Quick update from the garden

One principle of organic farming is that the farm is not just serving agricultural purposes but it also serves as a home for wildlife. Sometimes such wildlife can be a burden but if you create habitat on your farm, the animals and insects tend to not bother much with your crops. It takes a lot of work and planning to develop the right system but a good starting point are hedgerows – habitat bordering all of our fields. Look what we found in our hedgerow this past week… some wild turkey eggs. The idea is that the animals can travel and live in the hedgerows instead of your garden or crops.

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We also maintain on farm ditches where many toads start out. The toads eventually venture out and populate the gardens and help control mosquitos for example. I have noticed a significant reduction of flea beetle pressure in the garden since the toads showed up. The presence of wild life along with all the bugs and pests (that can on occasion wreak havoc on the crops) are an excellent indicator of the health of the soil and garden. Life is a very very good sign!

One of many baby toads that share their home with us.

One of many baby toads that share their home with us.

This week’s share of the harvest

1 bunch garlic scapes
1 bunch young sweet beets with tops
1 bunch kale
1 bag spring mix – Parisian OR Mild
1 bunch red scallions
1 bunch sweet salad turnips
Half pint of red currants
CHOICE: summer squash OR peas
Dill

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How to use your share this week:

Beets – remember that you can use the tops. An easy way to prepare beet tops is to chop them up and sautee them with some butter, salt & pepper.
Since the beets are super young, tender and sweet, they taste great pretty much any way you do them but you can try this quick and easy version of borscht I made up last night. The iron and sweetness are so satisfying.

Borscht for 2:
In a pot, heat some butter and sautee chopped garlic scapes (3-4), scallions (3 -4), and sliced young beets (5-6). Season with salt & pepper. Cook until fairly tender. Add 4 cups of chicken broth and all your chopped beet tops. Boil for a couple minutes. Serve with sour cream and fresh dill.

borscht

Kale: There are so many ways to use kale, where do I start. You can eat this stuff raw as you would with any green. It’s nice to mix in with one of the spring mixes. This is an easy thing to add to casseroles, stir fry, or soup. A very popular way to prepare kale these days is Kale Chips. This is the recipe from The Book of Kale…

Kale Chips: Wash and dry kale. If you have the Dinosaur Kale, you do not need to remove the stems. If you have the other varieties, it is recommended to remove the stems. Tear the kale into large pieces. Rub both sides of the kale with some oil and sprinkle with salt and Bragg’s or soy sauce if you wish. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Place rack in the middle. Lay out the leaves on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes or until toasty. Don’t over cook – watch them carefully! The leaves should feel dry, but not shatter.

kale chips

Garlic Scapes: I wrote about these in the last newsletter. These can be used anywhere you may use onions or garlic. Last week I quickly sauteed them in a pan and added eggs for a garlicy omelette. I ate this on a bed of spring mix.

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Red Currants: These are some sweet and tart berries! I like to eat them raw, but you can use them anywhere you may use cranberries. Throw them in muffins or in some oatmeal. They are lovely when added to drinks or on cakes too…

red currant mojito

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