Fresh garlic may be used just like cured garlic. You’ll find that the wrappers around the garlic have not dried completely and the flavor is milder than regular garlic. Like garlic scapes fresh garlic is a treat especially for locavores since it can’t be shipped and is available in its fresh as opposed to dried state for only a couple of weeks. Consider using fresh garlic in recipes where garlic is lightly cooked or eaten raw. We think that you’ll appreciate the difference!
While every growing season is rewarding and challenging at different points throughout the season, this year we just keep marveling at how divergent from every previous year this season has been. The most recent example of the unexpected becoming necessary happened yesterday evening as I was heading out to set up irrigation. I walked past the garlic and noticed that a few plants were starting to send up secondary scapes. This happens every year with a handful of plants, but we like to harvest the crop before this becomes widespread because the garlic sends up a secondary scape when a clove starts to split off of the main head.
After digging up a couple of heads I determined that the garlic is essentially ready to harvest. To put this in perspective the rule of thumb in this part of the Midwest is that garlic is ready early in July. Now we have found that our garlic has always been ready about a week or two before that. In fact I had decided to dig our garlic at the summer solstice. So June 4 is very, very early, but it seems to follow the trend of everything being around two weeks ahead of where things have been in previous years.
So, after getting the water running Emily and I sat down and tried to figure out how we were going to get all the garlic harvested and tied up in the barn this week when we already were planning to setup the tomato trellis, plant out more flowers and vegetables, hill the potatoes, cultivate everything that needs it, and harvest for market! We don’t know how, but we do know that it will get done so check back for pictures of this year’s garlic harvest.
We can’t believe that it is already the third week of the CSA. In addition to the recipes on the linked pages above, here are a couple more ideas if you are stuck on what to do with one or more of the veggies this week.
Dill Dip (kohlrabi, salad turnips, snap peas and radishes are perfect vegetables for dipping)
I was out this morning spreading cover crop seed in between the rows of tomatoes planted in plastic mulch. It was a good morning because it was relatively cool, the task at hand was straightforward and easy to accomplish in the time I had, and most importantly I could hear thunder nearby and thought we were in for a good soaking. A couple hours later as I left the farm to deliver our CSA boxes it was once again hot, sunny and dry – we received only light showers this morning. Oh well, it’s not the first time or the last time that we haven’t gotten the weather that we hoped to get.
It is impossible not to get our hopes up when the weatherman predicts helpful weather, but we have learned that farming means preparing for multiple possibilities and being ready to change course quickly. That’s why we love tweaking how we do something so that we are better prepared for whatever might happen. For example, that plastic mulch suppresses weeds, but it also keeps the soil nice and moist so we don’t have to water crops on mulch nearly as much as we do crops on bare ground. Plus we can water in the heat of the day because the drip lines are buried a couple inches underground, beneath the plastic, and there is no loss to evaporation! This really helps when we are in a particularly dry stretch early in the season – like the last two weeks – because we have so many lines that need to be run overnight.
So, the next chance of rain is Friday, we’ll wait and see!
In this week’s box: Kohlrabi Snow peas
Red or green kale
Garlic Scapes Arugula
Basil (The basil was picked this morning, but fresh-picked basil does not have a long shelf life so plan to use it sooner rather than later. You can always puree basil with olive oil and freeze in an ice cube tray. These frozen basil cubes may then be used in soups, stews or stir fries.) Hakurei salad turnips (white, round roots)
Raspberries (some locations get them this week, some next)
Welcome to the second week of our CSA season. Remember to click on the linked vegetables above for more information on using the more unfamiliar veggies. We’ve also included a few recipes below that utilize a couple of this week’s veggies. Of course we really like hearing other’s favorite recipes so if you’ve got one don’t hesitate to post it in the comments section below. Your fellow CSA members will thank you!
Also, as you have probably realized we like to reuse the wax boxes that we package your CSA share in. Most members transfer their veggies into a reusable bag at the pickup site, but if you need to take the box home with you please return it to the pickup site the next week. This will help us reduce the amount of waste and will save us the cost of purchasing new boxes. Finally, our pickup sites are hosted by fellow CSA members so please do your best to keep the area neat. Thanks!
Kohlrabi is a large green leafed vegetable with a swollen round stem. The leaves and stem are both used. The leaves can be used in place of any recipe calling for kale or collards. The baseball size stem is delicious raw. It tastes similar to cabbage but is sweeter and juicier. Simply peel away the tough outer skin and then slice. We also grow a variety called Kossak that is meant to get very large and stores well. It has the same flavor and texture as the small kohlrabi. Around here, we eat kohlrabi like apples! Kohlrabi is also delicious cooked. Here are some recipes to get you started.
Snap and snow peas are types of peas that are eaten whole, pod and all, when the peas are still immature. We recommend stringing them prior to cooking. They cook very quickly and make great additions to stir-fries, pasta salads, and rice pilafs. They can (and should!) be eaten raw.
What a flavorful salad green! Arugula has a peppery taste and is often used in salads as the main green or mixed with lettuce to balance the strong flavor. Pests, especially the flea battle, love arugula so we have to grow it under protective row cover or else it would come to you full of holes. If you find arugula is too peppery for you, you can mellow the flavor by wilting it either with a hot dressing or by throwing it in the pan in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
These small white turnips are so crisp and have a sweetness to them that they can be enjoyed raw and are often called salad turnips. There is no need to peel them (though you certainly can), simply chop into salads and grate into slaws. They can also be cooked and we recommend roasting as it intensifies the sweetness of the turnip. These turnips are not very common in grocery stores so they are a local seasonal treat. They are a relatively new variety developed in Japan in the 1950s to deal with food shortage problems. The turnip itself is very nutritious, but so are the greens, so we recommend cooking them as well. For longer storage cut the greens from the roots and store separately. Both roots and greens should be kept in plastic in the fridge. We hope that you enjoy them as much as we do!