Greetings from the farm! It has been a busy week for us here at Ffynnon, but then again, aren't they all? The ground space left by last week's harvest has already been completely cleaned and replanted in fall vegetables and rapid-maturing crops like arugula and radishes. Those fast crops may fail if it stays hot, but we'll take that chance. We are also breaking new ground for some of the late summer and fall crops, and Neal and Michael have been going like gangbusters on that project. We are assembling the last components of our drip irrigation system as well. We had started on this last year, but still had some corners of the farm that needed to be hand-watered. Soon, all our plants will benefit from drip tape irrigation, which is better for the produce, saves about 70% of our water, and saves us hours of time per week.
This week's vegetables are still of the green variety, but we think you'll be all right with that. First is a big bag of spinach, a smooth-leaf variety. It's a little bit rustic, untrimmed and unwashed, but we know if you're juicing you can use the whole plant. Please remember, though, that no matter how clean or rinsed or trimmed any produce looks, always wash it before preparing and serving it. Members also receive both zucchini and cucumber this week, along with the first of the cabbage. Rounding out the baskets is a big handful of sage.
Michael is bagging up the sage as I'm typing this, and I'm getting a little bit hungry and kind of salivating for a recipe (using that handful of sage) that I'd had a couple of times before seeing it in the New York Times magazine section a couple of weeks ago. I highly encourage you to check it out: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1018737-jamie-olivers-chicken-in-milk. It's a recipe that sounds like it could be disastrous, but it's actually both simple and easy--and in cooking as in life, those two words do not always mean the same thing. Serve it with a salad made from the other items in your basket, soak up the juices with some crusty bread, and please, invite us. You could also use your sage in biscuits or scones (mince some into the dry ingredients, then press a whole leaf into the top of each one before baking) or in the world's easiest pasta dish: toss spaghetti with melted butter or olive oil, some of the sage leaves sliced thinly, and a few shavings of pecorino-romano cheese. Wonderful and satisfying when you want something warm, even on a hot day.
We've been reminded over the past week, by the way, that you can put just about anything into a cold salad and make it work. We had the last of the arugula hanging around (the same batch you got last week), some thawed cocktail shrimp that we had to use up, and some bacon. Tossed it with some cold macaroni, a little cheese, and a dollop of mayo, and it was a salad you'd have paid $14 for anyplace downtown.
I know that most of you have been looking for some color other than green in your baskets, and believe me, we've been wanting to oblige you. Take heart; things are beginning to get a little more vibrant. The tomatoes are showing their first blush, and all the different varieties we have look healthy and promise to be productive. Last year we were plagued by blossom-end rot and catface, neither of which seem to be problems this year. The first variety that will be ready will be Oregon Spring. We have more than two tomato plants per share member this year, so we hope we can share a big bounty with you. The same goes for our strawberries, which are an everbearing variety. The first flush of berries was small and nearly useless, but we think that may have been due to cold weather, among other things. Things are looking up, and we should be able to get you some berries in a few weeks.
Eat well. Be well.