Always thinking

Fortunately for us, Steve loves tinkering with machinery.  This week’s inspired idea?  He tracked down parts to adapt our old strawberry planter to plant sweet potatoes.  Steve bought the berry planter at a farm auction years ago.  We haul it out of storage to plant strawberries – that’s all it’s been used for.  Adapted with new sprockets to change the spacing, it worked perfectly to plant sweet potato slips.

IMG_2679 sweet potato transplant
It’s a cozy garden party on the back of the berry planter.  From left, Madeleine, Lizzy, Kelcie and Billy place sweet potato slips.  Steve drives the tractor.

IMG_2682 sweet potato transplanting
Rusty but reliable, the planter gets the job done.

This small team finished the sweet potato field in one hour.  Compare with last years effort …

DSCF9734 sweet potatoes 2014
… which took nine people four hours, and was a more difficult, physical job.

Grilled Asparagus

Farming is unpredictable.  There are two farm innovations in this story, one successful, one not.  Steve had a new idea for the asparagus field this spring.  As usual, he mowed down last year’s foliage in April, then shallowly tilled the field to kill off emerging weeds.  Just before the asparagus emerged in late April, Steve tilled the field a second time.  He’s never done this second tilling, but we have a new tiller with excellent depth control, so it seemed a good step to keep ahead of the weeds.  Bad idea!  The second tilling brought up a huge flush of ragweed, a particularly aggressive weed.

IMG_2526 asparagus ragweed
The ragweed overwhelmed the asparagus by late May.  If you look closely, you can see a few asparagus spears poking up.  We had to do something drastic or harvests would be finished for this half-acre field.  Hand-weeding was out of the question; hoeing would damage the asparagus tips growing beneath the surface.  Plus, it’s a daunting job to add at a busy time of year.

IMG_2564 flamed asparagus
Steve tried something new.  He mowed down the weeds, then went over the asparagus beds with his LP-fueled flame weeder to scorch the weeds.  We didn’t know if this would work.

IMG_2565 asparagus tip after flaming med
Fresh, undamaged asparagus emerged the next day.

IMG_2688 flamed asparagus v2
One week later, it was clear the flaming worked.  The ragweed in the tractor wheel tracks survived but that’s not a concern.  We will till those weeds after our asparagus harvests are finished.  Steve’s maneuver let us pick asparagus for you for an extra three weeks!

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (June 11/12, 2015, week #4, green EOW)

Asparagus, 1.25 lb
Spinach, 1 bunch
Green leaf lettuce
Green kale, 1 bunch
Scallions, 1 bunch
Kohlrabi, 1
White salad turnip, 1 big
A few of our Thursday sites will get 1 pint strawberries.  We will have berries for everyone next week.

Next week’s box will probably contain strawberries, sugar snap peas, asparagus, spinach, lettuce, scallions, some type of greens and more.  Garlic scapes and daikon might be ready next week.

Spinach (bundle of dark green leaves) – This week’s spinach is from a new planting.  It’s in perfect condition, which made harvest an easy job for the crew.  Good for salads or cooking.
Green kale (bundle of dark green, frilly leaves)  – Super nutritious, this first picking of the year is great cooked or used in raw salads like the one from Local Thyme this week.
Kohlrabi (pale green, round vegetable with thick skin) – Crunchy and sweet, kohlrabi is a great addition to salads.
Storage:  Kohlrabi bulbs will store for a month in the refrigerator.
Uses:  Kohlrabi are good peeled and eaten out of hand, or added to sandwiches.  It is good mixed into salads, or prepared as a salad on it’s own.  You can grate it, slice it, or cut it into matchsticks.  It’s also good cooked.  If you have it, the Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook has a long list of kohlrabi suggestions.
White salad turnip (white, round vegetable with thin skin) – Jon calls these our ‘early watermelons”: sweet, succulent and oddly large.  Our turnips rarely grow to this size while staying such high quality.  We snack on them in the fields, skin and all.  Great for salads too.


Comforting Classics

Raw Kale Salad with Pine Nuts and Currants
Kohlrabi Kimchee
Pinto Bean and Salad Turnip “Macos” or Ground Turkey and Salad Turnip “Macos”
Scallion Vinaigrette
Braised Asparagus with Feta and Lemon
Raw Spinach Wraps with Hummus and Vegetable Sticks

Outside the Box Recipes

Kohlrabi and Salad Turnip Wasabi Salad
Quinoa, Spinach and Egg Breakfast Bake
Curried Kohlrabi and Salad Turnip Rice Pilaf
Greek Kale and Spinach Fritters
Scallion Barlotto (Barley Risotto)
Asparagus Gribiche

Kitchen Sink Recipe
This is a recipe that is very flexible — you can add just about any, or all of the veggies in your box.
Kohlrabi, Kale and Salad Turnip Soup with Kidney Beans

Quick and Easy Dinner Idea

Kale Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken or Chickpeas

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