Nuture vs Nature
So - the long standing argument between the different farming philosophies, from permaculture to organic to conventional, has been: "Which is stronger force on our plants - nuture vs nature?" I can't say I have an answer - but the philosophy that we employ in growing the food for your baskets is that we have an agreement with these plants - we will provide them with water, light, soil, and nutrients - and the plants will provide us with something - well - something rather unnatural - something not naturally found in nature. Yes, there are some exceptions but in modern agriculture not much that we plant can survive without our nurturing to produce something bigger, and hopefully, tastier than what can be found in nature. Think of the difference between a native crabapple versus the Honeycrisp apple in the grocery store. Of course, zucchini may be the exception - it keeps growing no matter what we do to it!
CSA Basket - Week 13
Your CSA basket this week includes the following:
Zucchini - Black Star or Costata Romanesco. The Romanesco is the ribbed version - it has a firmer flesh and deeper flavor than the Black Star. I love it roasted.
Tomatoes - the varieties we chose this year are best eaten fresh. The large ones make a wonderful, fresh tasting caprese with fresh mozzarella and basil.
Fennel - New this week! See recipe below
Kale Mix - cut out the ribs, roll it, and slice into thin chiffonade ribbons - massage with your favorite flavored balsamic vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper
Shintokawa Cucumbers - try the quick pickle recipe with a sweet pepper - perfect on a salad on a hot day
Tri-color Carrots - these are a nice size for roasting - wondering where the tops are??? Ask the elk. Yes - Paul is finishing the eight-foot elk fence this week. No more tasty carrot tops for the elk. Sorry, guys.
Globe Artichokes - these just keep producing - but this is probably the last of them for this year
Basil - can't use all the basil? Make pesto and freeze in muffin tin for the perfect serving size to add to pasta this winter - it keeps its beautiful green when frozen
Listadia de Gandia Eggplant - Have some left over from last week? Use them to make a baba ganoush!
Chioggia Beets - Beautiful white and red concentric circles when sliced! Tasty roasted with olive oil and added to a salad.
Peppers - the Shishito peppers are good in everything! I sautéed them with zucchini for breakfast this morning along with an egg. The sweet peppers are tasty fresh or try them pickled, too!
Veggie of the Week:
Botanical Facts - Depending on the cultivar, fennel is an annual, biennial, or short-lived perennial. It has smooth, striated branching stems with a mild anise or licorice flavor. The tiny yellow flowers form an umbrella shape and the seeds, which are up to 1/4 long, have a prominent anise fragrance when crushed.
Historical Origins - The Romans valued fennel for its aromatic seeds and succulent edible stalks. Charlemagne, in the ninth century, helped spread fennel from its native Mediterranean region into central Europe by cultivating it on his imperial farms.
Roasted Salmon and Fennel
Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables. It provides such a unique taste to any dish and roasting it really brings out the flavor. The salmon are running so this makes a perfect late summer dinner. Makes four servings.
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 2 lemons, cut in half
- 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4 small salmon pieces, skinless
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp chopped rosemary
- 12 oz fresh greens
1. Heat oven to 400F. In a large roasting pan, toss fennel, lemons, garlic, 1 Tbsp of oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Roast until fennel begins to soften. About 8 minutes.
2. Season salmon with salt and pepper. Nestle salmon in with fennel. Cook until salmon is opaque - 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Squeeze garlic out of skins and mash to make a paste. Squeeze lemon juice and pulp into bowl. Stir in honey and rosemary.
4. Place fennel and salmon on a bed of greens and drizzle with the lemon vinaigrette. Garnish with snips from the fennel fronds.
Yes, I usually reserve this spot for a pretty picture of a flower but this is what I found on the farm this week. Too much nature? I find this guy really hard to love - in fact - he (she?) really makes me cringe. But - I guess she has a purpose and I try to remember that as I walk through the pasture in the morning and try not to step on her. I'll look for a flower for next week's newsletter.
Your SVF Farm Team