Well, someone must have done a rain dance for us because we received a steady rain on Friday! While one rain doesn't make up for a very dry early summer, it does help to perk up the vegetables. And it allowed us to take a two day break on irrigation. Now, we are back at irrigating.
This week will be the third week with many of the early summer vegetables, but we will start to see a number of new items in the next two weeks. On my field walk I noticed broccoli the size of plums and cabbage the size of grapefruit. And the zucchini and cucumbers are covered in their first fruits. So you can anticipate some of these vegetables in your shares shortly! As long as the heat doesn't slow them down, we should have peas for a couple more weeks and then it will be time for green and yellow beans.
We have noticed a larger than typical amount of unwanted insect pests on some of our crops this year. The summer and winter squash have been heavily hit by cucumber beetles and some varieties of our kale have been infested with aphids. To manage the cucumber beetles we are handpicking them as much as possible. And I hung sticky traps and lures throughout the beds this weekend in the hopes that this lessens their impact. To get rid of the aphids, we have sprayed with a soap and water solution and removed the row covers to improve air circulation.
While pests often come in cycles, it's difficult to know exactly why they are worse this year. I think a mild winter plays a role as well - the colder and longer the winter, the more the overwintering pests' numbers are decreased.
This week, kohlrabi is a choice item in your shares. Unfortunately our kohlrabi crop this year has been poor (I think the lack of rain is partly to blame) so we will not have many spring kohlrabi. We do hope to have a great crop of fall kohlrabi, however.
Kohlrabi is part of the brassica family and some people believe that kohlrabi are a hybridization between cabbage and turnips. And the flavour is somewhat reminiscent of these vegetables. In our kitchen, we almost always use kohlrabi raw; sliced in salads or as vegetable crudites, grated in wraps, or made into a slaw. We use the leaves just like cabbage or kale. There is no need to peel spring kohlrabi (whereas fall kohlrabi generally is best peeled). If you separate the leaves from the globe, the kohlrabi globes will store in the fridge for up to one month.
If you would like to try cooking your kohlrabi, below is a recipe for you. When it specifies 'pea vines' I would use the pea shoots provided in the shares. To make these gluten-free, I would try replacing the bread crumbs with either almond flour, quick oats, or cooked rice.
Kohlrabi and Pea Vine Patties
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic or 3 tbsp garlic scapes
1 tbsp curry powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup packed chopped pea vines
3 medium kohlrabi, peeled and grated
2 tbsp flour
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup olive oil, coconut oil, or butter
Mix all ingredients except oil. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Form mixture into small patties, squeezing out any excess moisture. Fry patties until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Makes 6 patties.
Modified from From Asparagus to Zucchini by the Fairshare CSA Coalition.