DIGGING DEEPER

Farm NewsLetter 07/03/06

Week of July 3rd, 2006

We had a terrific work party at Zenger Farm last weekend. Thanks to everyone who came out to help! There were quite a few things on the list and thanks to our great crew and lots of volunteers we got most of the mission accomplished.

Kris had help seeding transplants for the greenhouse. This time of year we’re planting a big block of broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts for the fall. All throughout the season we also continue to seed lettuce heads so we can consistently have those great summer salads. Heat tolerant varieties like Sierra, Nevada and Magenta are all Batavian Crisp lettuces, and we’re also planting an iceberg type called Crispino. Kris and her team filled the greenhouse to overflowing. Hopefully this week we’ll have time to move some of the more nature trays out to the field, so we can fit the new ones up on the table.

Tigre was in charge of the weeding team. They went after the carrots first and cleaned them all up. One benefit of being on this team was sampling the baby carrots. The consensus was that they were still too small to harvest, but we should have bunches of sweet baby carrots in just a few weeks time. They’ll grow especially fast now that the competition has been cleared out. Weeds germinating this time of year include pigweed, lambs quarter, smartweed and some purslane. Many of these are edible, and if anyone is interested in coming out to harvest/weed you are more than welcome! The beets also got weeded and thinned and everyone went home with big bunches of baby beets too.

Kaye- garden hose in hand- led the greenhouse washing team. This team was especially popular with the kids, some of whom came in their bathing suits just for the occasion. With ladders, rags, sponges, buckets, hoses and a mop on an extending pole they went to work on the hoop houses. I had noticed this spring that some of the plants on the propagation table seemed to be stretching for the light and wondered if perhaps that layer of grime accumulated on the plastic had something to do with it. In fact it didn’t look all that dirty until they cleaned it off. The difference was remarkable, and I know the plants will be much happier.

Brandon and his team had perhaps the hardest job of all. When I asked them to pull t-tape off the black plastic where it had been stored over the winter I knew it wouldn’t be fun. Though we lay it on there in neat tidy piles, somehow over the course of time it always manages to tie itself in at least a few knots. But this situation was much worse because the construction crew had folded the t-tape and plastic back on itself in order to make room for another pile of dirt. This misunderstanding led to the worst tangle of t-tape I think I have ever seen! I was tempted to just abandon the whole mess, but Brandon and his crew took it in stride. They dove into the pile and slowly but surely untangled almost the entire mess and by the end of the day they were laid out neatly across the fields.

Thanks again to everyone who came! We got a ton of work done and had fun too. Work parties are always the first Saturday of the month and the next one is coming up…
The Big Potato Dig: August 5th from 1-5pm at Luscher Farm

The Weather: Crazy summertime lightening storms!
Thank you everyone for all your help!

Your share this week may include:

Beets Heirloom chioggia, golden and really red beets make a beautiful salad. I boil them until tender, slip the skins off once they’ve cooled, cut into chunks, sprinkle with balsamic vinegrette, add chevre and toasted nuts. Yum!
Broccoli Sweet and tender heads
Chard This extremely versatile and beautiful green is one of my favorites. I often sauté the whole bunch ahead of time and keep a container of cooked greens in the fridge so it’s easy to add to anything from burritos to scrambled eggs to lasagna.
Dill This came in ahead of its companions… great in potato or cucumber salads.
Fennel There were several recipes for fennel in the last newsletter, but the easy thing to do is just sauté it with the onions and add to pasta, polenta, frittata or…
Kohlrabi This cousin to the broccoli has a similar mild flavor. Peel the bulb and eat it raw or lightly sautéed.
Lettuce Heads What an amazing red! Galactic is the name of this variety and the color and flavor are out of this world.
Spring Onions Use both the green stem and the bulb
Parsley This flat leaf Italian variety will be a staple throughout the summer. I made parsley pesto to drizzle on our soup at lunch.
Peas This is probably the last week of the best pea season we’ve ever seen. I’ve included an easy recipe in case they aren’t all eaten on the ride home. Enjoy!

Coming Soon… Sweet Baby Carrots!

Sugar Snap Peas w/ Mint Dressing

1lb Peas
3T Shallot or Onion
3T Rice Wine Vinegar
1t Honey
1t Mustard
6T Olive Oil
1/4-1/2c Fresh Mint

Blanch peas
Whip up the dressing and toss with peas
Chill everything
Tasty when left to marinate for a bit before serving

Beets Teriyaki
From Asparagus to Zucchini
From shareholder Elizabeth Hamer

12 small unpeeled beets
4 T butter
2 T honey
1 T minced fresh ginger
1 T soy sauce

Boil or steam beets until almost tender. Rinse in cold
water and cut in halves. Combine butter, honey,
ginger, and soy sauce in a small saucepan and heat
until the butter and honey are melted. Brush some
sauce over beets and place on heated broiler pan.
Broil 5-10 minutes until tender, bating frequently.
Transfer to serving dish and pour remaining sauce over
beets. 4-6 servings

(this recipe also scales down well)