Eat My Cake

Ramblings and musings on foodstuff and life

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My Summer of Organic Bounty

Fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies at the grocery store and farmers' stands is a sure sign that Ontario's growing season is offically here. Yesterday marked the summer solstice, also known as the longest day of the year, and today I picked up my first box of locally-grown, organic produce from a local CSA that we're supporting throughout this year's growing season.

In addition to encouraging people to buy local, CSA, or Community Shared Agriculture, is a fantastic way to get back to basics with your food. Consumers essentially buy shares in local farms that ensure they receive a regular bounty of fresh crops on par with the growing season. It ensures you a direct connection with the farmer and the food source; you know exactly where your food is coming from.

I signed up for a partial share, which is enough to last a family of two for the week. I'll be posting my weekly food box contents and recipes on a regular basis. I'm told the box gets fuller as the season progresses!

Here's what was in my box this week.
  • Mixed lettuce
  • Mizuna
  • Mibuna (what is this??)
  • Burgundy mustard greens
  • Swiss chard
  • Beet greens
  • Pak choi
  • Peas
  • Radish
  • Dill
  • Nettle (stinging)!
  • Garlic scapes
  • Lovage
  • Tarragon
  • Italian parsley
  • Mint

Of course if it's a particularly bad season, you also share the downfall, a risk we were willing to take if it meant a pretty good chance of fresh produce all season long! Lately I've been having some major issues with my grocery store's wilted, exported produce...sometimes I wonder if it's where I shop.

I must admit, Brian and I had to get out the old trusty laptop to tell us what some of this stuff was. Lovage, mizuna/mibuna, etc. We finally identified everything, read about the best ways to cook them, and got to work. I decided to steam some of the greens with a bit of garlic, tamari and a spritz of lemon; the salad consisted of mixed greens, mizuna/mibuna (common in mesclun mix), and my new favorite - garlic scapes, which definitely took some time identifying - long, curly and crunchy - the taste was unlike anything I'd ever had.. like a cross between the freshest garlic and chives. Finally I decided to boil the beet greens by themselves when I read about how tasty they were on their own, then sauted them with olive oil, garlic and lemon. A pretty spectaculour summer meal, from ingredients picked no more than 5 km of my house and no less than the day before.

Mixed greens

You can use any kind of greens; I've made this with kale and bok choi with tasty results.

Mixed Greens with Tamari and Lemon

1/2 lb greens, such as:
Mustard greens
Swiss chard
Pak choi
Radish greens

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp chicken broth (or more to taste)
1 tsp tamari or soya sauce
Lemon juice to taste

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in wok over medium heat. Add crushed garlic, saute for 1 minute. Add greens, cover and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken broth, cook, covered, for 4 minutes or until broth is absorbed. Add tamari and lemon and stir over heat until evenly distributed. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper before serving.

Bon appetit!

Garlic scapes


Blogger Brendan said...

Garlic Scapes, very interesting to look at. Kind of like green onions growing in on itself. Nice web site.

8:38 AM  

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