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From the Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - 3 February, 2022

From the Garden this Week… Cauliflower or Broccoli, Purple Top Turnips, White Salad Turnips, Rutabaga, Arugula, Celery, Kale, Spinach, Leaf Lettuce, Pink and White Grapefruit, Meyer Lemons, Blood and Navel Oranges

Coming Soon… More Carrots

Using Your Produce… By Julie Moreno

Turnips and rutabagas are the root vegetables of winter. They can take the place of potatoes in soups and stews and are great mashed with butter and cream. These vegetables are part of the cruciferous vegetable family with cabbage and broccoli and flourish in the cold as they store energy in their roots. Because of this they are naturally sweet, but they hide their sweetness under a bit of bitter. The recipe here adds maple syrup and mustard to compliment the flavors of the roots. I like roasting because it brings more texture and flavor to the vegetables from the caramelization that happens at high temperatures.

Maple Mustard Roasted Root Vegetables

1 purple top turnip, peeled,

medium dice

2 salad turnips, quartered

1 rutabaga, peeled, medium dice

1 sweet onion, peeled, medium dice

1-2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the turnips, rutabagas, and onions with the oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes, tossing once during cooking. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard and cider vinegar. Take the sheet pan out of the oven and pour the maple mixture over the vegetables. Stir the vegetables and return to the oven for 1 minute to caramelize. Serve right away.

The Beauty in Failure

Romanesco, a hybrid of cauliflower and broccoli, is an edible “flower” in the Brassica family, which also includes Brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage. Often called Broccolo Romanesco or Roman cauliflower, Romanesco has a slightly sweeter, nuttier, and earthier taste than cauliflower. It can be enjoyed raw, roasted, or steamed. More appealing to the eye, though, is its fractal structure, a spiral pattern displaying the Fibonacci sequence - a recursive series of numbers where each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers (e.g.: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, …). Continue the sequence, and the adjacent numbers approach the relational value of 1.618, which represents the Golden Mean of Euclid and Aristotle and the Divine Proportion of da Vinci. This ratio is considered the ideal relational aesthetic because it creates the most visually pleasing proportion of parts to each other and to their whole. Thus, a proportion displayed throughout nature (lily flower petals, sunflower seed heads, cherry tree branches and leaves, eggs, bee colonies, Nautilus shells, spiral galaxies, bodies, faces, DNA) became the hallmark for beauty in Classical Greek and Renaissance art and architecture. Romanesco derives its beauty from its persevering buds. Like all cauliflowers, Romanesco forms a bud that tries, but fails, to fully flower. These failed flowers sprout new buds to make new flowers, which also fail to fully form. On goes the cycle that creates Romanesco’s spiral floret pattern. Unparalleled beauty develops in its striving, not in its succeeding.

More Broccoli…

This is one of my family favorites, that is perfect to make ahead and keep in the fridge. I do share this recipe every year, but that’s because I think it is worth repeating. It is easy to make and uses all the parts of the plant.

Broccoli Salad

3 cups chopped raw broccoli, leaves, florets, and stems

(Peel the thick coarse stem pieces as needed.)

¼ cup chopped cooked bacon

¼ cup roasted sunflower seeds

¼ cup finely diced red onion

¼ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon vinegar, red or white wine or apple cider

vinegar (Balsamic not recommended)

1-2 teaspoons sugar (optional)

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before eating.

Metaphors of Soil and Soul… Amending by Ronda May Melendez

Big, tall, white piles of gypsum are popping up in valley orchards recently, signaling a need for the soil to be loosened. In the valley, it isn’t uncommon for certain environmental contributors to cause soil compaction. Soil compaction happens in heavily irrigated land and on lands where heavy equipment is used. Compaction restricts soil pore size (the space between soil particles) and prevents both water and essential minerals from accessing the plants full root system. Compaction also restricts root growth and interferes with necessary gas exchanges within the soil. The result is unhealthy vegetation and harvest yields far smaller than what capacity would be.

The solution is not a change of plants, but a change of environment. Amending the soil surrounding the plants with materials such as gypsum restores healthy space between soil particles. This, in turn, allows water, mineral, and gas exchanges to occur more freely, resulting in healthier plants and more fruit production.

Similar to the vegetation in our area, we sometimes need the soils of our lives to be amended. We experience what feels like emotional, mental, or spiritual compaction. Our interior soil has become so compressed that we no longer have space to move or breathe or absorb. We become arid. We suffocate. We wilt. We fall over. We fail to thrive. Our fruit is dwarfed, if produced at all. We feel ‘lucky’ if we simply survive.

When I find my life in this condition, I sometimes experience shame. Recently, however, the Lord has been inviting me not to feel shame, but to view the condition as an invitation for Him to join me in examining my heart and life, to amend with Him, and make space.


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