There is so much lead up to the first share of the season that it feels fairly consequential when we finally get here! I've been planning the season since December and January, we planted the green garlic in your share in early November, the salad mix has been in the ground since early March, and the other crops were seeded in late March. All through April we've been busy preparing beds and getting all of the cool weather crops planted - lots of onions, kale, spinach, sugar snap peas, fava beans, broccoli, celery, parsley, cabbage, kohlrabi, turnips, radishes, fennel, pac choi, lots and lots of lettuce, carrots, beets, and swiss chard. A good bit of the farm is already planted up!
It has been a cooler spring than usual, but since we plant so many things, it hasn't affected our ability to get shares started on time. Honestly, these 60 degree party sunny days are my jam. I'm feeling fully appreciative of this lovely weather while it lasts and before the deep heat and humidity of summer set in. Many of our cool weather crops appreciate this weather too! We've been planted fava beans the last few years as something fun and different to give in June shares, but they usually don't produce very well when we have hot spring temperatures. Right now these plants are loaded with flowers and since temperature can great affect pollination and fruit set in many plants, I'm hoping these nice cool temps will mean that we'll have a bumper crop of favas. Similarly, the kale, broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi are looking very lush (see pic above).
We were hoping to start planting some of our warm weather crops in the field early this week - zucchini, cucumbers and eggplant - but it looks like we'll have to wait until at least Friday to get those crops planted since we have some lows in the 30s still this week. We have planted most of our tomatoes and a good portion of peppers into our high tunnels already and those plants will be nice and cozy over these chilly nights.
I think this is probably the best first share that we've ever given. It can be a little tough to provide a balanced share early in the season, because there are only so many crops that can be grown to maturity for early May. Luckily, we get a huge boost from being able to plant crops into our hoophouses and harvest them a little earlier than field crops. You are getting a nice mix of salad greens and roots, along with an early allium (onion family) in the green garlic. If you've never cooked with green garlic before, just chop the entire stalk and saute before adding other ingredients. Something that is sounding really yummy to me this week, is a fritatta with pea shoots, green garlic, and diced turnips. The pea shoots are another veggie that you may not have prepared before. I like to cook them lightly, but you can also chop them and add to your salad for some fresh flavor. The turnips and radishes are all delicious raw with a bit of salt (or add a smear of butter like the French do!), but are equally excellent cooked. My preference is to roast turnips and radishes. This week I think I'll make a side dish of roasted roots - turnips, radishes and potatoes thrown in for the less adventurous. The spicy salad mix is versatile because you can eat it raw or lightly cook these greens. In fact, you should probably add some of this to the fritatta if you make it.
This year I've decided not to do our traditional recipe section of the newsletter, and instead focus mostly on ideas, techniques and general cooking tips for all of the different veggies in your shares. I plan to have some guest writers for these sections as well! Happy eating this week!