Sunday, April 13, 2008

Early Spring Harvest

I've been so spoiled this year in terms of four-season harvesting, and (God's forgive the hubris) I hope to be even more spoiled next year since I'll be able to plant the tunnels so much earlier. This past year we had tomatoes in the kitchen garden into October, and though I started several lettuces and cold crops in seed trays, I still didn't get them in soon enough. That means that I spent much of this winter epitomizing the impatient gardener, waiting for the seedlings to grow into something while they spent most of the winter hunkered down and near-dormant waiting for some sunshine. Still, we managed to enjoy lots of really delicious mixed baby green harvests throughout even the darkest days of winter. Those frozen green beans I put up at the end of summer have gone nearly untouched because as good as they are fresh, they're not nearly as good frozen and just don't cut it next to real, fresh produce. Truly, I've been so amazed at how easy it is to eat seasonally when one is used to that fresh-out-of-the-garden taste. It's just not worth eating the other stuff!

This was our dinner harvest the other evening. The first tender asparagus shoots, d'Avignon radishes, and purly chives, along with a medley of lettuce greens—red and green salad bowl, speckled bibb, and black seeded simpson—which are growing like crazy now that the sunshine is back, rewarding all my forced patience over the winter twofold. The lettuces look absolutely gorgeous, and the spinach is coming in beautifully. Unfortunately, the recent warm weather is continuing to cause bolting in the high tunnel despite the fact that we got the plastic down last weekend. The brand new tatsoi seedlings and some radishes are already sending up flower shoots. (pouty face here) The arugula, turnips and sorrel are all wanting to flower, as is the michihli and kohlrabi. I keep pinching them out, but it's a losing battle, and I'll probably pull the turnips this weekend to make room for another sowing of something.

The dark-days challenge is officially over, but that doesn't mean that I'll stop regaling folks with fine dining photos. I just like food way too much not to share it! And let's face it, a love of food is the reason we do what we do here at the farm; it informs every decision, every seed, every shovel. So... onto the menu: this evening we enjoyed a delicious zero mile salad topped with a balsamic vinaigrette, bleu cheese, and pasta, along with steamed, tender asparagus that was the sweetest, juiciest asparagus I've ever tasted, and our favorite standby—ciabatta bread. What my plate doesn't show is my husband's carnivorous last minute addition of a flank steak from local grass-fed beef. My motto may be "don't forget the cheese," but his is most definitely "don't forget the meat!"

2 comments:

Ren said...

Lovely.

I'm dreaming of the day we can have a zero miles anything...other than a mere handful or greens.:) Soon.

I tagged you for a meme dahling:

http://radicalunschooling.blogspot.com/2008/04/meme.html

Hayden said...

Oh YUMM! I can't bear to forget either the meat or the cheese, so ...

this obsession, pulling food from the ground you live on, is one the key issues pushing me to move back to the midwest and change my life.

I'm still a farmers market junky and spoiled on local, but the satisfaction of growing your own is a whole different level.