Farmer – Forager – Food Citizen – Cook

It’s about nettles – treat them right and there is no sting! There are some awesome fairy tales from my childhood regarding stinging nettles and witches casting spells but…back to the topic at hand.

They are wonderful in flavor and have a brilliant green color that does not wash out with cooking. The trick is to handle them with tongs or gloves when raw. After a very brief blanche or steam they are harmless to the touch. Check out this blog and it will lead you to many recipes and other ideas!

My favorite recipe is adapted from Stinging Nettle and Potato Soup from “Abundantly Wild” by Teresa Marrone:

2 green onions, minced
1 Tablespoon oil
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth or milk
2 pounds potatoes, diced
1/2 pound stinging nettles (handle with tongs!)
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt or to taste
Grated Asiago or Romano cheese for serving

Chop onions, dice potatoes and add to boiling broth. Add nettles, using tongs, to soup when potatoes are tender. Return to boiling and cook for 1 minute. Pulse in blender until finely chopped. Return to gentle bubble and cook for about 5 mintues, stirring occasionally. Dash on a bit of grated cheese and serve.

A hearty sandwich on homemade rye or wheat, with the soup, fills out the meal. Share members will have the choice to try some nettles this week….just remember to use gloves or tongs!

The rest of the harvest? Let me tell you…our carrots look terrific so I expect to see smiles on faces at pickup time. Imagine – carrots in mid May! These were planted in a high tunnel in February and are good and sweet. In addition to carrots, there will be a salad mix, head lettuce, green onions, rhubarb, radishes, mizuna, mint, and dill. We appreciate it when you let friends know that we have a farm market. Everything is also for sale if you are needing additional items.

I found a wonderful oregano salad recipe: Salatat Baharat in Syrian style cooking from “Secrets of Healthy Middle Eastern Cuisine” by Sanaa Abourezk. I have also added additional salad greens which was wonderful. The sumac is a difficult spice to find, we hope to harvest it this fall!

2 cups fresh oregano leaves
1 cup fresh thyme (or 1 Tb. dried)
1 cup scallions, chopped
1 cup tomato, chopped (I’m waiting for fresh so have left this out)
1 Tb olive oil
1 tsp sumac
2 Tb lemon juice

You may be wondering what we do to encourage high nutrition and good taste in our crops. If you happen to see Nathan with a sprayer on his back- he uses a mixture of whey from our own cheesemaking process, herbal tea from: Nettles, Alfalfa and Sweet clover, a schlup of molasses, neem oil and a fish emulsion to finish off the potion.