Cold-Sweetened fall-grown vegetables! As October ends and November is set to begin, the nights have gotten progressively colder. These cold nights bring out the flavor in all our great fall vegetables through a phenomenon called “cold-sweetening”.
In cooler weather some plants break down some of their energy stores into “free” sugars, such as glucose and fructose, and stash them in their cells to guard against frost damage. Sugar dissolved in a cell makes it less susceptible to freezing in the same way that salting roads reduces ice. It’s wonderful for us. Not only does it keep the plants from freezing, but our carrots, all the brassicas, and greens, all taste sweeter when they mature in cooler temperatures.
Many of you may never have eaten fresh kale grown at the proper time of the year and when you do, you may think it is a completely different vegetable! If you have only used store bought brassicas or carrots and they have been grown when or where cold sweetening doesn’t happen, then you are in for a fantastic surprise! You may never eat mid-summer kale or carrots again!
What’s Available This Week
Spinach is back this week and a new planting of young carrots is ready! We have more of each than usual, but you should still come early to market, or come by on Thursday if you want to be sure to get some.
The following items will be available at Hattie’s Garden on Thursday, October 29, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday, November 1, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Historic Lewes Farmer’s Market (HLFM), now located at the Shields Elementary parking lot.
- Spinach – nice bag of hand-harvested leaves have been washed a couple of times and only need to be lightly rinsed.
- Spicy Arugula – earthy, nutty, spicy arugula makes a delicious, peppery addition to salads, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, pesto, beans and much more!
- Young Arugula – delicious young, tender salad ingredient.
- Loose Leaf Lettuce – always a hit, this lettuce is tender and young, but not so young as to be flavorless!
- Mesclun – a nice mixture of young loose leaf lettuce and bit of arugula.
- Daikon Radish – We have had very good response to this delicious, large root crop. Please see this
recent blog post for information on how to prepare daikon.
- Carrots – these sweet young, fall-grown carrots are the best you’ll ever taste!
- Red Russian Kale – always a nice kale and very different from typical curly kale. Curly kale has more of a bitter taste while Red Russian kale is mild and sweet.
- Beedy’s Camden Kale – silvery wide leaves with a sweet delightful taste. Also very tender. We like this new-to-us open-pollinated kale from Beedy Parker in Camden, Maine.
- Toscano Kale – also called Dinosaur Kale, Lacinato Kale and Cavolo Palmizio. Toscano kale has a long tradition in Italian cuisine, especially Tuscany, going back centuries. It is a traditional ingredient in minestrone. Dark blue-green leaves have an embossed texture with a taste slightly sweeter, earthy and more delicate than curly kale.
- Fen Jen Chinese Cabbage – a very light Chinese “cabbage,” fast cooking, tender and sweet, perfect for stir-fry.
- Hakurei Turnips – these delightful gourmet “salad” turnips are sweeter still when cooked and the greens are some of the best turnip greens you will ever eat. The flavor improves as the weather cools. We may only have a couple more weeks of harvest for these beauties.
- Tomatoes – yes, we continue to pull tomatoes from our high tunnel! There are still just a few cherry tomatoes as well.
- Peppers – the habenero peppers are ripened!. A colder than normal summer for us had us thinking they would never ripen, but they have surprised us. There are a few of nearly every pepper we planted and especially different hot peppers to add a bit of heat to your cuisine.
- Flowers – we will be cutting just a few stems of Lisianthus, Zinnias, Ageratum and Gomphrena. These flowers are cut and conditioned to last all week for you and come with a packet of flower food, but arrive early if you would like a bunch.
- Herbs – we continue to offer herb packs containing cilantro, parsley and dill along with a couple of nice sticks of lemongrass. A great way to get several very healthy herbs in quantities you will actually be able to use. You will get nearly one ounce of each herb – enough for most any culinary adventure. For a description of these herbs and some of their many benefits, please see this recent post.
Yours at the market and garden…