It isn’t an easy summer to be a plant – or someone trying to grow plants. All the trees around town look tired and soft, like a sweaty brochure being used as a fan. Janaki is spending his time running irrigation around to keep vegetables alive in their turn, constant triage ensuring that every crop has what it needs. There are around 42 fields now, some quite large. Wow, I had never counted. No wonder I still get “lost” with the field numbers.
There is something daunting about the weather this year. It’s not a good rain year. Last year wasn’t a good rain year, nor particularly snowy. Who can say if this is a trend, but who can say what a trend is other than unusual and more intense. It feels unsettling to know that the rest of my life will be marked by these changes. Perhaps some more “normal” feeling seasons or years will still happen- but I fear for more winters with little snow (what is the point of winter if there is no snow!?) and more growing seasons that are hot and dry. And what all will that change? In my life time will pine trees become more rare, will more invasive pests and plants make their way north, will all the ash trees die? Probably. Maybe I’ll find myself accepting change and growing a patch of lavender in my 70s. Or maybe I’ll move somewhere I can still ski.
Going down either an emotional or intellectual rabbit hole of climate worry will drive anyone insane after a while. Beyond my worry is grief, which is easier to be with than worry in the long term, but still not easy.
The other day I found myself thinking how hard it would be to plan and build for these changes we see. From air conditioning in schools to making changes to river banks – a lot could get done and some of it is a guessing game.
On the farm Janaki is continually making those guesses as well as he can in an attempt to mitigate risk and maintain some level of sanity in our work. We can’t make it rain, but he is in the market for a more sustainable and efficient irrigation system. And when (not if) the 5 inches of rain in a weekend fall, he has drain-tile now throughout the fields, to give the water somewhere to go instead of sitting and rotting carrots. We use refrigeration in the root cellar now, instead of solely relying on cold fall air to cool the old cellar for winter storage. Many changes in the past 8 seasons I have known the farm – and many of them just in time. We’re trying, folks. Thanks for coming with us on the journey.
For the farm crew,
In your share this week:
Broccoli – Carrots – Cucumbers – Lettuce – Green Onions – Peas – Tomatoes
Carrot and White Bean Burgers
From The Smitten Kitchen
- Olive oil
- 1/2 cup panko-style breadcrumbs
- 3 shallots, or 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 cup packed grated carrot (from 2 medium carrots)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Two 15-ounce cans cannellini or other white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Burger accompaniments, as you like
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. Add the panko and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer crumbs to a large bowl, then return the pan to the heat.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet, followed by the shallot or onion. Cook until softened and lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, salt, and carrots and stir frequently until the carrots are soft and a bit blistered, another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the vinegar, scraping up all the browned bits until the pan is dry. Remove from heat and add the bowl with the toasted panko. Add beans and use a wooden spoon or spatula to very coarsely mash the mixture until a bit pasty and the mixture coheres in places—there should still be plenty of beans intact. Add pepper, and more salt if needed, to aste. Stir in the egg. Shape into 6 patties (I used a 1/2 cup measure as a scoop) for the size burger you see here; 4 patties for really large burgers (to warn, I found this size a little unwieldy), or 8 to 10 for slider-size.
To cook the veggie burgers, heat a thin layer of olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat and carefully cook until browned and slightly firm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes per side. It may be necessary to cook in batches. Serve hot or at room temperature, with whatever you like on or with veggie burgers.
Quinoa Broccoli Salad
From Cookie and Kate
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ cup slivered or sliced almonds
- 1 ½ pounds broccoli (about 2 large or 3 medium heads)
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons smooth Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or more lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 medium cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Red pepper flakes, optional (for heat)
- To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 1 ½ cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently simmer the quinoa until it has absorbed all of the water. Remove the quinoa from heat, cover the pot and let it rest for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, toast the almonds: In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently, until they are fragrant and starting to turn golden on the edges, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large serving bowl to cool.
- To prepare the broccoli slice the florets off the stems into manageable pieces. Feed the broccoli florets through your food processor using the slicing blade, then switch to the grating blade to shred the stems. Alternatively, you can shred the broccoli with a mandoline or by hand with a sharp knife.
- Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a liquid measuring cup and whisk until emulsified. The dressing should be pleasantly tangy and pack a punch. If it’s overwhelmingly acidic, add a little more honey to balance out the flavors. If it needs more kick, add a bit more mustard or lemon juice.
- Add the shredded broccoli slaw, cooked quinoa and chopped basil to your large serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the mixture and toss until well mixed. Let the slaw rest for about 20 minutes to let the flavors meld.