It’s been a busy week, weeding, sowing our next succession of green beans and sweet corn, and transplanting another round of our summer greens. We have also begun sowing transplants of our overwintering crops, mostly brassicas.
But this week and next will afford us some time to catch our breath. Everything is growing lustily, and we are entering a maintenance and harvest phase for most of our crops. Keep them weeded, and where necessary side-dressed with more of our organic fertilizer, and the crops will grow along fine.
I was weeding along one of our vine crops, a yam called a Jinengo potato, and though we have a wonderful trellis set up for them to climb, these vines were lumbering along the ground. This is striking to me because I remember a few weeks ago, laying these same vines against the trellis, so they could climb upwards. But for some unknown reason, they have decided not to climb.
This along with the visit from a friend has had me thinking about how we humans sometimes are like these vines. We have opportunities to grow upwards, and yet, we don’t. I don’t know why the yam fails to do so, but it strikes me that we people are sometimes inclined to define ourselves in ways that preclude certain types of personal growth. “I can’t do that” or “That’s not me” become barriers, just as powerful as the bars on a prison cell, to our own development.
This issue of identity seems so crucial, especially at a time when many people are hampered by a sluggish economy. It’s in times like this that personal redefinition can yield so much fruit. Change fields, change careers, change habits, and adapt. Climb the trellis that stands, stands so close, like screen in a door, that one sees through it. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but maybe the image of this vine, sadly sprawled on the ground, will motivate some to follow a different path.
After weeding, I moved the vines back onto the trellis and wound a few tendrils around the metal of the trellis. They really are beautiful little plants, leaves shaped like green hearts. Later in the season, small tubers will form along the vines, aerial tubers that can be collected and resemble potatoes after cooking. Below ground the root will swell into a large, yam-like growth. A very useful plant in all. So, I wound the tendrils again on the trellis with these images and hope in my mind.
Perhaps this time they will climb upwards.
Everyone received spigariello, spinach, and basil in their share this week. You were able to choose the remaining items in your share from the following list: salad turnips, kale, new potatoes, Capucjiner shelling peas, chard, carrots, braising mix, lettuce, cucumbers, agretti, beets, red onions, broccoli, and garlic scapes.
Below are a few recipe ideas to help you cook with your share.
Spigariello: This Italian broccoli is bred for its leaves rather than its florets. The dark, blue-green leaves taste similar to kale, and some speculate that this crop is actually a cross between kale and broccoli. Treat as you would kale: it’s excellent sauteed, braised, or even roasted. Here’s a recipe for roasted kale with lemon dressing.
Basil: It feels like summer once this herb comes into season. We like to throw it here or there: on pizza, in stir-fry, on pasta. It’s such a versatile herb. If you received cucumbers in your share, you might try this refreshing drink to beat the heat.
Agretti: One of our market patrons, Amy Wong, just wrote a wonderful piece about agretti for OPB. She has included two delicious recipes: a pasta dish with agretti, crab, and artichoke hearts and a raw agretti salad. Check it out here: http://www.opb.org/artsandlife/article/seasonal-ingredients-recipes-agretti/
Carrots: Many of you chose these sweet roots. I found a simple and light recipe from Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant that you might find useful.
Czechoslovakian Apple and Carrot Confetti
¼ c fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
4 apples (enough for 2 cups grated)
2 c grated carrots
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
2 tbsp currants
¼ tsp salt
2-3 tbsps sugar (optional)
Combine the lemon juice and orange juice. Grate the apples directly into the juice or they will brown quickly. Toss the apples with the rest of the ingredients and serve immediately, garnished with fresh mint leaves.