Here's another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Tropical Storm Elsa brushed by us on Friday afternoon, fortunately sparing us punishing winds but dumping heavy rain. Some local reports measured 4.5" (~11.5 cm). There was widespread flooding throughout our town, but being on high ground, we were spared that too. It was funny to drive around the lake and see people's docks under water.
For "first harvests," I have a little story. In my working days, I spent a lot of time on projects in the southern United States. I often frequented "Southern Barbecue" joints where they always served "greens" with the meal. I assumed they were collards, and also assumed they were mostly a southern crop like okra. But seeing our talented Harvest Monday host, Dave, having such success growing them, I decided to give it a try this year. So I bought some seeds for a hybrid variety, "Top Bunch 2.0." This week I cut the first leaves. I had intended to cut a few from each plant, but ended up cutting from only one. Don't worry, there's still many more to come. It looks to be a very productive crop, provided the plants stay healthy.
|Top Bunch 2.0 collards
I made a dish that night with them. The Ever-Helpful Kitchen Goddess instructed me to chiffonade them, which means stacking a few leaves at a time, rolling them like a cigar, then cutting into ribbons. Which I was going to do anyway, regardless of the term. I sauteed some spicy Italian sausage, and was going to wilt the collards in the remaining fat, but the sausage was so lean I had to add some olive oil. I cooked up a batch of our black beans from several years ago, added some of our frozen Arroz con Pollo seasoning peppers, our own garlic, and a bit of our own winter savory herb leaves, which not only adds wonderful flavor, but is said to be anti-flatulent too. Here's the result, which was delicious. Collards definitely have a place in my garden now.
|Collards with sausage and black beans
I'm not particularly fond of fennel, but I've started seeds in the past for TKG to plant in the community garden plot she shares with her mother. Mom goes home with them, but since TKG really loves fennel, I grew some to plant here at home for her. I cut the first bulb this week. Her favorite is a raw fennel and pear salad. The plants are very attractive, too.
|Orazio hybrid fennel
I cut the first head of "Imperial" hybrid broccoli. This came in several weeks after the early "Blue Wind" variety, but is said to be able to stand up well to summer heat.
|Imperial hybrid broccoli
|Blue Wind hybrid broccoli
I also cut another iceberg lettuce head, and picked from the salad mix rows.
|Left: iceberg lettuce, right: salad mixes