It a wonder what a change in the weather brings. The difference between this week and last week is remarkable. Last week we had 100+ heat index and a couple days ago I swear I woke up in October! Canada sending us some cool temps is a nice change, but I’m surprised on how much it effects the growth of produce.
The beans are one example. Last week I was looking at our second planting and saying to myself, “That planting will be readily easily by next week” as flowers were turning to small beans. But when Maree and I went out last night to pick beans for the box, the crop was just not there since their growth slowed in the cool temps, so we ended up scouring our first planting of beans for this week. On the other hand, the slowdown was really nice for cool-loving crops. We have a third variety of broccoli called Imperial which has been putting on heads and this weather allows them to mature more slowly so you get a better formed head with nice tight kernals. This is unlike our second variety of broccoli which went form little buds to loose heads in about 2 days of really hot humid weather.
This change in the weather is just a small example of how vegetable farming and CSA is particular is tough beast to plan for. We have a lot of well-laid plans in the spring, but generally you have to roll with the punches. Our trick is to raise a crazy variety of things, which, in the end, save us from bringing you a mostly-empty box one week. Something is bound to come in well no matter the weather.
In the box:
Radishes: Most got French Breakfast variety (look like long fishing bobbers). Not unlike the French, Mar and I like these things cooked. Check out this recipe: http://www.tastespotting.com/features/braised-radishes-recipe
Fennel: I always feel like I’m challenging people on this one. I can just see people say, “What do I do with that?” Well, below we have a recipe which is really good. Still, you’ll also see fresh fennel listed in salads and soups.
A mix of tomatoes: Hey, first of the season, so there aren’t a lot of any single variety. So there’s a smattering of different kinds.
Serve plain as a side dish or over pasta. Can also be served over Italian bread that has been brushed with olive oil and toasted.
2 cloves garlic (minced)
In a medium frypan saute in 2 T. olive oil for a minute.
2 fennel bulbs (sliced thin)
1 large onion (sliced)
Add and saute until tender, 5-10 minutes.
1 T. lemon juice
3 medium tomatoes (chopped)
Add and cook over medium heat until part of the liquid evaporates, 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.
1 1/2 cups feta cheese or mozzarella cheese (shredded)
1/2 cup black olives (optional)