Hello everyone! We would like to welcome you to the kick-off of the 2016 season. We are so happy to have all of you enjoying our vegetables on your table with friends, family, and neighbors…we appreciate your support of our beautiful farm!
My name is Jen and I’m the Farm Manager at SIO; on behalf of the entire SIO crew, I will be writing the blog this season (in addition of course to Katherine’s wonderful recipes!) where each week we will try and capture some of the exciting highlights, lessons, innovations, and inspirations happening on the farm.
We will also provide information about the share that could include storage tips, varietal information, or special notes about unusual crops or conditions as they arise. We plan to feature one or two crops each week- each and every vegetable has a unique and interesting story that can be traced from seed to plate- and oftentimes far, far beyond!
We look forward to introducing our farm crew as well, so each week you will hear from one of the amazing and talented crew members about their experiences on the farm that day or week- that way you can see what a day in the life of a farmer looks like!
Even though this is the very first week you will be receiving vegetables, we have been hard at work seeding, transplanting, weeding, and more for several months in preparation and anticipation of this very week. Now that it’s finally here, we are ready to harvest the freshest, most delicious food for all of you to enjoy!
The early weeks of the share provide an opportunity to showcase all of the wonderful greens that thrive in our bioregion. The beginning of the season will be ripe with vibrant spring greens of all shapes, colors, textures, and flavors. They are all a treat to work with in the kitchen, and provide a welcome nutritional kick to launch us out of the winter doldrums and into summer. Enjoy them while they’re here, we hope you find them as nurturing and satisfying as we do!
The tender greens in the early weeks are sensitive to warm weather so as a preventative measure, we will drape a moist paper towel over (and sometimes under) the produce in order to maintain its moisture and provide some ambient cooling. You can compost the paper towels, or wrap certain crops in them before storing in the refrigerator.
Speaking of sensitive early-season greens…they like very high humidity in order to stay happy. Refrigerators dry out the greens, and overnight a juicy, lush head of bok choi will become weepy and sad. We recommend storing all of your greens in plastic bags (I know, pretty much an antique in Portland these days) in order to keep them perky and fresh.
In Your Share This Week:
- Bok Choi
- Green Garlic
Bok Choi: The crisp, meaty ribs of bok choi are one of my favorites in the spring. We keep our choi covered underneath ‘floating row cover’ (more about that later) which keeps the greens protected from weather and pests. It also results in more delicate leaves- so in the interest of not bruising, cracking, or crushing, we opted not to wash your choi. Just give it a quick rinse under cool water before you want to use it incase it has any soil stuck to the stems or bottom.
Fresh Garlic: You’ll find young garlic in your share- essentially immature garlic that has not reached full size or maturity. When you prepare it you will notice small bulbs forming as well as all the layers of wrapping that would later on dry, cure, and tighten to form the papery skins that enable mature garlic to store for so long. Due to the incredibly wet winter conditions, we opted to delay planting our garlic until January…which is about 2-3 months later than usual! As such, they are less filled out than one might expect this time of year, but tender and delicious for sure!
Mizuna: This mild and tender mustard is a member of a special group of vegetables known in Japan as ‘Kyōyasai’- comprised of over forty specialty vegetables that are produced in the area surrounding Kyoto. Just as we have a mild climate and rich soils, Kyoto experiences similar conditions that have enabled farmers to turn vegetable production into a high art befitting of Kyoto’s position as the cultural center of Japan. These vegetables are prized for their exceptional nutritional value, taste, color, shape, and seasonality.