These crops are planted early in the cool spring weather, and are usually ready for the first picking in late June. We do another round of planting them in late summer / early fall, for autumn harvest.
We grow head lettuce: red & green leaf & Romaine, butterhead (aka Bibb or Boston). We also grow lettuce mix: several types interspersed in a solid row of greens -- a salad variety ready for your bowl !
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This term refers to leafy greens which are more often cooked than eaten fresh. They prefer cool weather, so they are more available in spring and fall, although we often have kale and chard in the summer, too.
Spinach: Available in late spring & sometimes again in the fall (it doesn’t like hot weather). Full of vitamins & iron, delicious simply steamed or sautéed, or in recipes. Spinach pie / spanakopita, spinach bread / stromboli, souffle, quiche & omelets, saag paneer, ... what else ? Use fresh, tender leaves as the basis or highlight of a great salad.
Swiss chard: This colorful, nutritious cooking green is ready to pick by late spring, & often available into summer & on to fall. Similar to spinach but with its own unique taste, the ribs & leaf-veins of “rainbow chard” are red, yellow or white. Equally as versatile as spinach, with many of the same uses. See the “crustless quiche” in the Recipes section: it’s great with chard, spinach or kale !
Kale: Sturdier in texture than chard or spinach, kale grows as a large plant harvested by picking individual leaves. It comes in several varieties; we grow curly Winterbor, Tuscan / Lacinato (nicknamed “dinosaur”), & Red Russian. It’s available much of the growing season, & holds up well in colder fall weather. Steam or sauté, use in soups, or make baked “kale chips” as a snack. Add chopped fresh kale to salads or slaws. High in vitamins A, K & C, & other nutrients, this vegetable has its own “Eat More Kale !” movement.
Escarole: Almost a lettuce but coarser & stronger in flavor, escarole arrives in late spring. If you like it fresh, use it for salad, but it’s most often used to make soup, or braised with oil & garlic, for a side dish that usually includes white beans & pasta.
We feature several members of the onion family; get to know and enjoy them all !
Green Onions: Onions harvested before the onion bulb grows large; you may know them as scallions. Use the white root / bulb end & the green tops, fresh or cooked in a variety of ways like many other onions. They’re excellent in salads, soups, stir-fry, quiche, etc. Full-size onions:
We grow several varieties of white, yellow & red / purple onions. They are harvested & ready for use in summer, but we “cure” most of our crop by air-drying them so they’ll keep longer without refrigeration, & they are available from late summer through fall. When choosing among the 3 onion colors, follow the recipe advice. Here are some general tips; your own experience & preferences are the best guide.
Yellow: the most popular, widely-used cooking onion, seldom eaten raw because their flavor is too strong (we don’t grow the extra-mild varieties like Vidalia or Bermuda). These onions caramelize beautifully, & become sweeter in flavor, when cooked -- especially sautéed, fried or roasted.
White: usually fairly mild, they can be used for cooking or thin-sliced raw. Often specified for Mexican cooking.
Red / purple: usually used raw, in salads or on burgers & sandwiches; also good for grilling
Leeks: Leeks usually arrive in late summer & early fall. They’re a cooking onion, a uniquely flavored alternative to regular onions. White & slightly bulbous at the bottom (root end), with tall green tops. Use the white part & as much of the green as is tender enough (remove the toughest, driest outer green tops). Leek soup & quiche are classics; leeks are also excellent for flavoring meat, fish, poultry & stews. Shallots: A small bulb (with “cloves” similar to garlic), usually dried like regular onions. Sweet, savory unique onion flavor, excellent for flavoring poultry, meat, stews, stuffings, pilafs & vegetable dishes. Sauté like onions or garlic to caramelize & bring out the flavor.
Cucumbers and Squashes
These favorites are available from early to mid- or even late summer, because we plant several "generations" of them.
