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STOCKBRIDGE HERBS
HERBAN NEWSLETTER  
Flavor Experts since 1983April 2013
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
 
Wednesday, April 24
Cooking Class:  Savoring the Spring Herb Garden:
Unlocking the First Garden Flavors
Northampton, MA
6:15--8:45 PM 
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In This Issue
From John's Garden
From Mary Ellen's Kitchen
From Denise's Garlic Patch
Recipe of the Month

Greetings!

 

In April, it's time for daffodils and tulips; asparagus and rhubarb; seed planting and bear watching. SPRING!

Quick Links 
2013 Season of
Upcoming Events  
    
Wednesday, April 24.  Cooking Class:  Savoring the Spring Herb Garden--Unlocking the First Garden Flavors.  Different Drummer's Cooking School, Northampton, MA.  6:15-8:45.
  
Wednesday, June 19.  Cooking Class:  The Stinking Rose--Garlic 101.  Different Drummer's Cooking School, Northampton, MA.
6:15-8:45.
  
Tuesday, July 16.  Cooking Class:  A Floral Feast--Cooking with Flowers.  Different Drummer's Cooking School, Northampton MA.  6:15-8:45.
  
Saturday and Sunday, October 5 and 6.  Cooking Demo and products for sale at 15th Annual North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival.  Cooking Demo at 1 PM on Saturday.  Festival runs 10-5 both days.
Stockbridge CowClick this Stockbridge
Cow to get to our website for Denise's Green Garlic Fettuccini Alfredo.
     
APRIL TO-DO LIST
    
Garlic is sprouting; begin to pull back any heavy mulch.
 
Are you planting onion seedlings?  Try buying them at Dixondale Farms.
 
Plant some pansies in outdoor pots to pretty up Mud Season.
 
Check rhubarb.  It's on its way.
 
IN EARLY APRIL, IF SOIL IS WORKABLE, sow seeds of peas, leafy greens, and root crops.  Raised beds might help.  Try sowing parsnip.  Yummy when fried into crisps.
 
Look at your Christmas cactus.  Did it re-bloom on Easter?
 
Farmers' Markets will begin to pop up everywhere (it seems).  Buy what you don't grow.  The greens from Swartz Farm are amazingly good. 
 
Take a drive to Walker Farmstand in Dummerston, VT.  Nice starter plants.
While near Brattleboro,  have lunch at Marina Restaurant and visit Grafton Village Cheese Company.
 
Or have lunch at the re-opened Champney's at Deerfield Inn.  Revisit the museums while there in Old Deerfield.
 
Consider planting horseradish roots and/or asparagus crowns.
 
Consider putting bird feeders away unless you're sure a few bears won't pay a visit.
 
Check the larder.  Time to use all those goodies that were so painstakingly canned last fall.
 
Help the arts.  Go see Godspell at Smith Academy in Hatfield.
  
Start a compost pile. 
  
Build or buy a birdhouse. Better yet, how about bluebird boxes.
 
  
Thank you so much for your interest in this newsletter. 
  
Please forward this newsletter to any of your friends, who are not on our e-mailing list, so they can join by clicking the "Join Our Mailing List" found above.  As always, should your interests have changed, you can unsubscribe.
See you soon,
 Denise, John & Mary Ellen
Stockbridge Farm
18 Stockbridge Road
South Deerfield, MA   01373
413-665-6918 
From John's Garden

   

This year, I decided to cut back a bit on the vegetables I will be growing from seed.  Since there are so many places in our area where I can get vegetable seedlings (Annie's Garden Center, Andrew's Greenhouse, and Walker Farm),  I decided to plant only the varieties I can't seem to find elsewhere.

 

This year, I'm using a little "mini-greenhouse", which has only four shelves.  Closer to the house; easier care.  I want my seedlings to be ready for my outdoor planting target date of June 7.

 

On April 1, I planted hot peppers. We like Stavros.  These are those little Tuscan green peppers that are pickled and  found atop many salads at restaurants.  These seeds were really hard to find, but I got them from gourmetseed.com.  We also like a variety of jalapeno that I get from Johnny's Selected Seeds of Maine.

 

Around April 19, I'll plant a paste tomato variety called Polish Linguisa; oddly shaped but a delicious cooking tomato.  We also love Green Zebra, but these and other heirlooms now are available for purchase at most garden centers.

 

Finally, around April 30, I'll plant basil.  This year, (and this will surprise  those of you who know me), I'll plant our FIVE favorite varieties:  Genovese, Mrs. Burns Lemon, Amethyst (red), Pistou and Piccole (small leaf).

 

See Quick Links on the left for all garden centers and seed companies I mentioned.  Happy Gardening!

 

From Mary Ellen's Kitchen

 

April, come she will.  March's "in like a lion, out like a lamb" didn't happen for me this year. But now, I am seeing spring, 2013, unveil itself before my eyes.  I stand at the kitchen window, watching the wonderful colorful birds that visit our feeders, and I am warmed by the sun streaming through the glass. 

