Summer Season Launches

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Our gardens are almost entirely seeded, the bedding plants are (for the most part) strong and vigorous in the greenhouse, and we have finally had some rain. Things are looking good for the summer season. At least some of nearly every vegetable has sprouted in the garden, and we expect to see many more friends peeking up in a few days’ time. They will no doubt be accompanied by a great many “uninvited guests,” but that’s ok. We’re ready to move on to the next stage of spring gardening, which features weeding and putting out bedding plants.

The first of the summer 2018 vegetable orders went out to Saskatoon today, featuring asparagus, rhubarb, and sorrel (all perennials), along with our reliable spring favourite: orach. Orach (pictured above) is not a perennial, but it self seeds abundantly and comes up early enough to be a mainstay of our spring garden. We also have volunteer lettuce, spinach, and coriander up, but not enough yet to send out to our members. You can look forward to them in the coming weeks.

For those of you not familiar with orach, it is a large-leaved cousin of lamb’s quarters. We use it as we would spinach, with the early leaves (which you will be receiving this week) featured in salads or stir fries. When the leaves get a bit larger and tougher, they are tastier cooked (either steamed, stir fried, or included in a casserole).

The long narrow leaves in with the orach are the sorrel, which is a sour, bitter green. We have been enjoying them (in small quantities) mixed in with salads or stir fries. If you’re looking to try something different with them, here is a tasty recipe from Simply in Season:

Rhubarb Sorrel Crisp

Combine in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to medium and cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently:

4 cups rhubarb (finely chopped)

2 cups sorrel (finely chopped, or strawberries)

1 cup sugar

1 Tbsp grated orange peel

1 tsp vanilla.

Dissolve 3 Tbsp cornstarch in 1/4 cup water. Add to rhubarb misture and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Set aside.

Mix together until crumbly:

1 1/2 cups flour (can substitute part oat bran)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup walnuts or other nuts, chopped

Place about 3 1/2 cups of crumb mixture in a greased 9 x 13 inch baking pan and press to make an even layer. Pour in rhubarb/sorrel misture and spread evenly. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture over top. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 30-40 minutes. Cut into squares.

 

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