Summer farm season has finally arrived!

Thursday I received my first CSA (community supported agriculture) box with veggies and fruits from local farms. Here in Olympia there are many such programs to choose from, and this one delivers to the local fresh seafood market, which seems like a bonus. This time I picked up a spicy calamari salad and fresh spot prawns from Westport, WA (local, yay!) to go with my veggies. This year we had a very late spring, accounting for the late start of the program, which will last 18 weeks. I really enjoy doing this as it typically provides nearly enough food for a week, all local, organic, and sustainably grown. Not to mention that I’m forced to figure out how to cook and eat new things! Half the fun is not knowing what will be in your box each week. And I lose weight… need I say more?

In the box this week was:
- 2 pints of the deepest red ripe strawberries you ever saw
- 4 medium-sized bok choy
- a head of oak leaf lettuce
- a bunch of arugula
- a bunch of cilantro
- a bunch of chives
- garlic scapes
- 4 very large radishes
- a box of various mushrooms (I have a small mushroom share also)
- there were also supposed to be flowers but they had a slight mixup on the first delivery!

As you can see, we’re still largely in the greens and herbs part of the season around here. Peas are starting to come in and should be ready by next week, and we’ve had asparagus for a while. I actually don’t have a fruit share this time (on the waiting list) – the vegetable farm grows some strawberries, pears, and apples, so I’ll get some of those as the season goes along. I can supplement at the farmer’s market if need be – nectarines and cherries are the only other fruits that have made it into season so far.

The strawberries are so sweet that they nearly cry out for something to pair them with. I don’t have any goat cheese at the moment, so yesterday I made a salad of lettuce, arugula, chives, cilantro, and strawberries with balsamic vinaigrette. That was really good. I normally don’t like arugula much, but I also tried it with the very spicy calamari salad and it seemed to pair well with that. I also made some biscuits and have been eating the strawberries with milk and biscuits for breakfast, or with fiber cereal. Last night I marinaded the spot prawns in some lime juice and zest I had leftover from another dinner party, along with heaps of cilantro and garlic-chile sauce. The prawns were sauteed with the bok choy, and all was good.

Now I just need to figure out how to eat these amazing-looking radishes, given that I really don’t like raw radishes. I’ve been wondering if there’s some way to creatively roast them or otherwise use them that might change their flavor?

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4 thoughts on “Summer farm season has finally arrived!

  1. Gretchen says:

    Radishes roast beautifully, and I just saw a recipe for radish cakes here: http://glutenfree.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/csa-week-2-radish-cakes/

    That recipe is from someone who also gets radishes and isn’t fond of them raw. :)

    You can also pan-fry them or add them to soups; I like to slice radishes and drop them into miso soup for an easy snack.

    Yummm spot prawns. You are so lucky to have sustainable fresh prawns where you live!

    Arugula is a great pesto base, and we also make pesto out of radish greens. Grind them with walnuts instead of pine nuts; it’s a lot cheaper and the walnut goes well with the spicy greens. Radish greens aren’t as spicy as arugula but they have a bit of a bite, and they’re a little coarse when they’re older, which is why they do so well in pesto or cooked. The tender young greens can be used in salads like arugula. Pesto freezes beautifully (leave the cheese out if you use cheese in your pesto, and add it in when you use it later) and can be used for more things than a pasta sauce; a chunk or two of pesto dropped in a soup can really enhance the flavor, or it can be added to grilled meat or mixed into a bowl of rice or quinoa or even used as a salad dressing base, though in that case I’d use fresh and not frozen pesto.

    We also commonly use up our radish greens in our “random green” soups, where anything green in the crisper gets tossed into a soup with some cauliflower, squash, potatoes, or sweet potatoes to thicken it up.

  2. Very interesting – thanks for the link!! I think I’ll try roasting them first, and then if I get more I’ll make them into cakes :) Maybe I’ll cut off the tops and add them to the greens I’m using this week – I still have a huge bunch of chard to use up though too, and I don’t really make soups in the summertime. Looks like some chard, garlic tops, and mushrooms are in my future :)

  3. meowmansion says:

    Have not tried it, but have heard roasted radishes are very good. If you try it, let us know, ok?
    All your goods sound wonderfully delish….

  4. Kenn says:

    Hi Teresa. Would love to talk sometime. I am up in the Auburn area. Would love to try the radishes.

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