Notes from the Farm
Today we experience a rare event as the summer solstice and full moon coincide, something that last occurred 50 years ago. While I have not encountered any historical agricultural omens or predictions that go along with this event, I welcome the coinciding solar and lunar movements as a positive sign for the harvest ahead. I also recently learned that the June full moon is often referred to as the “Strawberry Moon”. According to the Farmer’s Almanac the Algonquin tribes called it that, and “knew it as a signal to gather ripening fruit”. This week we are gathering the last of the ripening strawberries here at Massaro, so be sure to savor these delicious, short-lived farm treats.
The strawberry harvest season may be short, but it takes a long time to get the plants ready before we even get to the June harvest. We plant strawberries each year in late August/early September in to a plot that has been prepared with cover crop and soil amendments in the prior months. We keep each planting for two June harvests, so we always have one set of plants giving us “first year berries” and a second set of plants giving us “second year berries”. Once the second year berries are finished, we return that plot to cover crop and will not plant strawberries there again for several years, allowing our plantings to be rotated to different locations around the farm. Neighboring the strawberry plants in the field are the onions and garlic scapes we are currently enjoying. They too were planted late last year, growing slowly over the winter, reaching maturity over 300 days after being sown in our greenhouse. The onions planted in the spring take over 100 days to reach maturity, which means that our spring plantings are not ready to harvest until August, and we’d like to enjoy locally grown onions before then — they are a staple in the kitchen after all — so we do the late summer planting to make that happen. Strawberries, onions and garlic scapes are probably the highlights of the week again but each of the items in this week’s distribution have a good story, like the carrots grown in one of our high tunnels, the first cucumbers coming picked from their trellises, beautiful red and green lettuces, the versatile yet under-appreciated bok choi (which I would to see become the next hit vegetable the way kale became such a big hit), and curly green kale — the super-nutritious and delicious vegetable which is such a big hit these days.
Looking ahead on your calendar:
In this Week’s Distribution
Our Harvest: Strawberries, Spring Onions, Garlic Scapes, Cucumber, Baby Bok Choi, Green Curly Kale, French Radishes, Carrots, Red and Green Leaf Lettuce
U-Pick: Begins with Cherry Tomatoes in July
Fruit Option: Starts in July
Recipes and Cooking Tips
Bok choi: You have probably unknowingly enjoyed this in miso soup, stir fries and noodle dishes. Make any of those things! Also enjoy it raw in salads, use it in slaw, marinate and grill it, steam it, love it. Martha Stewart loves bok choi, and she has a few recipe ideas for you below.
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 5 thin slices peeled fresh ginger
- 4 to 5 heads baby bok choy, (1 pound), each halved lengthwise
- In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside.
- In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, bring 1 cup water and ginger to a boil. Add the bok choy; reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until leaves are vibrant green and stems are fork-tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain well; discard ginger.
- Transfer bok choy to a serving platter; drizzle with the vinegar-soy mixture, and serve immediately.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 8 heads baby bok choy, t rimmed, and halved lengthwise if large
- 1/4 cup homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock, or water
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- Cook liquid over medium-high heat until it is reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour over bok choy, and serve.
- 1 pound baby bok choy (4 to 6 heads)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 peeled apple, cut into matchsticks
- 2 large shredded carrots
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- In a large bowl, mix apple, carrots, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and peeled fresh ginger. Add bok choy; season with salt and pepper. Toss.