Last week we our mechanic and friend passed away from a sudden heart attack. We had just picked up the monster truck (our old beater diesel that scares others away) and were about to bring him another truck that needs a new front end. In the last ten years that we’ve know him, both through this farm and Medway Community Farm he worked on over twenty different vehicles, tractors, mowers and implements for us doing repairs, fabricating custom parts and assisting in purchases. When you are starting a small farm from scratch on a budget, you work with what you get, frequently that means older equipment that needs attention. Which can be tough, unless you “know a guy”.
Without fail he was there to help, always at a cost far less than any other mechanic might charge, often at crucial moments during the season, and on top of that he was willing to work on annoying projects other mechanics might pass up. Maybe more than any other single individual he made the success of both farms possible. And he was a kind, patient friend along the way.
Just two weeks ago we had Harvey over there to pick up the Monster Truck, We spent some time with him, with his oxen and in his shop. He loved when Harvey came to visit. He’d let him explore and give straight answers to his questions. I left feeling grateful that Harvey had this person in his life.
He was a rare individual. His capacity for repairs and ability to live within his own values set him apart. We are so grateful to have known him and deeply saddened by his sudden passing. I write this here in part to process my own grief, but also to share with you that someone with great talent who can take a lot of credit for the success of our farm is no longer with us.
He loved our veggies, especially carrots, we planned to bring him a big box this week, so lets enjoy the share and keep in mind that the skillful work of this one, patient person was essential to our success.
But no carrots yet, those are reserved for Tommy this week.
What’s in the share:
(remember, these are best guesses)
Cabbage! (napa and green)
Frisee/Escarole/Chard/Kale/Bok Choy Choice
Dill/Cilantro/Basil/Scallion/Thyme/Garlic Scape Choice
Zucchini (just for the large share this week – they are just starting, next week they will be in all the shares)
I started this email last night (Sunday) since I knew today we’d be pushing ourselves to make the most of the one sunny day this week, and now, at 7:23pm, I’m getting ready to finish up it, while Kevin (who just got home, pizza in hand, 20 minutes ago) gets Harvey ready to swim in the neighbors pool.
Yes, I said pizza. We work 10 hour days and have a toddler, you know we are going to get pizza once in a while . . . and pizza is delicious. But, being a farmer, and practically swimming in greens I had to cook some up to go on top of our typical mushroom/olive pie. In about 5 minutes, while also making sure Harvey and our lovely neighbor Olive didn’t bonk each other while playing “Monster fort” I made this delicious dish:
Saute one green garlic, chopped into bits (the whole stalk, except maybe the tips of the leaves) and then add one whole head of frisee or escarole, chopped into 1″ strips (just cut the whole head, I did not wash because it wasn’t gritty, but if you do want to wash I suggest washing after cutting). Cover for a minute or two then uncover and saute until all leaves are well wilted. Then chop a handful of basil, stir it in, along with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and take off the heat. It is lovely, and healthy, and flavorful. This is a great recipe for any bunch of greens. There is a lot of frisee and escarole this week, so now is your chance to give this a try.
Also, a few notes: zucchini is just in the large share. If I could make zucchini all fruit perfectly on time and at once so I had a regular abundance I would, but alas, this is just not the way of things. Broccoli is delicious, spring broccoli is tough to grow, it prefers more mellow temperatures (not extreme highs and lows) but this broccoli is pretty great, please enjoy!). Harvey loves kohlrabi raw, cut into octagons, your kids might too. That’s all for me.
Garlic Scapes are the curly stems that shoot up out of garlic bulbs. They will eventually flower but they are typically trimmed off to allow the garlic plant to use all of its energy on making a delicious flavorful garlic bulb. Scapes taste like a cross between garlic, onion and scallions and are fantastic sautéed with eggs or to top pasta, made into pesto, grilled or added to a soup or stir-fry. This recipe has you make the scapes into a mouthwatering chutney. If you don’t have time to make the naan bread just grab a ball of pizza dough at the supermarket or your local pizza shop and grill these up in no time.
Broccoli stalks are highly underrated. The outsides can be tough so peel them off with a vegetable to reveal the sweet and tender inner stalk. This recipe uses the broccoli stalks and florets as well as bok choy for a simple side dish or add some chicken or steak and serve over rice for a main course. You can swap out the garlic for garlic scapes or scallions.
FRISÉE SALAD WITH BEETS AND ORANGE VINAIGRETTE (frisée and beets)
Frisée is a type of lettuce in the chicory and endive family. It has a slightly bitter or peppery flavor and looks exactly like it sounds. Pair them with beets and an orange vinaigrette in this side salad – add grilled chicken for a main dish.
Have you ever tried that Kale Superfood Salad at Wholefoods? I love it but prefer to make it with my own ingredients so I searched around and found this recipe that is just as delicious and will use up your kale and cabbage. I usually make one big batch and have it for lunches or with dinner. The beauty of hearty greens like kale and cabbage is that they will last for a few days even with the dressing on them. I frequently don’t bother making the dressing in this recipe though and go with a bottled dressing. I have found Blueberry Acai Dressings but if not, I use a raspberry vinaigrette.
It’s finally pasta salad season! I love having a meal that I can make earlier in the day that will be ready whenever my family gets hungry enough to come in from playing outside to eat it. This one is super versatile so you can toss in whatever herbs you have on hand. If you have enough basil, make your own pesto and skip the store bought they list here. I wouldn’t bother steaming the chard in a separate pan – I would just toss it in the pasta water for the last few minutes of cooking time or cook it first in the pasta water and remove with a slotted spoon and then cook your pasta.
SAUTÉED PEAS (for peas, scapes and herbs)
Here’s another great opportunity to use your creativity and make the most of your share. Heat up a splash of olive oil in a big skillet and add some chopped scapes or scallions and saute until just starting to soften, add your peas and saute 3-5 minutes until just crisp tender and then toss in whatever herbs you chose this week. Dill, thyme and mint would all be great choices here. No recipe needed – you’ve got this!
Pot stickers, or dumplings are a great way to make a main course meal with your cabbage. They’re surprisingly quick and the kids love helping. I frequently make a double batch and freeze half – you can cook them off right from frozen, just increase the cooking time slightly and make sure they come to temperature if you’ve got chicken or pork in them. This recipe will also use your cilantro and scallions. If you’re vegetarian swap out tofu for the chicken or leave it out all together and just increase the cabbage.
Kohlrabi is something that I wasn’t familiar with until I started getting a CSA share but now I get it whenever there is a choice. Also called a German Turnip, kohlrabi is in the cabbage (Brassica) family and has a mild flavor like a cross between a cucumber and a turnip. The whole plant is edible and can be eaten raw but I typically strip off the stems and leaves and if the skin is feeling on the tough side I peel it with a veggie peeler. We love to make these fritters with them and I frequently mix half kohlrabi and half shredded carrots if we have them on hand. Scallions or scapes would be great in here too and I think this week I’ll add some shredded kale too.