Greens, Greens, and More Greens!
On the Farm . . . what's been happening this week - 6/18/15.
The broccoli is developing little heads, the peas are climbing the trellises, the beans are getting taller and the cucumbers are staring to vine. We are watering, weeding and still planting. We alternate from being excited about the progress of the vegetables and being overwhelmed at the amount of work it takes to keep up this time of year. I even had a momentary lapse and found myself wishing for quiet, winter times reading stories with Marlee in front of the fireplace. Silly me!
My friend Jennifer, former co-owner of Greenspirit Farm, reminds me that June can be tough on a vegetable farm. It is the time of the year when we are starting new rhythms, getting to know new CSA members, becoming familiar with the idiosyncrasies of new delivery locations, harvesting larger amounts of produce, remembering the logistics of packing boxes, and not panicking at the progress of the weeds. Bill and I have been reminding each other that we've done this before, that we have friends and family helping us, that it's better when we concentrate on the job at hand, and that it's ok to have a few weeds. Oh and to try hard to not snap at each other when we are hot, tired, thirsty or frustrated. Okay . . . to try harder. It is true we have both let off a little steam at each other this week. I'm sure it isn't recommended by marriage experts, but it happened anyway. At one point when Bill was particularly irritated with me, I reminded him that I wrote a nice article about him in last week's newsletter. I thought it was going to backfire when he looked at me sternly and furrowed his brow. Then he said, "yeah, I am pretty great!" making us both laugh. Moments like that assure me we'll get through June.
The best news is the produce in your boxes is lush, nutritious and tasty. This time of the year there are lots of greens; leaf lettuces, heads of lettuce, mustard greens, kale, swiss chard, arugula, sorrel, Asian greens. All great but so much green at the same time! If that is overwhelming to you, I want to reassure you that you too can get through June.
Fairshare CSA Coalition says in their cookbook, Farm-Fresh and Fast, "Fortunately for cooks, for all their differences, there are two basic principles that apply to most leafy greens. First, nearly any young, tender leaf can be eaten raw. Young greens are generally mild and tender, and babies of all types add subtle spice and interest to mixed salads. Second, nearly any mature, sturdy leaf can be cooked, even lettuce. Mature greens are generally dense, savory, and pleasantly bitter; they are at their best when cooked with garlic in quick sautés, shredded and stirred into soups or stews, or braised to melting tenderness."
It is my wish that you challenge yourself to eat your greens in ways that are familiar to you but also to try a new recipe or idea. Remember it doesn't have to be complicated to be good tasting or good for your health. Try adding greens to your pizza, your scrambled eggs, your sandwich or your soup. I learned from Jennifer and her family that greens are great for snacking. I mean eating leaves out of the bag like eating potato chips. Munching mesclun while watching a movie is much less messy than getting that orange food-like substance called Cheetos all over your fingers! With the coming hot, summer days it will soon be hard to get your hands on tender, fresh greens as they begin to wilt and put their energy into developing seeds - it is best to indulge and enjoy them now.