THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• “Stregonta” or “Cannellini” Shelling Beans
• Green Onions or Red Torpedo Onions
• Beets or Cucumbers
• Oakleaf Lettuces
• Zucchini and/or Summer Squash
• “Spice Boys” Basil
• Napoletano Basil
• Cilantro or Dill or Italian Parsley
Click on the links above for information and recipes about these crops.
Last week was full of distractions. School started, which meant getting back into a routine of bedtimes, rising times, and mealtimes. That’s not how we live summer. We are very “in the moment” during the summer months; breakfast when you want it, dinner after dark, many snacks, and plenty of outdoor grazing time. That all changes when the bus will arrive at 8:25 in the morning.
Some of you know that I also drive a school bus. I am a substitute driver for the Kent School District. It fits in well with our farm schedule—I can be selective about working in the spring and fall, and do a lot of driving in the winter if I need to. This growing season has been so poor that our farmers market sales (which is the money that pays our bills during the summer) has been practically nothing. Luckily I have bus-driving, because now we need those driving hours to catch up on our late bills. So, I have been driving nearly every morning and afternoon. As if I needed more to do, I fell into the position of PTA President for our school. With all the budget cutbacks, the schools desperately need their PTA’s to help out on many levels. We were going to lose ours, so what’s a person to do? I stepped up to the plate. Talk about a learning curve! But I am excited about what we can do for Kent Elementary, and for the community. One of our plans is a school garden—more about that to come!
All of that to explain that last week flew by before I could get a blog post written. So here’s the short story of last week. It was hot, finally summer. We lost a few things, like the lettuce. We gained a lot of cucumbers and squash, and the things that we could water grew by leaps and bounds—the basil, broccoli, green beans. All of the fall and winter crops are looking great. The winter squashes are close to being ripe, even though they were planted a month late because of the cold June weather.
We experimented with a few new basils this year. Last week you got to try the Lemon Basil. This week we’re picking the Spice Boys. I was curious how different it would be from Cinnamon. It looks the same, but has less cinnamony sweetness, and more savory basilness. Napoletano basil has large, ruffled leaves. A little less potent scent than the smoother-leaved Genovese that we picked for you last week. It makes a good pesto, and is good for wrapping things in the individual leaves.
The shelling beans dried very quickly in the heat. We have never had the beans actually dry. They usually get moldy instead in the fall rain. So, you may have to cook them a bit longer than before, but they are still tasty. You can also just let them sit in the open air (not in the plastic bag) and be dry beans to use later. We just don’t want them to go to waste.
Have a great week, and cross your fingers for a bit more summer warmth to make up for the icky spring!
Early Fall Bounty
What a great box this week! Zucchini, herbs, shell beans, oh my. Have you ever had Zucchini noodles? I found this idea in Sunset a few years back. Take a vegetable peeler and peel long strips of zucchini, like a wide noodle. Stop peeling when you get near the seeds at the core. Once all of the zucchini have been peeled into “noodles,” sauté in olive oil with garlic and herbs. The “noodles” will cook quickly. Serve as is, or with your favorite pasta sauce. This dish is liked by everyone in my family, even the ones who don’t usually like summer squash!
Beets are also popular in my family. We’re especially fond of pickled beets, but roasting them is another great option. Simply cut into bite sized pieces, toss with olive oil and seasoning, and roast in a 425 degree oven until tender and caramelized. Roasted beets are delicious on their own or sliced into a salad. I made a green salad for dinner tonight using the lettuce, roasted beets, green onions, and candied pecans. A honey mustard thyme dressing completed the dish.
I love the beet greens too! They’re a bit tougher than Swiss Chard, but sauté up beautifully. They also make a great “slaw” when sliced fine and tossed with some shredded carrot and/or apple. I even save the beet stems to serve as veggie sticks with dip (much sweeter and less stringy than celery!).
Later this week I’m planning an herbed potato salad, using the potatoes I received in last week’s box. I’ll be tossing the potatoes with Greek yogurt, Dijon mustard, green onions, parsley, and basil. A bit of lemon juice and garlic might be nice too. If you’re a fan of eggs in potato salad, add a hard boiled egg or two.
What to do with the wonderful shell beans? I’m going try a warm pasta dish. Cook up the shell beans and some orzo. While the pasta and beans are cooking, chop green onions, basil, parsley, roasted red peppers, and manchego cheese (parmesan would be good here too). Toss everything with some olive oil and lemon juice and seasoned to taste with salt and pepper. Israeli couscous might be fun to try instead of the orzo.
Have a great week, I’ll be enjoying my veggies 🙂