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From the Garden this Week…

From the Garden this Week…

Parsnips, Kale, Broccoli or Cauliflower or Cabbage or Swiss Chard, Spring Garlic, Bok Choy, Rosemary, Cilantro, Radishes, Lettuce Heads, Lemon Balm and Oranges

Coming Soon… Beets, Snap Peas and Fava Beans

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

Parsnips are a root vegetable related to carrots and celery.  We have them coming this week.  We plant them in the fall and they take several months to be ready to harvest.  Unfortunately, due to our hot dry fall, we had a hard time getting the seeds to germinate in the ground, so we won’t have a lot of them this year.  I like to cook parsnips just like you would a potato.  You can roast, fry or boil them.  They are good mashed with other vegetables.  They have a sweet, aromatic scent and work well when paired with other strong flavors.  I have a recipe here with a southwest feel including cumin and cilantro.  If you want something different, I would use rosemary and garlic. 

Roasted Parsnips with Cumin and Cilantro

2-3 parsnips, peeled and chopped, remove the woody center of any large parsnip

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt 

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the parsnips with the oil, salt, pepper and ground cumin.  Place on a rimmed baking sheets and cook in the oven until lightly browned and tender, about 30-35 minutes.  While the vegetables are cooking, chop the cilantro.  Remove the parsnips from the oven and sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

Meet Volunteer Jenny Russell…

How did you begin an interest in gardening?   I’ve always loved gardening and when my dear friend, Wendy, told me about the garden, I had to come.       Where were you born, go to school and or grow up? I was born in Palo Alto and grew up in Danville, before going to Fresno state and the University of Heidelberg, West Germany - majoring in German literature. Then I returned home and went to Merced College to complete a business minor and learn to speak English correctly again.  What drew you to our volunteer in Charitable Garden, when did you start  and what keeps you passionate about our work? I love being out in the garden. It changes daily so there’s always something new. God’s bounty is amazing.                 Who do you call family? My husband, Dave, and I have 2 kids that both got married last summer. Crazy but fun! What is something interesting about you that others might not know.... After the kids went off to college, we started hosting Modesto Nuts baseball players. All have been international players except one who was from Puerto Rico and English is his 2nd language. It’s great to be able to give them a little taste of home when they are so far away. Hopefully, they’ll get to play again soon.

Is there something else you want to share?  I am a quilter.  I started quilting in high school and then picked it up again to help with class projects when the kids were in school.  

Green Garlic…

Garlic cloves are planted in the fall.  The garlic clove sends out a shoot that is shown in the picture below and the bulb forms underground. In the spring you can harvest the garlic and use it like an onion because of its mild flavor.  This is usually called “green” garlic, because it is immature.  I like to sauté it mixed with any other vegetable or use it just like an onion. Put it in the pan first to cook it a little longer and bring out the sweetness.

Sautéed Greens with Green Garlic

6-8 cups chopped kale and bok choy

1 stalk green garlic

sprinkle of red chili flakes

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

salt and pepper

lemon juice

Wash the chopped greens in a bowl of water, let any dirt settle to the bottom and pull the greens out of the water and let drain, they do not need to be dry.  In a large sauté pan with a lid, heat the garlic, chili flakes and butter over medium-high heat, until the garlic softens about 3 minutes.  Add the wet greens, salt and pepper.  Cover with the lid and cook for about 2 minutes.  Remove the lid and stir the greens and cook until any liquid has evaporated.  Sprinkle with a squeeze of fresh lemon or balsamic vinegar.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul . . . by Ronda May Melendez

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin…”                                                                                                          -- Matthew 6:28a

Well folks, we don’t have lilies here at the garden (that I am aware of), but we have beautiful beds of lettuce…and the Lord seems to use the flora that is available when He chooses to speak.

Let’s take for instance lettuce.  Weeding lettuce is an intricate business. One can’t just jump in and start pulling. Well, I guess they can, but it would prove most unprofitable. It is important to be willing to separate the leaves and look for the weed; then, gingerly, following the body of the weed to its root, we pull it out of the soil. I noted as I worked, that not once, not even one time, did the lettuce cry out and shout at the invasiveness of the weeds. It was not lamenting. It was not languishing. No. It was doing what lettuce does…it was growing. It struck me that God was fully aware that the weeds were not good for the long-term thriving of the lettuce. Afterall, He sent me with a heart to remove them!  He provided what was needed at the right time and the lettuce did not become a complaining and bitter hearted lettuce. One could argue that instead, the lettuce waited in hope, worshipping the One who created it.  God sent a reprieve at exactly the right time and the lettuce was being exactly what it was created to be.  I wonder… Are we in the same restful, worshipful place? Do we trust that in due time, the removal of our thorn (or weed) will come? Can we worship as we wait without spinning, toiling or complaining and being faint of heart?


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