Things are certainly coming along in the garden. Some things are growing slower than last year due to the near drought we are experiencing (despite that rain I previously wrote about!) but other things are doing great, i.e. beans! They are beginning to flower so they are on the way and I really can’t wait to taste all five varieties I have planted.

But getting back to this week’s basket, here it is everyone:

Young Onions with greens (3 varieties mixed)
Head Lettuce
Kohlrabi (purple and green!)
Salad Mix OR Brassica Blend
Kale OR  Swiss Chard
Red Currants
Summer Squash (Pattypans/Zucchini) OR Young Beets with tops
Fresh Dill
Fresh Parsley
and finally…. New Potatoes!!

Have I given away my Irish/German heritage with that last bit there??

Lots of “OR” this week as I am experimenting with lots of different things this year. Feel free to let me know which veggies you are really enjoying and I’ll be sure to plant lots again next year.

Have you ever tried red currants? They are a tart berry originating in Europe and popular among the North and East European countries. The berries in your CSA this week are especially sentimental to us at Hedgeview Farm as they are grown on old farm bushes that my grandparents planted when they immigrated from Germany back in the 1950s. My Omi was feeling homesick for Latvia so she planted the red currant bushes as well as the birch trees you see on the farm. Flash forward 60 years and here we all are, enjoying them immensely! Who would have thought? AND Omi and Opi are currently a pair of happy CSA members.

omi came out for a very sunny shot in the red currant bushes

Try using the red currants like you would a cranberry, so add them into pancakes, or lemony muffins. You can make a compote – the same way you would make cranberry sauce – to eat with lamb, poultry or game meat . We have enjoyed red currant compote with wild turkey in the past. Mathias and I invented an amazing Red Currant Mojito last summer, which you can also try…

Red Currant Mojito
1/2 lime in wedges
1 oz. rum
Red currants (as many as you like)
Tbsp. sugar
Club Soda

In your glass add: currants, mint,  lime wedges and sugar. Squish with a pestle. Fill the glass with ice, add the rum, and stir with a spoon. If needed, top up with club soda. Garnish with whole red currants, lime, and mint (…and pink straws. That’s important.)

You can also use your red currants as a tart garnish/topping to go with something sweet… i.e. this delicious flan we made last summer with Connaught Nursery’s locally grown peaches. (fruit flan… again, giving away my German heritage much??)

I almost feel like it’s silly to give ideas on how to eat new potatoes – only because they are so delicious that no matter what you do to them, they will be great! BUT given the ingredients in your basket this week, I feel I need to share a little dish I made last week called… let’s go with…

Brenna’s Spring Time Spud Special
New Potatoes
Garlic Scapes
Scallions or Young Onions
Summer Squash (optional)

Get a frying pan and heat up a good chunk of butter. Throw in a bunch of those young onions including the greens. Sautee that for a minute or two and add in the new potatoes sliced fairly thin, along with your garlic scapes and sliced summer squash (zucchini or pattypans). Cook that all until the potatoes are tender. Add some pepper and even salt if you like. Serve with fresh parsley on top and a side of your salad greens. A simple, garden fresh lunch – exactly what I’m eating on harvest days!

There’s always the classic boiled new potato, shown here with some fresh chopped tarragon if you have some of that left. Otherwise dill would go well too:

Now… about those beets and the TOPS. If you have never bothered to eat the beet tops, then the time has come. Not only are the beet tops actually packed full of nutrition and vitamins, they are very tasty and easy to cook with. Mathias and I have a favourite recipe for them and here it is…

Beet Tops
1 bunch beet tops – chopped into bit sizes
1 strip of bacon – chopped
2 young onions – chopped with greens
1 clove garlic
1/3c water
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
hot pepper flakes

Heat up a frying pan and cook the chopped bacon. Add in the onions and cook until they are soft. Stir in the minced garlic. Add the water and keep stirring. Stir in the sugar and pepper flakes. Bring the mixture to a boil and then add the beet tops, tossing them until they are coated. Cook the tops until desired texture. I don’t let them cook down too much so try just a few minutes. Stir in the vinegar and serve. You can also do this recipe with Kale and probably Swiss Chard, although I haven’t tried that one yet.

** This recipe is shown on the right side of our lamb dinner below. We may have added more than 1 strip of bacon :S You can also see a steamed swiss chard on the left, a red currant compote and some fried zucchini blossoms. I will try to get a few blossoms into the CSA because they make a wonderful peppery side dish – a bit unusual and fun!

I hope you all enjoy this week’s recipes and photos of our successful experiments with the treats from the garden… the rewards of eating seasonal, fresh and LOCAL food! Cheers!