Ready For A Spring Fling?
Freshly Harvested Seasonal Goodness
Posted by Drew
SUGAR SNAP PEAS
Sugar Snap Peas are not a shelling pea. Disappointed? We aren’t. We think that snacks don’t get much better than this. They are an edible-pod cross between a snow pea and an English pea so you can crunch the whole thing - pod, pea and all. It’s preferred by most to pull back the little stem, ‘unzip’ the pod, then crunch away! The pod is delicious and so are the tiny peas nestled inside. We like to let our peas get real plump before we pick ‘em off the vine, since that’s when the have the most sweetness. In our opinion, this is the best treat of springtime and after a long winter of the same ol’ same ol’ seasonal greens, it sure is fun to be able to munch on something different. Did we mention that kids go crazy for these? It’s quite possible that they are giving potato chips a run for their money when it comes to addictive crunching. The season is brief, since the pea plants really prefer the moderate temperatures of the spring season. Not too hot, and not too cold, that’s the secret. Can’t blame ‘em, they like it just right! And boy, do these hit the spot!
This season we sowed rows and rows of these delicious beauties. We chose a sweet yellow variety that boasts as much sweetness as a Walla Walla onion. We also planted seeds of a red variety that is known as a classic slicing onion so you can put big rounds on your sandwiches or to top your burgers.
This is a favorite time of year around the farm for plenty of reasons, and pulling these onions fresh from the ground and offering them as Spring Onions is one of them. They are not quite sized up yet, some only the diameter of a ping pong ball, but they are packed with great onion flavor and since the tubular greens are still attached you can use them like scallions. It’s so fun to use the whole onion, greens and all! Think caramelized onions served atop the first summer squash of the season or thin crescents of onions on your favorite salad greens grill them whole. You won’t be disappointed. Just be sure to keep them in a bag in the refrigerator to keep them fresh.
The season for spring onions is fleeting and within a few weeks, we will pull them all out of the ground, lay them in tidy rows in the fields and let the sunshine dry them out into “cured” onions. Curing them is just another name for drying them into storage onions, with their papery skins acting as a shield, keeping the flavor and moisture safely inside for months. It takes a good long stretch of warm and dry days for the curing process and they aren’t quite ready yet, so in the meantime, we will keep picking these tasty treasures straight out of the beds and delivering them fresh and flavorful to the markets.
How can it be so tasty? We mean no offense to broccoli; I mean… we love the stand by super food. But this Broccolini number is hot hot hot! We grew Broccolini a couple years ago and all our customers were huge fans. It’s been gone for a while now, since we couldn’t procure the same seed. It became the proprietary right of the farm that developed it. Oh well, what can you do? So we trialed a few others and at long last tried this one. It somehow has all the best features of broccoli like cute little florets and deep green coloring, yet it leaves the entire cabbage-y funk behind and screams out, “I’m sweet, really, eat me, stems and all!” It’s true, the delicate succulent stems are filled with sweetness and more flavor than you can believe. We are so pleased with the taste of this crop and are sure that you will be too. It’s good enough to eat raw, or for an easy preparation, steam them. We have found, however, that a slow braise is really the way to go, prepared with some garlic and chili flakes and a bit of stock…WOW! Now that we know how good it is, we were actually a bit worried that you might weep when the planting is finished. Don’t fret, there will be plenty to go around since there are quite a few rows of this crop and we will be planting more soon. So please enjoy them, we surely are.
Another blessing of the warm weather we have been having is that our summer squash is already coming along! We’ve been picking some nice sized zucchini and yellow squash too. You will find a great selection of some of your favorites including Patty Pans, Crookneck, Sunburst, Costata Romanesca as well as the roly-poly round green zucchini and some cute two-toned little ones. The season of summer squash is here, so dig in to the colorful array of edibles and smile.
Market Hall Produce
A true gem in the heart of Rockridge in Oakland, Market Hall Produce has been a paragon of dedication to local farms for over 25 years. Find out more about this wonderful East Bay establishment, as well as other partners that we have the privelege to work with.