As usual, I’ve been marveling at the sights of this late spring season: blossoms galore everywhere. I especially love to spot the unexpected pink and white blooms in hedgerows all around the county: plums, cherries and apple trees hidden amidst the foliage for most of the year.
May arrived this week, in a world full of flowers, blue skies, and … frost? Yes, we’ve had several light frosts this week, along with steady northern winds during the days. It’s made for quite a mixed welcome to the first plants we transplanted in our field this Sunday. Sunny and warm during the day, but not as overall cozy and easy as we sometimes prefer … but they’re out there! Hoorah!
Up until now, all our plantings have been in our high tunnels, as the spring was an slightly rainier (and floodier) one than we’ve had recently. But now that the ground is worked up, more and more will be planted in the field as we work our way toward summer — including the potatoes (see note below about our upcoming potato planting party).
Exciting news: we ate the first of our sugar snap peas this week too! It was just a handful to start, but we have ten rows of peas between two high tunnels, so before long there will be pea abundance!
Welcome, May! Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Potato planting party coming soon!
Join us for our first of two farm events this year on Wednesday, May 15. Come out at 5 pm to help us plant our year’s potatoes. This is relatively easy work, but please note that the footing in our fields is uneven! After we’re done, stay for a potluck dinner! Let us know at pick-up if you plan to join us, so that we can plan food and work accordingly!
Directions to the farm: Take HWY-18 to the Dayton exit. Drive straight south through Dayton and stay on Wallace Rd for about seven miles. Turn LEFT onto Grand Island Rd. After the bridge, turn RIGHT onto SE Upper Island Rd. Our driveway is the first on your LEFT. We share the driveway, and our house is the 2-story brown one toward the back-right. If anything comes up, Katie’s cell number is 503-474-7661.
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To stem or not to stem?
When faced with loads of cooking greens, as we are in these spring months, a question hovers in the kitchen duties? Do we prefer to remove the leaves from the stems before cooking? Or, do we prefer to chop the whole darn thing to cook and eat.
My answer depends a lot on the particular green and the season. In general, I’m an “eat-the-stems” cook myself. Did you know that in Europe, historically Swiss chard was cultivated specifically for its stalks and stems? That part was considered the primary vegetable! True story! Stems and stalks are not just there to hold the leaves together, they are really a vegetable in their own right.
In that tradition, I like to cook our greens until they are well wilted, including the stems. I like what stems add to our dishes — they are more vegetabibily and less leafy. So, as long as the stems are tender-ish, I’ll just chop the whole thing up to put in the pan — although I will sometimes trim off the very end of the stems, since these will sometimes dry out after a day or more in storage. But sometimes when I chop to trim, I’ll notice that a few stems in my bunch have a white central core — a visible sign that perhaps the stem has an inner woody core that won’t become soft when cooked (note that this white core can develop over several days in storage, even if a stem is tender when picked). If that is the case, I might set those stems aside and just remove the leaves to cook.
Some people, however, really just love the texture of leaves and only leaves. No judgement! There is no right or wrong answer here, but if you’ve never thought about what you do and why, I invite you to be intentional this week as you consider how you prepare your greens!
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Meet this week’s vegetables:
- Salad mix — Lettuce heavy mix this week
- Escarole — Another salad option for your week! Escarole is a fresh-eating green related to chicories or radicchio, which means that it has a slightly different texture and flavor than lettuce. It can handle a more liberal coating of dressing.
- Leeks — Little freshly harvested leeks from the greenhouse!