CSA Survival Tip #4: Conquering Weird Vegetables You Never Heard Of

I’m back with a survival tip this Friday!

Consider this a tip, or a challenge – but either way, hear me on this – every vegetable is a victory!

It has taken me 4 CSA seasons to conquer FENNEL.

I’m not a person that enjoys a lot of anise taste. And this kept me scared enough from trying to do much with fennel.

The first year we joined our CSA, we received several humungous bulbs of fennel. And I considered the options: I didn’t have any ideas, and I didn’t like how it smelled. I tried to give it away, and ended up composting it.

Sad, as I just made the most amazing soup, and thus: Victory (and good health, good stewardship, and all kinds of good stuff) is mine!

So, my advice in this tip is kind of an old adage, applied to the CSA: If at first you don’t succeed in eating it, try, try, try some more recipes. Click here to see my fennel soup recipe.

What veggie still has you stumped?

What’s Up Wednesday for May 23rd

Oh, MAN! I am SO, SO excited!

Our first Lakes and Valley CSA delivery is tomorrow!

Also with the delivery will come the bedding plants I ordered. So, what’s up for my Wednesday? Deciding, finally, where these plant-babies will go. I’ve got a few things coming that I need to settle a home for. I’ll also be picking up my order from Azure standard, which will include some perennial herbs. I like the idea of a perennial herb bed – as I made a list late in the winter of ‘what I missed’ that my garden didn’t have, or I couldn’t buy at a local farmer’s market last summer: sage. rosemary. thyme. (Just need parsley, and we can cue Simon and Garfunkel).

Here is what’s up:

Already in the garden (most just newly planted last Satuday, some planted as long as last November…ok, just one thing, the garlic):

– two varieties of beans. One green, one violet (new thing!)

– transplanted chives, rhubarb, and the ever-present-no-matter-how-much-I-try-to-get-rid-of horseradish. Good thing we like it.

– beets – detroit dark red, chioggia, and golden

– snap peas – sugar daddy

– raspberries (which you can see above)

– 4 developing strawberries!

– parsnips

– quinoa (a small experimental row, the seeds of which were a gracious gift for my birthday)

– Cuban oregano, san Marzano tomato, Best boy tomato (stolen by squirrel, rabbit, or child. Not sure which), genovese basil, sugar baby watermelon (fried crisply. Too bad) (all of which I bought at an awesome plant sale at the Northern Plains Botanical Garden society! Most were $1!)

– garlic (which you can see above as well)

To be planted when delivered — tomorrow!!!! – Did I mention I’m excited?????

– brussels sprouts – Churchill

– zucchini – Elite

– tomatoes – brandywine, gilbertie, new girl and Matt’s wild cherry, and container tomatoes (oregon spring)

– bell peppers – ace and revolution

– hot peppers – jalapeno

– cucumbers – marketmore

– cabbage – kaitlin

– sage, lavender, thyme, rosemary

It should be an interesting plant shuffle.   I think I’ll harvest the garlic fairly soon (I’ve never grown garlic before, but apparently I’m supposed to wait to pull it until the first 3 leaves die back and wither…1 of the three has withered on several of the plants. Once that’s out, I’ll just have peas there, which won’t be a forever thing — so there’ll be some space. ) I have one raised bed for the herbs, and possible a cucumber or zucchini, and then one additional completely empty raised bed. There are 4 others, but they are mostly spoken for.  My other option is to put a few things in the strawberry bed. I had two surviving plants after winter, but hey — that’s a start. My lush raspberry crop was started with a gift from a friend of canes from her parent’s place, which I neglected to plant for…oh…about 4 – 6 weeks, after which 6 were plants, 4 survived. Now, I have thinned twice in 4 seasons! Strawberries, follow your fruity cousins and multiply – multiply I say! *I heart strawberries.

Anything up in your garden? On your patio? in your Terrarium?