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
- Mibuna (what is this??)
- Burgundy mustard greens
- Swiss chard
- Beet greens
- Pak choi
- Nettle (stinging)!
- Garlic scapes
- Italian parsley
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.
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:
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.