Tuesday, May 4, 2010

may already

Hello Everyone,

I doubt I'm the only one having a hard time believing we're already in the month of May. The first four months of this year seem to have flown by. And yet it feels like July already- hot weather and thunderstorms. The mizuna and the first planting of arugula have both bolted, mostly before I even got a crop to market. The upside is that the warm weather stuff- the tomatoes, the peppers, beans and cucumber are starting to take off.

There is an exception; two actually. The squash and zucchini I planted 2 weeks ago were up and putting on true leaves last Friday. When I checked them on Sunday the entire crop had been destroyed by Cucumber Beetles.

I replanted on Monday. I'll have to spray Spinosad, an organically approved pesticide, on a regular basis and I'll have squash and zucchini two weeks later than I might have. As someone I know says, that's farming.

All the drip irrigation equipment has arrived. I hope to have time later this week to get it installed. I'm looking forward to being able to do a much better job of watering in much less time than it takes to drag hoses all over the fields and spray from above. Uses less water too.

This week is the first pickup for my Phoenix Farms Spring CSA program. My members will be getting:

Sweet Potatoes
And a choice of two of the following:

Lambs Quarter, Spinach, Kale, Tatsoi, Mizuna, Beet Greens, Mixed Greens

They'll also get a dozen eggs and a loaf of Swiss bread baked yesterday. Yum.

You might have noticed Lambs Quarter in the list above. Some of you who know this plant might be scratching your head saying, "Why is he feeding them weeds?" And it's true that in this part of the world it is considered a weed. Then again, I had a professor at NC State who said, "A weed is a plant named by an unhappy person."

Lambs quarter is actually cultivated in many parts of the world as a green. I've been eating the leaves raw in salads and steamed for years. It's really good for you. Last week Colleen shared her lunch with me- Couscous Salad made with Lambs Quarter Pesto (recipe). It was awesome. So this week I wanted to share with my CSA. I'll also have some at the market this Saturday. Which reminds me...

I will be at the Piedmont Farmers Market at Winecoff School Road this Saturday from 8am until noon. I'm in a new location down in the grass so please come see me. I will have most of what I mentioned in the CSA list above. I'm hoping this week to have NC shrimp too. No eggs though.

I want to thank Stacey, David, Ethan and Erin for helping to harvest yesterday. With their help we were able to get it done before the rain. Then we washed everything in the barn while it poured. I have pictures over at the blog.

One last and important thing. One of my CSA members will be sharing her weekly cooking adventuress on a new blog. This is real world seasonal eating. In her introduction she says,

Welcome, and grab your apron. "Pipi", my 10 year old daughter and I will be cooking with fresh, local, organic vegetables that we have either harvested from our own backyard, or from an incubator farm where we volunteer.

We hope you will enjoy the recipes we'll be making, and posting from the earth to the table.
Check her out at Garden Gal Cooks. Those of you who think you can't cook and eat more seasonally prepare to be shown up by a 10 year old.

Have a good week.


Lambs Quarter Pesto:


Blend in blender
1 1/2 cups of leaves
3-4rushed garlic cloves
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil


Remove leaves from stem and wash (there is a slight "dusty" feel to the leaves which is normal and will wash off for the most part)

Blend using a wooden spoon carefully to push the mixture into the blades without hitting the spoon
Add olive oil as needed to get a paste like mixture while blending

Uses for the pesto:
On Pizza instead of tomato sauce
stuff mushrooms with it and bake
Couscous salad: add pesto to cooked couscous, lemon juice to taste and diced onions, salt and pepper, stir till all is coated and green

For More Lambs Quarter Recipes Click Here

Braised Mixed Greens

1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for finishing

1 small onion, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, 1 slivered, 1 halved

1 lb greens, such as chard, broccoli rabe, spinach, kale, washed and chopped

A few leaves or a few handfuls of sorrel, 5 or 6 lovage leaves or a handful of chopped cilantro and parsley

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ½ cups cooked beans (borlotti, cannelloni, etc), home cooked or canned

3 to 4 slices chewy country bread

Shaved parmesan or crumbled gorgonzola

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch over. Add the onion and cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the onion starts to soften a bit, after 3 or 4 minutes, add the slivered garlic. Cook for a minute more, then add the greens and any herbs. Season with ½ teaspoon salt.

2. As the greens cook down, turn them in the pan to bring the ones on top closer to the heat. Once they've all collapsed, add ½ cup water or bean broth, lower the heat and cook. Partially covered, until tender. Depending on the greens as long as 20. Just make sure there is some liquid in the pan for sauce. When the greens are done, add the beans, heat them through, then taste for salt and season with pepper.

3. Toast the bread and rub it with the halved garlic. Arrange on plates and spoon on the greens and beans. Drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with the cheese, if using, and serve.

Serves 3 – 4
This recipe is from Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen

Roasted Radishes with Greens


3 bunches small radishes
2 cups of greens (spianch, turnip, kale, whatever)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


1. Preheat the oven to 500°. Trim the radishes and wash the greens; pat dry.
2. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the radishes, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the radishes for 15 minutes, until crisp-tender.
3. Return the skillet to the burner and stir in the butter to coat the radishes. Add the radish greens and cook over moderate heat until they are wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the lemon juice and season with salt. Serve the radishes right away.

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