Category: Featured Produce

Radishes

Radishes

Radishes are the root of a plant closely related to mustard (hence their bite).  They come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors and are generally used as a garnish or salad ingredient because of their mild-to-peppery flavor.  When cooked, they have a delicate flavor similar to that of white salad turnips.  They can be cooked whole or thinly sliced, steamed with a bit of water (or vegetable stock) and butter.  I’ve even seen a recipe for glazed whole radishes with a bit of brown sugar and butter. (more…)

Ground Cherries

Ground Cherries

Ground cherries  (aka goldenberries, husk tomatoes, or cape gooseberries) are one of the fun, unique items that you learn about when you join our CSA.  These small fruit are in the tomato family and have a paper wrapper similar to a tomatillo.  They are very sweet and have an interesting flavor, nutty and a bit of pineapple.  (more…)

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard, along with kale, mustard greens, and collard greens, is one of several leafy, green vegetables often referred to as “greens.”  It belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile.  Chard is a tall, leafy vegetable with a thick, crunchy stalk (akin to celery but less stringy) that comes in white, red, or yellow, with wide, fan-like, ruffled leaves that are similar to spinach but chewier.  Regardless of the stalks’ color, they have similar flavors and cooking properties, although the white stalks are most tender.  Very tender leaves can be added directly to green salads. (more…)

Blue Potatoes

Blue Potatoes

Because of their color, blue potatoes add a unique flair to everyday cuisine.  In their native land of South America, they are often used in conjunction with herbs and spices to make salads and potato cakes, or they get sliced up, dried and eaten as they are.  (more…)

Yacon

Yacon

Easy to grow and store, high-yielding, supernutritious and crunchy like an apple, yacon root (pronounced ya-kon) is one of the many “new” vegetables coming to us from South America.  In reality, this fruitlike vegetable has been cultivated throughout the Andes for more than a millennium.  South Americans eat it as a fruit; they also use the huge leaves to wrap foods during cooking, in the same way cabbage leaves are used in Germany, grape leaves in the Mideast and banana leaves in the tropics.  Only recently – thanks to some adventurous green thumbs – have North Americans begun to see yacon in produce markets. (more…)

Tomatillos

Tomatillos

Tomatillos are also called “tomate verde” in Mexico (which means green tomato) and are considered a staple in Mexican cooking.  They are a member of the nightshade family, related to tomatoes.  Tomatillos now grow everywhere in the Western Hemisphere and are common in Texas gardens.

Tomatillos can range in size from about an inch in diameter to the size of apricots.  They are covered by a papery husk which may range from the pale green or purple color of the fruit itself to a light grocery-bag brown.  Before using tomatillos, remove the outer inedible husks, and rinse well, as the fruit is covered in a sticky wax.  They are very easy to cook because they don’t need to be peeled or seeded.  Their texture is firm when raw, but soften when cooked.   (more…)

Winter Veggies

Protecting the Stock-Up

Now that you have your stock-up share, how do you keep it edible if you don’t want to refrigerate everything? If you don’t have a root cellar, and my guess is few of us have one, can you leave it all in the garage or is it safer in the basement? (more…)

Heirloom Vegetables

Heirloom Vegetables

Farmer John loves to experiment with heirloom vegetables and we get to enjoy the results!  But what exactly is an “heirloom” vegetable, and how does it differ from a “regular” vegetable? According to Wikipedia, “An heirloom vegetable is a cultivar that was commonly grown during earlier periods in human history, but which is not used in modern large-scale agriculture. Many heirloom vegetables have kept their traits through open pollination, while fruit varieties such as apples have been propagated over the centuries through grafts and cuttings.” (more…)

Sunchokes

Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Sunchokes)

Sunchokes, of the sunflower family, are native to North America where the natives called them “sun roots” before European settlers arrived. Samuel Champlain, a French explorer found them in Cape Cod in 1605 and pronounced them similar in taste to artichokes. But why “Jerusalem artichokes”? They don’t come from Jerusalem nor do they look like artichokes. There are a few theories: when first discovered people started calling them “girasole” (or flower that turns looking for the sun) which eventually became “Jerusalem”. Another possibility is that as sunchokes became the staple food of the first European pilgrims in North American soil they named it as food for the “new Jerusalem”. (more…)

Rutabagas

Rutabagas

Rutabagas are only called rutabagas in the U.S. Throughout the rest of the world, they’re known as swedes. This ordinary root vegetable is thought to have originated in Bohemia in the 17th century as a hybrid between the turnip and wild cabbage.

Members of the cabbage family, rutabagas are often confused with turnips, although there are noticeable differences. Rutabagas are larger, part white and part purple, with creamy orange flesh and ribs near the stem, and with a nutty, sweet flavor when roasted. Meanwhile, turnips are white with a purple-red top and a peppery taste. (more…)