Basket contents: Arugula, baby pac choi, rapini, chinese cabbage, kohlrabi, radish, lettuce, choice of cilantro or basil, garlic scapes.
Wow, what a week! After two months of rain almost every other day, 5 days of sunshine! We used this week of great weather to catch up on jobs that had been hard to accomplish with wet soils: bed preparation, incorporation of cover crops, hilling potatoes, and, of course, weeding! The wet soils have been helpful in getting newly planted crops established, as they can set down roots without the stress of dryness, and in general, your veggies are looking healthy and happy, if slow to mature with the cool temperatures. However, the ‘opportunistic plants’ (which some would call ‘weeds’…) are also doing well, and with our inability to weed them out when soils are wet, weeding has been, and will likely continue to be one of our challenges this year.
This week I would like to present you with a vegetable that may be new to you, but has quickly become one of my favorites: rapini. Although relatively uncommon in North America, it was better known in Europe- and especially Italy- than its close relative, broccoli. It is quite beautiful, with its large, spiky leaves interspersed with small broccoli buds and the occasional yellow flower. But before you relegate it to the table centrepiece, give it a try!
An easy way to get to know it is to simply steam the whole bunch in an inch or so of lightly salted boiling water for about 5 minutes, then drain it well and serve warm with a vinaigrette. If can also be chopped and sauteed in olive oil with crushed garlic and a splash of soy sauce. If you find its taste to strong on its own, try pairing it with other assertive flavours, such as spicy Italian sausage. Or you can mellow out the flavour by serving it with a cream sauce, as you might do to spinach. You can follow this link for a recipe for Rapini and Cannellini beans.
We’ll look forward to seeing you at the drop-off points this week. Remember to bring you compost, bags, and any micro-herb pots or salsa jars you have already managed to empty!