124-Eat Local and In Season

Spring has finally arrived and fresh vegetables are becoming available. In this episode we discuss what it means to eat seasonally. All vegetables are not available at the same time. Some foods are a treat and a delicacy, only available in Spring.

Right now, we have chive blossoms, tender salad blend lettuce, radishes and spring garlic.

Beginning Friday, May 29, 2020 we will h ave a produce stand open at the Farm on Fridays from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Produce will first come, first served. Scones will be available through pre-order only on the website. Orders are due by 3:00 PM on Thursdays. All of our other products: jam, balms, soaps, shampoo bars, etc. are also available online.

On June 6, 2020, we will start at the 18th Street Farmer’s Market in Charleston on Saturday mornings: 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

We hope to see all of you soon.

Thanks for being awesome fans!

Donna, Julia and the Felines

P.S. Wondering what to do with spring garlic? Check out this post.

Spring Garlic—What Is It And How To Use It

Spring Garlic is similar to green onions in appearance, but with a mild garlic flavor. As a bonus, they are prolific growers, so you can have these year after year.

I’m always looking for a new food to try in the kitchen. It’s even better when I can experiement with a locally grown ingredient that is inexpensive and abundant.

Enter Spring Garlic

First what is it?

Some refer to this as wild garlic, although we grow a row on purpose. It comes back every year and in fact multiplies if we don’t keep it under control. This garlic does not produce large bulbs like you will find on cultivated garlic, but it is still quite delicious. There are several parts of this plant I use at different times of the year.

Parts to use

Spring garlic does not produce large root bulbs, so don’t expect to use this for cloves of garlic. Instead, in the early spring, it is used like green onions, except with the taste of garlic. Later, as it prepares to flower, the end of the flower stalk can be snapped off and cooked. These are referred to as scapes. (This post gives more information about using those.)

After a week or so of growth beyond the scape stage, you can harvest bulbils. These occur just before the bud begins to break open into a flower and provide another tasty option. Pick the flower bud, peel back the thin covering and separate the tiny bulbs. These give a delicious pop of garlic flavor in any dish.

Early stalk use

The rest of this post will describe how to use the early part that looks like a green onion.

Harvest when the bottom is just beginning to swell and the green shoots are about one to two feet tall. While you are harvesting for the table, you are also thinning out the crop to allow the remaining plants to grow and thrive. Trim the root ends and peel back the outer layer of more fibrous covering. Wash thoroughly to remove any remaining dirt particles.

Slice thinly just up to where the stalk begins to turn green. Send the remainder to the compost pile.

Use as you would in place of garlic. Beware, this will smell very strong but the flavor is quite light.

Sample Menu

For an entirely garlic themed meal, I used thinly sliced pieces in a lemon and olive oil sauce for pasta. Then, I minced the remaining pieces, mixed with butter and topped italian seasoned scones. Pair with a crisp green salad. Delicious.

For more cooking ideas like this, check out my cooking memoir Simply Delicious. Plus follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media for daily Five Feline Farm updates.

Spring Lettuce

Spring has finally arrived here in East Central Illinois. The daytime temperatures are reaching the low 70’s and the sounds of spring thunderstorms roll across the fields. The rain and warmth combine to begin the vegetable growing season.

One of our favorite early crops here at Five Feline Farm is leaf lettuce. Our preferred variety is Rocky Top blend both for the growth and flavor.  This non-GMO seed blend is sourced from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Red Oak leaf, Green Oak leaf, Red Romaine, Redwing, and Black Seeded Simpson among other more rare varieties combine for a colorful salad.

Not only do we enjoy frequent salads from this crop, it is a popular item at the Farmer’s Market.

Picked young and tender, just a quick rinse and spin dry is all that is needed. It  will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days stored in a plastic bag with a dry paper towel placed in the bottom to absorb any moisture.

This lettuce needs very little added to create a tasty salad. Our most recent bowl had a few crumbles of cheese, a sprinkle of pecan pieces and sliced grape tomatoes on top of a mound of freshly torn leaves. A simple dressing of high quality olive oil, balsamic glaze, salt and a couple of twists from the pepper grinder allowed the flavor of the lettuce to shine.

What is your favorite Spring treat?

Five Feline Farm Foodies

We are foodies.

Our farm is all about food. Growing food, planning for food, selling food at the Farmer’s Market or our own Mercantile, preserving food, and yes, of course eating food.

During these dark, cold Winter days we continually look for ways to improve our food production. We plan for the growing season and the basement holds hundreds of tiny plants waiting for warmer weather. Tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, rosemary, basil, onions and even flowers for our pollinator friends are beginning their lives in the grow stations.

Our current food supply is sourced as much as possible from the freezer and pantry. Rows of gleaming jars full of home canned sauces, salsas, pickled peppers and broths line the pantry while baggies and containers of frozen fruits and sauces pack the freezer. All of these inspire a multitude of meals.

Once Spring and Summer finally arrive, we will have access to fresh vegetables mere steps from the front door. A short stroll out the back door lies the primary herb garden ready to add an abundance of flavor to any dish. Many of these fresh herbs and vegetables will make it to the Farmer’s Market this summer.

It’s a foodie’s paradise.