It was a perfect summer morning; hot, but not too hot, a cooling breeze blowing at just the right interval to feel refreshing, and gorgeous, bountiful green vegetables waiting for me at Holland Farm on our first pickup day, which had been delayed one week because of slow growth due to unusually cool conditions.
It’s hard to see the different vegetables, since they’re all green and leafy, but there’s a spicy salad mix, kale, two huge bok choy, some arugula, scallions, radishes, parsley and peas, which it was a perfect morning to pick myself.
This is what a pea pod looks like when it’s ready to be picked; it looks and feels full and swollen with peas, and the pod is still smooth and succulent, not dried out looking. Dried, wrinkly-looking pea pods contain peas that have gone past their explosive sweetness, and have turned starchy and bland, which is nature’s first step of turning them into seeds for more peas.
It was also a perfect morning for picking strawberries, which I did before I went to our CSA. Here’s what 7 1/2 pounds of freshly picked strawberries looks like.
It only took me about an hour to pick these. I hope to go back a couple more times before the short strawberry season passes us by. I freeze as many as I can for winter eating, but I don’t freeze them all, or I’d risk open rebellion here at the House. We’ve been eating strawberries for breakfast, snacks, on salads, and of course over cake with whipped cream.
We’ve already had a couple of crisp, spicy salads with dinner this week, and half of the peas joined the lamb and potatoes I cooked for last night’s dinner, tossed with some fresh mint from my own herb garden. The mint added just the right touch of bright flavor to what would have otherwise been a very earthy dish. Plus, mint goes so well with both lamb and peas that I knew it was the way to go.
There’s a stirfry in store for tonight, using one of those big bok choy and some dried mushrooms from the pantry, and a bit of pork left over from a pork roast I cut into chops. This bit didn’t quite come off the roast as a chop, but it’s enough to cut up small for stirfry. I have a glut of scallions right now, as well, so they will be joining the stirfry party.
The Farmers’ Markets are all open here, too, and I have leeks, beets and greens, and handmade goat cheese to play with, as well as freshly baked focaccia and some of the most flavorful, tender pork we’ve ever eaten. I’ll tell you what, this winter was tougher than usual around here, but the bounty of fresh meats, fruits and vegetables already available, with more yet to come, just might be our reward for getting to the other side. In hindsight, it was totally worth it. See you again soon.