Last week I started working 12 hours a week at Troy Farm. This statement sounds somewhat ridiculous considering most farmers work more than 12 hours a day, but hey, although I have an official farmer’s tan now, I’m no farmer. But I did feel a burst of pride when I spied the bundles of parsley that I helped to harvest being sold at the Willy Street Co-op and I am getting really good at making kale “bouquets” (the trick is to cradle the bunch of leaves in the nook of your arm and give it a gentle squeeze- not hard when you feel as affectionately about this vegetable as I do). My first task at the farm was picking ripe ‘Sumo’ snow peas. Something I quickly learned was no easy assignment. Although my instructions from the head farmer, Jake, were to be “super-human fast” I went at the pace of a sloth as I deliberated over every pod’s level of maturity, scared of doing it wrong and picking peas that were under or over-mature. After an hour I had picked 1/5 the amount of peas as the rest of the crew and was feeling like I should have stuck to shopping for peas at the market. But when my shift ended I was red-faced, sweaty and covered in dirt. And I couldn’t wait to go back the next day.
During the week I also trellised tomato plants, sheared off fennel roots, picked basil and was reunited with my new nemesis, the snow pea. But this time around I already felt more confident in my agrarian abilities and I worked one speed higher than sloth. Somebody buy me a John Deere tractor hat.
In exchange for my work at the farm, I am receiving a weekly share of vegetables. It’s a tad overwhelming trying to figure out what to do with all this food.
My answer this past week has been salads. Lots and lots of salads. I’ve been smashing a garlic clove on my cutting board and pouring on some salt. I smear it into a paste and add it to my new beautiful salad bowl (thanks, Dan!) Next I add a fork full of stone ground mustard and some sort of acid- either lemon juice or red wine vinegar. Pour in a generous amount of olive oil and some fresh herbs (I like parsley and dill). Whisk this all together and add greens and whatever crisp veggies you have lying around, toss it all together and enjoy for a late lunch! If you’re feeling fancy, and don’t have to go back to work, maybe even pour yourself a glass of lazy sangria (red wine + San Pellegrino blood orange soda + sliced lemon and limes).
I know you don’t need me to tell you how to make a salad, but here you go.
Dressing: Garlic, salt, lemon juice or red wine vinegar, stone ground mustard, olive oil, fresh herbs
Salad: Greens- combination of lettuces, spinach, and/or kale (washed and dried), chopped veggies (summer squash, cucumber, kahlrabi, radishes, etc.)
Optional add-ins: Sprouted lentils, sliced dried figs, hard boiled egg, parmesan cheese…
Smash a garlic clove and pour salt over it. Chop and smash until you have a smooth paste. Add to your big salad bowl, along with mustard and lemon juice or vinegar, olive oil and fresh herbs. Add your greens and toss to coat all of the leaves. Add chopped veggies and toss again. Grate parmesan cheese over the top, if you like. And serve with a side of good bread.