The cold snap finally let up and we’re hoping the past 10 days were the coldest we’ll see this winter. We may still see some snow but it’s the cold we don’t like. The crops were damaged some but nothing catastrophic. Some lettuce in the hoophouses got cold burned leaf tips and some stems on the kale have skin damage but that’s about it. The turnips got knocked out completely but they were on their way out anyhow.
We have had an exciting week which is why it’s taken so long to post. We finalized our rental agreement of a greenhouse in Fuquay-Varina and planted crops! We planted seeds of lettuce mesclun, endive, beets, turnips and swiss chard in raised beds. We should start harvesting at the end of February and it will be available through our online store. We will be planting a few more items such as radishes and broccoli raab as well.
Don’t forget to sign up for our CSA. We have many spaces open, please send us your sign up forms and deposits!
Our online store is still operating and will continue to operate until the end of March at the soonest. Next Tuesday, January 19th, we plan to have produce pickup at our house, 604 Sasser St., between 4pm to 7:30pm. The next NCSU delivery will be Wednesday, January 20th. Remember to have your orders placed by Monday evening.
During these cold winter months, please be aware the weather may postpone our harvest of your produce. In response to this, we may postpone pickups by a day or two. We will provide primary notice of pickup changes via email (especially for those of you who place orders) as well as via blog and online store. Thank you for being flexible with us!
Purchase of vegetables is made through our online store www.vendio.com/stores/bensproduce.
Current vegetable availability includes:
No longer offered:
Future winter vegetables may include:
mixed baby lettuce & greens
Baby beets have returned to our store and we also added a couple more varieties of lettuce. This is peak winter salad season…the lettuce tastes buttery with very little bitterness, the carrots taste out of this world and the cold is doing wonders for everything else. The cold transforms starches into sugars which translates into sweeter vegetables.
Here is a recipe for beet soup. Patrica made it this week with our fresh baby beets, it was amazing!
This recipe comes from The Complete Book of 400 Soups (ed. Anne Sheasby: p. 163)
Sweet and Sour Cabbage, Beetroot and Tomato Borscht
There are many variations to this classic Jewish soup, which may be served hot or cold. This version includes plentiful amounts of cabbage, tomatoes and potatoes.
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
4-6 raw or vacuum packed (cooked, not pickled) beetroot (beets), 3-4 diced and 1-2 coarsely grated
400g/14oz can tomatoes
4-6 new potatoes, cut into bite size pieces
1 small cabbage, thinly sliced
1 litre/1 ¾ pints/4 cups vegetable stock
45ml/3 tbsp sugar
30-45 ml/2-3 tbsp white wine, cider vinegar or sour salt (citric acid)
45ml/3 tbsp chopped fresh dill, plus extra to garnish
salt and ground black pepper
sour cream, to garnish
buttered rye bread, to serve
- Put the onion, carrot, diced beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage and stock in a large pan. Bring to boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Add the grated beetroot, sugar and wine, vinegar or sour salt to the soup and cook for 10 minutes. Taste for a good sweet-sour balance and add more sugar and/or vinegar if necessary. Season.
- Stir the chopped dill into the soup and ladle into warmed bowl with a generous spoonful of sour cream and more dill and serve with buttered rye bread.
Note: I didn’t use tomatoes. Instead, I opted for adding the beet greens near the end of the process (step 2 above). I love the taste of baby beet greens in my salad. Older beet greens are not as tender, but they are yummy in soup. I also did not use sugar. The beets and carrots from the farm are sweet enough for my taste to add the sugars to this soup. Finally, we did not have fresh dill, so I used dried dill. While fresh dill is always tastier than dried, the dried dill was a nice substitute.
See you soon,
Ben & Patricia