Cucumbers come in 2 types: slicing (or salad) “cukes” & pickling “cukes.” Everyone loves them for their cool, mild, delicious fresh flavor ! Slicers have dark, shiny skin; plump, medium-sized (4” - 10”) slicers have the best flavor & texture. They are used in many recipes (including soups & stir-frys) in addition to salads. Picklers are medium green, with light green “stripes” &/or “freckles.” Use smaller (2” - 4”) picklers to make sweet, dill, garlic sour or bread-&-butter pickles -- & they’re great for salad, too.
Our summer squashes include both green & golden zucchini as well as yellow summer squash. All are excellent steamed, sautéed, stir-fried or grilled, & in casseroles or soups. Larger green squashes can be stuffed; these “culinary zucchini” are also perfect for zucchini bread, zucchini pancakes & zucchini chocolate cake. Smaller squashes with more tender peel can be used raw: as an excellent addition to salads & slaws (slice thinly, julienne or shred), or served with dip (cut into long spears or thick slices) .
Peas & Beans
Peas have a brief season in late spring (June) before summer heat arrives. It's also possible to grow them again starting in late summer, to be ready for the cool early fall weather. We grow:
Sugar snap peas: the kind you eat whole, both the sweet peas & their crispy pods. They can be steamed or lightly stir-fried, or eaten fresh.
Shelling peas: Sit on your front porch with a big bowl of these peas in their pods, and “shell” away (split the pods & remove the peas). It’s relaxing, & the treasure inside is delicious ! Shelling peas are usually eaten cooked, but try snacking on raw peas while shelling, & decide if you want to add them to salads.
Snow peas: These are basically a pod with undeveloped peas inside. They are the signature element in many Asian dishes (stir-fries & soups); you can also steam them lightly to bring out the flavor & tender texture, & add to other vegetable dishes.
Beans arrive in early summer (July), and are often available much of the summer -- especially string beans, because we plant several "generations" of them.
We grow string beans in 3 colors: green, yellow (wax) & the ever-popular purple. We also grow Italian flat beans (they’re long but flat), which have a subtly different taste from green string beans. String & Italian beans are among the most versatile of vegetables. Steam, sauté or stir-fry, add to soups or casseroles, or add fresh (or lightly blanched) beans to salads. These beans can also be pickled, or marinated in vinegar & oil to make 3-(or-more)-bean salad ! Lima beans: These come later in the summer; wait for the pods to get plump with the beans inside them. Shell the beans out of the pods, & cook the fresh beans or dry them for later use. A dish of limas by itself is delicious; some folks use limas to make succotash or other corn / bean medleys.
Tomatoes and Tomatillas
(Extra) Ordinary Salad tomatoes: Round & mostly red; we grow several varieties: Primo, Scarlet, Mountain Fresh, & others. We also grow a sweet yellow Carolina Gold. And what about those Indigo Rose tomatoes ?
Cherry tomatoes: Very small & very flavorful ! We grow them in shades of red, orange, yellow & almost-black; the different varieties have unique tastes. Great for salads & snacking; try them all !
Plum tomatoes: The classic for making sauce; they're also great for sun-drying, and you can use them in salads & salsas, too. Some varieties are egg-shaped; others more 'pointy-ended.'
We also grow:
Tomatillos: the tomato "cousin" famous for Mexican salsa and other recipes.
We grow both sweet and hot peppers, several varieties of each. All need plenty of sun and heat to grow and ripen, so their ripening / harvest season is from mid-to-late summer into early fall. Beautiful colors, interesting shapes, and a rich source of vitamins, especially Vitamin C. As the season progresses, most varieties of sweet and hot peppers will eventually turn red -- a delicious late-summer / early-fall treat.
