Surprise! The peas are ready super early this year, and the shelling peas are more advanced than the edible pod ones. What a season! Of course, there aren’t many yet – largely due to the fact that it was so dry when we first seeded them that only a few came up at that time and the rest waited for rain. But, we hope the tease we sent this week (3 edible pod peas in with the herbs and a handful of shelling peas with your greens) will whet your appetite for what is soon to come!
The garden is in a real time of transition right now. This will be the last week for orach, but as you can see it will be replaced by other greens. This week we sent mustard greens, kale, perpetual spinach, and the last of the bloomsdale (regular) spinach. Other than the bloosmdale, these plants are all coming on strong and we look forward to lovely greens for weeks to come. In fact, the kale and perpetual spinach should last the whole season. Our various plots of lettuce are also succeeding each other nicely, so while the earliest are going to seed, we should have scrumptious lettuce for some time yet.
We also had some beautiful roots make their appearance this week. The radishes are the nicest we’ve seen in a long time (though they are a bit hot due to the weather we’ve been having). Enjoy them now because by next week they’ll be past their prime so this is likely all the radishes we’ll have this year. The summer turnips are lovely too, and not as hot as we expected. Be sure to eat them soon, before their texture deteriorates. We recommend eating them raw. Just peel off the thick skin, slice, and enjoy! We also sent two types of onions – thinnings of our winter storage onions (which can be eaten like green onions) and multiplier onions (the bulbs of which are best cooked and the tops of which make a lovely green onion substitute). And, another early surprise, we had been thinnings to send this week too. Both the beets and the greens are absolutely lovely! And of course, there will be plenty more of these to come.
The herbs are also in a time of transition. The arugula and cress you received today will be the last of the season as the plants are eager to go to seed. The dill is also slowing down. But the mint and summer savory are still going strong, the coriander continues steadily (like the lettuce, there are multiple seedings which are succeeding one another), and the parsley and basil are moving into full production.
Our rhubarb, on the other hand, is slowing down and the plants seem to be asking for their summer rest. Next week, we will only send rhubarb to those who request it. But if you do want some, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Here’s a favourite recipe from Simply in Season, a cookbook I highly recommend, for early beets like we sent today:
Whole Beet Skillet
4-6 medium beets with fresh greens
1-2 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
1-2 Tbsp ginger root (peeled and minced)
1-2 tsp honey (optional)
Cut off beets, leaving about 1 inch of greens on beets. Place beets in a large saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until beets are tender when pricked with fork, 15-30 minutes, depending on size. While beets are cooking, remove stem from beet greens. Chop stems in 1-inch pieces. Chop greens separately. Drain the cooked beets and rinse with cold water. When beets have cooled enough to handle, slip peels off with fingers. Cut beets in slices. In saucepan saute stems in butter until tender. Add greens and saute until bright green and just tender. Add sliced beets and heat through. Stir in lemon juice, ginger, and honey (if using) and serve immediately.