April 23 – Sunday Update

Bill is in the kitchen making breakfast of farm-fresh eggs with some goat cheese we froze last summer, and a few stalks of asparagus that didn’t notice we tilled up their bed to make room for carrots.

The land is really starting to turn green in a significant way. We’ve been rotating the sheep and goats through a couple different pastures now that there is enough food to keep them busy for a few days. No lambs yet (soon??), but the three goat kids are growing strong.

The main garden is still a bit bare. There are wee cold-tolerant plants (kale, beets, broccoli, lettuce) in a few rows, and many succession plantings of radishes. I hope the first ones will be ready for our first market on May 5! Today I’ll be planting even more radishes and beets, as well as transplanting onions and leeks.

Most of the exciting stuff is currently¬†contained in the greenhouse. Cabbages abound! We’ve been snacking on bok choi for a few weeks (it’s a healthy and yum addition to pizza, eggs, and stir fry, or a delicious side dish). We even have our very first tomato buds! There are only four tomato plants potted in the greenhouse, but as addicts, we’ll take whatever tomatoes we can get!

Finally, all our early potato varieties have been planted – about 150 pounds of seed! We’ve put in some old favorites like Red Norland, and are testing some new varieties as well.

 

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Radishes, Three ways

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Above (From left to right): French D’Avignon, White Icicle, and Belle radishes.

Radishes were developed in Asia, perhaps 2,000 years ago and are now found all over the world. There are so many interesting, and very different varieties for many different tastes. French D’Avignon radishes were developed in…any guesses… France! They are the most mild radish we grow and are perfect sliced thin and layered¬†on a slice of buttered toast (perhaps a baguette?) with a little bit of salt.

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Our belle radishes are the standby, round radish with pink (and sometimes white or purple) skin. A bit spicy! Round-type radishes have only been popular since the 1930s and 40s.

…which brings us to the White Icicle radishes (also called Lady Fingers, which is totally creepy)! This is my first year growing these heirlooms from the 1600s, and I love them! Many of our Farmers’ Market customers remember their moms growing this sort of radish when they were kids. Because of the warm weather, these Icicle radishes are a bit spicy – about on par with the belles. In our house, radishes are usually eaten in the garden and don’t often make it to the kitchen, but you can roast the Icicle radishes to bring out a little bit of sweetness.

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If you are less ravenous with radishes than we are here and want to keep them for a few days, simply remove their tops and store them in the fridge for up to a week. I submerge mine in a bowl of water, but a perforated bag in the crisper drawer will work too.

Radish season will be over in a few weeks! I hope you enjoy this ancient spicy vegetable while they last!