Spinach - Garlic Scapes - Cucumber - Cilantro Tops - Dill - Rhubarb - trial carrot nubbins -
Kitchen Pint - Strawberries!! - Summer Squash Garnish - Potted Parsley
Strawberry season has begun and even I (the eternal optimist) am having a hard time seeing the positive in this berry crop- don’t get me wrong, the flavor is excellent and there is abundance out there- it’s just not wildly abundant as previous years. Strawberries dripping off the plant is what we’ve become accustomed to and so far, with such a slow start, we are still waiting on that extreme abundant strawberry drip. Feeling pretty overwhelmed and exhausted by this, I passed the computer to Ray and said, “here, you tell everyone why the start of the season is slow to harvest.” Ray writes:
It has been a challenging growing season thus far overall, but particularly frustrating with strawberries and here is why (we think). An unusually dry start to the season last spring (2018) they started slow- although after watering and weeding them regularly we thought they looked decent going into last october. Then bam first week of november dumps snow and they never saw the light of day till late april. We covered them with mulch in the Fall, then uncovered the mulch 2nd week of april to find the bulletproof snow was still there. At that point we were still optimistic but April and May didn’t prove to shine enough sunlight or offer enough heat to size the plants before they went into the fruiting phase. So now we are in the end of june and unseasonably late strawberry is underway! We are still hopeful for an average berry season although the clock is running…. We will know better in two weeks of the outcome. Maybe blueberries will pick up the slack?
Bottomline, relish each and every strawberry you eat this Summer as these seasonal gems worked pretty hard to get here. Again, the crop may not be an overall success as years prior, but holy hell are they as sweet as ever. Also, I am uncertain of the opening day for our PYO patch as the fields are STILL RIPENING, but stay tuned!
TIPS - TRICKS - RECIPES:
Make the following recipe! It’s entirely mandatory. Bonus, this stuff freezes beautifully, so don’t feel committed to eat it all right away. This is one of our winter staples we make a ton of and keep in our chest freezer to enjoy all winter long. The recipe says eat with spaghetti or bread, but don’t stop there- slab it on your eggs, use it for a salad dressing base, dollop it in your winter soups, etc… And if you do make a ton to freeze, make sure that however you are packaging it, leave room at the top of the container for the pesto to expand. (we pack ours in mason jars, and have run into many a broken pesto filled jar. (1“ of space at the top should suffice).
YIELD About 1 cup
The star of this pesto is the garlic plant’s under-appreciated second offering: the fleeting garlic scape. The ingredients are straightforward except for the substitution of sunflower seeds for pine nuts. The seeds are a fraction of the cost and do the job just as well. A food processor is a must for this recipe. For pesto, ingredient order matters. Start with the scapes and process for about 30 seconds. Add the seeds until they are broken down and mixed well with the scapes. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula for wandering bits. Next, pour in the olive oil. If you have Parmesan cheese in chunks, add it now, but if it is grated, wait until the scapes and seeds smooth out. If you’re serving right away, add the basil and lemon juice. If not, hold back on the basil for now — otherwise the pesto will lose its vibrant color. Add generously to cooked spaghetti or spread on crusty bread.
SUMMER SQUASH GARNISH: No surprise here, our squash plants have been a little stressed out by all the season has brought them thus far, thus they’ve produced mini squashes (this happens as a reaction to the stress- it’s a way for the plant to say- hey world i’m still here- let me flower and fruit before i die). By picking off these little bits, the massive amount of energy it takes for the squash to produce this teeny fruit goes back into the plant and the plants really benefit from this. How to use your mini squashes? Eat fresh- throw in whole to your frittata as a garnish- or grab a teeny stone and set up as bowling pins in your fairy garden- ask your 3-7 year old about this, they will know what to do.
CILANTRO TOPS: Your cilantro! Like the summer squash garnish, we cut this for you as an added bonus to your CSA share, while simultaneously doing a favor to the crop. By cutting back the cilantro, it stops the crop from going to seed, and gives it new life. It may not look like your classic cilantro- but it is every bit as good. The leaves here are more wispy as this is what it looks like in a mature state. Toss in everything!
POTTED PARSLEY: Plant these babies in full sun, water as necessary
POTTED DELICATA: Because unless you join our FALL CSA (details for that sign-up in August) you won’t see a lot of winter squash in these shares. Here is an opportunity to plant your own!! Plant these babies in full sun- they love well drained soil.
Martha's Omani-inspired creamed spinach spices things up with coconut milk, fresh ginger, cumin, and a touch of jalapeno. Serves 4
3 tablespoons ghee
20 ounces flat-leaf spinach, washed and drained
2 shallots, halved and sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced jalapeno chile
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of sugar
1 cup coconut milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Heat scant 1 tablespoon ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium. Add spinach and cook, stirring, until just wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain spinach in a sieve, pressing to remove excess liquid. Let cool slightly, then roughly chop.
2. Return pan to medium heat and melt remaining 2 tablespoons ghee. Add shallots, ginger, and jalapeno and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in flour, cumin, and sugar and cook for 1 minute, then slowly whisk in coconut milk. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
3. Stir chopped spinach into coconut mixture and season with salt and pepper.