This week your basket contains: potatoes, radishes, TURNIPS, PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI OR RAAB, microgreens, and salad mix (arugula, endive, kale, spinach, French sorrel, watercress, and miner’s lettuce).
There are several factors that combine to influence the development of plants. They include day length, temperature, days since germination, and light exposure. Some plants are more sensitive to one of these than others so that two different crops exposed to the same conditions will respond differently. For TURNIPS, is seems that they are very sensitive to day length. As you may have noticed, we are having a cloudy, cold spring which has slowed the development of many plants, our turnips included, Additionally, we have to cover the turnips with light row cover fabric to keep a fly that lays its eggs on the roots of cabbage family plants (their larva, called root maggot, cause the tunneling you sometimes see on radish, turnip or rutabagas) further decreasing the light exposure. Despite this, day length increases every day and the turnips “know” it and respond by going to seed no mater what size their roots are because their aim is to produce seed and not big roots, even though people have tweaked them to do that for us. When they go to seed, the roots get fibrous and unusable. All of this is a long winded way to say that while we would have liked bigger turnips over several weeks, we have pulled all of them for this week’s baskets because we see the first signs of them getting ready to flower. The recipe below has become a springtime tradition for us. You can also add your radishes to it if you like. We hope you like it.
MORROCAN TURNIP AND CHICKEN STEW
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 small (2 1/2 lb) chickens
3 Tb butter
1 Tb oil
5 cups chicken stock
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp powdered saffron
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 lb small turnips
2 cups chopped turnip leaves and stems
1/4 cup lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
Rinse chickpeas in water and rub lightly to remove skins; drain and set aside. Cut chickens into quarters, removing wing tips and backbones; put them aside for stock. Melt butter and oil in a casserole and lightly brown chicken on all sides, cooking in two batches if necessary. Slice onions and stir into butter and oil to color. Then add the chickpeas, stock, pepper, ginger, saffron, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add turnips and greens and simmer 20 minutes more. Remove chicken and turnips to a covered warm dish. Boil sauce to reduce, mashing some of the chickpeas against the side of the pan to thicken the sauce; it may take 10-15 minutes to produce a nice thick sauce. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Reheat the chicken and turnips in the sauce and serve. Serves 6 to 8. From The Victory Garden Cookbook.
EGGS are also available again. The hens are just starting to ramp up their laying, so we are allocating them as best we can. Our youngest hens (ie the baby chicks you saw on our pumpkin pick up weekend in October) should be starting to lay soon so our supply will improve. We have had to increase the price of eggs to $7.20 per doz ($3.60 for a ½ doz ; $1.80 for ¼ doz) to help cover the feed costs that have almost doubled in the past year. Just email to order.
GARDEN STARTS are also getting ready. You can purchase them for delivery with your veggies from our online store (PumpkinRidgeGardens.square.site). Right now we have limited quantities of cool weather crops available. We will update our stock as more items are ready, so check back often. Please note that the web site says that these starts are available for pick up, but WE WILL DELIVER THEM TO YOU unless you insist on coming to the farm for them!
FLOWERS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE. Starting with daffodils and tulips and moving through the spring and summer, Polly with be making beautiful mixed bouquets that can be delivered with your basket for $10. You can order occasionally or as a standing order. Just email to let us know!
Raab (the broccoli-like flower buds of cabbage family plants) is starting to produce. We’ll be handing it out in rotation as the supply increases. Remember that all of it is edible (leaves, stems, and buds) and should be prepared as you would broccoli.
RHUBARB is ready! We can send along a bunch (approx.. 1Lb.) for $4. Just email to order.