Yesterday’s harvest that went to today’s farmers’ market, my earliest market start by almost two months! From the unheated greenhouse: kale, green and red mustard, and lettuce mix times two. Harvest conditions: -2°C outside, a perfect-working-weather 10°C inside. At the end, the sun came out and it started to get sweatingly hot under a T-shirt, shirt and fleece. But, already done! No rinsing, just covered and into a cool room for a 6 a.m. pick-up this morning. It felt a little odd, starting the year’s Saturday markets so early, and indoors—this fall, if all goes as intended, weekly market will cease to end for winter and become instead a fully year-round thing…
This bowl of lettuces and kale is the first cut of spring, taken from the unheated greenhouse while snow flurries whip around outside. With the help of 6 mils of plastic and some row cover, the salad easily survived three months of winter, with temperatures that went down to -30°C (-22°F). The texture and color are good, the taste, deliciously bold. Fantastic! The flowers are bok choi that managed to bolt in the alternating warmth and cold—on sunny days, the hoophouse temperature could easily reach 10-15°C (50-59°F), even when it was sub-zero outside. Interesting!
Yes, yet another thing to do with KALE! In a small fit of inspiration, I tore up a few fistfuls of baby Red Russian, and tossed ’em into the pot with carrots, onions, grass-fed beef shank, salt, pepper, garlic and water, slow-cooked for quite a while, six hours or more, adding brown rice towards the end. Voila, Beef and Kale Stew. The kale contributes just a hint of seaweed taste, but maybe that’s just me. Anyhow, excellent. Will do again.
[From 5-Jul-2013] This week’s harvest basket, still greens, mainly: young curly and flat leaf kale, baby bok choi (autographed by a few flea beetles that made it under the cover), our Zippy Mix (today’s version, mustards as always, with mizuna and some baby Chinese cabbage), 4-lettuce mix (out of sight), plus garlic scapes and baby zucchini. Pretty simple. Not bad… We’re not doing CSA this year, but we do have a handful of share commitments!
[From 10-Sep-2013] Salad kale! Tiny, tender leaves, it’s our finest kale!! Production is simple: fast-growing Red Russian flat leaf kale is direct seeded, plants tightly crowded in-row, restricting growth and producing an abundance of baby leaves that keep coming back, week after week. I’ll try tightly seeding some other varieties, though I don’t expect they’ll do nearly as well, they don’t grow fast enough to make repeated harvests practical. We still transplant Red Russian and other kale varieties at our standard 18″ spacing, but end up taking more and more of this small stuff every week (first tried this direct seeding approach last fall). Calling it “salad kale” was kinda tongue-in-cheek (I think Ashley came up with it, or maybe it was me), some tiny farm marketing action that also happens to totally fit!