From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - June 8, 2023
From the Garden this Week… Potatoes, Red Onions, Green Onions, Cucumber, Garlic Scapes, Colorful Carrots, Assorted Beets, Kale, Chard, Green Romaine & Purple and Green Salanova Lettuces, Basil, Oregano, Flat & Curly leaf Parsley, Calendula & Borage Flowers, Lemon, Apricots & Cherries
Using Your Produce… by Julie Moreno
The onions are here. The ubiquitous vegetable of the culinary world. Many recipes, including mine, start out with sautéing an onion in a little fat. This simple starting point mellows the sulfur compounds, makes the sugar noticeable, and begins the browning that enhances almost any dish. Onions live in piles at the grocery stores and on counters at home. All onions come out of the ground once a year in the late spring, but the remaining portion of the year they come out of storage. Right now, we recommend storing the onions in the fridge until you are ready to use them. Keep them in a sealed bag or container so that their aroma doesn’t permeate your fridge. We will cure some of our harvest by drying them in the summer heat, so we have them through the summer months, and these will last longer on the counter. I included a recipe for caramelized onions. Use the caramelized onions as a condiment on chicken, a burger or steak, or even baked beans. Enjoy them topping a piece of sourdough toast or bake puff pastry sheets topped with the caramelized onions and bleu or goat cheese. If you use butter, make sure you are serving the onions warm. After cooking and cooling the onions, the butter will be noticeable when cold.
2-3 large onions (red, white, or
yellow doesn't matter)
2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1 teaspoon dried thyme
¼ cup dry white wine or dry
sherry or water
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
Slice the onions lengthwise, from the root to tip. In a large pot, cook the onions with the oil or butter over medium-low heat, until the onions are brown, about 45-60 minutes. (Occasionally add a little water, if necessary, to keep from burning.) Add the thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Scrape the bottom of the pan and cook until the wine is nearly evaporated. Let the onions cool or refrigerate for up to one week.
2023 WCG Salsa Taste-Off Invitational
Chanting “All work and no play makes WCG a dull farm,” our gardeners began training for the upcoming 2023 WCG Salsa Taste-Off Invitational. The theme “You Can’t Handle the Heat!” was approved unanimously and the gauntlet was thrown down! (Actually, it was just a gardening glove, but it was heavy duty leather, and it was hurled vigorously.) Competition Requirements: Salsa must be made from certified WCG produce. Borrowing and twisting a Roundtable Pizza ad slogan, these will be “The Last Honest Salsas!”
Chioggia Beets and Colorful Carrots
This week the Chioggia beets have sized up well, and we will send them out with our colored carrots. When you slice and roast the Chioggia beets, they will keep their white and pink rings. When you roast them whole, the pink color bleeds together. The beets and carrots will make a bright dish. Serve on their own or let cool slightly and add to the lettuce greens to enhance a salad.
Honey Roasted Beets
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon oil
fresh ground black pepper
* Preheat the oven to 425° F. Remove the greens from the beets and reserve for another use. (You can combine the greens with your Swiss chard.) Peel the beets or just scrub well. Slice beets into half from top to tip, and then place the flat side on a cutting board and slice into half-moon shapes. Slice the carrots into rounds. Toss the beets and carrot slices in a large bowl with the honey, salt, pepper, and oil. Place them in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until tender.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…
A Bug Is a Bug Is NOT a Bug
by Ronda May Melendez
& Keith F Martin
The cruciferous vegetable season is drawing to close, and the broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages are now flowering and drawing insects. Yep, you’ve got it – BUGS! Memory reflexively recalls the bad bugs – harmful pests that infest a plant’s leaves and destroy those photosynthesizing arrays that transform light into energy, food, and life. We forget, though, there are good bugs – pollinators (bees) and predators (praying mantis) that snack on bad bugs. Beneficial bugs help propagate plants or patrol the garden’s grounds. So not all bugs are created equal, or a bug is a bug is not a bug! Some promote health; others destroy it. Correctly identifying good and bad bugs and recognizing what makes them thrive is vitally important to the health and harvest of the garden.
Flowering purple broccoli and fragrant cilantro draw good bugs, such as lacewings, which prey on aphids and mites whose toxic waste (“bug do”) cause plant leaves to curl and dry out. Lacewing snacking habits are a beautiful thing, and we are grateful for them. There are, however, nasty bugs that gardeners draw through poor agrarian practices. Not long ago I was in the fields harvesting produce and removing damaged leaves from the plants. I first gathered the desirable crop and then stripped the undesirable leaves and cast them to the ground between the rows. Master gardener Heidi quietly observed my self-satisfied efficiency – picking and plucking concurrently - and then casually mentioned that the damaged leaves would draw destructive interlopers, such as snails or slugs, to our crops. However chagrined, I was grateful for her lesson. My thoughtless practices were leaving a trail of tasty appetizers leading across a barren furrow up to another ridge row hosting a delicious garden buffet!
Lessons on bug life have been crawling through my mind all week. How often do we recall something that “bugs” us and reflexively deem it “bad” instead of becoming curious about its nature or our behaviors that draw it to us? Are the “bugs” pollinators, predators, or polluters? How might we best manage the “bugs” contributing to the cultivation or destruction of life across our mental, emotional, and relational landscapes? Both Recognition and understanding - getting to know our “bugs” – go a long way to support our well-being and promote our thriving.
“But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice
have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”