New Golden Potatoes
Iceburg or Butterhead Lettuce
Our workdays are steadily getting longer, as we head towards the longest day of the year. It seems like this time of year, we are always wrestling to keep up with all the tomato management (trellising, suckering, and feeding) along with the other nightshade crops, while also tending to the weed and pest pressure in maturing spring crops. Over the past few years we have moved more towards using biodegradable plastic with landscape fabric in the pathways for our larger blocks of crops, such as our Winter squash & watermelon area or our large brassica plantings in both the spring and the fall. This has at least helped minimize the weed pressure because no matter how much we weed, come mid-May through June, the weeds can grow 6”-12” per week and when we are getting towards the end of a crop we cannot seem to manage late stage weeding, it is just too time consuming. So far this year both the indoor and outdoor tomato plantings look strong, as do the peppers and eggplant. Much can change though between the green leaf growth stage and ripening fruit stage. Point is there is a lot going on around the farm, sometimes more than one can focus on in a single walk through. Every June we are getting ready to plant our latter summer crop successions of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and beans even as we wait to harvest some of our first successions. Our greenhouse is more or less empty and yet at the end of the month we will begin succession seeding for our fall crops and before we know it the greenhouse is full to the brim. June like October is when we have the most seasonal cross over. Right now we are still harvesting many spring crops (cabbage, greens, root, herb, fennel, lettuce, and chicory) while adding in new summer crops every week, potatoes this week, tomatoes and beans in a week or so, and soon after eggplant, followed by peppers. Plus we are scheduling out large bulk harvests. Garlic was started last week and will get finished this Wednesday; soon we will store away cabbages, daikon, beets, and carrots so we have some for later in the summer. In a few weeks our storing onions will be harvested and cured in the barn and then right after that we will harvest the potato crop. So with all this to do, we are lucky the days are long even if it gets a bit tiring. This is the time of year to support all the farmers you know, because if it is a good growing season, we all have a lot of food to move. Shop often, bring friends and family who do not regularly shop through local outlets, and buy a lot. Have picnics, potlucks, and garden parties, and take huge dishes of vegetables or fruit to whatever social occasion. Think about freezing, canning, pickling, and preserving to enhance your options during the lean months. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and fruit are not the only crops to put up.
This week you get a nice mix of greens: swiss chard, cabbage, lettuce, and frisee, enjoy them while they last, as tthere is likely only a few more weeks in store then they are gone till September. Finally we have some fennel coming to you all. This was not a good spring for our fennel crop, as it got planted very late and it hates erratic shifts in temperature, especially with lots of heat; which is what we get here. It is on the small side, so not super succulent. It will be a great addition to a salad, especially a cabbage slaw or frisee and potato salad. We are also excited to be getting some of you the iceburg lettuce. Unlike California iceburg this will be flavorful yet have that fabulous crisp texture. We have a few recipes below for some delicious salads. Enjoy the share Autumn & Brian
New Cabbage with Scallions – The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis
The first time we would cook and serve our newly grown garden cabbage was on a wheat-threshing day. We would cut up many heads and cook them in a large iron pot with liquid from the pork shoulder and a small amount of fat for seasoning. Cabbage cooked that way was a hearty fare, good sustenance for hardworking men. We children usually had the food that was left over from the midday meal that night for supper and thought it was just great. No other food in the world seemed to have quite the good flavor of what was left over from a wheat-threshing dinner.
1 2-pound head new cabbage
1/3 cup tender green scallion tops, cut into ¼” slices
2 cups boiling water, or preferably stock from boiled pork shoulder
3 Tbls freshly rendered fat from bacon or ham
salt and freshly ground pepper
To prepare the cabbage, trim away the outside leaves and cut the head into quarters. Cut away the core, leaving just enough to hold the leaves intact. Place the pieces of cabbage in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes or so to wash out any dust or bugs, particularly if it has come straight out of the garden. Remove, drain in a colander, then place in a 3-quart saucepan and add the scallion tops to give added flavor and color. Pour the boiling water or stock over and toss the cabbage with two spoons to make sure that each piece is scalded. Add the fat so that it coats the cabbage, then turn the burner low so that the cabbage boils briskly but not too rapidly for 25-30 minutes –any longer and the cabbage will become too soft and its taste will change. Drain. Toss the salt to taste and a good grating of freshly ground pepper to heighten the flavor. Serve hot.
Boiled Swiss Chard Salad – The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan
1 bunch Swiss chard leaves
1 or more Tbls lemon juice
Pull the leaves from the stalks (reserving the stems for another use, such as Swiss Chard stalks with Parmesan Cheese) and wash in a basin of cold water, changing the water frequently until it shows no trace of soil.
Put the chard in a pan with whatever water clings to the leaves. Add 1/2 tsp salt, cover, and cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes from the time the liquid starts to bubble.
Drain in a pasta colander and gently press some of the water out of the chard with the back of a fork. Place in a salad bowl.
Serve cool (not refrigerated) or lukewarm, seasoning with salt, oil, and lemon only when ready to serve.