“Where’s the tomatoes?”
Actually, what he said was “Ma kara? Eiphoh ha tomatoes?” But for those of you who do not understand Hebrew, I’ve translated it for you.
This was a question of serious concern from my friend, a native Israeli. And Israelis take their tomato-cucumber salads very seriously.
This is the thing that one must understand when joining a local CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture farm: In early June, in Western New York, those coveted red, vine ripened tomatoes don’t exist. At least, not the kind that don’t grow in hothouses.
For those, we have to be patient.
But, here are some things I have made from our first helping of CSA vegetables from the East Hill Farm, plus the earliest herbs I’ve grown and picked in my own garden:
Lettuce – Not the durable, homogenous pale Romaine hearts you get in a plastic bag at the supermarket. But tender, sweet tasting lettuce. Naturally, these went immediately into a salad.
Kale -Hmmmm, that’s bitter stuff, you may think. But if you join a CSA, be prepared to get a lot of Kale. It really does taste great and is packed with nutrients. It’s best sauteed with olive oil & garlic (the fresh kind provided by the CSA) for a warm salad. Drizzle it with Balsamic Vinegar and toss it with walnuts.
Bok Choy - I sauteed them with garlic and ginger.
Pea Shoots - I sautéed these right along with the Bok Choy.
Finally, something that did not come from my CSA but my own garden.
One night, after shuttling my sons to and from their back-to-back baseball games, I decided not to cook but instead ordered in a pizza.
To jazz up my pizza, I went to my garden. I picked out some baby arugula leaves.Washed them well. Plopped them on top of a pizza slice. Fantastic.
It’s not too late to plant arugula. In fact, it’s the right time to start some arugula seeds now, in a partially shady spot, to enjoy later this summer.
And, have no fear, judging from the yellow flowers that are forming on my tomato plants, I am sure those red globes of sumer deliciousness will be arriving very soon.