It's been a great recovery week in the gardens. We had a dry few weeks that were very stressful on our tender spring crops, but now everything is lush and happy with all the rain we've had. Including the weeds, unfortunately - but that's just how it goes! Everything grows. And thank goodness. We are eating so very well. And we are excited to share with you!
Hey – we’re a little famous. See the July Issue of Mary Jane’s Farm magazine which features Circle M animals and people in the Soil Sisters article. And save the date for the Soil Sisters Tour – this July 31 through August 1. Visit us and other women-owned farms and field-to-table restaurants!
Here's what's in the box - remember to use the first things first. We've made our harvest list from most perishable to least.
Salad Mix WITH Edible Flowers!- One of our farm hands did confess last Thursday that the violas got skipped in the salad mix :) Ooops. No big deal - they are for fun more than flavor. But you've definitely got them this week - along with cream-colored arugula flowers. For greens, we've made a sweet and spicy mix of lettuces, mustards, brassicas, arugula and nasturtium leaves (they look like lily pads and taste like pepper - yum!).
Strawberries - These little heirloom varieties are small but sweet. Enjoy!
Basil - Holy cow the basil really came on in the rain and heat. Hooray! Basil and scapes at the same time mean a wonderful sweet spring pesto! Rinse these bagged leaves right before you are going to use them. Very tender. Best stored on the door of your fridge where it's not too cold.
Pea Shoots - We didn't think we'd have these a second time around for you - but we did!
Head Lettuce - This week we've got terrific tender-leaved Green Oakleaf and the lovely spotted Mayan Jaguar semi-Romaine.
Swiss Chard - First cutting leaves are so pretty and so soft and sweet. I just LOVE them. This week they are going in my Morning Glory Muffins for the little Argyle Farmers Market. Try these raw ribboned into salad and please do eat the stems. Very tasty chopped into scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Spinach - Ah! Sweet stems and tender leaves. I think baby spinach isn't worth eating but young adult leaves are totally the bomb. I would never cook such lovely stuff, but you can if you like. Actually, I lied. I made great quesadillas for crew lunch yesterday with multi-grain tortillas wrapped around whole spinach leaves and cherry farmer cheese. AMAZING.
Baby Kale - Kale at any size is a good thing. But Baby Kale is a great thing. You could make Kale Chips out of these whole leaves, ribbon into a salad or add to soup. Try blended into a guacamole - with the big bunch of cilantro in your box! We grow six different varieties so we ca make you pretty bouquets all season long.
Mini Napa Cabbage - We grew this tiny variety of Napa Cabbage because it seemed a reasonable size fit into our CSA boxes. The bonus is that these little leaves work great as boats for dips! The crew had them slathered in goat cheese or peanut butter for lunch this week.
Broccoli Raab - Truly a spring favorite for me. I feel spoiled everytime I eat eat! So much bang for the prep buck! Just chop everything but the toughest bottom stem into two-inch pieces and saute! Would be amazing with the fresh garlic, but also wonderful dressed with garlic scape pesto.
Garlic Scapes - This bag of curly green pig-tails are the seed heads we harvest off off garlic in spring. Have a mild and sweet garlic-y flavor. Mince like a scallion and add to eggs or any dish you'd enjoy with garlic. Our good friends at Stoney Acres Farm in Athens put these whole on their wood-oven pizzas - pick one up sometime when you go north. And our neighbor Chelsea Chandler at Plowshares and Prairie Farm makes them into great pickles. I'll be throwing them into the food processor with basil and olive oil for my first pesto of the year! Try pesto on grilled cheese with Farmer John's Provonella Cheese!
Green Garlic - This is young garlic, not cured. Store in your fridge and use up like regular dried garlic. Discard the stem once the green gets tough.
Cilantro - So tender, first cutting. I had a handful chopped on top of a Mexican-flavored bean salad yesterday. Summer on a fork!
Rhubarb - More! Experiment with a different dessert this week, or cook down with a little honey and chia seeds for a wonderful healthy jam.
Herb Bouquet: Chocolate Mint, Lemon Balm, Rosemary, Sage - We've said this already but WE LOVE FRESH HERBS here at Circle M. Having a bounty of fresh herbs to choose from transforms our summer cooking and baking. The best way to have these at hand is to pop them in a Ball jar filled with an inch of water and store in the fridge. This week we made this incredible Lemon Balm Sage Jelly to have for our Bed and Breakfast guests to have on scones. You have enough of each in your box to make it, too. Lemon Balm makes a great anti-anxiety tea. Add honey while steeping all the leaves in hot water, the strain and chill. Sip on it cold from the fridge throughout the day. Chocolate Mint means Mojito Lemonade (simply add a few tablespoons of lime juice and a handful of mint leaves to a lemonade recipe) for crew lunches and Mojitos for REAL at dusk. Snip the rosemary into potato dishes or a shortbread cookie recipe. Both the mint and the lemon balm can be started in your own yard by holding some of the stalks in water on the counter until you see little roots form. Could be just a day or two.
Herbs To Plant: Savory, Ornamental Hot Pepper, Basil - We've given you a pack of three plants this week to pop into a pot on your patio, or plant out into the garden. The tallest plant is an ornamental pepper, very pretty, but also edible. HOT. The long stem with tiny leaves is summer savory, which tastes similar to thyme but grows faster. Snip often and it will branch into a nice bush. Same with the little bright green basil. Snip daily for a great big bush.
Gifts from the Goats: Peanut Butter Truffles and Lemon Honey Goat Cheese - We love to experiment with goat milk all through the milking season. We especially like the results this week. These creamy peanut butter truffles are made with our chevre and Callebaut bittersweet chocolate. And the lemon zest/honey chevre is perfect with a Spinach Strawberry Salad!
DO NOT FORGET to take a look at the Recipe Blog page and the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page.