This week’s Whole Farm basket is ready-made for salads! It includes a container of buttercrunch lettuce, a bunch of hakurei turnips (greens and roots), a bag of scarlet queen turnip roots, a small bunch of radishes, and a bunch of oregano. If you’ve never made homemade salad dressing, here’s a recipe for lemon-oregano vinaigrette. It’s easy, the ingredients are basic, and it’s delicious!
It’s raining! Actually, literally, as I write, there is water falling down from the sky! It sounds so good to hear raindrops against the metal raincap of my chimney, and to hear rivulets of rain sploshing off the eaves to the thirsty ground below. We got nearly an inch of rain earlier this week, finally ending our 60+ day rainless streak. The system bringing us this rain may leave behind three additional inches by the time the sun comes back out on Wednesday.
This rain is coming just ahead of a hard freeze anticipated for the end of the week, which will put a quick end to all but the hardiest plants. There’s plenty of time yet for the forecast to change; if it doesn’t, we’ll spend Thursday evening plucking every last lettuce leaf to get them while we can.
These long evenings of late fall have given me lots of time for two things I really enjoy: trying new recipes and reading. In the past few weeks, I’ve made beef stew with turnips, hamburger gravy over mashed hakurei turnips, caramelized onions with turnip greens, and spiced collards, to name a few new recipe creations. The theme of this time of year, of course, is greens. If my meal doesn’t have a side of cooked greens, then it probably has a side salad. Or the salad is my meal, piled high with farm-fresh veggies, a hard-boiled egg, and a homemade roll.
I’ve been getting a lot of inspiration from my evening reading. I’m in the middle of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It was one of a spate of books about local eating that came out about a decade ago. I’d missed this one, which surprised me. I’ve read lots of Kingsolver’s novels, and assumed I had also read this nonfiction account of her family’s quest to eat locally for an entire year. I agree with so much of this book that I feel like I could have written it myself. She writes of endless weeding, a summer glut of squash, the joy of eating a meal where you know every hand that had a role in getting that food to your table from the time it was a seed until it was harvested. She also describes the food challenges facing our country: our lack of a food culture, a disconnect with where our food comes from and not appreciating what’s seasonally available. It’s part narrative, part diatribe, part humorous, part educational, and thoroughly enjoyable. There are plenty of long winter nights ahead, so check it out – I highly recommend it.