WHAT’S IN THE BOX The following are the items harvested this week. Items and quantities in your box may vary depending on your harvest day and the total harvest of each crop. The boxes are completely governed by what is ripe and ready for harvest and how much of it there is. We endeavor to divide the harvest fairly. A "*" next to an item indicates that this is something that is being rotated through the boxes. If you did not receive it this week, expect it in the next one or two weeks. "F" indicates that this item is in the full share box. "H" indicates that this item is in the half share box.
NOTES ON STORING THE HARVEST Please check out our Vegetable & Fruit page on the website to find tips on maximizing the life of your veggies. We envisage that many of the vegetables you are receiving this week will last for two weeks with careful attention to storing upon arrival. Although we do wash all the greens after harvest, we are washing to take the heat out of the plants, not to prepare them for consumption. We also spray a seaweed/herb brew about every ten days. This will not harm you, it does have a taste. We do suggest washing your produce prior to eating.
NOTES ON THE SHARE *Artichokes – There are two varieties being harvested 'Green Globe' and 'Purple Jesi'. The 'Purple Jesi' have thorns on the tops so be careful. These are easily cut off before steaming or grilling. Our children LOVE steamed artichokes!! One member made a delicious artichoke risotto last week. Bok Choy – Bunches of mature Bok Choy. Braising Greens – With all the publicity about the health benefits of greens, "braising mix" has become a Spring staple in a CSA box. We harvest these greens at mid-maturity, so they are much milder in taste than the same varieties when full grown, but have more flavor than when harvested as baby greens and eaten raw. They are an unusual taste explosion of peppery, sweet, earthy, bitter and nutty. Our mix is a combination of silverbeet, green kale, red kale, bok choy, red bok choy, mibuna, mizuna, red, green and purple mustard and tatsoi. Braising greens are the perfect addition to salads, stir-fries, pizza, pasta, eggs, or casseroles. Belonging mostly to the brassica family, braising greens are always rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, folacin and beta carotene, while low in calories. Broad Bean Shoots – A bit like asparagus but much softer and broad bean tasting, the tops of the broad bean plant are delicious lightly steamed with butter, salt and pepper. For easy preparation, cut the tops just above the rubber band. They also make a tasty additive to omelettes and tarts. *Cauliflower - We are harvesting heads from an Autumn sown crop of 'Green Macerata'. This is normally a cauliflower...but with heirloom seeds, sometimes they grow "untrue" to their parent. Such is the case with this planting. The heads being produced are either true green cauliflower or a purple broccoli. Both are delicious! The broccoli and its broccolini work great in a stir fry. Coriander – Bunches of spring coriander with the roots! Coriander roots add a rich depth of flavour to Thai dishes. Edible Flowers – There is a small bundle of edible flowers in each box. Blue-borage, orange/yellow- nasturtiums, orange-calendula, purple and yellow-viola. We pull the petals from the calendula and throw the rest in. Harvested first thing in the morning to preserve their freshness, enjoy these in the next one to two days. Read more about borage. Fennel – -F- This is the last of the Autumn planted 'Zefo-Fino'. These fennel are great for Fennel soup or pork with fennel and potatoes. Mesclun – The meslun mix includes 10 varieties of lettuce, beet root greens, endive, orach, purple basil, cress, red veined spinach and silver beet. Mesclun contains high levels of vitamin C and more calcium and iron then lettuce alone. This is the last mesclun planting for at least a month. Kale – -H- Bunches of green kale. Perpetual Gator – Perpetual Gator is a silverbeet that is tender and lemony. We harvest it with roots, when it is young. You can cut it off above the rubber band and eat it raw or cooked. Use like you would baby spinach. Turnips – - F- 'Japanese'. These are a very mild salad turnips and the greens are as good as the roots. They can be eaten raw or cooked
NOTES ON WHAT IS GROWING We would have loved to include broad beans and/or peas in this weeks box but they are not quite ready for harvest. The snow peas surprised us with being the first to pod up and the plants are covered. The 'Sugar Snaps' are in flower with pods forming. We think we can start to harvest for next weeks boxes...maybe even for Saturday! We had a test pick of the broad beans but the pods are not yet full. We have cut the broad bean tops which are lovely to eat. This also encourages the plant to put more energy into forming pods. The plants were blown over two weeks ago in the wind storm. They are still growing though and so far we have not seen a sign of vermin infestation. We hope to be able to get some broad beans in everyone's box this Spring.
The winds - They have continued. The plants are definitely affected by wind. It wears them out which leaves them more susceptible to pest invasions. With the mild winter we had, there is an early surge of the sucking insects (like aphids) and many of the leafy greens show the signs of their attack. Our attitude towards "pests" is wait and see. We believe in the eco-system we are cultivating and have seen nature working with the arrival of "beneficials" to feed on the "pests". What we see on plants is aphids being fed upon by lacewings with wasps laying their eggs into the aphid eggs. What you see is bugs. We get that! And we are working to have high quality, bug free produce. We also need to balance the whole eco-system of the farm. This is going to be a difficult year with pests. We do not want to spray organic insecticides as they are not selective - killing pests and beneficials. This could lead to a bigger problem later in the season. So while we watch the ecosystem in action, we have also tried to help it along by purchasing eggs for beneficial bug predators. We are releasing these around the farm in hopes of increasing our beneficial population. Check out Bugs for Bugs for more information. We are also making seaweed brews to spray on the plants to help keep them nourished and strong.
Even through the wind, the early broccoli is beginning to head up. We are unsure if they will be ready for harvest next week or the week after.
The potatoes, parsnips, first plantings of beans, more carrots and beetroot and greens, pumpkins and field zucchini all went into the ground last week. This week we will seed our watermelon crop and our second melon planting and our first planting of corn.
We have had some early crop disappointments this season. The turnips were invaded by pests underground. Very disappointing to go out to harvest them yesterday and pull up these eaten white balls. Our Spring onion plantings (Scallions or green onions)...four of them...have had horrible germination rates. We have tried four different seeds, from different companies. We are continuing to try to find one that will work for us. And the overwintered purple cauliflower is not producing heads like the same variety did in the Autumn.
I am trying to write a post about what is seasonal in Spring. If you are on our newsletter list, you will receive that. Otherwise, check the website to learn more about the plants we are growing and eating.
Mountain View Dairy begins bringing their milk this week! Here is more information about their herd share program.
RECIPE SUGGESTIONS Broad Bean Tops Braising Mix Stir Fry Sesame Salmon with Honey Bok Choy Thai Salad Dressing for the mesclun. Top with fried calamari For crew lunch, I made a red lentil, perpetual gator, coriander and coconut curry using the coriander roots and the spices listed in this recipe.
You can search our recipes by looking for the key ingredients on our website recipe page.
Please note - Photo is a sample of the harvest.