Cabbage: Napa (Tues) or Tendersweet (Sat)
Hakurei Turnip or Daikon Radish
Spicy Asian Mix
The weather has been so unusual this Spring. We are looking forward to this upcoming week with mild temperatures and light rain, as the Spring crops will be loving it and lets be honest so will we. The summer crops on the other hand will pause for a minute, at least we will see a little less flowering and slower growth later this week. Anyhow overall it has been a pretty easy season as far as the weather goes, although there are always extreme temperature shifts here in Virginia. This past week we harvested the majority of our garlic, the German white variety and it looks pretty good, we have a substantial crop this year. We were a week or two late to be honest; as all the overwintered crops came on slightly early due to the mild winter and spring but time and weather constraints kept us from harvesting earlier. Pulling hardneck garlic out a little later means the skin layers have died back a bit more and so their can be more mold presence which can eventually manifest into rotten cloves. We have sorted the garlic to avoid storing the more susceptible garlic too long; but it is something we are learning from year after year and hopefully honing our skills a little. Mid-May to June is so busy for us and due to the unusual May frost, we got 10 days behind in our planting schedule, which in turn puts us 10 days behind in our larger June projects.
The biggest struggle on our farm is that during the main season we have only Wednesdays and Thursdays for big projects (potato, garlic, onion harvests, large plantings of summer crops, root crop or herb succession weeding, processing chickens, etc.), because we have such a small crew and many days are focused on harvest, pack, and markets. On those project days if the conditions are ill suited (i.e hot and sunny we cannot work too long in the tunnels or wet and overcast we cannot cultivate or weed effectively), we have to push off certain tasks; which can manifest as mismanagement of crops. It is a norm for us. We have a great small crew this year, with a experienced farm hand three days per week and two awesome 1 day per week all season helpers; but between May and August there are always weeks where we need so much more help to really get it all done. Again we are slow learners but eventually we will get our staffing more in place or just grow a little less. Just wanted to explain the behind the scenes, as we never skimp from the harvesting, washing, packing side of things so from a CSA and customer stand point it can be hard to tell the difference. Sometimes I think we should just take half a harvest day and get more done around the farm and take less to sell; but once you’re in a harvest cycle, it is very difficult to step away. Fruiting crops have to be harvested like clockwork or they will not be sellable. The same goes for getting cutting greens, lettuce, quick roots, and other greens picked when they are ready, they sit too long and they get tough, bitter, bug eaten, and on and on. Enjoy these last spring like days making some delicious Asian cuisine inspired food or ferments and welcome in the coming heat and humidity of Summer which is just around the corner. Enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian
Recipes Below From Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Bitter Greens with Dashi
2 small bunches (1 1/3lb) Bitter Greens: mustard, turnip, or komatsuna
1/3 cup Dashi
2 Tbls Soy Sauce
2 Tbls freshly shaved katsuobushi or 3 Tbls hanakatsuo
Bring a large pot of hot water to a boil and place a large bowl of cold water on the kitchen sink. Hold the bunches of greens by their tops and lower the stems into the boiling water. Count to ten or twenty, then drop the greens into the pot and cook an additional 1-3 minutes. Scoop out the greens with a strainer and dump them immediately into the cold water. Turn on the tap and plunge your hands into the water, lifting the greens up directly into the stream of cold running tap water to cool them. Pull out a few connected strands and squeeze down the length of the greens to express the excess water. Ley the greens on the cutting board, cut off the end tips, and slice into 2” lengths.
Squeeze the greens one more time and arrange the clumps attractively on a medium-sized saucer with the cut sides face up. Season the dashi with soy sauce, pour over the greens, and sprinkle with shaved katsuobushi right before serving.
Variation: Also nice with some slivered citrus peel, such as yuzu or meyer lemon. Although in this case I would cut back, or omit the katsuobushi.
Daikon and Daikon Leaf Salad
1 medium-small daikon
1 TB Sea Salt
2 small or 1 medium Yuzu (or substitute Meyer Lemon)
2 TB Organic Miso
2 TB Organic Rice Vinegar
4 TB Organic Rapeseed Oil
2 TB Slivered Scallions
Slice the daikon into manageable lengths. Cut those pieces in half vertically and slice lengthwise into fine slabs. Lay those slabs flat on the cutting board and slice into fine julienned strands about 1.5 inches long. Put the julienned daikon into a medium-sized bowl as you go. Chop a large handful of the most tender leaves medium -fine and add to the julienned daikon. Sprinkle with the salt and massage in gently. Let sit for 10 minutes. Pare off the yellow zest of a yuzu or meyer lemon with a sharp knife, avoiding the white pith. Stack roughly and slice into fine slivers. Muddle the miso with the vinegar and whisk in the oil until emulsified. Squeeze the daikon and daikon leaves in handfuls and drop into a clean bowl. Toss with the yuzu peel and onion greens. Give the dressing a quick whisk and fold into the daikon right before serving. Ratio: miso:rice vinegar:oil – 1:1:2
Napa Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds
half a napa cabbage
½ Tbls fine sea salt
2 Tbls mild citrus juice (yuzu, Seville orange, Meyer lemon)
2 Tbls rapeseed oil
1 Tbls unhulled sesame seeds
Slice the cabbage crosswise into fine strands and toss lightly in a large bowl with the salt. Measure the citrus juice into a small bowl and slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. Pour over the cabbage, mix gently to distribute the dressing. Toast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat in a dry frying pan until they are fragrant and start to pop. Toss into the salad and serve immediately.