We’ve had a wet May here on the farm, with plenty of thunderstorms keeping our fields soggy. May is perhaps not the worst month for rain here – March and April are probably worse – but an excess of rain during our transplanting season is never an easy thing to work with. We can’t rototill, we can’t drive the tractor, and the weeds grow like crazy – but at least some crops are already in the ground and can enjoy the rain on their own. Then if we get even a few dry hot days back-to-back, the ground dries out and our hopes go up…and the race begins! The farm crew was working late into the evening on Thursday, planting and planting and planting, and Friday morning we started on it again. Meteorologists called for showers most of the day today but it held off until two in the afternoon and we got a lot planted, at the expense, perhaps, of a shorter-than-usual Farm Note. Yesterday we might have caught up but we picked strawberries for almost the whole day instead, squeezing in harvests of kale, peas, and asparagus between 4 and 5:30. We haven’t had a crew member to spare lately, and the tasks keep piling up – trellising, harvesting, and whenver the fields dry out transplanting. The newly-planted rows, and the berries, look beautiful though! - Dave
Produce and Cooking Notes
Lettuce –Two heads of our lettuce for everyone this week – lots of Magenta (reddish-green), plus some Simpson (lime-green) and Rouge D’Hiver (red romaine).. One of our favorite and most reliable crops here at the farm, we aim to have lettuce for you every week through the year (but sometimes fail in hot summers).
Kale – A bunch of kale for everyone, perfect for a quick side dish or anything else that needs cooking greens. The kale has some flea beetle damage but should be very tasty nonetheless…just reminding us why we tend not to grow kale too late into the summer.
Asparagus OR Cucumbers – Asparagus has dropped off sharply this week, between the cooler weather and a little too violent of a weed control effort last week. As a result there’s not much – enough for full shares to either take a small portion or a couple of our first summer cucumbers.
Beets – Full shareholders are getting a bunch of beets – the last “winter” crop to come out of our greenhouse. Remember that the greens can be used very much like chard.
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.
Strawberries – The strawberry harvest is picking up, so here’s some more ripe red berries for your snacking.
Peas – Our tunnel is starting to yield lots of delicious sugar snap peas – I can barely resist eating them raw, but they’re also delicious lightly stir-fried.
Snap Peas with Scapes and Dill
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
(Deborah Madison writes that this is an easy dish to vary – try other herbs, or use asparagus tips to make it into a spring vegetable sauté – Dave
- ½ pound sugar snap peas
- 3 or 4 chopped garlic scapes
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill or another favored herb
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the peas in a skillet with the scapes, a few pinches salt, the butter, and enough water to just cover the bottom. Cook until bright green and tender, after a minute or two – taste one to be sure. If using olive oil, add a little to the pan now. Taste for salt, season with a little pepper, and add the dill.
Greens with Peanut Sauce
- from Simply in Season
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 bunch collards, chopped
- ½ c. water
- 2-3 tbsp. chunky peanut butter
- 1-2 tsp. hot water
In large soup pot, sauté onion and garlic with olive oil. Add tomato and simmer 2-4 minutes. Add spices and stir 2 min. Add greens and water and steam until greens are tender, but not mushy. Avoid overcooking. Stir occasionally to coat greens with spices. Combine peanut butter and hot water and add to greens at the end of cooking time. Serve over brown rice.
I woke up at 3:30 this morning to a terrible cacophony outside. High-pitched, howling winds, buckets of rain hitting the side of the window, and thunder and lightning - strangely, very little thunder, but lightning pulsing and flaring every fifteen or thirty seconds, as if some enormous strobe light was parked over my head. The wind and rain blasted the house for at least a half hour as I tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use - the constantly blinking blaze of light in my room, bright enough to read by when it hit, would not allow me to fall asleep.
When I finally did, I slept fitfully, full of strange dreams, and awoke to a calm morning and a blinking, useless alarm clock. Dan, Brosi, and I made our way downstairs and discovered that we had not overslept - it was about a quarter to seven - and that we'd all watched and listened, fascinated and a little horrified, to the fantastic weather three hours earlier. We ate breakfast and nervously ventured outside, curious to see whether the plastic had been ripped off the greenhouses, the chicken coops (and their inhabitants) had been blown across the fields, or maybe the Rapture had happened overnight.
Miraculously, none of these things seemed to have come to pass. The greenhouses were intact, the chickens were safe, and the farm crew, with their widely varying degrees of faith, all showed up for work. It did make a farm full of worry about the wet spring start to wonder just how much we were going to have to put up with before we could get farming this year. Rain is one thing, but weather that the National Weather Service described as "tornadic" is another (there's your word of the day!). Raining frogs or lava floods seemed within the realm of possibility.
But, weather-related chatter can only last so long, and getting to work there were plenty of signs of hope for the year. We've already harvested about three hundred pounds of asparagus this week - a hundredfold increase over last week - and the rhubarb is sizing up nicely too. We've been getting plants into the ground every way we can lately - making beds by hand, reusing greenhouse space, tilling up dry corners of well-drained fields - and the strawberries are starting to flower. We farmers always say we like working outside and being out in the weather, so I guess we can't complain when it puts on a show.