North Star Orchard Blog

Jack Frost nipping at your nose around the holidays is seasonal and song-worthy. His playful nipping in April around opening fruit blossoms? Not so much. An extraordinarily warm March had the trees (and birds and bees) thinking spring, but old Jack? He had other plans!

Row covers of wonder
Row covers of might
Row covers hide awesome garden delights
I wish that they may
I wish that they might
Keep tender plants warm and cozy at night.

It seems like just about everything nowadays is tending towards instant.

Online, of course:
-Connect to the internet, in an instant
-Order a book for your Kindle, in an instant
-Download a song (or a whole album) to your iPod, in an instant

Have no fear! I, too, felt daunted by winter squash of all kinds. Oh, the time and effort and pre-planning required to use it. And how to use it?? Well, fear no more: here’s the super-duper, easy way to start dealing with your mountain of squash….

If you think this weeks weirdo, kohlrabi, looks weird when you get it in your CSA share or at the farmers’ market, just imagine checking it out while it’s still in the field! Its bulbous body sits squat against the dirt, while its leafy stalks stretch up like homing devices toward space, a realm it surely would be right at home in. Luckily for us, kohlrabi grows just fine here on Earth!

Romanesco is a shock to the senses! Its gorgeous lime green to chartreuse hue, sometimes freckled with a purpley red blush, is mesmerizing. This hypnotic appeal is clear once you realize Romanesco is a stellar example of the fibonacci sequence, or golden ratio. Its florets radiate out in perfectly ordered fractal spirals before your very eyes!

We can hear it now. You’re saying “what do I do with this lumpy alien troll beast in my share?!” More politely, this excellent article from NPR calls it “the vegetable world’s ugly duckling”. Don’t panic, friends, at the sight of this week’s truly weird weirdo! Celeriac may have the look of ogre skin at first glance, but fear not! Simply peel away that tough outer skin to to reveal the pristine creamy flesh inside; it was there all along!

It’s about this time of year when cans of cranberry sauce and pumpkin puree start gracing the ends of grocery store aisles. Do you know what’s really in many of those cans of pumpkin though? Butternut squash! It’s true; the USDA is pretty lax on their definition of pumpkin, and so long as the veg inside falls under the same genus as the orange jack-o-lantern type, it’s technically pumpkin.

Boy, oh boy, I am so excited we finally get to talk about leeks! I have got some serious love for these mouth watering alliums. These beauties may seem intimidating, but I promise you, they are no harder to prepare than their onion cousins.

I’ll be honest, one of my favorite broccoli recipes involves cheese, mayo and Pillsbury crescent dough. I said it! “Dough” from a can. There are no redeeming health benefits to this dish, despite broccoli’s high fiber and vitamin C content, but man, does it taste good. “Broccoli stuff”, as we call it, begins with the aforementioned dough triangles pinched together to form one sheet. Then just pile on broccoli, onions, cheese and maybe some tomatoes (don’t forget some mayo in there), roll or wrap it together and bake until it’s crispy golden brown. It’s weird, yet satisfying.