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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Week 7--The Bad and The Good

Well just when I thought that by the sun coming out, all of our worries would bake away...I discovered we are a victom of the early late blight. Many of you may have heard about this disease that affects potatoes and tomatoes on the news. It is the same fungus that caused the Potato Famine in Ireland in 1845. Luckily we are not as dependant on the potato as those folks were so we shouldn't have mass starvation. However, it is still a terrible disease that can quickly have a devestating affect on our crops and surely affect us economicaly. It is spread by spores that travel on the wind and are extremely active in cool, damp weather. Typically this disease doesn't reach Maine until late in the season, just before the crops are about to be hit by frost. (Frost kills the spores). But this year, the blight hitch hiked on some tomato transplants coming up from the south and in combo with our excessive wet weather the spores spread like crazy. The blight is now widespread throughout the northeast and we are all scrambling to check out our plants daily, remove any plants that are affected, burn them and then spray copper (a natural fungicide) weekly in order to control the spores from spreading---hopefully. So keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't spread throughout our tomatoes and into the potatoes. And that come next month we will be feasting on tastey red fruit!

So with all the craziness that has happened this year, you may wonder what is keeping me going. Well, there are a few things that may only excite a farmer, but that bring a lightness to my step despite the clods of mud that try to weigh me down. Here are a few photos to explain...

This week's Loot: Lettuce, Hakuri Turnips, Baby Carrots, Chinese Cabbage, Chard, Peas, Garlic Scapes, mint
Next Week's Loot: Lettuce, Baby Carrots, Baby Beets?, the last of the peas, green beans?

Washing Tip--I find things like beet greens, leeks, chinese cabbage...that it is easier to cut up the leaves first, then wash in a strainer. That way the soil has more of a chance to wash off rather than to slide into another crack.

Summer Hakuri Turnips!
These beautiful globes may be eaten raw or cooked. They aren't quite as spicey as a radish and have a wonderful crunch.

Shell Peas! These are great raw on salads!
Freeze a quart bag, I promise, you will be sooo happy you did mid winter!
Shell peas, bring water to a boil, put peas in and blanch for 2 minutes, drain and place peas in ice water to stop cooking. Drain again and place in a freezer bag.

Carrot Top Soup

1 bunch carrots, including the greens
1/2 cup brown rice
2 garlic scapes, chopped
6 cups water, light chicken stock, or vegetable stock
thyme, to taste, and whatever other herbs suit your fancy
salt & pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cups water to a boil. Add rice. Simmer until tender, and set aside. While the rice is cooking, chop carrot tops, enough for 2 to 3 cups,loosely packed. Wash thoroughly, then chop finely.
Chop the carrots into fairly small pieces.
Melt a couple tablespoons of butter in a soup pot. Add the carrot topsand carrots, garlic and herbs. Cook for a few minutes, turning everything a few times, then add the water or stock, and salt. Bring to a boil, and simmer until the carrots are almost cooked. Add the rice, heat through until the carrots are tender, then taste for salt and season with pepper.

Baby Turnips and Greens

16 turnips with greens
5 Tbs Butter
Salt and Pepper
Cut Leaves from turnips, cut and wash well
Melt 3 Tbs of butter in a sautee pan
Layer sliced turnip in the pan, cook 2-5 minutes so they brown but are still crunchy
Melt in remaining butter and stir in greens

Stir, add salt and enjoy!

Turnip Slaw
1# turnips, grated
1/2 carrots, grated
1/2 pepper, thinly sliced
3/4 c thinly sliced celery
1/4 C diced chives
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C cider vinegar
1/4 C water
Combine all and let sit to wilt for 30 minutes
Serve over or mix in with lettuce
Add blue cheese or chevre on top

1 comment:

  1. My vacation was great, but I'm so sad it meant missing the turnips.