It's a holiday but the plants don't know that; they didn't take the day off so neither did we. We staked our second succession of tomatoes, and we hoed carrots and beans, and it was hot, but although it was a regular workday I am still going to use the Fourth of July as an excuse to write an update of meager length and scant information. Rather than coming home from a full day of work and dwelling on my usual fixations both fleeting (the weather) and morbid (that fact that in the beginning of every object and living thing is its end) and then cobbling those thoughts into an overly earnest wet-blanket of a paragraph, Joshua and I and some friends who are farmers celebrated the holiday with a swim and a cookout. Which means, actually, our afternoon was not unlike that of many Americans who didn't begin the day by hoeing carrots, and I trust you'll forgive the fact that it leaves me with time only for a brief note and one recipe.
The share this week:
Red and / or Golden Beets
Kohlrabi or D'Avignon Radish
Sugar Snap Peas
Notes about the food:
* I have lost track of whether I grow vegetables because I love to eat them or if I love to eat vegetables because I grow them. Either way, I eat a lot of vegetables, and I rarely leave the farm with a backpack that isn't full of the things we grow. The first thing I do when I get home is rinse what I have harvested in cold water and then cut the stems of any greens and arrange them in a dish of cold water so that every day there is a bouquet of greens at my house. I recommend that to increase the shelf-life of your summertime produce you do these things too, especially as the days get hotter. We harvest as early in the morning as possible and we rinse what we harvest in cool water, but as the day continues the recently harvested produce will return to air temperature, which means that on a hot July day it may be warm by the time you arrive at the farm to collect your CSA share, and the greens may appear limp. A rinse in cold water at your home will take the heat off the vegetables, and by cutting the tips of the stems of the leafy greens and placing them in cool water you allow the leaves to draw water through the fresh cut and rehydrate themselves. After taking these steps, everything is best stored in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped in a breathable plastic bag or in the crisper drawer.
* We have time to continue the beet primer we began last week. Red and golden beets are in this share; you'll receive a bunch of one or the other, or a mixed bunch that includes both varieties. And there are many more beets in the ground--red, golden, and chioggia--and you'll be seeing more of all of them as the season continues. (Any combination of the three makes a lovely presentation when prepared together.) Here's a quick recipe that is refreshing in the summertime. It calls for more beets than are in the bunches we are making this week, but more are on the way, and until then the quantities of the other ingredients can be modified. From Bon Appetit:
Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges and Beet Greens
6 medium beets with beet greens attached
2 large oranges
1 small sweet onion, cut into wedges
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
Preheat oven to 400. Trim greens from beets. Cut off and discard stems. Coarsely chop greens and reserve. Wrap each beet in foil. Place beets directly on oven rack and roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. Cool. Cut beets into wedges and place in a medium bowl.
Cook beet greens in large saucepan of boiling water until just tender, about 2 minutes. Cool. Squeeze greens to remove excess moisture. Add greens to bowl with beets. Cut and peel white pith from oranges. Working over another bowl and using a small sharp knife, cut between membranes to release segments. Add onion and orange segments to bowl with beet mixture. Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic and orange peel in small bowl to blend; add to beet mixture and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Serve.