Sometimes I think the Brassica family is my favorite, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Kale and even Rutabagas are easily grown, always tasty and since they grow so fast early in the year they make things exciting. Other times I think that the Solanaceous family is great. The grandeur of a great tomato or functionality of a potato is obvious. But this week our sites are set on the Allium family. The garlic is to the point that it can be yanked out of the ground. Onions are bulging nicely and the shallots are beginning dry off. Often overlooked, there is rarely a dish that doesn’t call for at least one volunteer from the Allium family to add great depth of flavor.
This week there is fresh garlic. Unlike cured garlic that can sit on the counter till you need it, fresh garlic should be used quickly and kept in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. It has its roots intact to tell it apart. The onions are, well, white onions and the shallots are the smaller yellow ion looking things. Shallots are mild tasting onions. Some recipes call for them specifically, but usually they can be substituted for onions.
We are switching it up this week with the long, dark red, cylindria beets. While golden beets are great, I find the dark red beets have more of that beet flavor. If you like beets, I think these are better. The small cabbage is called Premier. The first time grown, I didn’t really look at the size estimates. I let it go thinking it would get bigger but it just cracked. But I learned that Premier is a great variety. Super thin, tender leaves, good sweet taste and useful size make it a great pick.
There is some spinach and snow peas, probably the last for a while. More are planted for later but I think a break is fine. We have another round of radishes coming in. There is also a small bundle of herbs including French Tarragon and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley. The parsley could go well with the potatoes – Purple Viking and Red LaSota.
The beans are really starting to come in. Velour is this weeks variety. Purple beans are always wonderful to eat – great sweet taste, fun hyper-color change in the water from purple to green, and they are PURPLE! But the difficulty comes in growing. They are often less productive, short, and scabby. But not this year. It has been a very good year for beans and these are the longest, most beautiful purple beans I have had ever. While steamed beans are great, perhaps pairing them with the shallots would be pleasing. Ina Garten always has top notch recipes, String Beans with Shallots is no exception.
Optionally there are tart cherries to pick from. Typical sweet cherries are not real hardy
for Minnesota, but tart pie cherries sure are. This variety is Bali. Maybe it was the spring, maybe the honeybees housed on the property, but we had a tremendous crop of cherries. They are best when cooked and sweetened up a bit. We made this Yeasted Sour Cherry Coffee Cake. It was pretty good. and doesn’t require a huge amount like many recipes.
Rounding out the box is a small helping of raspberries. Enjoy!