By the grace of Mother Gaia, we return today for the first pick-up of the Sown & Grown November CSA farm share. Weekend storms inundated the farm with over 9 inches of rain, sending spiders fleeing up our mulch mountains, scattering bags of leaves and burlap across the fields, drenching the root systems, and just about giving Farmer Becca a heart attack. In addition to the fallout from Hurricane Patricia, it seems that the farm has received nearly 20 inches of rain just in the last few weeks.
I think we can officially downgrade our rain-dance needs from the summer drought to a mere rain-toe-tapping for the rest of November. Some sprinkles here and there would be great for the Earth, but let's take a rest on the deluges, okay? Thanks, Houston.
So the GOOD NEWS is that YES the farm survived in spite of the odds, and we have delicious greens and herbs a-plenty for your culinary delight this week! November's starting off with the usual suspects, but I'll give you a sneak peak of next week's harvest. Just keep thinking chilly thoughts with me, and maybe, just maybe, Houston will decide to welcome autumn to the city so that we can welcome some new veggie harvests into our CSA shares!
(Check out The Harvest Dispatch from weeks 1 and 2 for a refresher on how to cook these lovelies!)
As you probably figured out by this point, the Sown & Grown CSA is truly no ordinary farm share. Hopefully, you've been familiar with a good portion of the harvests, but I also hope that I've been able to introduce a few new exciting plants into your life these last couple of weeks! Sown & Grown's mission is about more than just farming to put food on our plates... it's about farming with compassion and harvesting the most deliciously nutrient-dense foods to help us become our best self. Farming with compassion means, in part, growing varieties that are not only beneficial for us and our diets but that are also low-impact and ecological varieties for the farm eco-system. Thai Red Roselle happens to be one such oddity I've introduced to your kitchens these last two weeks. She transitions nicely between Houston's summer and fall seasons, growing sturdy without any help or support in spite of our wild weather fluctuations, but still remains a stranger to most of our kitchens. So, please allow me to introduce y'all.
Farmily meet Thai Red Roselle; Roselle, meet the farmily!
Nutritionally speaking, Roselle is a great source of minerals and vitamins like Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus, Vitamins A & C, and some protein. It can in some cases help to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood pressure.
Culinarily speaking, it has a bold, bright citrus flavor akin to lemons which both intrigues and perplexes our senses. Fear not, though! You're definitely not alone in feeling a bit confounded by this plant; here's an article from the Chicago Reader that will help familiarize you with Roselle. Also, this is probably the last week you'll see her in your share until next summer, so let's try out all these awesome recipes just in time to not have any more Roselle, shall we?! Adventures!
A few CSA members have suggested that the Roselle leaves might make a nice wrap to cook meat in over the grill or in the oven. You could try covering your fish, beef, chicken, etc. with the leaves and either wrapping that in aluminum foil or tying it together with baking twine soaked in water (so that it doesn't catch fire! safety first!!). Roselle is also still great raw in a salad (in my humble opinion!) and using something like soy sauce in your salad dressing will help cut the acidity (though I recommend Bragg's Liquid Amino instead of soy sauce). Try chopping the greens finely and integrating it with some of the farm share mustards in a fresh salad with cilantro (it's in season right now!) and any other mild greens you have lying around. Top it with a raspberry or blackberry vinaigrette and voila! You've got a nutrient power-punch waiting for you in that bowl!
As always, let me know if you come up with sometime spectacular yourself or even just your unique take on any of the recipes provided. I'll take that paper and file it under R, for Roselle. Buen provecho!
Psst... Sneaking a peek for next week...