Notes from the Farm
Tomatoes are in, and they are in heavy. So if you like to make sauce for fresh enjoyment or winter storage, this is a great time to do that. Of course, sauce is only one of the many ways to enjoy your tomatoes, and the various shapes, sizes and colors we’ll be distributing in the weeks ahead offers endless tomato opportunities for you to explore.
Two items in this week’s distribution don’t carry the notoriety of the heralded tomato, but are nutritional standouts, each with their own distinct flavors. I am talking about dandelion greens, which we’ve had a couple times this season already – so hopefully you are excited to see it and put to use again – and purslane, which you may think of as a weed in your garden, but actually contains more omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy vegetable. Check out this info from nutrition-and-you.com
- Research studies show that consumption of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and help prevent the development of ADHD, autism, and other developmental differences in children.
- Purslane is an excellent source of Vitamin A, (1320 IU/100 g, provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and an essential vitamin for vision. it is also required to maintain healthy mucusa and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C, and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine and carotenoids, as well as dietary minerals, such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese.
- Furthermore, present in purslane are two types of betalain alkaloid pigments, the reddish beta-cyanins and the yellow beta-xanthins. Both pigment types are potent anti-oxidants and have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties in laboratory studies.
My own preference is to eat purslane raw in salads mixed with lettuce and dandelion greens. However, it is widely used in Greek cooking, can be found in Mexican and Indian cuisines, can be stewed, sauteed, used in soups, curries, green juices or alone own as a side dish. Check out some recipe ideas in the section below.
Farmer Steve and our Farmers: Alyssa, Tyler, Ed, Genna, Dan, Jocelyn, Jon, Ella, Marion and Diana
In This Week’s Distribution
Our Harvest: Tomatoes, Italian or Japanese Eggplant, Zucchini and Yellow Squash Carrots, Scallions, Cucumbers, Purslane, Dandelion Greens, Lettuce
U-Pick: Cherry Tomatoes – 2 pints
Fruit Option: Blueberries
Recipes and Cooking Tips
Tomato, Cucumber, Purslane Salad
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeds removed and discarded, then chopped
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1 bunch purslane, thick stems removed, leaves chopped, resulting in about 1/2 cup chopped purslane
- 1 minced seeded jalapeno chile pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl, add salt and pepper to taste.
Chick Pea Salad with Purslane and Arugula
1 cup drained cooked or canned chick peas
1 teaspoon capers
2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 scallion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or as needed
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or as needed
1 1/2 cups arugula leaves, torn into pieces
1 1/2 to 2 cups purslane with tender stems, cut into 1-inch lengths, or 3/4 cup purslane leaves
- In a bowl, combine chick peas, capers, garlic and scallion. Add olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
- Add arugula and purslane, and mix well. Season with additional olive oil, lemon juice, or salt if desired.