This year’s weather has been all mixed up – resulting in the delay of many of our crops. Beyond the crops, the weather has had an effect on our biological control system for insect pests. Maybe its been the lack of sunny days or the fluctuations in temperature, but the aphids came out in force to dine on a few of our crops. Normally about the time the aphids arrive we begin to see the ladybird beetles arrive and begin their snacking on the aphids. After a couple of weeks waiting for more volunteers for our home army of beneficial insects, we sent out for reinforcements – 18,000 hungry ladybird beetles from our supplier ARBICO. They arrived in 2 days and in the evening, after the farmers markets on Saturday, Annie and I released portions of a large bag of these wonderful pest managers in all the hoop houses and the field. It’s been great seeing them at work as we harvest and work the fields.
Greetings from Mark, Annie, and the crew at Tiny Farm! This week we’ve been busy harvesting a variety of vegetables and greens that are sure to satisfy all your taste buds from sweet to umami. We are very proud to present you with a wonderful crop of rhubarb chard, Chioggia and golden beets, an assortment of Salanova lettuce, and arugula.
If you thought arugula wasn’t spicy enough…Did you know that in the Middle Ages monasteries were forbidden to grow arugula because it was thought to have aphrodisiac properties? Even Virgil, the ancient Roman poet, sang its praises saying, “the rocket excites the sexual desires of drowsy people”. So, if you’re looking to spice up your next meal, look no further than this feisty leafy green.
1 cup chopped, about 2 ounces, assorted lettuce (butter, red leaf, green leaf)
2 cups (2 ounces) arugula
1/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium pot warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until tender and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and the stock. Bring the stock to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer, covered, until the potatoes are almost tender, about 20 minutes. Add the arugula and lettuce to the pot and continue simmering, uncovered until the greens are tender, another 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and greens to a blender. Pour in enough of the stock to cover the vegetables. Add the cream, salt, and pepper.
Pour the soup into 4 serving bowls. Top each soup with 1/2-ounce sliced goat cheese. Serve immediately.
Now for something entirely different:
Our first 2013 attempt at a new vegetable that can be grown early in the year – Hon Tsai Tai.
To eat, trim the bottom of the stems if you don’t want your greens too chewy, chop into 1-2″ pieces (save the flowers for a garnish. Sauté with garlic, chilies, ginger, soy sauce or any of your other favorites.
Please let us know whether you like it. Bunches are 8 oz in this week’s SIMPLE box.
Each week Annie gathers flowers from all around the farm. Mixing and matching, she makes simple bunches for your home or for you to share with friends. The flowers will brighten any room or table for many days as Annie put a lot of effort into caring for the flowers after harvest. Stop by and see what is new each week. We only make up a few bunches. You can order ahead on TinyFarmMarket.com to insure that a bunch is available when you get to market. The prices are very reasonable.
After the January farm conference in Little Rock, Annie decided to trial some summer flowers using Tiny Farms techniques of transplant growing. She planted in a hoop house, in a raised bed and in one of our fields. With the mild March both Zinnias and Marigolds are blooming in all three locations, along with our usual Spring flowers like Peonies and Iris. Annie is bringing some to Durham Saturday. to decorate the table,with a few for sale. (Annie will also bring a few pints of her special patch strawberries (in our backyard) – alway picked red. Try them with the arugula… awesome.)