In Your Share This Week
Cabbage: Everyone will receive a red cabbage this week, and full share members will also be getting a unique conical green variety! These cabbages are also well-suited to early season growing and have a sweet, mild flavor. I’m told they make great kraut, and because of their elongated shape, can also make fun wrapper leaves for salads and such. These pointy cabbages aren’t very commonly found in American markets, but are more well-known in Europe. Due to the hot then cold, then hot again weather this spring, the cabbages seemed a little confused about what was going on. They made nice heads, but are on the petite side.
Fennel: Remember those tender little fennel bulbs from Week Two? Well, we harvested the bulbs for that almost as though we were thinning- which is in fact what we were doing. We harvested the most developed bulbs and left the rest behind to size up. Upon further inspection, we realized that the plants have no intention of doing so- they will likely just splay open and become unusable. This variety is really delightful as a young bulb, but at heart is just not a bulky, rounded, meaty fennel bulb. We thought we would capture these before they’re gone and give you all another little fennel bonus. TIP: If you find the flavor of fennel to be overpowering, or isn’t you’re favorite, try cooking it. Sautee it just like you would onions (I often mix fennel in with my onions when I’m starting off cooking down onions for a dish). The flavor becomes very muted and savory. You might even experiment with tossing the whole fennel on the grill with a little olive oil and salt!
Radishes: This is the last time we will see radishes in the share during the main season. Radishes enjoy the cool weather of spring and early summer but do not fare well during the summer heat, so we stick to the early time slot only. Just like the spinach last week, its quite possible you’ve never seen radishes like these! When we looked at these in the fields we were a little sad, thinking that we were too late and that the radishes had sailed past their prime in all the hot hot weather. However, a taste test was pleasantly surprising- they weren’t pithy, tough, or woody- just sweet, juicy radish delight! We scrambled a crew together and pulled the entire radish field- just in time!
Scallions: This is a second showing of the same purple/white combo as last time- we hope you like the color and flavor as much as we do. The purple scallions add a fun splash of color in the early season shares, which have a tendency to be very green. Next week you can look forward to our awesome Shimonita scallions- an amazingly giant and delicious scallion variety that hails from Japan and also a farm favorite!
Around the Farm
This week we are so glad to finally be getting the last of our Winter Squash planted! We are also glad to be participating in squash variety trials with OSU and NOVIC (Northern Organic Vegetable Improvement Collaborative) to learn more about productivity, yield, storage, and flavor profiles of a wide spectrum of varieties. Winter Squash is one of my very favorite crops to grow- the assortment of shapes, colors, textures, flavors, and storage qualities are so exciting to work with. Its like curating a gallery- one thats living, beautiful, AND edible!
In addition to squash, we have fall cabbages getting transplanted, and are seeding our fall and winter chicories in the greenhouse (think radicchio, sugarloaf). It always feels odd to be dealing in fall and winter crops before we have picked a single zucchini, tomato, or pepper…its not even summer and we’re already getting ready for winter!
We also have our tomato trellising installed in the fields, as well as our cucumber trellising. Let me say, growing cucumbers on vertical trellising is the way to go! Gone are the days of bending over for hours, rustling about in the scratchy leaves to find the fruits and having to clean the soil off…and hello to perfectly clean, straight fruit hanging in plain view right at face-level. Woohooo! We are also very anxious to get started on some more intensive tomato pruning (yes…PRUNE YOUR TOMATO PLANTS) but have been unable to due to the afternoon rain. Its important to handle tomato plants when they are good and dry to prevent the spread of any potential blight as much as possible.
In the picture, Jerry is getting ready to go do some tillage. He is incorporating a fava bean cover crop into the soil that was mowed several weeks back. In a few weeks from now, we will till again and then the beds will be sown with late-season salad mix as well as storage radishes, turnips, and rutabagas over the course of several weeks. Along with our Field and Equipment Manager Brian, Jerry does all of the tractor work- spading, tilling, mowing, weeding, weeding some more, installing plastic-mulched beds, spreading fertilizer, making beds, and marking beds for transplant. Thanks Jerry!Next week we will give you more of a glimpse into our field management practices, the field preparation process, and how our equipment and management practices protect the soil quality and help us grow fantastic crops.