Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 8 -- Kale

Roots Farm CSA Week 8: June 21 & 24

This Week:
-Carrots: Napoli, Bolero, Nelson, Yaya
-Kale: Winterbor, Red Russian, White Russian, Rainbow Lacinato
-Sweet Onions (“Vidalia-type Yellow Granex)
-Potatoes: Pontiac Red
-Cucumbers: Marketmore, Sultan, Lemon
-Cabbage: Savoy
-Fresh Garlic
-Berries: Blueberries, Blackerries, Wineberries
-Melons! Diplomat, SunJewel
-Basil or Rosemary
-Flowers: Sunflowers, Zinnias

On the Farm . . .
Melons! Ah, melons . . . I’ve been watching them swell on the vines for weeks now. They’re so pretty, so magical. I didn’t think there would be melons in the shares this week, but as we were picking basil this morning I smelled ripe melons so strongly that I wondered over to the melon patch to investigate. And low and behold melons are ready. Yesterday they were not tan; yesterday they were green. But that was yesterday. Today they are tan, ripe, and aromatic. This week’s choices are Diplomat, a green-fleshed muskmelon with an amazingly sweet smell and flavor, and SunJewel, an Asian melon with crispy white flesh and a yellow and white striped rind. Both are delicious. I’m so excited they’re finally here!

It’s nice to have something to rave about this week as the first thing on my mind when I sit to write. If I think about it, it’s been a lovely, amazing season for a whole bunch of stuff so far--prolific kale, lovely cabbages, the biggest carrots I’ve ever grown, plentiful beets, cucumbers out the whazoo, and lots of lettuce, turnips, and radishes. It’s been good. May the melons be a sign that, despite what challenges arise, it will continue to be good.

Blossoms Dropping, No Fruit Set
In the land of arising challenges and educational experiences, we’ve been having trouble with our tomatoes, and now our beans, dropping their blossoms and not setting fruit. Beautiful clusters of flowers are followed by fruitless clusters of stems. Why? Well, we’re now learning that tomatoes apparently will not set fruit when nighttime temperatures are over 70 degrees (which makes me wonder how we ever got a tomato in Georgia) and beans will not produce enough pollen to set fruit with daytime temperatures over 90 degrees (again, how do we ever get any?). Interesting. Becky is the queen of research questions and discovered this info recently and while it may not vastly improve our situation immediately, it is helpful to understand what’s going on. It’s just too damn hot. Color me not terribly surprised. I don’t think I’d set fruit either if I had to stay in the sun all day. Looks like Lima beans can handle the heat better, so we may try some of those, and also looks like the other beans may need a bit more attention to consistent watering and perhaps a nitrogen boost to improve leaf cover (which both protects the plants from the sun and helps keep them cooler with evaporative cooling). Well, you learn something new every day.

Happy Summer Solstice
Today is the day -- longest day of the year. All Spring long, we’ve labored and planted and now are seeds have sprouted and are beginning to mature. Energetically, this is a good time to re-visit the goals you’ve been working on and the projects you’ve invested yourself in and to remind yourself what you’re up to. As my friend Holly says, it’s time to “potent-ize” those goals, time to fertilize, time to remember what you’re dreaming into being and pull yourself back into alignment with it. The sun’s at full blast and it’s a powerful time of the year. Harness that power--it will help you move in your chosen direction.

Is back in the spotlight this week. It’s been an amazing season for kale, and you’ve been getting lots of it. With that in mind, we figured you could use some fresh inspiration for what to do with all that kale. Here are some ideas . . .

Kale Chips
1 bunch kale (de-stemmed)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or pan with a light layer of olive oil. Place kale leaves in a single layer on the pan and drizzle with a little more oil. Bake for 12 minutes. Salt to taste and enjoy! Makes 2-3 servings. Jane tells us these are as good as potato chips. I've had them and I'd have to agree that they're pretty yummy. As well as an easy way to use up a bunch of greens in a pinch. Yum!

Creamy Peanut Kale
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 Tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
1/4 cup vegetable broth or water
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1 bunch kale, chopped

In a pan, heat vegetable oil. Fry garlic and onions, until translucent. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix peanut butter, Bragg's, broth/water, and spices until the peanut butter has dissolved, and it has turned saucy. Add kale to the pan, and cook until the leaves are dark green and wilted. Add the peanut butter sauce to the pan. If it is too dry, add broth/water to reach desired consistency. From

Feel Good Kale Sauce with Pasta (vegan)
3 to 4 servings pasta (I like Angel Hair)
1 carrot
1/2 onion
2 large kale leaves, large stems removed
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup unsweetened or plain nondairy milk (soy, almond, coconut, etc.)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast

Cook your pasta according to package directions. While the pasta is cooking, put the carrot, onion, kale leaves, and garlic cloves into the food processor to create a pulp. It shouldn't be a liquid, just very pulpy with small bits. Heat the olive oil in a pan, and add the vegetable pulp. Saute it for about 5 minutes, and add salt and pepper as it cooks. When it is heated through, pour the milk into the mixture and allow it to get hot and a little bit bubbly. Add the nutritional yeast, and stir well. You can add more milk if you would like a thinner sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix sauce with drained pasta. This sauce is delicious mixed into pasta, and I feel good every time I eat it (which is about once per week). Makes 3-4 servings. From Yummy vegan recipes . . .

Potato Kale Soup
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
½ Tbsp red chile flakes, or to taste
1 ¼ tsp salt
6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into ¾ inch cubes
3 cups coarsely chopped kale
black pepper

Heat oil in soup pot; add onions, garlic, chile flakes, and salt, and saute until onions are translucent. Add potatoes and enough water to cover by 4 inches. Bring to boil and cook, covered, until potatoes are about half done. Add kale and cook, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes. Puree soup in blender or food processor. Season with pepper to taste. Makes 6-8 servings. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

Spicy African Kale and Yams
1 large bunch kale, 4 cups chopped, pressed firm
4 cups yams or sweet potatoes, rinsed well, chopped
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
2 cups cabbage, sliced
1 ½ cups onion, chopped
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp salt, or to taste
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp serrano chile, seeded and diced
Hot Sauce, to taste

Rinse and drain kale well. Steam kale and yams. Kale should still be colorful and yams should still have some firmness. While kale and yams are steaming, place oil in a large sauté pan and heat on medium high. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chili pepper, cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add cabbage and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add small amounts of water if necessary to prevent sticking. Place in a large mixing bowl with remaining ingredients, add kale, and mix well. Add yams and gently mix well. From

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