News from Windflower Farm: Stir-Fried Asian Greens with Broccoli & Kohlrabi

CSA Delivery 4, June 29, 2010.

This week’s share will include radishes, kohlrabi, broccoli, garlic scapes, scallions, and your choice of two of the following: Swiss chard, kale, bok choy and ‘Yukina Savoy.’  You’ll also get a head of Romaine lettuce and one other item (either snow peas or something from our list of summer vegetables that are just getting started).  I know I promised beets, but they are still need another week to size up.  Summer vegetables are coming soon.  Fruit shareholders will get either strawberries or the first of Pete’s sweet cherries.  And flower shareholders will probably be getting Jan’s long-stemmed snapdragons.

My oldest son, Nathaniel, and I decided to celebrate the beginning of summer by going kayaking this morning on Grout Pond, in southern Vermont, about 30 miles to our east.  The still water of a pond can be dull for a boy, especially in comparison with the fast moving waters of the Battenkill River, where we usually kayak.  River paddling is mostly about boating and movement, whereas ponds are more about scenery and observation.  So, we spent our time paddling along the shore, exploring the plant life.  We had an interesting perspective on the pond’s bank, sitting as close to the water as we do in our kayaks.  As the earth fell off into the pond we could see the soil in profile.  First, were layers of vegetation and a thick, leafy duff, then a thin layer of rich, black topsoil, then a thin, gravelly, grey subsoil and, finally, rock.  The soil appeared to us to be too shallow to support the forest that rested on it, and after a while we decided that it was the constant recycling of leaves and branches – the leafy duff or mulch – that maintained plant life by continually recycling nutrients.  We decided that the soil here wasn’t really much different from what we have at home, with the chief exception that the layers of topsoil and subsoil are, thankfully, much deeper on our farm.  And we decided that if there was a lesson for us, it was that our soil, too, would probably maintain a healthy plant community – vegetable plants, in our case – if we would only be certain to practice the kind of recycling we saw in the woods along the pond’s edge.  After all, that’s what composting, cover cropping and mulching are all about.

Best wishes,

Ted  

STIR-FRIED ASIAN GREENS WITH BROCCOLI & KOHLRABI

1 lb. Asian greens (choy or almost any green, including kale), chopped; 2 tbs. olive oil; 2 tbs. minced garlic (or scapes); 1 bunch broccoli, cut into small spears; 1 medium kohlrabi, cut into chunks; 1 medium onion, diced.

Bring water to boil in a small steamer and add the kohlrabi. Let steam for about 3 minutes.  Add the broccoli and steam until both it and the kohlrabi are tender, 3 to 5 minutes, test with a fork.  Drain and set aside.  In a sauce pan add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent.  Add the broccoli, kohlrabi and chopped greens and toss.  Cook until the greens are wilted.  Consider sprinkling grated Parmesan cheese over the top or adding nuts or raisins.

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