Friday, April 06, 2012

Produce notes from Allen.......47 Local Items!!

The first of the spring vegetables are here! The various greens that have been grown in hothouses, or protected by hoop enclosures or high tunnels have begun to make occasional appearances. They have included Mustards, Arugula, Spinach, Chard, Tatsoi, various Kales, Pea Tendrils, and Stinging Nettles.

Ramps, a member of the Leek family have arrived this week, and we may hope for some spring abundance if there are no surprise frosts in the next week. Of course summer may come too early, and our recent warmer climate makes it feel as if this is almost inevitable.
Next week, there will be a few more hothouse treats to look forward to. From Hepworth Farm we expect Premium and Elegance mixes*. We will probably also see Baby Red Bok Choy, and Baby Red Russian Kale
From Lancaster Family Farm Cooperative we will have our first Komatsuna greens, a member of the Turnip family, sometimes described as a Japanese Mustard Spinach.
Coop member Marisa requested Yu Choy during the winter. We asked Gail (of Hepworth Farms), Amy Hepworth's twin, if she would grow this for us. Later in the year we will carry the mature vegetable, but next week Hepworth Farms will likely harvest the first of this baby green that we've carried. 
When these various harbingers of spring make their appearances, members begin to ask almost daily "Where are the Garlic Scapes?" For the next 6 or 8 weeks we say, "Sorry, but these are not an early spring item." This response is invariably met with skepticism. Garlic Scapes are the flowering stalks of various Hardneck Garlics, and don't appear until a much later stage in the growth of the Garlic plant, usually the end of May. Can't wait for the Scapes? Try the Spring Garlic Greens, which look a lot like scallions, but they do pack Garlic flavor.
*Premium Mix - Yukina Savoy, Golden Frill Mustard, Ruby Streaks Mustard, Tokyo Behana, and Red Komatsuna

*Elegance Mix - Red Bok Choy, Garnet Giant Mustard, Ruby Streaks Mustard, Spigariello, Broccoli Rabe, and Mizuna

Allen Zimmerman - Produce Buyer - General Coordinator