Lovely weather we're having for June! ...ha...ha ha...ha ha ha.
Mid-way through December though, and the plants are still holding on. Like me, they're preferring our cooler dips in temperature and these mild rain showers. Hopefully we'll see winter soon... ish... perhaps... (I hope). In spite of all this weather nonsense, harvests continue as bountiful as ever. The rundown for this week's CSA farm share is, basically, greens-mania. As such, I encourage everyone to try a little experiment: taste each one raw to compare flavors. We're hitting heavy in the mustard department, for example, but not all mustard greens are created equally. From a rolling smooth heat, to a wasabi mouth punch, each varietal brings a uniquely complex array of flavors to your dinner table. (I will give you one hint... the one called spicy ain't lying to you.) I quite enjoy eating Mizuna fresh in a salad with a homemade honey mustard or vinaigrette dressing, whereas my red mustard greens are particularly delectable wilted under a farm fresh egg over easy. Cooking the greens will definitely cut the heat without taking away flavor!
(Remember, you can click on the photos above to enlarge the image with its name.)
Then we have the Broccoli Raab Rapini harvest...
Two weeks ago I overheard a peculiar exchange at a nursery while purchasing some blackberry bushes for the farm. One employee remarked to another that she had observed some "odd looking broccolis" in the community garden that weren't broccolis.
Oh you mean the broccoli raab?
Yes! That must be it... God it was AWEFUL! [So-and-so] made me taste it!
Yeah, I just grow it for the bees.
Those bees will eat anything then, won't they?
And within that ten second interval I ricocheted from nearly blurting out "hey I grow broccoli raab, too!" to suddenly turning away from the women in order to hide my chagrin... and mild laughter at the hilarity of the situation unbeknownst to these women. I had a bundle of broccoli raab left over from CSA harvest waiting for me in my fridge! Yikes!
In hindsight, I wish I had spoken up because all too often delicious crop varietals fly under the radar whether for being dismissed, ridiculed, or simply misunderstood. Yes, a certain level of patience may be required to figure out just how these peculiar harvests like to be prepared, but it's always worth the time. In the case of broccoli raab rapini, however, I would just take any regular broccoli dish, replace it with the rapini, and let yourself be pleasantly surprised. I enjoy a smooth, mild spice with a hint of nuttiness that you just won't find in any of the more popular crowning broccolis. The greens are tender like lettuce, stalks juicy and great for stir-frying, and florets are delightful cooked or raw!
Here's a photo of a pizza one of the lovely Sown & Grown volunteers, Isabel Maria, made from scratch with our broccoli raab rapini greens!
So, perhaps it's not that the bees with just eat anything but rather that their palates are simply more refined than ours. They are pretty-darned-smart little creatures after all.