 

I picked my first chives in March, but they were covered with snow the day after my harvest.  This morning, our south facing kitchen garden has chives nearly six inches tall, tarragon an inch high and walking onions sprouting on the far end of this small planted space.  The thyme is trying to turn green, and I think my favorite spearmint is peeking through. The salad burnet has popped out of the soil and is showing its dainty fringed leaves.  Around the corner on the west side of our home, the rhubarb is beginning to grow and the horseradish is showing its strength as well. 

 

John planted our indoor hydroponic garden in January so I've been using fresh basil all winter, supplemented with fresh parsley and cilantro.  And, I've been dipping into my stash of last summer's herbs that I preserved in various ways. Now I am buoyed by the fact that I will have a greater palate of fresh flavors to add to my kitchen creations.

 

I love to use my first-of-the-season herbs in an omelet or frittata.  Somehow, fresh farm eggs and a locally produced cheese provide the perfect canvas for these bright, fresh flavors.  Served with some whole grain sourdough bread,  it makes a simple, flavorful spring supper.  Treat yourself and those you cook for....try this recipe.   Spring on a plate!

 

Denise's Garlic Patch
  

Last week, my husband Gary and I took a walk in the garden to check on the progress of the garlic. The snow cover was gone, the ground was finally thawing, and the garlic was sending up beautiful and tender green shoots. When we saw the green wonders, we behaved like two toddlers in a sandbox!  We immediately plunged our hands into the bed and removed the winter mulch in order to bring in the sunshine and warmth. Hallelujah! There is nothing sweeter than spring garlic. It signals that warmer days really are coming soon, which means  I will finally be able to make Green Garlic Fettuccini Alfredo. Click on the Stockbridge Cow on the left for the recipe.

 

Ok. So some of you are scratching you heads wondering what in the name of Mother Nature is "green garlic"? Well, it is immature garlic that looks like a scallion, but is actually garlic that hasn't begun to form into a head. It is harvested in early spring and has a very subtle garlic taste and can be substituted in recipes that call for leeks or scallions. You can roast it, grill it, sauté it, stir fry it, or eat it raw. It's up to you. It has many different names: Young garlic, green garlic, baby garlic, spring garlic, garlic scallions, and garlic shoots.

 

How do you get your hands on some? Start looking for it at your local Farmers' Market, but don't get your hopes up. Most farmers who grow garlic want it to mature into bulbs that are harvested during the early summer months. Where do I get it? I grow my own. When I plant my garlic in the fall, I always plant a third of my cloves too close together. In the spring, I thin this section of my garlic bed by pulling out every other stalk when the garlic is about twelve to sixteen inches high. Voila! Off to the kitchen.

 

I read recently that if you want to grow green garlic, you can plant cloves early in the spring. Plant the cloves about one or two inches apart and just wait. Hmmm... Next week, I am going to test this theory and plant two bulbs of hardneck that over-wintered as well as some soft neck garlic cloves from the supermarket. I am hoping to harvest  this newly planted green garlic when I cut the scapes from my mature garlic. I will keep you posted. 

 

I wish you a warm and sunny spring filled with bright Johnny-Jump-Ups and freshly tilled soil. The 2013 growing season is looming... Enjoy!

 

RECIPE OF THE MONTH 

SPRING HERB FRITTATA

 

8 fresh local eggs

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup chopped chives or scallion

2 cups fresh vegetables, sliced into pieces the size of a penny (asparagus is great to use in the spring)

2/3 cup local farmstead cheese, chevre or cheddar work well, but use whatever cheese you like

1/2 cup freshly chopped fresh spring herbs--use one or several.  (Basil, tarragon, mint, marjoram and dill are especially suited to egg dishes.)

Freshly ground pepper and salt to taste

1/2 cup parmesan cheese, if desired

 

Preheat broiler.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a 9" oven-safe skillet.  Add the vegetables you are using and sauté until tender.  Remove pan from the heat.  Mix in the chives and some salt and pepper to taste.  Break the eggs into a bowl and whisk until the yolks and whites are incorporated.  Add the vegetables, herbs and cheese and a little more of the freshly ground pepper. Mix well.  Clean the pan you used to cook the vegetables and place it back on the heat.  Add the remaining olive oil so that the bottom of the pan is generously covered.  When the oil is hot, add the egg mixture.  Cook over medium heat until the bottom is set.  Do not stir!  Place the skillet under the broiler and cook until the eggs are set (about 3-5 minutes).  If desired, sprinkle the frittata with the parmesan cheese during the last minute or two of the broiling time.

 

Remove the pan from the oven.  Run a knife or spatula around the edge of the pan to loosen the frittata.  Slide it onto a large platter.  Frittata can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.  This recipe will yield 4-6 servings.