The First Spring Greens

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The last of the root vegetables went out last week and the cellar is looking decidedly empty. Our stores were so depleted that we were only able to send out half the usual amount of potatoes. Fortunately, we still had a decent number of carrots, which we sent. Other stored foods that went into the final winter order included a handful of garlic heads and some dried beans to help tide you over till the new crops come in.

We were also delighted to send the first greens of the season: sorrel, chives, and asparagus. Sorrel is a relatively new crop for us. We experimented with two plants a couple years back and they self-seeded prolifically. Wanting to encourage this earliest spring green, last year we dug up many of the new seedlings and started a dedicated row. As you can see in the photo above, the original patch was not the least bit diminished by our efforts! Sorrel has a sour flavour and is high in oxalic acid, so it is best eaten in moderation. We have been enjoying adding a few leaves to salads or to dandelion green stir-frys. Once the leaves get a bit bigger, their flavour is stronger and they are best used in soups and stews. It is supposed to go well with fish and eggs. As we continue with our own experimentation, we would be keen to hear your favourite ways to enjoy sorrel.

As usual, we will send a couple more installments of asparagus until the end of the May, when the winter season ends and we move on to weekly (in the Battlefords) and bi-weekly (in Saskatoon) vegetable orders (which will also include asparagus for the first few weeks). The crop is coming on strong this year: I harvested over nine pounds on Wednesday! Expanding an asparagus patch takes far more patience than seeding extra carrots, and our efforts of the past years are now bearing fruit (or vegetables, rather). We have a whole extra row that we can pick this year, and next year another should come into production as well. So, with thanks for your patience over the past couple years, we are pleased to share the new abundance.

Last week, we took a picnic supper with us as we “beat the bounds” of our farm. (See Shawn’s blog post at http://www.ecosophian.wordpress.com for more about this event.) It featured asparagus oven pancake, a spring favourite in our household:

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in a 9″ pie plate. Meanwhile, slightly steam 2/3 cup asparagus, cut in 1″ pieces. Place in bottom of pie pan.

Whisk together 3/4 cup milk

2/3 cup flour

2 eggs

1/4 tsp salt.

Pour over asparagus and bake at 400 until puffed and golden brown (20-25 minutes). Sprinkle 1/2 cup grated cheese on top, cut into wedges, and serve immediately.

 

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