Late last week, when it finally turned warm and sunny, I was wishing for rain. Although we've had some fairly regular precipitation the last few weeks, we haven't had a good recharging soaking rain in awhile. Well, be careful what you wish for - there are over 4 inches of rain in our rain gauge! Times like these make me very thankful for our hilltop location. The rain this week means that we can put off getting together some new sprinkler lines and it saves the time of physically moving hoses and drip tapes and sprinklers around. The rain this week also means that we will most likely not be able to prep the new bed areas we had planned to get into this week, and it means that we may not be able to do much weeding (and the weeds are loving the rain of course!). This is certainly the nature of farming. I like to think we are getting a nice little respite from work this week, so that we can charge up and get lots of stuff done next week. Happily, we can also focus our energies on the hoophouse crops while the rain is falling. Everything looks like it has grown a foot in a week since the temps warmed up. We are getting our trellising established on the cherry tomatoes, replacing some of the slicer tomatoes we lost, learning how to trellis cucumbers, and planting ginger and basil. I was so happy with the ginger crop we grew last year. It takes a long time for this normally tropical plant to mature, but the flavor and freshness really seem worth it.
Luckily for us, the rain held off Monday morning for our harvest. My favorite item we are harvesting this week is the salad turnips. If you've never eaten a turnip before, or if you've only had the big storage turnips, you are really in for a treat! These salad turnips are amazingly sweet and tender (not as crunchy as a radish) and have a flavor that is sometimes reminiscent of melon (or at least that is what Steve says). They are awesome raw or cooked. Two out of three of my kids will eat raw sliced turnips sprinkled with a bit of salt. The turnips greens are also very nice to use as a cooking green. If you want to try the turnips cooked, check out the soup recipe Maria has below. I also really like the turnips roasted in the oven.
The french breakfast radishes we are harvesting this week are a little funny since most of them haven't gotten as long as I'm used to seeing for this type of radish. They are crisp and delicious and really cute though! This type of radish is a bit prone to developing some dark spots on the root end when it's really wet, so you may see this on a few of yours. Just trim that part off, it shouldn't extend deep into the root. We try to avoid these when harvesting, but it's often really hard to see when everything is so muddy!
I'm very pleased with the spinach we are getting to you this week. This crop loves cool weather, so it has been growing and thriving in the cooler than usual spring. I'm hoping we'll be able to get at least a few harvests from this planting! The mini romaine lettuces are almost too pretty to eat, but of course they are delicious too. If you take any pictures of meals you are cooking with our produce and want to share, you can tag us on Instagram or Facebook (@rainsandsun) or you can post in the 'Recipes' section of the Forum on our website (https://www.rainsandsun.com/forum/recipes). We'd love to see what you are making!
Recipes from Maria:
French Breakfast Radishes on Toast with Cream Cheese, Dill, and Fresh Lemon Juice
1 slice: bagel thin, toast or several of baguette, halved and toasted
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
2 French Breakfast Radishes thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice approx. 1 lemon wedge
Chopped chives for garnish optional
Spread the cream cheese evenly on your toasted bagel thin.
Sprinkle both halves with half of the chopped dill.
Top with slices of French Breakfast Radishes.
Sprinkle with the rest of the dill.
Spritz lemon juice over the toasts.
Garnish with Chives
Turnip Soup with Turnip Greens
1 1/2 pounds small turnips (about 1 to 2 inches across), weighed without their greens
5 tablespoons butter, in all
2 to 3 leeks, white parts only (about 8 ounces), sliced
6 branches thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
4 cups milk
White or black pepper
About 2 to 3 cups turnip greens
Fresh chopped thyme for garnish (optional)
Peel the turnips (thickly, if they are large and mature) and slice them into rounds about 1/4 inch thick. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil; then add 2 teaspoons salt and the turnips. Cover the pot and cook for 1 minute; then drain.
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a soup pot with 1/2 cup water. Add the leeks, the blanched turnips, the thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stew them, covered, over medium-low heat for 5 minutes, and then add the milk. Slowly heat it without bringing it to a boil, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the turnips are completely tender.
Cool the soup briefly; then purée it in a blender. If necessary, thin it with additional milk or water. Season to taste with salt, if needed, and freshly ground pepper.
Sort through the turnip greens and remove any that are bruised or especially tough looking, and wash them. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a pan, add the turnip greens, and cook them over medium heat until they are tender, about 5 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the cooked greens to a cutting board and chop them, roughly or fine, as you prefer; then add them to the soup and serve. Or garnish with fresh chopped thyme.