So this was the week that summer came back for just long enough to remind us that we didn’t actually love everything about it. By today, after a few sweaty days and sticky nights, we were all happy to get back to bemoaning how chilly and gray things are, which we’d only just barely been able to get into last week.
With all the temperature changes, you’d think we’d have had an abundance of stormy rainfall, but of course that isn’t how the drips fall out on the Barrens. We had just shy of 1/2″ total … enough to whet the thirst of the fall salad, to be sure. And although it’s easy to feel angsty over how dry things have been for us this year, it’s refreshing to realize that too much moisture is just as much of a problem – perhaps more, since we can irrigate, but farms who got swamped this season can’t turn on a field dryer.
We did plenty of fruit scavenging and foraging – mostly tart crabapples from a friend’s place and wild grapes from the Barrens by the farm. We learned that the low-hanging grapes most readily accessible were woody-tasting and made for mediocre preserves, so we adapted, using our advanced ape brains to acquire the sweeter, plumper, most abundant fruit from 30 feet in the air.
The grape vines that were most successful at graping had often killed their host trees, by stealing all their sunlight. This meant that there were grape buffets way up high out of reach … unless some enterprising primates realized how weakened the grape-killed tree scaffold was, and rocked the entire thing until it crashed to the ground for easy picking! Much celebrating and jelly was made in the wake of this discovery.
Fall Salad Mix – First cutting! A less lettuce-y mix than our spring salad, with a variety of flavors and textures. It includes: Curly green lettuce, cavendish red lettuce, arugula, green and red mizuna, tat soi, and a few pea tips with more to come.
Dang it, I meant to take a photo of the beautiful mix all laid out on the processing table!
Tomatoes – A nice addition to your salad.
Bok Choy – did you know that “the Cantonese word choy can be translated loosely as ‘cooking greens’”? I just read that in Mark Bittman’s great reference for storing and cooking vegetables, How to Cook Everything. If you have Amazon Prime it’s free through Prime Reading.
Onions – Good in most things really. Not many things will as quickly bring a spouse around sniffing the air and proclaiming hunger as do onions hitting a hot frying pan.
Tomatillos – Good in a few things. People often ask what to do with these and salsa is the play. But I have also used them to make a southwestern chicken soup, or they can be sautéed with other veggies, or eaten raw … but the main thing we do is broil or grill them, and blend them up with garlic, onion, and salt. I like that they have a sweet and tangy flavor and that they make a thick, not runny, salsa.
Peppers – sweet ripe ones and a few jalapeños. Good for salsa, fajitas, stir fry, or crunching on raw. I can tell the night temperatures have been warmer this year because of the amount of ripe peppers that we’ve been harvesting.
Broccoli heads – maybe some broccoli cheddar soup, broccoli casserole, or a broccoli quiche? Something warm and hearty sounds good to me today.
Zucchini – Still going, until the frost comes.
Spaghetti squash – More potential than just treating it like spaghetti. It could be baked into a cheesy casserole or even used with an Asian peanut sauce