Behind the scenes in the lettuce patch

We can tell you about the lettuce we grow for you, or we can show you.  Here is a 51-second video biography of your CSA lettuce.  At the same time, it’s a great overview of our spring work as the season begins.  Enjoy the video.  It was fun to assemble!

Hot, cold, hot, cold

We protected our strawberry field from frost last Wednesday, yet it’s 83 F today.  That’s an exhilarating switch for people but shocking for plants.  We harvested a few crops younger than usual, just to hedge our bets.  Spring crops like spinach, arugula and radishes tend to bolt (flower prematurely) after any stress.  Looks like we can add salad turnips to that list.  We rarely see turnips bolt but buds are forming in the crowns so we harvested them this week instead of next week.  The turnips are a little smaller and a little spicier than usual.  They were sweet and mild on Sunday but changed their minds during the last warm days.

Picking selectively from the early plantings is fairly normal.  Steve plants multiple rows of all the early crops, just in case.  We’ve got four spinach plantings in the ground, four lettuce plantings in the field and three more growing in the greenhouse, multiple radish and turnip plantings, etc.

Look at the beautiful strawberry field in full bloom.  You can see why we are motivated to protect this field from frost.  We have irrigated two cold nights so far.  Sprinkling water on the plants protects the blossoms by keeping the temperature from dropping below 32 F.

IMG_7038 strawberry blossoms

IMG_6691 ice on strawberry blossoms

Ice on strawberry blossoms the morning after we irrigated to protect from frost. It worked – the flowers were not damaged.

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (May 26/27, 2016, week #2, purple EOW)

Asparagus, 1.1 lb
Oneida Gold potatoes, 4 lb
Spinach, 1 big bunch
Arugula, 1 small, tender bunch
Red bibb lettuce
Salad radishes, 1 bunch
White salad turnips, 1 bunch
Green garlic, 1 bunch
Rhubarb, 1.5 lb

Next week’s box will probably contain asparagus, button mushrooms, lettuce, radishes, escarole, scallions and more.  Watch next week’s newsletter for the final list.

Asparagus, lettuce, spinach, green garlic and rhubarb – Check last week’s newsletter for prep and storage information. Remember, I provide a crop overview the first time we deliver each season. Then, I’ll provide weekly updates when needed.

Oneida Gold potatoes –  Please refrigerate these potatoes.  They are in great shape now but will sprout within days if stored at room temperature.  They’ve been stored all winter and want to grow.  Store in a paper bag to protect from light, even in the fridge.  We grow everything we send in our CSA boxes except potatoes, some of the garlic, and mushrooms, all of which we buy from organic growers that we trust.  We purchased these potatoes from Jesse Perkins at Vermont Valley Farm.  This is a new variety for all of us.  Jesse says “It is a very good all-purpose potato.  They are very good eating.”  He also says the potatoes have a higher sugar content because of starch to sugar conversion during cold storage.  The potatoes taste a bit sweet, and will blacken slightly when fried.  It’s a harmless color change due to the sugar conversion.

Arugula – (small bunch of green leaves with pungent scent) – Arugula is good mixed with lettuce or spinach in salads, or added to cooked dishes such as lasagne or quiche.  I love it on sandwiches.  This arugula is thin-leaved and tender and will not store for long.  Eat soon.  Cover and refrigerate.

White salad turnips (bunched white roots with green tops) – I know that returning members look forward to these sweet and delicious turnips, which taste nothing like the turnips that are harvested in fall.
– Storage: Cover and refrigerate.
– Uses: Both the turnip roots and tops are edible.  Slice the sweet roots and add to salads.  They can be cooked and are especially good when lightly sauteed in butter.  Stir as little as possible so they brown on at least one side.  The turnips greens are excellent cooked.  Treat them like mustard greens.
– Our favorite use:  Slice the roots very thinly and combine with a mixture of rice vinegar, mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil.  Eat immediately or marinate.

Local Thyme Recipes

I asked Pat to give us support with salads this week; many of the box ingredients are suited to salads. Take the ideas here and run with them, swapping different greens. The arugula bunch is small, so you will want to supplement the arugula salad with spinach or lettuce.

Comforting Classics

Spinach Breakfast Burritos
Pureed Potato and Asparagus Soup with Spinach
Rhubarb Crumb Cake
Arugula Salad with Shaved Parmesan and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Outside the Box Recipes

Curried Brown Rice, Lentils, Potatoes and Spinach
Spinach Salad with Mango Chutney Dressing
Rhubarb Butter
Turnip Greens in Honeyed Caesar Salad

Quick and Easy Meal

Honey Rhubarb Smoothie Bowl

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