Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April Veggies and Recipes

Double Pink Dogwood Blossom with Woods in Background
April Dogwood in my Yard

New Year in the Garden

As I said last year, April is one of my favorite months. Flowers burst into bloom in such rapid succession that we lose track of those whose blooms have faded. My husband built a cold frame for our garden last week, and tiny lettuces, beans, squash, and herbs are up already. We just received the first produce box of the year from our CSA, Live Earth Farm. Despite all of the springtime growth activity, our local veggie and fruit choices are still somewhat limited. Yet we’re assured, as days grow longer, of more variety and more food bounty soon. In the meantime, Santa Cruz locavores can check out Santa Cruz Local Foods.

Closeup of Fruit Variety Box
Fruit Variety Box: 40 Kiwis, Apples & Assorted Citrus
SCLF gleans organic produce from many farms around Santa Cruz county, including our beloved Live Earth Farm. Then they sell both individual items and variety boxes to consumers year-round. They also provide dairy products, breads, nuts, oils, honey, cheese, and meat from local sources, all delivered to a number of pickup locations throughout the county every Tuesday. This helps small-scale farmers and artisans to market their goods and gives locavores a venue for one-stop shopping. We find it’s an especially good way to add a wider range of fruits to our standard farm share. We like more fruit variety at the beginning of the season when harvests are limited, and during the "fruitful" season when extras can be canned or made into preserves for next winter. SCLF currently has plenty of local citrus, plus our favorite Live Earth Farm apples.

First Live Earth Farm 2013 CSA Share
As we plant seeds in anticipation of future harvests, here's a poetic seasonal quote from Farmer Tom, who owns and operates Live Earth Farm. Enjoy the beginning of our new growing season!

“Dressed in vibrantly colorful flowers, tender green foliage, accompanied by bird song and sweet perfume, I surrender to her intoxicating energy and demanding rhythm…renewing my vows of stewardship while she whispers a promise of bountiful harvests and nourishing treasures.”

Hand holding up Ripe Alpine Strawberry
Alpine Strawberry in Yard: Promise of More
April Veggies & Fruits: Click links for recipes

Avocados (beginning of season)
Bok choy (baby)
Fava beans (beginning of season)
Greens: arugula, mei qing choi, tatsoi, mizuna
Oyster mushrooms (cultivated year round)
Onions (stored)
Potatoes (stored)
Winter squash (stored)
Oranges (end of season)
Strawberries (beginning of season)
Apples (stored)
Kiwis (end of season)

Violets Looking a bit Dilapidated
End of the Violet Season
New and Favorite Recipes

Un-stuffed Cabbage Casserole (with ground turkey)
Psari Savori: Greek Fish Fillets with Tomato & Vinegar Sauce
Shrimp Sauteed with Kale
Roedkaal: Sweet & Sour Braised Red Cabbage
Fruit Stuffed Butternut Squash
Carrots or mixed root veggies in Citrus Vinaigrette
Pumpkin Something (with pumpkin from 2012 harvest!)
Kiwi Something (have ‘em & still figuring out best use)
Lemon Poppyseed Bread (seeds from 2012 harvest also)
Banana Pecan Pancakes
April Fools Blue Violet Tea
Candied Violets (if you can find violets that are perfect) 

Small Green Plums on Tree
Another Excellent Plum Season is on its Way

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