Era of Leafy Greens

6:54 PM Adrian 0 Comments

The wetness of spring overlaps with the warm and sunny beginnings of summer at around this time...creating this prime season for our leafy greens, but especially lettuce!  Well, normally, this time would have been about a month ago but what with all the weird weather patterns lately we just don't know anymore...we're just glad when it happens. 

But if you leave the farm for a couple days when there is plenty of sprinklings alternating with periods of sunlight in between, you will be pleasantly surprised (or maybe not) upon your return that your lettuce has grown up to 2 inches bigger!  Lettuce loves it wet, and once it's given a big long drink and the clouds part and it warms up a bit, this crispy, delicious vegetable just goes crazy.  Our rows of it look amazing, like enormous, glistening jewels in perfect rows.  A handful of our farmers got out there today in the nice cool midday to weed around it to perfection.  Head lettuce is absolutely beautiful and this weather couldn't be better for it!  Our varieties- Cherokee, New Red Fire, and Winter Density to name some- form the most perfect clusters of crispy, mouth-watering leaves in many shades of purple, pink and green; and we have way too many varieties of leaf lettuce to count, with names like Tropicana and Coastal Star, some of them perfectly round or incredibly frilly, ranging from vivid fuschia to deep purple to emerald green...which always make me feel like I should be eating them in a salad while lounging on a beach, with a mojito, in Rio De Janeiro, or something exotic like that.

Anyways, this has also been a great time for our other greens as well, such as spinach, chard and orach (a strange, little-known plant related to spinach but prettier), and our entire array of brassicas, or "greens from the cabbage family" (not to be confused with "kids from the cabbage patch"), which is called Brassicaceae.  That would be kales, bok choi, arugula, tat soi and most other asian greens, all of which contribute to our braising or salad mixes.  Of course, the stinging nettle is doing good, but they always do good without a lick of our help. 

What I'm mostly trying to say, is that it won't be wet and perfect forever!  Our era of leafy greens will end before you know it, so enjoy it while it lasts!  We'll be featuring a lot of our best for CSA this week, but the time for arugula and stinging nettles has already come and gone, and it won't be long until the season closes.  The age of asparagus has numbered days, too.  But like they say, when one door closes, another door opens....soon we'll be ushering in mid-summer delights like sugar snap peas, beets, squashes, green onions, garlic scapes and more!

What to expect this week:

  • Braising Mix
  • Salad Mix
  • Head Lettuce
  • Green Garlic
  • Mint bunch
  • Asian Greens/Bok Choi bunch
  • Cilantro
  • Purlsane

What is purslane?  Don't be deterred; a lot of people may be unfamiliar, but we think it's so great we want to share in it's deliciousness.  Last week, you received it in your box as an additional surprise.  Purslane is a wonderful, succulent herb that most folks out here in North America consider a garden nuisance, but which natives of the Middle East and Mexico consider a sought-after delicacy!  It is one of the highest plant sources of Omega-3 fatty acids which, if you're not eating a lot of trout or almonds, may be a challenge to fit into your diet...especially of you are vegan or vegetarian!  Those fatty acids are really important, so give it a try.  We had a delicious pasta dish this past week for lunch featuring a purslane and dill sauce.  Absolutely delicious!



Well, hope to see you at market and have a wonderful week!


Recipes

Salmon Summer Salad (www.yummly.com)

Ingredients

  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce, torn into pieces *(or Echollective Salad Mix!)
  • 1/2 head lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1 container (8 oz.) sliced white mushrooms
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 medium green or yellow bell pepper, cut into rings
  • 2 packages (7.1 oz. ea.) skinless & boneless pink salmon
  • 3/4 cup Wish-Bone® Italian Dressing
Total Time: 15 min
Servings: 4

Preparation

  1. Arrange lettuce, mushrooms, tomatoes and green pepper in salad bowl. Flake in salmon.
  2. Just before serving, toss with Wish-Bone® Italian Dressing. Drizzle, if desired, with additional Dressing.


Asparagus and Purslane Soup (www.canellevanille.com)
serves 4 to 6

  • 1 pound (450 g) green asparagus
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, diced
  • A few springs thyme
  • A few stems chervil (optional)
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 ounces (110 g) purslane, tough stems removed
  • Whole milk yogurt, optional
  • Chive blossoms, optional

Cut the tender tips of the asparagus. Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Season with a bit of salt and add the asparagus tips. Cook for 1 minute or until tender but still have a bite. Drain them and immediately submerge them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain them well and set aside.

Dice the rest of the asparagus stems.

Heat a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and fennel. Add a pinch of salt. Cook for 5 minutes or until tender but not browned. Add the thyme, chervil, and diced asparagus stems. Cook for 1 minute. Add the water and bring liquid to a boil. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until asparagus are tender. Add the purslane and cook for 2 more minutes.

Transfer to a blender and puree the soup. Adjust seasoning and liquid if needed.

Serve warm topped with asparagus tips, yogurt, chervil and chive blossoms.


Green Garlic Mayonnaise (www.mariquita.com)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon or a little less dijon mustard
  • 4 stalks green garlic, cleaned as you would leeks, white and pale green parts chopped roughly
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice or rice wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons more rice or white wine vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups corn or other vegetable oil
Whirl all ingredients except oil in food processor with the metal blade. With machine running, add oil in thin steady stream through opening until all oil is completely incorporated. If the food pusher has that little hole, use it by pouring the oil into that, it works great.


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 Please tell us if you can't identify something on the market table, don't know what to do with a particular item, have a food allergy we should know about, or if you have other questions or comments. We love to hear from you!

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