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CSA Week 3, June 28, 2018

27 Jun 2018 7:17 PM | Ffynnon (Administrator)

This week sees us kicking up the root crops, brassicas, and alliums, while we wait for the "real" summer crops to kick in.  The brassica family is represented by both arugula and radishes; red onions (Red Wethersfeld) and leeks (King Richard) are here from the allium family; and the first of the potatoes, baby Red Norlands, also make an appearance.

The radishes might be a bit of a surprise to you, as they certainly were to me.  I checked on this particular planting, which is a variety named Sora, exactly one week ago.  They were coming along nicely, but none of the samples that I picked was bigger in diameter than, say, a dime.  Promising, but I thought they would stay that slow-growing and wait for harvest until next week.  Then this morning, while I was checking other crops, I happened to take a look at the bed these radishes were in and--kablooie! Jack and the Radish Stalk!  Ordinarily, I would have written the crop off as a loss, but I kept testing them as I pulled them, and not one that I sampled was woody, or too hot, or bitter, all things that can happen to overgrown radishes. So I'm passing the phenomenon on to you, hoping that you'll be okay with radishes (some of them) the size of turnips.  Slice them thinly and make little sandwiches with a good artisan bread and unsalted butter, or make a quick pickle, or saute them with olive oil or braise them in vegetable broth.  They're great in salads with their fellow bitter herb, arugula.  Or you could chop the arugula finely and use it as a garnish on potato leek soup, or vichyssoise:

Chop the leeks into small pieces.

In a 6-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and a heavy pinch of salt and sweat for 5 minutes. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook until the leeks are tender, approximately 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and the vegetable broth, increase the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until the potatoes are soft, approximately 45 minutes.

Turn off the heat and puree the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the heavy cream, buttermilk, and white pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately, or chill and serve cold. 

The website I stole this recipe from says that it recommends pairing this with a sauvignon blanc, but if you serve it chilled, I would think a sparkling Pinot Grigio would be at least as good, if not better.  If it gets warm this weekend, that's definitely something I'm going to have.

And now, a couple of notes about some things that are not in your basket this week.  I had a planting of spinach that is ready right now.  However, you've gotten spinach in your baskets the first two weeks already.  I made myself a promise at the beginning of this season (although I'm pretty sure I never actually articulated it as a commitment) that I would not bring you the same vegetable, and in particular the same variety of the same vegetable, more than two weeks running.  So, no spinach this week.  If the crop holds out until next week, so be it and all to the good.  The other item that is significantly not in your baskets is strawberries.  Our berries have been coming on very slowly this year.  They are everbearing varieties (TriStar, Honeoye and Eversweet), so they're not expected to bear heavily very early, but it's getting on in the season and for two weeks we've been just shy of the quantity we need for you.  I really wanted them for you last week when we had rhubarb, which is the combination God intended.  So, even though probably nobody has noticed, here is my promise to you for next week: your baskets next week will contain berries.  They may not be strawberries; if we can't get enough strawberries for you we will trade with our group of friendly farms (all of whom do organic practices or better) to get you raspberries or blueberries, both of which are coming on like gangbusters. Until then, enjoy the weather and Happy Eating!

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