From Wellspring Charitable Gardens this Week - November 10, 2022
From the Garden this Week… Napa Cabbage, Radishes, Eggplant, Carrots, Salad Turnips, Rutabaga, Sweet “Lunch Box” Peppers, Green Tomatoes, Fennel, Arugula, Basil, Parsley, Tart Tangerines, Fuyu Persimmons, & Pomegranates
Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno
We have fennel coming this week. Fennel is related to carrots, celery, and parsley, but unlike those in many ways. It grows forming a bulb at the base of the plant, which is what we send out in our baskets. It can be eaten raw, typically shaved thin across the grain of the thick layer. Its flavor changes considerably when cooked. I like to slow cook it with onions, which brings out the sweetness. We are also harvesting Napa cabbage this week. A variation of the traditional European variety, Napa cabbage can be cooked, usually lightly sautéed, or its thin lettuce like leaves can be eaten raw in a salad. It is also the base ingredient in kimchi. Today’s fall salad uses our persimmons to add sweetness. You can make this salad ahead, and even though it will wilt slightly, the thicker ribs will remain crisp while you prepare the rest of the meal.
Fall Napa Cabbage Salad
½ cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon honey or sugar
1-2 Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced
1 small head Napa cabbage, shredded
2-3 radishes, thinly sliced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped basil
Freshly ground pepper
* Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small pan or pie plate, toast the almonds for 5 minutes, until they are light brown. Let cool. In a large mixing bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, salt, honey, and persimmon. Add the cabbage, radishes, green onions, carrots, parsley, and basil and mix well. Add the almonds and season with pepper. Toss again and serve.
We are grateful, so grateful, for all of you - volunteers, subscribers, partners, and promoters of Wellspring Charitable Gardens, a community supported agriculture project. Your concern for the community and for your neighbors who need counseling is shown by your encouragement and in your faithful, generous support of WCG. We thank you all!
Thursday, November 24th, is Thanksgiving Day – a holy-day to gather and give Thanks to God for His goodness, His grace, and His blessings. So that we may celebrate with family and friends, we will NOT be harvesting and sending out produce Thanksgiving Day. Your purple produce bags filled with fresh WCG vegetables, fruit, and herbs will return December 1st!
Roasting vegetables at high heat in the oven works to caramelize the outer layer. Here are tips to remember. Make space between the pieces. You don’t want the vegetables squished together. Also, cut the vegetables into larger chunks. You want the outer layer to brown before the inside is over-cooked.
Maple Mustard Roasted Root Vegetables 1-2 rutabagas, peeled, 1-inch dice 2-4 salad turnips, quartered 2-3 carrots, peeled, cut into ½ inch thick slices 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 oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the turnips, rutabagas, and carrots 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 pan out of the oven and pour the maple mixture over the vegetables and stir. Return vegetables to oven for 1 minute to caramelize. Serve right away.
Metaphors of Soil and Soul…
Refreshing, Welcome Rains
by Ronda May Melendez
Glorious, long-awaited rain visited us this week and the garden plants have been drinking in this gift of life. During my weekly date with the weeds - I take my weeds out often - the beauty of droplets beading on glossy green leaves drew my attention. The water’s weight, though, seemed to imperil the plants’ ability to stand upright. Pulling weeds away from the beautiful vegetables, I was encouraged by the strength and health of their stalks, their support in the storm. I thought, “Wow, they have just had the dickens beaten out of them and they are not shouting against the heavens for the pummeling they have received! They are not beaten down to nothing from the relentless pressure. They are not quivering in fear of what may come.” They had received the gift delivered in a way that seems, on the face of it, an unbearable source of trouble.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I know a deluge can damage our precious plants. They struggle in the storm and become stressed, just as humans do. However, given that they live in a dry and thirsty land, they are receiving, not resisting, their precious gift. Rainwater is more nutrient rich than the irrigation water our plants receive. Air is 78% nitrogen, according to The Smarter Gardener Joshua Siskin, so as raindrops fall, they gather and deliver to earth nitrogen, a plants most important growth nutrient. Soil absorbs these fortified droplets and plant roots wick them into their system to support the growth of those healthy green leaves we so admire. Do they just look healthier? No, they are healthier! They have absorbed more than water; they have imbibed the vital nutrients needed to produce foliage that captures the light and warmth of the sun. Their glorious green glow shows they are thriving and preparing to bear fruit.
I ponder why we find ourselves so distressed by storms that may come our way. I don’t know about you, but there are times I find myself downright shaken by the mere thought. I fear dark, wind-driven clouds might be gathering on my horizon; I shudder at relentless rains that may require me to absorb more than I can mentally, physically, or emotionally endure. Then I wonder if I, like our plants, can endure the anticipated “pummeling” with a confident, quiet spirit and still welcome the rain - a God-given refreshment that delivers life-sustaining growth and strength and resilience. Perhaps I focus too much on the storm. Rain restores the arid, the weary, the nutrient-deprived in soil and soul. I can cry out like the Psalmist, “I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land.” (Psalm 143:6)