Thursday, June 16, 2011

Back to Work!

Yesterday was a strangely welcome rain day.  Not that we didn't need the rain - neither Warren or I were looking forward to watering the garden.  But the downtime gave us a chance to rest, and the cool gray weather was a perfect excuse for Warren to make pot pies with a home-grown chicken we had smoked the day before - delicious!

Of course, the best part of that downtime was forcing me to get off my butt and get this blog up, as well as finish online projects for the Grand Rapids Farmers Market.  As with our farm, the Market has a tight budget, but we're making the most of it with local grassroots campaigns.

Warren went to check out the garlic last night, and brought back samples of two varieties, Music, and Italian Purple, shown at the right.  At this stage, they look like thin leeks or giant green onions and is known as 'green garlic'.  Some farmers will plant green garlic specifically by taking the smaller gloves during planting in October and plant them very close and deeper in the soil, in the same fashion that you do with onion sets in the spring to make green onions.  In a larger market, green garlic could be a great spring crop, but in our small rural area, there's not a huge demand for it.  Too bad - it tasted fantastic minced in the pot pies!

Soon, our garlic will be sending up scapes, sterile curlicue flowers that we cut off to encourage bulb growth.  These scapes are another culinary treat overlooked by many.  They have a crisp texture, a beautiful shape, and a peppery garlicky flavor that is wonderful in stir-fries, omelettes, and pastas.  And they make a killer pesto pureed with olive oil, Parmesan and almonds or pine nuts.  Scape pesto, cream cheese and smoked lake trout anyone?

Kristi Neary, one of the vendors at the Grand Rapids Farmer's Market will be coming over for a large portion of the scapes - she quickly sold out of her pickled scapes last year.  They make a killer garnish for one of my favorite breakfast foods: Bloody Marys!

Scapes also freeze well, and provide a summery fresh zest to a cold winter day's soup or stew.  I know we will be sauteeing some up in butter to go with our baby fingerling potatoes soon.

Well, it's time to finish my last cup of coffee and get out there, drizzle or no.  Talk to ya soon.

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