As I write this, the skies are just clearing from a 12-hour gentle rain which is a farmer's favourite type of rain! It's amazing how a rain like this can kick start the growth of the vegetables (and, unfortunately, the weeds). Since it looks like we have some hot weather coming our way soon, I'm glad that we go into it with saturated soil and happy plants.
I'm excited to be including snap peas in the shares this week: they are a week ahead of schedule. The zucchini are also about two weeks early and we should have the first harvest for everyone next week.
On the farm all of the summer crops are planted and I am busy weeding, staking, pruning, and generally keeping all the plants happy and healthy. Other than a few succession plantings of lettuce and herbs, I won't be doing much more planting until late July, when I plant the fall brassicas such as broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, and others.
For share members interested in chickens, we have a limited number of whole, frozen roasting chickens available. We have decided to raise broiler chickens bi-annually since they remain fresh in the freezer for at least this long. And we'd rather raise a larger number all at once than small batches all the time. This means that I expect we will sell out of chicken by mid-summer. If you would like some chicken(s), just send me an email a few days prior to pickup and I will bring your order with me. Most of our chickens are 5 - 7lbs and all are delicious! They are raised on pasture and supplemented with 100% organic feed.
This week, all share members will have a choice between chard or collards. Most people are familiar with kale, but chard and collards are a little less familiar.
Swiss Chard is in the same family as beets so its earthy flavour is similar to beet greens. The colourful stalks of the chard are my favourite and I remove them from the leaves and slice thinly. Typically, I use them in any way I'd normally use celery. The greens can then be used in salads, stirfries, soups, and many other dishes.
Collards are in the same family as cabbage and kale, so their leaves have a mild flavour similar to cabbage. My preferred way to enjoy collards is as a replacement to bread and buns. I put all sorts of wrap or burger ingredients inside a leaf, roll up, and enjoy! Some people prefer to lightly blanch the leaves before doing this, but I find this unnecessary with young, fresh collards. Collards are also a staple in southern US cooking and you can find many traditional recipes online that use collards.
For more inspiration, check out these recipes:
31 Creative Swiss Chard Recipes
Swiss Chard with Garbanzo Beans
10 Ways to Eat Collard Greens
Southern Collard Greens