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Sweater or Swelter

It’s been a funny kind of July. Hot days, cold days – we never know what’s around the bend. All in all it has been cooler than usual for this time of year. It doesn’t seem like it’s been so cold as to really harm our heat loving plants like watermelons and tomatoes though, and our greens have been a little easier to care for than usual. All in all, the mixture of sunny days and rainy days has been beneficial to the garden this year.

Lots of great veggies for sale!
Tuesdays and Thursdays: 3pm to 7pm
Saturdays: 9am to 4pm

Another less pleasant funniness is the recent trend of WWOOFers committing to stay at the farm for one week to one month, showing up, and then leaving after one day! Apparently they’re getting homesick. This is indescribably annoying, and we’re starting to feel the effects of being short staffed. I guess it’s up to us two nitwits to keep doing all the work. I guess we just don’t know when to quit! Either that or we have a  strange fetish for sweating. Moving on…

Once again, if you’re into doing a little hand weeding with a friend, please send me an email and let me know when you’d like to come out. Most days are good besides Sundays but Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the best since we’re not busy harvesting.

It’s time to pull the garlic and hang it up to dry in the barn. This is another task with which we can use more pairs of arms. We’re hoping to get started on Friday afternoon, so be in touch if you think you can come out. Take home some fresh garlic!

CSA Update
Week No.5    
This week our CSA members will get:

Lettuce: Weekly lettuce. We’re moving lots of ‘Nancy’ these days, which is my favourite variety. It’s got big leaves ideal for sandwiches and tears up into succulent pieces for salads. It keeps well, grows well, and looks good.

Red tomato: One ripe tomato to get things going. Enjoy!

Pink turnips:
These ‘Scarlet Ohno’ turnips are bright pink. A little drier and firmer than our white turnips, they are still considered a salad turnip.

Cilantro: A zesty herb adds a unique kind of freshness to your meal. I’m using it in my fajitas tonight!

Summer onions: Small onions with delicately flavoured bulbs and tasty green tops. Is it really a meal without onions?

Summer squash: Green ones, striped ones, round ones, yellow ones. We’ll rotate the different varieties we have to all our pickups so you’ll get to try them all. They’re great pan fried, baked, stir fried or BBQed. Try stuffing the larger ones!

Choice greens: Choose a bunch of chard or a bunch of kale. Both are used basically the same way.

Carrots: Delicious orange carrot bunches.

Red cabbage: Little heads of red cabbage makes fun looking coleslaw. Summer cabbage is a little juicy for making sauerkraut, but it still works and well worth the effort to boost your intake of living foods.

Turnip tops: Store these in the crisper and use just like chard or kale. I especially like them with beef.

Broccoli: Crunchy, tasty, nutritious broccoli!

Charissa’s Recipe Suggestions

Beet green chips
(Get ready for more beets next week)

By now most people have likely heard of, if not tried, kale chips.  And while they are delicious, kale isn’t the only green that lends itself to chip-making!  Beet greens taste a little different, but can also be baked up into crunchy, slightly grassy snacks.  (I know, the oven?  In JULY?  I hear you, but on a chilly, rainy day these are a pretty good pick-me-up!)
Grab a bunch of greens, wash them and pat dry.  If any of the leaves have particularly large or tough ribs, cut them out.  Toss the leaves with a little oil; you want them all coated, but not soaked.  Better to start with too little oil and add a bit if needed.  Once nicely coated, lay the leaves out in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, chili powder; whatever seasoning you’d like.
Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes, then flip over, season the other side and bake till crisp through.

Sauerkraut formula

With the Season of Grilling upon us, it’s always nice to have some tangy crunch on hand to counterbalance richer flavours.  I like that Kraut is acidic without having the vinegary tang of most pickles.  Variety is good!
Sauerkraut is a pretty easy pickle to customize.  You can grate up carrots, scallions, hot peppers, etc. to mix in with the cabbage, or add additional spices to the brine.  (Cumin is delicious, as is ginger, or chili powder.)  If you’re adding shredded veggies, use the weight of your veggies (not just the cabbage) when calculating your salt below.
1 lb of veggies (or just cabbage if you’re kicking it oldschool)
2 tsps salt — use sea salt, pickling or kosher salt, not iodized table salt.
(2 tsps of any spices you want to include)

Once you have all your veggies shredded (or sliced very thinly), toss them in a large bowl (or crock if you have one) with the salt, squeezing a little with your hands to help release the water.  You can also layer — putting a little cabbage in, sprinkling a layer of salt, etc.  Press down on everything to draw out the water; you want all your vegetables to be submerged.  If you really don’t have enough liquid, top up with some brine (1.5 tbsps of salt per litre of water).  Once you have enough liquid, ensure that your veggies stay submerged.  (You may have to use a weighted plate, or clean ziplock filled with more brine to manage it.)

Cover the whole set-up with a clean cloth (just to keep dust out), and leave it somewhere out of the way at room temperature.  Since we’re in the heart of summer heat, you can start checking on your kraut after 3-4 days — it will taste saltier in the early days, don’t worry!  When the cabbage has reached the level of tang that you’d like, remove the weight, put it in a jar (with its brine) and keep it in the fridge.  The flavours should continue to mellow out over time.

This is a single weblog entry, posted on July 28th, 2014. Comment here »

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