Sweet peppers: We grow both plump bell peppers & long, skinny frying peppers. Bells come in dark green, purple, pale yellow & orange; fryers are pale green (Cubanelle) or yellow. Raw sweet peppers are delicious to the eye & refreshing to the taste: in salads & slaws, plain or with dip. Both bell & frying peppers can be sautéed & added to pasta sauces, stews or stir-fry. Sausage & peppers, peppers on pizza or a grinder or a burger, peppers in a grilled vegetable combo. Pickled peppers, pepper relish, & stuffed peppers !
Hot peppers: We have several varieties. Chile peppers in approximate order of “hotness” (mild to fiery -- but it depends on your taste !) include: Anaheim, poblano or ancho, jalapeño, Hungarian hot wax, serrano, cayenne, habanero. We also grow hot cherry peppers. Hot peppers are featured in many cuisines, including Mexican, Hispanic / Latino, Caribbean & Asian (Chinese, Thai, Korean, Indian, Sri Lankan). Try some recipes, & test to see how hot you like it ! Jalapeño salsa & nachos are just the beginning ...
Eggplant is another "high summer" crop, requiring long, hot days to mature; ours arrives in August and lasts into early September. We grow both European and Asian varieties, and they are very popular with our customers !
We grow “traditional” large, deep purple Greek / Italian eggplant, & many other types. Medium-sized lavender, white, & purple-&-white-streaked "tear-drop" shape, purple mini-tear-drops, round bright purple, & elongated, sometimes curved eggplants in various colors; some of these are Indian & East Asian varieties. All eggplant tastes similar, but texture varies: some are more 'solid' than others. How you cook eggplant depends on your culinary culture: stir-fry, grill or shish-kebab it, make marinated / pickled eggplant salad (caponata), eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, moussaka, baingan bharta, baba ghanoush, imam bayildi, add it to miso soup ... what else ?
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“Cole crops” is a term for vegetables also called Brassica (their Latin name) or cruciferous vegetables. It covers a wide range, with delicious flavors and textures, and excellent nutritional and health benefits. These vegetables are hardy, growing well in cool spring weather and in chilly late autumn. Some don’t like heat, so you won’t see them in summer.
(NOTE: Kale, turnips and radishes are also technically Brassica, but we list them elsewhere according to usage rather than “family connections.”)
We usually grow the following items in this category (some are pick-your-own, some sold picked-for-you):
European cabbages (flat & Savoy, green & red/purple)
Asian / Oriental Cabbages (Chinese cabbage / napa, bok choy, tatsoi)
Broccoli / Kohlrabi / Brussels Sprouts
Root Vegetables and Tubers
We made this category for most of the “stuff that grows underground” -- vegetables you pick by digging them up and pulling them out. Most are “roots” that swell up into something edible; the exception is ordinary potatoes, which are a tuber. Radishes and turnips prefer cool weather rather than heat; our carrots grow underground all summer, and are ready from summer’s end though fall. Ordinary and sweet potatoes grow over the summer; we pull the regular potatoes in mid-to-late summer and the sweets a bit later.
Radishes: In the spring & fall we have round radishes in red, pink, purple & white; in the fall we also have long Oriental daikon radishes, & we’re experimenting with other varieties ! All are a crisp, zingy addition to salads & slaws, or for snacking. You can also stir-fry, roast or grill radishes; this makes them sweet.
Carrots: One of our favorite vegetables to grow, & everybody’s favorite vegetable to dig ! Remember that carrots grow deep in the ground, so they might be crooked shapes & assorted sizes -- all good. From pinky finger size to enormous, they’re a delicious source of Vitamin A & beta carotene; big carrots are just as sweet as small ones. Steam or bake carrots; herbs & oil or butter enhance the flavor. Soups & stews need them, & don’t forget carrot cake & muffins. Thin-slice, shred or grate raw carrot into salads or slaw; raw carrot sticks are a crunchy, healthy snack, plain or with peanut butter or hummus ! Once you’ve had a fresh, local carrot, you’ll NEVER buy supermarket carrots again.
