Fresh from Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - January 4, 2024
Fresh Today… Bok Choy, Heirloom Cauliflower, Heirloom Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Fennel, Green Onions, Carrots, Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, Lemon & Apple
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno.
Winter is the season for warming soups and rich roasted vegetables. I have to say that I don’t hesitate to sprinkle on extra cheese or add a splash of cream when my plate or bowl is full of vegetables. This week we have fennel, which can be a challenging vegetable with its licorice flavor when fresh. I suggest cooking it thoroughly instead of eating it raw, as it mellows the flavor considerably. If you’re having trouble getting the family to eat it, cook it in marinara sauce with an onion, before adding canned tomatoes and herbs, and serve over pasta. We are lucky to have so many cauliflower plants this year. Each plant takes up about 4 square feet of precious garden real estate, and when we cut the head, the plant will not produce any more, unlike broccoli, which we are able to harvest again after cutting the main head. This is my most favorite and easiest way to enjoy fresh cauliflower.
Italian Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place cauliflower florets in a large bowl and top with the oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and cheese; toss thoroughly. Pour the seasoned cauliflower out onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.
Gung Hay Bok Choy?!
Not the familiar Chinese New Year’s greeting, but it suits the work we do at WCG. We greet the new year and the return of the Chinese cabbage Bok Choy. The traditional Chinese New Year’s greeting – Gung Hay Fat Choy – literally means “Congratulations on Prospering in Money!” Loosely translated – or recklessly - our greeting says, “Congratulations on the Abundant Bok Choy!” Bok Choy is a tasty leafy green brassica that has flavors of spinach and water chestnut, a bit of sweetness, and sometimes mild notes of pepper. The green leaves are tender and yet crisp, and the white stalk has a celery-like crunch. It can be sauteed, steamed, chopped into soup or salad, or even grilled. Enjoy your Bok Choy and Happy New Year!
Kohlrabi is a cruciferous vegetable that was selected from wild cabbage for its large bulb. The bulb needs to be peeled to remove the fibrous outer layer. I suggest eating the bulb like you would broccoli; you can roast or steam it or cook it raw like in this marinated kohlrabi and carrot recipe.
Marinated Kohlrabi and Carrots
1 cup water
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup rice vinegar
2-4 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp salt
2 carrots julienned or shredded
1-2 kohlrabi bulbs, julienned or shredded
Combine the water, vinegars, sugar and salt. Stir well to dissolve. Pack the carrots and kohlrabi in a quart jar and pour the brine over the vegetables. Refrigerate and let marinate for about 24 hours before enjoying. Use as a topping on a sandwich, add to lettuce or enjoy as a small salad on its own.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…
by Ronda May Melendez & Keith F Martin
Walking through the garden resembles a walk through life. There is always something to see, something to learn, something to discover, and something to marvel at. Growing up around gardens, I recall my earliest and fondest childhood encounters with wonder occurred in gardens. Gardens are poignant reminders of the mystery and interconnectedness of life; they are sacred spaces where life and death work purposefully for nourishment, growth, and transformation.
Wandering the garden rows early, I see newly delivered mounds of brown compost piled beside colorful brassicas – purple broccoli and pink cauliflower, red cabbage and green kale. What a story the contrast reveals. The winter morning air is brisk, but the sun warmly smiles as if enjoying the incongruous images: decayed and discarded garden waste brought back to benefit life that is being nurtured and thriving. Compost – comprised mainly of dead vegetation - appears inert but is living and active. Worked deeply into the soil, the organic matter releases nutrients and active organisms that loosen and enliven the soil; both the dead and the living are essential catalysts for sustaining life in the garden.
Later, as I harvest sweet watermelon radishes from compost enriched rows, I reflect on our longings to be nourished and transformed. Like garden plants, we need to be rooted and well-tended, desire to be enveloped by rich nutrients, and yearn to thrive and become sweet and productive. At times, though, waste and weakness, death and decay appear to restrain our growth and hinder our vitality. Still, somehow, God purposefully transforms that which is spent or loss into nourishment that helps us ultimately to thrive.
Today in the garden I saw and was able to treasure that juxtaposition of active life and transformed waste. Life and death lay side by side, preparing to be joined for good. God wastes nothing. Rather, He transforms the waste and the want into wonders that enrich and sustain our lives.
“Now in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”