July Updates and Kimchi Love

There it is again. That lull in the blog that signifies July has approached and arrived.

market stand market harvest

Our veggies are thriving (even the ones amidst the weeds), and our perennial herb beds are just so, so happy. It’s been so lovely to have such positive feedback from CSA returners and new folks. Lots of positive vibes, lots of indicators that each year is getting better as far as our organization and the growing as a whole. Super. Stoked.

But challenges arise, as they do. Last week Mama Wagner and I were picking berries and she rolled her ankle in a groundhog hole – hairline fracture, in a boot for six weeks. She is taking it like a champ and has become thoroughly adept at using a rolly chair to get around the house (how I wanted to have a photo here, but she adamantly refused), but without my full-time Greenhouse Visionary and Field Co-Pilot, it’s been hard to tackle the harvest and manage the weed pressure. But I’ve had some awesome friends and volunteers stop by over the last couple weeks to help out, and looks like some more are heading out. So thank you for the good energy and all the help, all of you.

There he is, ladies and gent. Mista LaVergne, farmhand, cook and poet extraordinaire.

There he is, ladies and gent. Mista LaVergne, farmhand, cook and poet extraordinaire.

Even before this added development, I was fortunate to snag some BoyHouse reunion time (circle back to the 2012 segment of this blog, for those of you unfamiliar with that name), and Matthew came up to stay for a couple nights and string tomatoes, weed, dig potatoes, pick for the CSA, cook delicious, amazing food and reminisce about Keith’s Farm. The feeling of having someone in the field who knows what they are doing to this extent was so…relieving. Reassuring. Exciting. For the first time in about ever, I started to consider what it might feel like to not be Solo Lady Farming on the regular.

The pallet garden at the Student Leadership Academy Charter School is growing like wild. We pulled out the bolted spinach and look forward to putting in some ground cherries and more unusual growers for the kids to return to.

SLACS

And I try out a little transition of my own. I’m trying to steer my weekday market toward the end goal, which is Crooked Row: CSA and Herb Farm. We’re bumping up the teas and herbs at Rittenhouse, and I’m hoping to have a little Herbology flyer to hand out for folks who don’t know exactly how to use fresh herbs.

herbs

Market Sign

In most exciting news, my friend and market regular Adam Zolkover (of the Twice Cooked blog, which I highly recommend), has created this really spectacular Scape-based Kimchi Recipe for you to check out. The scapes are big and just about finished, but this may inspire you to grab the last of the lot. It’s here below, and in our Crooked Recipes section!

Kimchi with Garlic Scapes – by Adam D. Zolkover

3 Small heads Napa Cabbage, cut into squares
1 bunch Garlic Scapes, washed and sliced
1 bunch Scallions, washed and chopped
1 inch Ginger, peeled
3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled
1/2 cup Korean Red Pepper Powder
1/2 cup Fish Sauce
1/4 cup Kosher Salt
2 tsp Granulated Sugar

Core the napa cabbage, cut it into squares, and then wash thoroughly.  It tends to collect a fair amount of dirt, and you don’t necessarily want that in your ferment.

To a large bowl, add the cabbage and the salt.  Toss, and then leave it for 1-2 hours.  Over that time, you’ll see that the cabbage gives up a fair amount of water and begins to wilt.  You want this.  It will keep the kimchi crunchy later.

While the cabbage is wilting, add the ginger and garlic to a food processor and chop finely.  Then add the pepper powder, fish sauce and ganulated sugar and blend the whole thing into a paste.

When the cabbage is done, rince off all the salt and add it to a large bowl with the scapes and the scallions.  Add the spice paste and mix the whole thing well, making sure that the vegetables are all thoroughy covered.

Carefully pack the mixture into clean glass jars, cover them loosely (I like plastic tops, screwed on half way), and allow the kimchi to ferment in relative darkness for four to five days (until it has soured to your taste) and then move to the refrigerator.  This recipe should make 1-2 quarts.

When loading the jars, I would recommend packing them tightly but not all the way to the top.  Tight packing will prevent mold, and leaving some headroom will prevent spillage as the kimchi ferments.  I would also recommend stirring and compacting your kimchi at least once a day.

It looks like this recipe calls for an awful lot of pepper powder, but it’s not actually that hot.  I would strongly recommend not reducing it.

scapes kimchi adam

And there you have it, folks! One of the rarely-sighted July updates! I’ll try for more soon, but no promises.

Hugs and Rainy Harvests,

Liz

matthew takes my picture

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