Welcome to September! This week's CSA is mostly crunchy and a little sweet. But you may be wondering: what are these furry little pods?
Those are soybeans, also known as edamame. To prepare, just boil or steam until tender (about 5-6 minutes once the water is boiling). Strain and pop the beans out of the shell and into your mouth. Typically edamame are salted, before or after cooking, but you can also add garlic or other seasonings.
Soybeans are high in protein and iron and are a great snacking bean. They're also great for the soil, once considered sacred and prized in crop rotation for their work in fixing nitrogen
Soy is thought to be one of the earliest cultivated crops. While a major and important crop in China, Japan and Korea, soy has a short history in North America -- only considered as a food product after about 1920. Worldwide, soy is overwhelmingly used for processing in animal feed or industrial products and many commercial varieties are genetically engineered. Over the years, we have grown and saved seed from a number of heirloom (non-gmo) varieties -- to provide you with a little protein packed treat. These heritage seeds have some wonderfully enticing names such as "Envy", "Butterbean", and "Beerfriend" (presumably because soy is good pub food).
More tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, summer turnips, carrots and broccoli are on the way for CSA members. And another couple of weeks before green beans begin. The field crops are still catching up from the slow beginning to spring but the tomatoes and peas are flowering and fruiting. And the cole crops and root crops are slowly but surely growing.
This is a great time of the year to freeze and dry herbs for the winter. With a fresh supply of chives, dill, cilantro, rosemary, etc., let us know if you'd like any specific herbs and we can have the bunches picked and ready for you. We can also take bulk orders for kale if you'd like to freeze or make big batches of kale chips, yum!
And just a reminder to mark your calendars for Open Farm Day on September 20th. The farm will be bursting and bustling with people, food and fun (and most likely, sun)!
With temperatures hovering around 7° today it's hard to believe we're already into June -- a few weeks to go before Summer Solstice. We've been transplanting and planting lettuce indoors and out for several weeks now. Beans, Peas and some seed crops have been sown outside too. Cucumbers and tomatoes in the greenhouse have had their first round of suckering as they've grown enough to demand trellising. Once the weather warms a little we'll be able to really make a dent in the outside planting. Last year we had a very late frost which cut back some of our cucurbits (squash, cucumbers, melons) in the field. Fingers crossed we should be okay for this season!
This week's basket includes lettuce, spinach, kale, chives, leeks or green onions, asparagus or rapini, and rhubarb.
The asparagus is starting to shoot up but it's a little slow this "spring", so some bags have asparagus this week and some have rapini. If you've never heard of rapini, it's in the same family as broccoli but tastes quite a bit stronger. You can stir-fry or eat this green as you would broccoli but there's no need to cook it for very long. Rapini also makes a nice pizza topping.
We've also pulled out a few rhubarb recipes to inspire you this week:
Baked Rhubarb Squares
1/2 cup soft butter
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar (or substitute with 1/4 honey and extra flour)
12 oz soft cream cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg & cinnamon
4 cups rhubarb, chopped
Combine the first three ingredients and press into a pan. Bake for 8 minutes at 350°C. Remove from oven and spread the cream cheese over hot crust. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ingredients and fold in rhubarb. Spread filling over top of cream cheese and return to oven for about 40 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.
Traditional Stewed Rhubarb
3-4 cups rhubarb
sweetener (sugar, honey or maple syrup)
juice and zest from 1 orange (optional)
ginger & vanilla (optional)
Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and cooked but still holds it's shape. Serve warm rhubarb over top of vanilla or plain yoghurt.
Rhubarb Apple Sauce
3-4 cups rhubarb
5-6 cups apples (a mix of varieties or whatever you have on hand!)
maple syrup to sweeten, if desired
cinnamon & all-spice to add flavour, if desired
2-3 tbsp water
Chop up apples and rhubarb (the smaller the pieces, the faster it will usually cook down). Place all ingredients in a large pot and cook at medium-high for several minutes. Turn the burner down to simmer until the apples and rhubarb are very soft and can be pierced easily with a fork. Use a hand blender to purée everything. Cool and eat as you would apple sauce.