Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Week 4--The Seasonal Palate

Thanks to all who could make it to our farm tour! As you can see, we had a blast! AND thank you to shareholder, Kris Nusskern, we even made it to the Lewiston Sun Journal!

Introducing--Dora the Adorable! This farm drop off has made her gregarious self right at home. She is a slug muncher and plays "little sister" to Simon. He has been very patient : )
Okay, I admit, I am getting tired of the rain and no sun weather! Before I start whining, I would like to say that I have been very impressed with all of your "bravery". Many of you have tried new vegetables and have even loved them. Being adventurous will allow you to make the most of the farm share.

Part of joining a CSA means that your diet becomes a seasonal diet. There are sooo many benefits both personally and environmentally to eating seasonally. Studies show that eating what is in season in your local area helps with allergies and seasonal depression. It cuts down on transportation emissions. Plus you are getting the freshest food possible, packed with nutrients before they float away while the veggies sit on a truck, then on a shelf. Eating seasonally also evokes patience. Cucumbers aren't ready yet. And tomatoes are a long way away. And this lack of sun is keeping the peas from fattening up! BUT the chard is tasty and the lettuce is crisp and the radishes are full of flavor.
So I hope you are finding joy in this season's palate and your bellies are happy.

What's with all the RADISHES? So yes, radishes are an early crop and they are easy to grow. But, behold! I am not growing them just as a "filler". Radishes are supposed to keep away cucumber beetles, a nasty pest in winter squash, cucumbers and summer squash. So this year, I am experimenting with interplanting. I seeded radishes right in the row with the squashes and voila! Hardly any cucumber beetles there, but my cucs, where I didn't plant any radishes, there are many! I am constantly trying to find ways to evade the insects and not resort to organic sprays.
Just in case you are still not sold on those red globes of crispiness, here are some nutritional benni's to eating them...
  • Low in cholesterol and calories
  • Extremely high in dietary fiber, they are found to ease the digestive process.
  • Vitamins present in radish includes, riboflavin, Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6.
  • Essential minerals are potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper and manganese, iron, phosphorous, zinc and sodium.
  • Plus they are very pretty : )
Radish Dip/Sandwich Spread

4 cloves garlic, peeled (use the garlic scapes)
6 radishes, quartered
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened or try sour cream, or add some goat cheese

Place garlic in the container of a food processor, and pulse until finely minced. Add radishes, and mince. Add cream cheese, and mix until well blended. Transfer to a serving dish, and chill until serving

Radish Salad
2 medium shallots, minced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced radishes
1 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley (whole leaves, washed, patted dry, stems discarded), lightly packed
4 large hard-cooked eggs, in small dice

Whisk shallots, mustard and vinegar with a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a 2-cup measuring cup. Gradually whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream to form a thick dressing. (Can be covered and held at room temperature several hours.)
Place radishes, parsley and chopped eggs in a medium bowl. (Can be covered and refrigerated for several hours.)
When ready, toss with dressing, adjust salt, pepper and vinegar to taste, and serve.
Radish Top Soup
6 Tbs Butter
1 cup chopped onions
8 cups loosely packed radish tops
2 cups diced potatoes
6 cups liquid
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
Melt 4 Tbs butter in a large saucepan, add onions and cook until golden. Stir in radish tops, cover pan and cook over low heat until wilted.
Cook taters separate (you can use this water as a part of the stock). Combine with radish tops and cook for another 5 minutes. Puree. Add cream, last 2 Tbs of butter, salt and pepper. Omit the last butter addition if serving cold.
Next Week's Harvest: Peas, Chinese Cabbage, Lettuce