Wednesday, July 22, 2015

curing onions and garlic

Hello from the farm, 

This week we were afield wondering to ourselves "why build a sauna when we can just be working outside in Lancaster County?"
We welcomed the cooler drier air with smiles and renewed energy. Since last week's harvest we have been pulling and curing storage onions, digging and curing garlic, tweaking the root crop digger with a few modifications to handle weeds better, drinking lots of water, and starting to look towards fall with getting fields ready for fall crops and cover crops.

Cover crops like rye, buckwheat, clover and oats are used to suppress weed growth, add organic matter, and even add atmospheric nitrogen to the soil via the vascular system of plants that store it up on root nodules. To put it simply "free fertilizer." :-)

The heat is encouraging the tomatoes and peppers, and the cantaloupes should be ready in about two weeks, and then maybe 3-4 until the watermelon are ripe.

 It's bean a really good harvest :-)  These fresh beans are amazing! 

Abendessen Bread: 

 Law Reh and Brian (trying to not be in the picture) :-) head out for another load of onions to cure in the greenhouse. 

Serving Suggestions for the harvest this week:

Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: these beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum! 

Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 

Sweet Onions: these are mild and sweet and so good in salads or caramelized in the frying pan with butter. 

Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grillled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  

Cucumbers: We are probably biased, but our cucumbers are delicious!
Some Russian friends served me this type of cucumber salad years back, and it's been my favorite salad since:

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, onions and mince garlic cloves or scapes, mix and douse with olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.  The flavors blend and it tastes even better if it sits for half and hour or so before eating it, but you can eat it immediately too.

Zucchini: use for zucchini bread, puree for soup stock, or slice and fry with oil and seasonings, or dice for salads.
Scallions: These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring.  "A good spring tonic" says my 101 year old grandma. 
Beets:  We have some golden and striped beets coming in this week., beautiful.  mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.  
Kale/Collards/Senposai: we like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.

Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  


Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
Napa cabbage: this Asian cabbage is main ingredient in Kimchee, a spicy kraut or relish of sort. The quality is great diminished so we are not harvesting it any more until the new fall crop. 
Bok Choi: the joy of choi, this is great for stir fries and goes well with peanuts, cashews, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, peanut butter, chicken.   This will return in fall. 
Lettuce heads: the lettuce did really well, we hope you enjoyed it.
 Green garlic: this is garlic harvested before the base swells and becomes a bulb. It has a milder flavor than bulb garlic and can be used anywhere garlic is called for. Keep refrigerated as you would green onions/scallions. 
Rhubarb: rhubarb is harvested only in Spring and is then given a year's rest 
Parsnip: may have a late fall crop of these. 

 The Pick Your Own Field: 

Each year we plant the pick your own field with lots of favorites like sunflowers, zinnias, Sungold cherry tomatoes, and basil, while also adding in some experimental and novelty things like rice, amaranth, quinoa, insanely hot peppers (and milder ones). 
General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop
For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow

This week at the Farm, 7/25: Loosen up with a yoga sampler before you gather this week's harvest ! Certified instructor Karen Simpson will lead three sessions, 20 minutes each, starting at 9:15 am, with a break between sessions. BYO mat or beach towel & water. Sessions will include Restorative & Family yoga, as suits our audience. No registration needed; suggested donation $5.

We hope you are enjoying the summer harvest!  

Your farmers

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