- Salad Mix — This week’s salad mix includes chicories, endive, escarole, cress and kale. Winter salads are our favorite with so many different flavors and textures. We recommend cutting up the leaves into bite sized pieces and topping it with fruity or a sweet dressing.
- Red & Green Brussels Sprouts
- Yellow Cipollini and Red Onions
- Butternut and Potimarron Winter Squash
- Red Potatoes — These big reds are a delicious treat! Their incredible creamy, slightly waxy texture makes tasty roasted potatoes or would be a great spud for potato salad.
- Cranberry Dry Beans — Cranberry beans are medium sized, nutty flavored beans that hold up well to cooking and have a smooth, dense texture. While these beans can be added to many different dishes, they also can stand alone. Cook them as you would any other bean and, once cooked, fry them in a little butter with a sprinkle of salt on top. Enjoy their complex flavor and hearty texture all by themselves.
The planning season is rapping up and it is time to put all that preparation into action. This week we will start clearing out the greenhouse, which has become our storage shed during the winter months, turn on the watering system, set up the tables, check that the heat mats are still working properly, mix a fresh batch of potting soil and start sowing those seeds. Thus it begins…
The sowing season will start with the alliums, leeks, shallots, onions, and then we will move on to other quicker maturing plants, some of which only need to be sown a couple of weeks before being transplanted into the field. In a little over a month the propagation house will be full of green vegetable starts that will, with time and care, morph into the vegetables on your plate.
As we were thinking about the vegetable varieties that we wanted to grow for you this summer, we decided to make a few changes from the past couple of years. Now that we have more acreage to experiment with, this year we are focusing our efforts on transitioning away from hybrid seeds to more open pollinated varieties. In previous years we have relied on some organic hybrid varieties that gave us consistent, high yields with the limited growing space that we had. This year, however, we are trialing a greater variety of open pollinated seeds in hopes of finding varieties that will display similar valuable traits.
While we enjoy growing and eating some hybrid varieties, we realize that it puts us in a precarious position to rely on a plant breeding technology in which we cannot save our own seed. The seed that hybrid plants produce does not display the same positive characteristics that appeared in the parent plants, therefore it is necessary to buy new seed yearly from seed companies. This gives seed companies complete control over the seed stock. In most cases these hybrid seeds are developed in different regions or they were developed for conventional growers. These seeds may do okay in our region, but they are not specifically bred to handle our soils, climate, pests and ecological farm management styles.
The main concern of hybrids is that it has led to widespread loss of seed diversity. With the majority of the world’s seed stock in the hands of a few large companies we are seeing a great loss of seed diversity. Heirloom varieties that once were staples handed down from generation to generation are quickly disappearing. Hybrid inbred plant lines have taken their place, which has killed the farmer’s ability to save seed.
In response to this problem we are choosing to explore open pollinated varieties now. We are encouraged by the farmers and seed companies around us that are all working toward protecting the vibrancy of agriculture through the redevelopment of open pollinated varieties. We look forward to the exploration of more flavors, colors and textures in our food as we preserve our seeds’ genetic diversity for generations to come.
Enjoy this week’s share of produce.