“Hey, uh, have you ever heard of something called the tarnished plant bug?” I asked. The farmer squinted at me. “It’s on our fava beans,” I volunteered, searching for a hint of recognition in her eyes. She paused. “Is it like a bean beetle, like the Mexican bean beetle?” she asked. “We get those around here.” “No, we looked it up,” I said. It, uh…it seems to suck the juice right out of the fava leaves. “And it likes weeds.” I recalled the way the beetle had made swiss cheese out of the lamb’s quarters weeds that grow between our beans. “Hmmm,” she said, cocking her head and regarding me skeptically. She had expected me at her farm just to pick up produce, but suddenly I had recruited her for an impromptu class in pest management. “Well,” she finally said, “you may want to consider leaving some of those weeds there, if that’s what they feed on. If you pull them out, they’ll probably go straight for your crop. Of course you have to pull the weeds when they get too thick, but maybe leave what you can for the beetle,” she said.
Alas, it seemed that we here at Fresh and Wyld were the first in the North Fork Valley to contend with the little-known tarnished plant bug. I thanked the farmer and, driving home, I considered her advice. It was yet another example of the impossible balance that farming requires: plant seeds deep enough, but not too deep. Water just enough, but not too much. Control your weeds, but leave a few for the bugs to munch on.
Don’t forget to order your extras from our website to go with this week’s produce box! We just received a shipment of artisanal cheeses from James Ranch in Durango, and are offering the Leydon and Belford cheeses for sale. And as usual, we have raw honey from Austin Family Farm, lamb from Bad Rabbit Farm, buffalo from High Wire Ranch, cheese from Avalanche dairy and a plethora of other products, including coffee, granola, milk and more. You have until Tuesday, June 28th at 9 am to get your orders in on our website! Fire away.
Our farmers have been walking the tightrope for yet another week: here is a selection of what we’re bringing you on Wednesday:
- Rain Crow will supply lots of Braising Greens, Turnips or Radish & Salad Mix
- Cobblestone will bring on the first Garlic of the year, yay! It’s called Sonoran
- Abundant Life will give us Arugula and Heads of lettuce again, I sure enjoyed it last week.
- Fresh & Wyld and Small Potatoes will be picking Peas for sure.
- Head Lettuce will come from Rendezvous Farm.
- Some of you will get a log of Avalanche Chevre and some of you will get Eggs this week, in lieu of something fresh from the Garden. We are still struggling a little with yields and a slow start this summer, but we have other seasonal grub to offer like cheese and eggs.
- Some other goodies will make it in there, we haven’t heard from all of our Growers yet. Chances are very good it will be green!
A couple of notes: first, this weekend Paonia will play host to the 65th annual Cherry Days festival. The festival, which runs from Friday, July 1st through Monday, July 4th, will feature food, music, dancing, and an Independence Day parade on Monday. Other highlights include the “Paonia’s Got Talent” talent show on Friday night, and the Top Chef cherry Cook-off on Saturday. We hope you’ll come over and join us; a full schedule is on view here.
Have a good week.
Nelson Harvey and the Fresh and Wyld Crew
This Week’s Recipes, from Sous Chef Caroline Glover
1.) Herb Dip
I made this dip/dressing this week and have been snacking on it throughout the days. With carrots, peas, radishes, and turnips in abundance- this dip is great to have on hand for in-between meals!
Ingredients: 2 cups creme fraiche (can substitute plain yogurt), 2 Tbsp buttermilk,1 tsp lemon juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp fresh dill, chopped,1 tsp thyme, chopped,1 tsp oregano, chopped, 2 tsp chives, sliced thinly,1 clove garlic, smashed to a paste, salt and pepper to taste
Whisk together creme fraiche, buttermilk, lemon juice, and olive oil.
Add in chopped herbs and garlic paste ( you may use any combination of chopped herbs, these particular four go well together).
Mix well and season with salt and pepper. May be served immediately or refrigerate before use.
2.) Pickling Brine
Tis’ the season to break out the ball jars and start preserving for the long winter! This recipe works well with beets, carrots, and any other spring root vegetable.
Ingredients: 5 cups distilled vinegar, 2 cups salt, 4 cloves garlic, 1 bunch fresh dill, washed, 2 Tbsp coriander, whole, 3 Tbsp mustard seeds
Combine all ingredients into a heavy bottom pot and bring to a boil. Let boil for about two minutes, until salt is fully dissolved. Pour over vegetables in sanitized jars and tightly attach lids. Dunk jars into a pot of boiling water for 3 minutes and carefully remove with canning tongs. Let jars sit out at room temperature- in 2-3 weeks the vegetable should be fully pickled. Enjoy this summer leave it in a cabinet for a winter treat!
3.) Buttered Snap Peas with Mint
This is my favorite and most simple way to prepare spring’s first showing of sugar snap peas!
Ingredients: 2 cups sugar snap peas, 1/2 cup butter, 1/4 cup water,1/5 cup fresh mint, torn in small pieces, salt and pepper to taste.
Wash peas and remove string by snapping off one end and pulling string.
In a small pot on medium heat add butter and water. Bring the two to a simmer- this should create an emulsion. If the sauce is “splitting” add a bit more water at a time until the two come together.
Place peas in the butter sauce and toss to coat (while still on medium heat). Season with salt and pepper. After the peas are coated remove from heat and add in mint just before serving (adding mint on the heat will cause it to turn black).