Week 4! We know, it has been a LOT of greens so far because that’s what thrives in our cool wet springs on the east end. As farmers we try to appreciate the abundance a given season brings while we’re immersed in it, so most of our own meals have revolved around the very items that have been in your boxes each week. If you’re not typically a greens eater and are struggling to get through these few boxes, hopefully you’ve at least tried a few new flavors that were unfamiliar to you. And it goes without saying that leafy greens are some of the healthiest, most vitamin-packed foods you can eat! Scroll down for our farmer-tested and approved suggestions for how to get your daily doses of greens! (And zucchini and more “summer season food” is coming soon!)
This week’s most exciting new arrival is the glorious garlic scape. It’s the springy, bouncy, twirly bunch in your box and it’s exciting for a few reasons: they’re delicious (like regular garlic but milder); they only come this time of year AND they signal that the “real” garlic (full heads) is on its way soon. We plant garlic around Halloween each year; the garlic seeds we plant are actually individual cloves, planted a couple inches deep into the soil where they over winter until they sprout up in February or March. By this time of year the garlic is thigh-high and sending out a single flower shoot, the scape. If left to flower, the yellow-ish nodule on the end of each scape will bloom into a white flower that resembles a chive blossom (same plant family) and drop hundreds of the tiniest garlic cloves (about the size of a grain of rice). Instead of letting the flowering part of the plant mature, we snap it off to redirect the plant’s energy into producing a larger head, or bulb, underground. It’s a long process, since it takes nearly nine months to harvest a mature head, but also relatively low-input as there are only a few intensive steps we have to do over the course of the plant’s life: (1) break apart the heads into individual cloves for planting; (2) plant; (3) mulch (garlic does not compete well with weeds, it’s very important to keep it weed-free); (4) harvest the scapes; (5) then harvest the heads! “Easy!” As a fun fact: not all garlic produces scapes, the variety we grow is called “hardneck” and is distinct from most conventionally grown garlic you’d find in the grocery store, which is “softneck.” We love hardneck garlic because scapes are a great byproduct, and hardneck garlic also produces fairly uniform large cloves that are a pleasure to use in the kitchen (softneck garlic heads have many more cloves per head, varying greatly in size). Another fun fact: farmers used to compost their scapes because there was no market for them, but in the last few decades they have become a seasonal delicacy that people really look forward to. And now you’re part of that club! We’ll talk more about garlic when we start the harvest, which will be around 4th of July.
This week’s box:
Green Curly Kale
Mizuna (Asian salad and saute green)
Dandelion Greens (did you try that dandelion Ceasar salad recipe??)
Butter Head Lettuce
Radishes (variety called Cincinnati Market Radish - looks like a carrot! Great for dipping)
Garlic Scapes (woohoo! chop up and use like you would regular garlic, or grill them whole and they have a similar texture to skinny asparagus, but garlicy of course. Or, make garlic scape pesto!)
Recipes (Farmer suggestions for eating all your greens! These are all fast and easy, because we’re pretty tired and don’t have a lot of time or energy to cook at the end of the day):
Salads: don’t have to be boring!
Make meal salads with greens as your base, add your favorite toppings and a salad can be so satisfying (my go-to salad the last couple weeks has been arugula, avocado, apple, Gorgonzola, and vinaigrette). A huge salad and toast are one of my favorite lunches/dinners.
Add a salad at breakfast! If you’re a savory breakfast lover (like me…) and you’re enjoying eggs/toast, you might be surprised how much you love a little side salad with a light/sharp vinaigrette to fill out the meal!
On the grill: In the summer we grill many times per week, and I always grill something green while the grill is going. The greens take on the smokey charred flavor of the grill, and add great color to any dish of grilled meats or fish. Grilling greens is arguably the easiest way to prepare greens because there is very little knife-prep involved, here’s how I prep each of the greens below (all are coated in olive oil, salt, and pepper prior to grilling)
Kale: remove the rubber band, rinse, coat in evoo, salt and pepper, toss right on the grill turning regularly. If you leave them til they’re crispy you can eat them like long chips, no silverware needed!
Bok Choy and Napa Cabbage: Cut lenghwise into halves or quarters, depending on the size. Flip them every minute or so until browned to your liking!
Kohlrabi: not truly a green…but slice into rounds and throw them on! The greens are edible too, you can treat them like kale.
Saute (everybody in: the one-pot-wonder): Toss chopped greens into a pot with garlic and olive oil and cook them all together. Add the heartiest greens first (usually kale) and as they cook down add the more delicate items (mizuna would be added last in this week’s box). You can also cube the kohlrabi and have that be involved in your greens medley to add some great texture (kohlrabi should get a few-minute head-start on the greens if cooking them all together). This huge pot of greens can be incorporated into:
Bed of greens under meat or fish: If you’re roasting any meat or fish in the oven, laying the meat on a bed of greens is great because the greens will absorb the delicious juices from whatever you’re cooking.
Pesto: We usually think of pesto as a basil-driven delight, but almost any leafy green can be made into pesto (lettuce would be weird, so that’s an exception). A quick google of any green in your box will reveal a world of ways to turn your bunched greens into a savory dip/side for chips, crackers, chopped veggies, or a sandwich or pasta topper!. (arugula and kale pesto are some of our best sellers!)
Juicing: Admittedly, juicing is not necessarily my thing, but if it’s your thing, I don’t have to tell you how many greens you can get through by drinking them! I do own a fancy blender, and I do love smoothies, so that’s where this method comes into play for me. It’s very easy to add the sweeter greens (kale, spinach, mizuna) to any smoothie and they really blend right into the background of your smoothie base.
Do you have other ways you love to eat greens? Let us know and we’ll share: CSA@AmberWavesFarm.org
This week’s bread share: Salty Soured Pickled Rye from Carissa’s Breads
This week’s cheese share: Choice between “Summer Dance” and “Peconic Bell” from Catapano Goat Dairy