Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Farm Day

Wednesday has become my farm day. I spend all morning at New Roots Farm: weeding, harvesting, washing vegetables; whatever needs to be done that day. Now that summer is officially underway, the torrent of vegetables from the farm has begun, helped by recent hot, humid days and the perfectly timed rains. Today we harvested the crop for which the farm was named: beets. Many, beautiful beets.

Each week I leave the farm at mid-day feeling great that I helped harvest food for other people and that my own baskets are overflowing with the same fresh, organic produce. This week included romaine and leaf lettuce, garlic scapes, scallions, Swiss chard, beets of course, bok choi, sugar snap peas, and in honor of the start to summer, a summer squash.

Tonight's dinner menu is easy: brown rice sauteed with the garlic scapes and scallions with a dash or two of soy sauce, served with stir fried vegetables that includes the sugar snap peas, bok choi, summer squash, Swiss chard stems, and a red bell pepper (that I admit buying from the store last week). I discovered this week that the brightly colored rainbow Swiss chard stems easily substitute for any color bell pepper. Since the latter are expensive and not locally available yet, it's a great substitute.

What to do with the beets. Despite their gorgeous appearance and hardiness many people dislike beets. I like them boiled and eaten plain or pickled, or sliced into salads. These beets I plan to roast (bake), then make a beet--goat cheese gratin recommended by Mark Bittman in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. However, that meal will wait for a cooler and less humid day. The beet greens will work their way into an Indian dal. Swiss chard leaves will make a nice side saute with the beet gratin. The huge head of romaine lettuce will make a dinner-sized Caesar salad. That still leaves lots of lettuce for lunchtime salads.

I think that takes care of this weeks harvest. Part of my Wednesday afternoon is spent cleaning and storing the day's harvest and then planning meals around all this fresh food.

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