Every kindergartener learns the 3 thing plants need to grow are soil, sunshine, and water. This week I wanna talk to you about that last one. Water is arguably the most important factor that we have control over in the summertime when it comes to growing food. This season has been incredibly dry compared to Seattle averages, and it has certainly taken its toll.
The heavy rain and snow this winter stocked mountain glaciers, streams, and water reservoirs well enough to avoid the devastating drought conditions we’ve experienced the last 2 years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s enough water to go around. The lack of rain has meant that there’s not enough ground water for plants to draw on for even a couple of days, and we’ve lots a lot of crops this summer due to lack of water. We’re very thankful that our plots are able to receive water from Seattle’s city watershed: the Tolt and Cedar rivers. However, knowing when and how much to water is crucial. Watering early in the morning is best. We’ve got a drip irrigation system that runs on automatic timers so that we don’t have to visit each plot every day to water. Thank goodness!
Here’s what’s fresh this week:
-Baby lettuce mix
-Spicy salad mix
-French breakfast radishes
-Japanese salad turnips
-Baby bok choi
-Patty pan summer squash
-Red lasoda potatoes
-Pink Berkeley tie-dye tomatoes
-Japanese small eggplant
-Green bell peppers
Caffe Appassionatto 12oz whole bean Guatemalan
Veggie of the Week: Purslane!
Many people think of purslane as a weed, but this wild edible is actually delicious and nutritious. Rumored to be Gandhi’s favorite vegetable, purslane is super high in omega-3’s and can be added to salads, soups and smoothies. Check out this tasty soup recipe:
From Piri Piri Starfish by Tessa Kiros
(Makes about 1.75 litres / 61 fl oz / 7 cups
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
40g (1 1/2 oz) chourico or spicy sausage, cut into 2-3 slices
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 Tbsp white wine
600g (1 lb 5 oz) potatoes, peeled and halved
2-3 tsps coarse salt
85g (3oz / heaped 1/3 cup) parboiled variety of rice
125g (4 1/2 oz) purslane eaves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
juice of half a lemon
10 fresh mint leaves, to serve
Heat the oil and butter in a large stockpot and sauté the onion until softened and golden. Add the carrot and chourico and sauté for a while longer until it smells good, then add the garlic and cook until you can smell it.
Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated. Add the potato, salt and a couple of twists of pepper, turning it through with a wooden spoon and sautéing for a couple of minutes more. Add 1.5 litres (52 fl oz / 6 cups) of hot water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat slightly, cover the pot and cook at a high simmer for 20 minutes or so. Remove from the heat.
With a slotted spoon, scoop out the potatoes into a bowl. Take out the chourico slices (you can eat them while you work.) Purée the rest of the pot, which won’t seem much but will, funnily enough, take a while to purée until smooth. Mash the potatoes roughly in the bowl and leave on one side for now.
Add the rice to the pot and bring back to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to make sure it doesn’t stick. Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the purslane or watercress and mashed potatoes, bring back to the boil, then simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes or so until the rice is just cooked. (Not too soft as it will carry on cooking in the pot until you serve.) Stir the thickened pup every now and then to make sure it is not sticking. Stir in the cinnamon, to taste, and the lemon juice. Serve hot, with mint leaves on top.
See you at the farm stands this week!
Ellen and Ashley
Your City Grown Farmers