Hooray for rain! We finally got a respectable amount of rain yesterday and overnight here on the farm. I'm a bit of a broken record talking about rain (too much or not enough), but I think it's humbling to realize just how dependent our food supply is on the weather. It's amazing to see water falling from the sky when I've spent so much time in the past few weeks running up and down the hill to switch drip irrigation and sprinklers. I'm enjoying the little break from that extra work. We got nearly half an inch of rain last night and hopefully we'll get a bit more tomorrow and/or Wednesday. The standard advice is that gardens need 1-2 inches of water each week.
I was glad to get a decent rain before we harvested our garlic, which was our main task this afternoon. I wasn't super hopeful about this year's crop because the leaves had been browning for a few weeks now, but the heads looked better than expected. Our climate doesn't seem to be the greatest for growing garlic, but we've figured out a few tricks that give us the best shot at a decent crop. We've been planting our garlic into landscape fabric for the last couple of years and covering with several layers of row cover in the winter. This makes weed control much easier and cuts down on rotting sprouts when the garlic first pops up (typically when we get a warm spell in mid-winter). To harvest, we pull back the landscape fabric and use a broadfork to loosen the soil so that we can easily pull the heads from the ground. To dry the garlic, we snip off the stems a few inches above the head and then transfer to one of our small greenhouses outfitted with a bit of shade cloth and a fan. This is the first year we are attempting to dry our garlic in the greenhouse. Typically we've done drying in the basement because garlic shouldn't dry in the full sun. However, the basement drying takes up to 3 weeks and a garlic-expert friend of ours told us she dries hers in 10 days in the greenhouse. Evidently, even the plastic covering the greenhouse is enough to prevent sunscald on garlic, but we added some shade cloth over the heads as well just to be extra sure they'll be good.
New crops this week that I'm excited about are the cabbage and the sweet onions. You should probably just saute these two together and eat them up as a side dish with some really good sausage. Or if you don't do meat, they would be excellent in a stir-fry with cashews. Or Maria has found us an amazing slaw recipe that uses no less than four of the items in your share this week. The slaw sounds super refreshing and you could keep it in your fridge for days and eat a bit with every meal. I think cabbage is a pretty underrated vegetable. It's so sweet and crunchy and delicious, with less bitterness than kale. Our kids even love cabbage cooked into a soup or raw tossed with salt and lime juice on fish tacos. It's such a versatile veggie!
We are getting broccoli to some of the shares that didn't get it last week and we have a bit extra for swapping or adding on to shares. If you aren't getting broccoli, you'll get beets or cucumbers. While I was so stoked about our hoophouse cukes a couple of weeks ago, they aborted a lot of fruit so that we didn't have so many last week. It does look like there are a decent amount that will be sizing up through the week, so Thursday and Saturday shares will get those and Tuesday shares will get some next week. The cherry and saladette tomatoes are just coming on and I will keep adding inventory for those through the week as we harvest them. I want to make sure you guys get the first chance at tomatoes! Carrots weren't quite ready this week, but they'll definitely be on for next week. I need to check on the bell peppers, but I'm thinking they may only be a couple of weeks away. This is a yummy time of year!
Recipes from Maria:
1 20 oz. can pineapple tidbits
3 cups shredded cabbage
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 sweet onion shredded
3 salad turnips shredded
4 large kale leaves shredded
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar **more or less to your liking
3-4 tablespoons pineapple juice - reserved from drained pineapple chunks
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Drain pineapple tidbits reserving juice. Set aside.
In a small bowl or jar with a lid, add yogurt, vinegar, brown sugar, pineapple juice salt, pepper and red pepper. Mix well. In a large bowl, add cabbage, pineapple tidbits, almonds, onions, turnips and kale. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss until well coated. Sprinkle on more red pepper if desired.
Cover and place in refrigerator to chill until ready to serve.
1 1/2 cups basil leaves
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and run until a finely chunky mixture develops. Use as a condiment or a marinade. Makes 2/3 cup.