Why Radishes Matter…CSA & markets 5.26.2018

Before we started this farm, we didn’t eat Radishes. We didn’t buy them at the store and we didn’t grow them in our garden. It wasn’t a deliberate decision to eat them. They just weren’t on our radar. (Neither was Kohlrabi, but that is a different category. More on that some other day.)

But for our farm to exist and stay in business for decades, we depend upon having a certain amount to harvest each month of the season. And that means Radishes become important. They grow a lot faster than Beet and Carrots. And we’ve learned that we love them! We love them in a cream cheese dip. We love them pickled. We love them mixed with cucumber slices and tossed with a light vinaigrette (see below). When we were gardeners, we knew we loved the flavor of our tomatoes but we didn’t know how good our radishes would be!

Our dear CSA members may not prefer to have Radishes in their diets each week for three weeks in a row. Perhaps they do! But if they don’t, their willingness to flex away from their preferences in order to eat the vegetables we grow each week matters a lot. It literally makes it possible for hundreds of households in our community to enjoy our tomatoes in the summer. Because we wouldn’t be able to stay in business just by growing tomatoes and the other vegetables on our farmers’ market tables. It takes some good loads of spring Radishes (and Salad greens…and Spring Onions) to make the farm sustainable. Not all farms are this way, but this is how it works for us. It’s also what makes it possible for us to grow the amazing beets for our CSA members that we harvested this week:

And very importantly, it’s what makes us resilient enough to lose a whole field of vegetables to over-saturation after 10 inches of rain in a short period of time {prepare yourself for sad photos}:

We’ll see how the season plays out, but the cabbages in the first photo were part of hundreds of cabbage plants that were planned to be in our CSA shares. Perhaps our CSA members will receive more Kale or Broccoli or Salad or Summer Squash in place of these Cabbages. Or perhaps our other Cabbage field will be ready in time and abundant enough that no one will even notice a blip. We’ll see how the conditions play out. Meanwhile, let’s go back to a healthy vegetable photo:

Thank you for eating the Radishes that we grow, and all of the other abundance!

Saturday’s Farm Share will most likely include:
Salad Mix (two bags), Beets, Green Garlic, Kohlrabi, Garlic Scapes, Cucumbers, plus Kale (at St. Stephens Farmers’ Market) OR Rainbow Chard (at Brandermill Green Market)

This week’s share looks different than past weeks, and includes some items not familiar to all people. Read on!

**What the heck is Kohlrabi?
It’s a delicious bulbous stem, related to Broccoli. Peel the fibrous outside of the bulb and enjoy the inside part raw or cooked. We love it raw on salads or as “veggie chips.” It’s one of our favorite vegetables!

**What the heck are Garlic Scapes?
These are the tender tops of the type of garlic that we grow. Saute or grill them with the fat of your choice and add salt. They are fabulous! We serve them as a side dish with anything. You can cut them into small pieces or cook them whole, which makes for a wild and slightly unrule presentation. The leaves are great to use like Kale.

Vegetable Notes & Recipe Suggestions…also cataloged on our Recipe Page and see our Pinterest Page 
Salad Mix – We make homemade Ranch Dressing from time to time to change things up. Use Ranch Dressing version 1 or Ranch Dressing version 2.
Beets – We don’t ever peel our beets! We love to simply Roast Beets and serve them as a side or on top of a green salad, ideally with goat cheese. Or – Up your game slightly with Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze. This Arugula, Beets, & Goat Cheese Salad is pretty magical, and we see cranberries and avocado as optional. Remember to enjoy the greens! Use them like Kale.
Green Garlic – We don’t prefer to give you two garlic items in the same share, but the bulb onions aren’t quite ready, and so it goes. You can spread out this garlic love by storing this garlic over the next couple of weeks. Just keep it contained in the fridge so that it doesn’t dry out. Slice or mince and add to green salads, salad dressing, saute, or stir fry.
Kohlrabi – This spaceship looking vegetable is sweet, moist, and crunchy inside the bulb. Peel the fibrous outside of the bulb and slice the inside to eat raw or in any saute or roasted vegetable dish. We love it raw on salads (grate or slice) or sliced in rounds as “veggie chips” for dipping. The leaves are great to use like kale. Martha Stewart has Eight Delicious Kohlrabi recipe suggestions.
Garlic Scapes – These are likely new to any new CSA members. They are the tender and tasty, green curly tops of growing garlic plants. We pick them for two reasons: 1) To allow the plant to continue to direct energy toward the growing bulb that we will harvest in about a month, 2) They are delicious! With a mild garlic flavor, they are best enjoyed when you treat them like Asparagus: Grill, bake, or saute whole, with butter and salt and any other desired seasoning. You can cut them up or leave them whole. We prefer to leave them whole and saute them in a pan. They are sort of wild and unruly due to their circular shape which makes them extra fun for our kids to eat. See also this page for Seven Things to do with Garlic Scapes. They are only in season for about two weeks each year, so savor them while they are around.
Kale and Chard – Remember that these greens are great combined with protein and carbs. One delicious option is Pasta with Peanut Sauce and Kale (sub the chard with no apologies). They are both also great with eggs and cheese. Try Swiss Chard Onion Frittata, or just scramble the ingredients. 🙂
Cucumbers – For whatever reason, our 11 year old prepared a bowl of sliced cucumbers for us the other night by simple sprinkling sea salt and black pepper on the cuke slices. This tasted amazing! We’d never done this simple and delicious little side dish.

Bunched Greens (Kale, Chard, etc.) – Keep refrigerated in a air tight bag or container. If they wilt, cut a fresh cut on the stems and put in a glass of water like a vase of flowers. They will rehydrate.
Cucumbers – Keep refrigerated and dry in a container, perhaps with a towel to absorb any liquid as they “sweat.”
All Root Vegetables (Beets and Green Garlic this week) – Keep refrigerated in a sealed bag or container, ideally with roots and tops separated in different containers, to prevent tops and roots from getting wilty. Most tops can be prepared/cooked in some way. If you are at a loss for how to prepare the tops, include them in a batch of Vegetable Stock.
Bagged Greens and Herbs – Keep refrigerated in the bag in which we pack them.

Our harvest for Saturday’s farmers’ markets will hopefully include: 
Arugula, Rainbow Chard, Cilantro, Green Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Hearty Greens Mix, Curly Kale, Microgreens, Parsley, Radishes, Salad Mix, Spinach, Spring Onions, and perhaps the first of our Summer Squash…plus our Organic Hearth Baked Bread (Sunny Greens, Whole Rye, Raisin, & Seed loaves for this weekend) and Tomato Chutney.
{Our farmstand is open Thurs & Friday with most of the above items…see here for updated inventory}

Anything remaining after CSA shares are distributed and our farm stand is shopped (plus the bread we bake Saturday morning)… we’ll bring on Saturday to the Brandermill Green Market or the Farmer’s Market @ St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in the West End of Richmond. Keep an eye on what we have available via the online farmers’ markets: FallLineFarms.com and Local Roots Food Coop.

Enjoy ~
Janet, Dan, & the whole Broadfork crew

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