I can hardly believe that a whole week has passed. It feels like I blinked and then it was over.
I wanted to speak a bit about the quality of the produce that you receive. I know that when you pick up a cauliflower in your box and it looks nothing like any cauliflower that you’ve ever seen in any grocery store, you wonder to yourself, “what’s wrong with this cauliflower?”. I’m here to say that there is nothing wrong with your cauliflower, in fact, everything about it is perfectly right.
The grocery stores have imprinted into our minds what produce should look like. They’ve set appearance standards that concede to size, color, shape and weight. All of that glow has left us wondering how it was grown, who picked it, what was in the soil, what was sprayed on it, how long has it been since it was picked and oh, by the way, how will it taste? After all, we choose to buy cauliflower because we like the way it tastes. Our intuition tells us that if something looks good, it probably tastes good too. And most of the time, you would be right about that, but sometimes we’re fooled. You can certainly buy big red apples, obscenely large strawberries and voluptuous melons and citrus at the grocery store and when it comes home and you slice into it, you’re gravely disappointed in the flavor.
We pay very little attention to what season our favorite foods naturally come into in the region that we live. Seasonal produce will always taste better. Even if I grow little sustainable tomatoes on our little Small Family CSA Farm in the greenhouse to mature in the middle of winter, they’re still not going to taste right, because they’re just not in season. The daylight length isn’t right, the heat intensity and consistency isn’t right, and they haven’t been blown in the wind and shone on by an August sun in the Midwest.
I would not go so far as to say that our standards are lower because our cauliflower does not look like grocery store cauliflower, I would however, go so far as so say that our standards are higher. We want something real. Cauliflower is notoriously difficult to grow as it is, so any harvest that we bring in from the fields is triumphant to me. I know that our soil is healthy and I know how hard we worked to seed them, plant them, feed them, weed them, watch them grow and pick them on time. I know that there is insect pressure on them because the bugs know they’re delicious too. I know that I don’t look like the girls in the magazines and that even the girls in the magazines don’t look like that. But I know a real person with a real soul when I meet one, and I hope that you can learn to see the same in your cauliflower in your week 7 CSA box.
Sooo….WHAT’S in the BOX???
Fresh Garlic- You may not recognize this long lost friend of ours whose been hiding underground since last fall, but he’s back. Does not need refrigeration. See the extra thick walls around the garlic bulb that are normally a paper covering around the cloves. They have not cured or dried down yet. Fresh garlic is a bit more mild than cured garlic.
Head Lettuce- Lots more where this came from! Stores best in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to preserve moisture.
Cauliflower- Beautiful heads of cauliflower. They do seem to bruise easily, so please handle them carefully. Stores best in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to preserve moisture.
Basil- Just a sprig for now as we are pruning the plants a little to encourage them to bush out. Does not refrigerate well, will turn black in the refrigerator if not in a plastic bag. Can also be kept in a glass jar of water and kept like fresh cut flowers until used on your counter.
Broccoli- Maybe one more week of broccoli. Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Kale- This Tuscano or ’dinosaur’ kale is the most popular variety of kale these days. Tuscano kale is the darkest green of all the kale varieties and it has the most chlorophyll, thus the highest nutrient value. Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge. If it ever gets wilty, you can always cut the ends off of it and soak it in water to re-crisp it up.
Parsley- A fun summer herb that can compliment almost any dish. If you wont use it right away fresh, consider hanging it upside down somewhere in your kitchen with good ventilation where it can just dry. When it’s crispy dry, store it in a glass jar with a tight lid. Store fresh in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Summer Squash or Zucchini- The zucchini’s are green and the summer squash is yellow. Their flavor is remarkably similar. Stores well in a cool place. Does not necessarily need refrigeration, but no warmer than 50 degrees. Hope you like to incorporate these veggies into your diet as there will be lots more where these came from!
Bunch Onions- The return of the bunching onions. We thought we would give them a couple more weeks to fill out some. Stores best in a plastic bag in fridge with tops trimmed off or standing up in a glass of water in fridge with root submerged in water.
Next Week! A short list of items that we may have next week, but will not promise to have. Due to the unexpectedness of the season and perishable nature of produce, anything could pop up or go down hill unexpectedly.
Head Lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, fresh garlic, basil, beets, purple cabbage, zuchinni and summer squash, cucumbers
Sully's Broccoli Salad
Italian Kale Soup, Zuppa Tuscano