A major distraction

IMG_0911 old truck
It’s a miracle we harvested your vegetables this week in the midst of a major distraction.  Years ago, a pickup truck died in a far field in late fall and was never revived.  It has become a useless fixture of our farm.  “Remember, you can always take shelter in that truck if there’s lightning.”  Everyone rolls their eyes because the truck is so gross.  What happens if you leave a truck parked in one place long enough?  Nature abhors a vacuum.

IMG_0921 kittens in truck

IMG_20150701_162825 madeleine simone kitten

Lo and behold, a wild cat had a litter of kittens in the truck. The crew heard them yowling one day.  Simone approached and a kitten immediately crawled out of the truck and into her arms.  Amazing.  We watched for a few days, feeding the kittens and waiting for the mother cat to return.  They became more desperate and eventually Simone took the litter home.  Left in the field, they are easy prey for raccoons.  They are growing quickly and fairing well at Simone’s house.  The crew has dibs on them, but I’ll let you know if any need homes.  They have brightened everyone’s lives this week, especially Simone who recently lost a beloved kitty.   Beth

IMG_0866 truck kitten
Photo credits from top, Beth, Andrew, Madeleine, Karen.

Take it with a grain of …

IMG_0840 fennel
Fennel harvest started on a grumpy note. We planted the fennel in a very fertile field, so it grew lush but unwieldy and brittle.  The crew bushwhacked their way down the field with a sharpened shovel, a favorite tool in this situation.  Then we cut a few fennel bulbs to check the quality.  Just a few bites and, suddenly, it was everyone’s favorite vegetable and the day improved.  Zippy, licorice-y, it is fabulous raw. The discussion segued to trendy, expensive fennel salt, and a new farm motto was born: “Take it with a grain of fennel salt.”  Maggie researched fennel salt and found two intriguing recipes in a Local Kitchen post:

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Maggie plans to make both the salt and the candied stems, Jory and Osha the fennel salt, and Gage has plans for fennel wine.  “OK,” he said after the mixed response, “I won’t make a full six gallons.”

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (July 9/10, 2015, week #8, green EOW)

Fennel, 1 bulb
Cucumbers, about 3
Zucchini/summer squash, 2.5 – 3 lb
Red or green bibb lettuce
Broccoli, 1 medium head
Mustard greens, 1 bunch
Beets, 2 lb
Walla Walla onion, 1 – 2
Bunched scallions OR an extra Walla Walla onion
Parsley, 1 bunch

Next week’s box will probably contain tomato juice, zucchini, Walla Walla onion, cucumbers, broccoli, lacinato kale, green beans or peas, kohlrabi and more.

Fennel (large vegetable with a fat bulb and lacy fronds) – Fennel is a ‘swing vegetable’; it can be used raw or cooked.  Clean well and slice as thinly as possible for use in raw salads.  It is good simply prepared with olive oil, lime or lemon juice, salt and shaved parmesan cheese.  Cooking softens and sweetens fennel, and mellows its anise flavor.  Both the bulb and leaves are edible.  Here are ideas from Alice Water of Chez Panisse about how to use fennel:  ‘It’s strong anise characteristic seems to suit fish particularly well.  … We use fennel all the time.  We add the feathery leaves to marinades for fish and to numerous salads, sauces and soups and we use them as a garnish, too. … The bulbs are sliced and served raw in salads in various combinations with other vegetables, parboiled for pastas; caramelized and served as a side dish; braised whole; or cooked in vegetable broths & fish stocks.”
Lettuce – The lettuce are small this week.  Our peak lettuce season is ending, and we harvested these young to ensure good quality.
Mustard greens (bundle of large green leaves) – Spicy mustard greens are considered one of the most nutritious vegetables.  The flat-leaved variety that we grow is much milder than the traditional curly mustard.  The thin, tender leaves only need brief cooking, about as long as Swiss chard (i.e., longer than spinach but shorter than kale).
Walla Walla onion – Yeah for the first Walla Wallas!  These are sweet onions, crisp and very mild.  Wonderful raw or lightly cooked.  Don’t try to fry these onions – it doesn’t work because of their high water content.

THIS WEEK’S RECIPES

Comforting Classics

Salad with Caramelized Fennel and Pancetta
Fennel, Kale or Mustard Greens and Pastina Soup
Citrus Rice Salad with Feta, Walla Walla Onions and Cucumbers
Creamy Zucchini and Spaghetti
Roasted Beet, Cucumber and Feta Salad
Southern Braised Mustard Greens with Bacon

Outside the Box Recipes

Fennel and Beet Soup with Kefir
Cucumber Granita
Batter Fried Zucchini Strips
Mustard Greens Pesto with Raisins
Chocolate Beet Cake and Gluten Free Chocolate Beet Cake
Beets with their Greens, in Cumin Garlic Vinaigrette

Kitchen Sink Recipe
Here’s this week’s installment in our “whole box” challenge. You could easily add your fennel (with its fronds), onion and zucchini to this strata. You may want to add a couple more eggs.

Broccoli and Bacon Strata

Quick and Easy Dinner Idea
Feel free to get creative, if you have time, and add caramelized onion, cucumber, parsley…you get the idea!

Salad with Grilled Skirt Steak, Shredded Beets and Blue Cheese

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2 comments


  • Thanks for sharing kitten story, and the ways to eat the fennel!

    July 09, 2015
    • beth

      You are welcome!

      July 09, 2015

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