1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you'd like)
  •  About 1/2 cup olive oil
  •  Sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you'd like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

If you're not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juiciest.  Serve over scallops, pasta, or with bread for dipping.