Cool Bean Krista suggested I post the newsletter online as well, so people who share bags can each see the info. That excellent suggestion was Plan A, but I figured I’d shorten the info somewhat, as the newsletters, like your farmer, often ramble. Sat down to do that an hour ago, and when i logged onto the computer, I discovered that “I” had just bought several computers, and had them delivered to “my” address in California. So instead of editing the newsletter to a reasonable length, I spent the precious pre-delivery moments getting my credit card cancelled, etc. Thus, here it is in all it’s rambling glory, with a photo of your soggy but happy farmer as well.
Cool Beans May 28, 2013 – Week #3
Soggy and wet today – both your produce and your farmer! Your bags of greens aren’t as dry as they ought to be, so please don’t seal the bags when you put them in your fridge. Tristan and I could either keep the bags themselves dry, or use the garage bay where we pack to spin the greens dry…..but there wasn’t enough room for both, so we did the best we could for the greens in drying trays….but it wasn’t enough, they’re still a bit too wet.
First, a leftover bit of info from last week, when I forgot to include a note about the plant that was in your bag. It’s a bay plant. You may already use dried bay leaves in soups and stews. I believe the dried leaves also repel pantry moths. It’s a pretty plant with glossy leaves, it will be okay outside in the summer, and it should come inside for winter. It would like a larger pot in, say, eight weeks. Don’t harvest any leaves until this fall, when it’s grown up a bit.
So. Several kinds of lettuce this week – remember, you should always rinse your greens, but especially when we have to pick in the rain. You have a bag of kale. The plastic (yes, sorry, but someone gave them to me and I’m going to use them up) clamshell has a few early snips of fresh basil, plus mojito mint. If you use both the basil and mint in the mojito, it’s going to really, really rock. I do a lot of research on your behalf in this area.
The rubber-banded greens are lamb’s quarters. This plant’s related to quinoa and amaranth, both of which are trendy and high priced and very much prized by the green crunchy crowd……..who may well be overlooking their local cousin, the lamb’s quarters, which were one of the first cultivated crops in the Northeast, thousands of years ago. It’s probably growing in your back yard. The greens are highly nutritious, more so than spinach (to which it is also related). Use Cool Bean Lisa’s strategy for the braising greens last week: snip the LQ leaves into a pan with some hot olive oil, reduce the heat, sauté until they’re wilted, crack an egg on top, and you have an outstanding breakfast. Or just use the leaves in a salad. Don’t let this freak you out – there are tens of thousands of edible plants, if not more, and most North Americans only eat about twenty. We have kind of arbitrary ideas about what’s a weed and what’s not, and as a result most of us are missing out on some tasty and nutritious (and readily available for free) food choices. Also, you get to go to the office tomorrow and tell everyone you ate weeds. So – a good meal and a good story, all in your CSA bag this week.
Lamb’s quarters seeds are use like quinoa seed; perhaps we’ll get to that later, but based on last year’s experience harvesting the seed, I think I’ll just invite all of you to come up and get your own when they’re ready. Let’s just say it gives one an increased appreciation for our ancestors, and I would probably have starved to death in pre-historic times.
If you have a full share, you have some asparagus. When it’s picked fresh like this, all of it is good, there’s no need to discard the bottom few inches. The grocery store stuff is harvested mechanically, and the machines simply cut the stalks at ground level. Yours was harvested by your favorite farmer, last night, and I snapped each stalk at the point at which it was tender. Even the kind of spread-out top parts are still awesome. I didn’t get enough for everyone this week. Cool Bean Diane is growing it, and she’d asked me to run up to her farm yesterday while she’s on vacation to rearrange the eggs in her incubator: hatched Marans chicks went to a stock tank, had their beaks dipped in water so they’d understand how to drink (they’re not bright) and the duck and guinea eggs moved down a rack into the hatching tray. (Doesn’t this make feeding your vacationing neighbor’s cat seem like a breeze?) In return, I got to pick any asparagus I could find. Managed to score about ten pounds, which covered the full shares. Perhaps Diane will need a favor next week and I can get enough for the small shares!
You have bean sprouts, too. I wish I’d thought to take a picture of the kitchen this week: I started soaking ten pounds of organically grown beans last Thursday in six mixing bowls. The sprouts got rinsed and drained 3-4 times a day, and as they sprouted and grew, they obviously needed more room. So by this morning they filled twelve hug mixing bowls, three roasting pans, the crockpot, and four aluminum trays. Shades of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, but with beans sprouts instead of brooms.
You can eat the sprouts like popcorn (add garlic salt, or curry powder, or whatever), add them to soups or stir-fries, put them in salads, or put them on sandwiches. Have another idea? Post it on the Cool Beans CSA Facebook page!
The first of the cookbooks were returned this week and I’m happy to see that many of them have notations written in, with comments about recipes you’ve tried or ones that look interesting……..if you’re a Camp Hill Bean, you’ll get a book next week. Because of the books, I’m adding a plastic bin at the Penbrook, Stoney Creek and Camp Hill pickup spots, so that when you return your bag every week, you can put it in the bin. If you have a book to return, that will keep it dry. I think the Mechanicsburg and New Cumberland drop spots are sheltered enough that it won’t matter there.
We will happily recycle egg cartons and canning jars, by the way. Just put them in your returned bag each week.
We are looking for two or three working refrigerators for the farm. They can look awful, they just have to run. We could also use a really big chest freezer, and it doesn’t have to be working. I have a big truck; I can pick the items up.
Things are going to calm down on the farm a bit once the iris are done blooming – there have been nonstop visitors here enjoying the bloom. If you’d like to see them, the last day to do so will be this Friday, I’ll be here all day. With the heat that’s predicted for the rest of this week, I think that will be the end of them.
Love from your soggy wet farmer,