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van X bing = rainier

July 8, 2010

Our good friend from Columbia View Orchards just met me on the side of the highway to deliver more cherries for this week’s boxes. Made me think of some illicit drug deal, highlighted by the fact that 99W was swarming with ODOT cops and the slight paranoia I was feeling about having one of my headlights out and getting stopped yet again. But I digress.

This week, he brought us Van cherries, which are similar to the Bings from last week, but a bit softer, and a bit sweeter and we both agreed that we prefered these. Interestingly,  the two dark cherries, when crossed, created the Rainier hybrid! (Which some of you may know as the white/yellow cherries at the grocery store this time of year). Turns out that the dark red color gene is dominant, and both the Bings and Vans have a recessive white gene that gets expressed when they’re crossed (about 25% of the time, for you Mendelians out there). OK, I digress again. Whatever it is, these Vans are delicious. I’m dividing them up right now, and it’s hard not to eat them all.

This week’s heat wave is good and bad for our farm… on the good side, I’m watching the baby zukes and tomatoes swell before my eyes, and every day I swear the melons and cucumbers and beans have grown by inches. On the bad side, the lettuces are ready. ALL of them. If I leave them in the ground much longer, they will either bolt or get bitter. So you’ll be getting LOTS of lettuce in your boxes this week. Babies, heads, loose leaf, endives, radiccio, chard, kale… make this a week of eating big salads for dinner! Along with this transition from spring crops to summer crops, you’ll also find fennel (which I wish could have been bigger-bulbed, but with this heat, they’re also starting to bolt), yukon gold new potatoes, chiogga or detroit red beets, garlic, onions, peas, and edible flowers (nasturtiums and calendulas).

Last night, we ate exclusively from what we got out of the garden, and had a big salad with shaved fennel, snap peas and calendula (those pretty yellow and orange flowers that will be in your lettuce bag). Jon made some potato-beet pancakes, which other than looking remarkably like uncooked hamburger… were actually very tasty and not too filling for a HOT night like last night.

Here’s the recipe:

Potato and Beet Pancakes

  • 2-3 potatoes
  • 1 beet
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • chopped herbs (we like rosemary, parsley and cilantro)

Shred the potatoes, beet and onions and mix together with the egg. Add the flour until you get sort of a paste-like batter. Fold in the herbs and add salt and pepper to taste. Form into thin patties. (If you make them kind of small, they crisp up better and look less like hamburger). Pan fry with a few tablespoons of olive oil for few minutes each side, until the edges are kind of crispy.

Super easy recipe, and they’re delicious with apple sauce or sour cream, and topped up on sauteed beet greens and garlic.

“The Farm” restaurant in Portland has something similar on their menu (attractively called ‘beet balls’), which are little round beet/potato pancakes stuffed with some sort of goat cheese and deep-fried instead of pan-fried. I think if we make these again, we’ll try to imitate the cheesier version, since they are scrumptious.

Apologies for the onslaught of blogs these last couple of days…  but it’s been too hot to do anything in the garden but water and gauge the droopiness of everything. And lately, I’ve been eating more than my fair share of cherries. This sugar energy has to go somewhere!

Let us all know if you’re doing anything creative with your veggies/cherries these days…

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