Turnips: We grow white Hakurei turnips in spring & fall; small or large (1½” - 4”), they are sweet & tender when cooked. In the fall we have larger purple-top white turnips. All are an excellent source of Vitamin C. They can be steamed & mashed, roasted / grilled, or added to soups & stews. Combine with carrots, kohlrabi, potatoes, parsnips: hearty root vegetables go well together. Small turnips don’t need peeling.. Use fresh turnip greens like other cooking greens: steam, sauté, or add to soup. Beets: We grow several varieties of red & golden beets. These, too, are a good source of Vitamin C. Our first beets are ready in early summer; we have pick-your-own beets in late summer & fall. Pick them at 2” - 4” in diameter. Beets can be boiled, steamed, roasted or grilled whole. Leave the skin on; it comes off easily when they are cooked. Cold cooked beets make a colorful, flavorful highlight in salads. Use fresh beet greens like spinach or chard. Lightly sautéed in oil, with vinegar added, they’re delicious & even higher in Vitamin C than beets themselves. Plus Vitamin A, iron & calcium !
We often grow corn, usually butter & sugar (mixed yellow & white kernels on each ear). Ours arrives late in the summer. Of course you can enjoy it as corn on the cob (boiled, steamed or roasted on the ear). Or remove the kernels from the ear to make side dishes, casseroles, soup or chowder. Use fresh corn with beans (shell, lima &/or others) to make great succotash. We also recommend fresh corn in pancakes or cornbread, & corn pudding -- & try pan-roasted or fried corn, on its own or added to side dishes or salads. Okra arrives in late summer; these plants, too, need long, hot days to grow, flower & produce a crop, so look for it in mid-August. Depending on how you’ll use it in cooking, choose 2” to 4” pods for best flavor & texture. Okra is famous in Southern & Cajun / Creole cooking: deep-fried, pickled, or in gumbo & jambalaya. But it also makes a strong showing in Indian curried vegetable recipes, either dry-roasted or in sauces. We’ve learned that many other cuisines & recipes call for okra -- so we’ll keep on growing it !
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Winter Squashes and Pumpkins
We grow several varieties of winter squash, assorted shapes & colors, including: acorn, butternut, carnival, sweet dumpling, delicata, buttercup, hubbard. All have a hard skin; most have golden or orange flesh, with unique, hearty flavors: sweet, savory, nutlike, mellow. “Sugar pumpkins” are small pumpkins for baking. How to cook ? What to make ? Bake, roast or steam; make soup, pie, bread or muffins, cookies, even lasagna or ravioli ! Smaller squashes can be halved, stuffed & baked. Rich taste with all the benefits of any orange vegetable: Vitamin A, beta carotene & more. Roast/toast squash or pumpkin seeds for a tasty, nutritious snack ! Our other winter squash is spaghetti: pale yellow outside & in. Bake or steam it, & scoop out the strands of flesh like - spaghetti ! Its texture & mild flavor are perfect for adding spices or sauce; or, make it into a casserole with cheese &/or other veggies
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Cooking with fresh, local produce makes your meals healthier and tastier; you can make them even more flavorful with fresh herbs from our herb garden. We grow several kitchen basics, usually including dill, cilantro, basil, parsley, thyme and sage. Clip as much as you need for a recipe, or enough to freeze or dry for later use. Think pickles and pesto, salsa and spaghetti sauce, and more. Dilly green beans, and soups and stews with a hint of whatever seasoning suits your palate. When it comes to cooking and eating local, we say, "What's life without the subtleties ?"
If your dinner includes dishes made with our fruits, vegetables and herbs, wouldn't it look even more appealing with a vase or basket of fresh-cut flowers ? If you're bringing hand-picked berries or apples to a friend, why not add a bouquet of blossoms ? Take a few minutes to renew your spirit in our flower garden -- you, your guests and friends will enjoy the results of your picking here, too. If you want the moment to last, choose from the flowers we grow that are best suited for drying, to make an "everlasting" bouquet.