Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 2: Rain Rain Go AWAY!!

Remember last week when I mentioned that it has been a challenge to get everything planted between rain showers this year?

That was something of an understatement.

Normally, our main planting push starts in early June and tapers off by the end of the month. This year, we started putting plants in the ground on time.

And everything we've put in so far looks great:

Including potatoes,

early cabbage,


and purple kohlrabi.

But right after planting season got under way, it started to rain.

And it rained.

And rained.

And continued to rain, to the point that as of today we've already gotten about 30% more rain this month to date than we normally get for the entire month of June.

It's not like we haven't seen any sunshine.

What's that bright thing behind the clouds?
It's just that the sunny spells we have seen have been brief and bookended by rain showers.

Though Scott does a masterful job of contouring the fields for good drainage, there is a certain point when there just isn't anywhere left for the water to go.

See, it's full.
Which is why Seda and the tractor got stuck in this mud hole when we tried to sneak in between raindrops and plant some things on Saturday. The field (in the background, where we planted squash into black plastic) sheds water to the edges to keep the growing space nice and fluffy, but the tractor has to turn around somewhere...

At least someone is enjoying the mud :)
We haven't reached a point of crises yet, but we are getting a bit concerned.

We have a lot of planting yet to do for the season.

Like these trays of plants, plus many many more.
So if you notice we seem extra tired at pick-up the next couple weeks, you'll know why. 

Thankfully, there is plenty of good stuff coming out of the fields for shares right now and, so long as the rain slows down and we are able to get the planting finished up in the next couple of weeks, members will see good solid shares all season long (though the timing of some items might be a little different than you're used to).

This week members can expect the following: Mesclun (salad mix), Braising mix, Radishes (a choice of french breakfast or small daikon), Spring Onions, Pea Shoots, Sorrel, Fresh Herbs, and optional Hakurei (we're still harvesting from the planting that got hit by root maggot, the next planting should be ready in two to three weeks)

Most of the items in the share should be familiar from last week's share. The big newcomer is pea shoots, which are a new item for us this year.

The pea shoots are a variety called Usui, from Kitazawa Seed. They are grown for their leafy tendrils, rather than their pods or seeds, and they're quite tasty raw or cooked.

 Because of their newness, I decided to feature the pea shoots in this week's recipe, pea shoot polenta, which is nice as a simple side dish or light lunch.

Pea Shoot Polenta

You can pair most any greens with polenta in this way, but the fresh grassy flavor of pea shoots is particularly tasty.

  • 1 cup cornmeal (small or medium grind, you don't need a special "polenta" kind)
  • 4 cups water, plus more
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter 
  • 1 to 1.5 ounce freshly grated Parmesans cheese
  • 1.5 - 2 cups pea shoots (the amount in the share), roughly chopped
  • 2 spring onions, sliced thinly

Bring four cups of water plus half a teaspoon salt to a boil. Bring an additional cup of water to a boil separately, you may need it later. When the four cups of water come to a boil, whisk in the cornmeal. Stir constantly for 3 or 4 minutes to break up any lumps.

Continue cooking the cornmeal at a simmer for about 40 minutes, until it has lost all of its grittiness. Stir at least every ten minutes while it is cooking. Keep a close eye on the polenta as you may need to add more water as it cooks. I usually add more water whenever I see the polenta start sticking to the bottom of the pan. Use the water that you heated up earlier for this, to keep the temperature from swinging around too much in the pan.

Once the polenta is smooth, stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted completely. 

Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in chopped pea shoots and spring onions.

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