Week #22 (10/22 & 25)

This week your basket contains: carrots, FLORENCE FENNEL, RED CABBAGE, beets, Swiss chard, leeks, potatoes, and sweet peppers. Continue reading

Week #18 (9/24 & 27)

This week your basket contains: carrots, CHINESE CABBAGE, beans, cucumber, summer squash, tomatoes, garlic, sweet corn, red onions, basil, and cherry tomatoes. 

Recent rains have started to kill back the pumpkin plants, so we are getting a good look at our production.  We’re happy to say that things look good for our PUMPKIN PICK-UP WEEKEND.  October 19th and 20th (11:00 to 3:00) are set aside for you to come out to the farm to choose your carving pumpkin (included as part of your subscription), tour the gardens, press apples for cider, have a potluck lunch and socialize with other subscribers.  We will be making pizza including our signature PUMPKIN PIE PIZZA (a perennial favorite).  We look forward to seeing you then.

Chinese (or Napa) cabbage gives us conniptions.  For years we had no problems growing them.  Then for two or three years new pests totally destroyed our entire crop.  We’ve recently found that covering the cabbages with row cover mostly keeps the beasties away, but it isn’t perfect.  While we trim off the outer lacey leaves (caused by winter cutworm) in the garden we chose to leave small amounts of damage at the tip of some of the cabbages for you to trim away without wasting the entire leaf.  Despite our consternation at growing these, we love to eat Chinese cabbage.  They are a staple in kimchi and a rich source of probiotics when fermented.  This is the easiest recipe for kimchi we have found.  It is quick, easy and tasty.

EASY KIMCHI

1 Napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch strips

1/4-1/2 cup kosher salt

2 tablespoons garlic, minced

2 tablespoons ginger, minced

1 teaspoon sugar

3 tablespoons water

1 diced mild hot pepper

3 medium carrots cut into 1-inch matchsticks

Place cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix thoroughly using gloves, if preferred. Place a heavy pot or pan on top with weights and allow cabbage to sit for 1-2 hours until wilted and cabbage water has been released.  Discard cabbage water after 1-2 hours. Rinse the cabbage 2-3 times in the sink until salt is removed and allow it to drain in a colander for another 15-20 minutes.

Combine cabbage with garlic, ginger, sugar, and water and mix. Add the hot pepper and mix well.  Once combined, place mixture in a jar pressing down and packing tightly so that the mixture is submerged in its own liquid. Place top on jar and allow it to sit at room temperature for 2-5 days. Place jar on a plate since the mixture may bubble over while fermenting. Each day of fermentation, remove the lid to release gases and press down on the mixture to keep it submerged. You can taste a sample each day to decide if the level of fermentation is to your liking.  After 2-5 days of fermentation, store kimchi in refrigerator.

This is a different, and very tasty, recipe.  The blue cheese is a perfect pairing for the Chinese cabbage. 

SAUTÉED CHINESE CABBAGE WITH BLUE CHEESE, WALNUTS AND APPLES

4 cups thinly sliced Chinese cabbage

1 med. onion, diced

1 clove garlic

1 tart green apple

8 oz. ripe blue cheese

1 cup chopped walnuts

2 Tbs.  walnut or olive oil.

Salt

If you choose to use walnut oil, be aware that it will scorch more readily than other oils.   In a large skillet sauté the onion in the oil until translucent.  Add the garlic and cook 2-3 minutes more. Add the chopped Chinese cabbage and salt.  Sauté 4-5 minutes or until the cabbage wilts.  Add the walnuts, cook 1-2 minutes more.  Remove to serving dish, top with chopped apple and crumbled blue cheese and serve warm. 

Fall harvest has started in earnest here.  We are starting to haul in storage crops like onions, potatoes, winter squash, and pie pumpkins.  We are particularly happy (and amazed) by our potato harvest.  We have dug half of our beds and have already stored the full poundage we planned for the year!  We don’t expect that production to continue as we finish the harvest, but are happy with the way things are going.  We aren’t entirely sure why we are having such a good potato yield.  Some of it may be that we grew a larger percentage of red potatoes (the half we have harvested), and part of it may be that weather and intangibles in the garden combined to make it a great potato (and tomato) year.  In any case, it is looking like we won’t need to buy as many potatoes as we usually plan on.  If you want to see pictures, check out our Instagram (@PumpkinRidgeGardens) or Facebook (Pumpkin Ridge Gardens).  We’ll continue to post pics as we harvest squash and pumpkins.