Ah - spring. It went awfully fast, didn't it? But spring is all about fleeting pleasures. And even though we're awfully close to summer (Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the official start to the new season, is June 21) we're partaking of many unique spring treats this week. My personal all-time early-season delicacy is pictured above, in all it's fresh perfect glory - a flat of pea shoots. We actually grow these in the greenhouse once it's empty of all the transplants. The lower light of diffused sun makes the shoots long, leggy, thin and tender, while our field crops of snap and snow peas are out in full sun getting beefy and strong to withstand a long month of production. These little shoots we've cut for you at just 6 inches. Munch them raw, as is, use to garnish a salad or cool dish, or saute and arrange atop a bed of grains.
Below we've detailed the full Harvest List of what is in your first box. We've arranged the list in order of most perishable to least perishable, and we will do that every week. So eat the first things first! Here we'll give you just a brief idea of ways to store, prepare and eat each crop, and you'll find a few recipes for each box over at the Recipes Blog. We are including fewer recipes than we have in the past however. We are finding that most of our customers are searching the internet for recipes these days, and so we've assembled our web favorites for each week's box over at our Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page. If you aren't already on Pinterest, do consider signing up, if only for our page. We've got so many nice pictures, ideas and recipes cataloged over there.
We know you'll likely have questions about some of the veggies - we hope to surprise you with at least one unique offering in each box - and you can contact us via email. We'll try to get back to you in a timely way. But we also hope you'll bring your questions to us in person at the Field-To-Table Dinners. There is still room to reserve seats at each of the four dates right now, so let us know when you'd like to come. And don't forget about our upcoming Lambs and Lettuces Spring Farm Festival: Sunday, June 22, 3 til 9pm. Bring friends, neighbors and a dish to pass at our big 6pm potluck!
In The Box 1
Salad Mix with Beet Shoots and Nasturtium and/or Viola Flowers - You know we like a fancy dressed-up salad. The tiny whole beets are shoots we thinned from our rows of fall beets. They are sweet, tender, and well, a bit weird, we know. But give them a try! If raw doesn't suit you, pick them out and chop to add to your next saute. The flowers are edible, too, and tasty! Like pepper mixed with radish.
Chocolate Mint - This mint is sweet and quite special. Try it in our Boozy Mint Brownie recipe, add to lemonade, chop over fruit salad or make a straight-up mint tea. What you won't use in a week, hang up and dry right away. When it's dry, crush and store in a sealed container. Dried mint is great added to coffee when you brew it.
Spinach - Why such big leaves? MORE taste than those weak little baby leaves. Why such long stems? The stems have the sweetest flavor. We highly recommend you enjoy this flavorful, tender spinach raw. If you don't want stems in your salad, cut them off and add them to your eggs for breakfast. But do try them first! You might be surprised at how much you like them. We enjoyed our first spinach salad of the year with sliced strawberries, balsamic vinegar, spring garlic (see below), goat cheese crumbles (thanks Bess and Mochi) and a sprinkle of flax seeds. Yum!!!
Sorrel - These bunches of long lance-shaped leaves are a perennial herb crop that is one of the first to appear in the gardens. In fact, we've been enjoying sorrel salads, soups and sauces here for many weeks. The flavor is very lemon-y and tart. It'll work well as a salad with a nice buttermilk dressing, but also is great ribboned into a lettuce salad. The flavor is especially delicious with fish, and you'll find lots of ideas for using it on our Farmer Kriss pinterest page. Don't wash until you are ready to use.
Oregano - Oregano is also a perennial herb and is peaking in the gardens right now. We've given you a lot of it, because it is beautiful at the moment and needs to be cut before it flowers. Make homemade pizza! We've put some great recipes for using fresh oregano up on the pinterest page and the Recipe Blog, but we fully expect you to dry most of this to use throughout the summer.
Pea Shoots - We've already told you how much we love these. Crew lunch today was chopped pea shoots with pear and pine nuts lightly dressed with buttermilk and pepper.
Dandelion Greens - Full Shares Only - We like to pack a cooking green in each box, but we didn't have kale yet and we don't want you to cook that spinach! So these tender dandelion greens are from our hoop house where they don't get full sun and bitterness. Cook just like any spinach/kale/cabbage, but they taste great with lemon and garlic.
Chive Flowers - Pull the flowers apart and use just as you would garlic or chives. The stems are too tough to eat. We like these on top of a dish so we get both the flavor and color. Lots of ideas on our pinterest page! Store these in a vase on your kitchen counter and they'll stay nice for weeks.
Rhubarb - Lots! Enjoy. The green stems taste just like the red, so use interchangeably.
Radishes - These went super fast from tiny to spicy. Slice into a salad, or if they are too hot, add to a saute. My favorite way to enjoy these French Breakfast Radishes is to eat them for breakfast, sliced and arranged on buttered baguette. Garnish with chive blossoms and shake salt and pepper over.
Spring Garlic - This early season treat is a personal favorite. Use just like scallions, which they resemble. You can eat this raw, where you probably wouldn't have raw garlic. But they are good cooked, too. Use the entire white and light green part. The whole thing is really quite tender.
Parsley in Pots - We love herbs here at Circle M, as you can already see. We think they are soooo important in cooking that we want you to have more than we can pack. So we'll be giving you pots to plant in the first few boxes. This is a wonderful Italian parsley. Plant in full sun to a little shade. Harvest every few days and you'll get a bushy plant that gives and gives. Basil coming next week.
Flower Bouquets - We don't always have flowers to pack, but in the early season we tend to, so enjoy!