Photo by Sara Lipka
Food cravings don't usually involve escarole. At least mine never used to. But so many vegetables springing up all over the place can get in your head.
On the way back from a dusky run last week, I had a single thought: escarole. We'd been harvesting dozens of heads of the bitter chicory green, with its stiff, ruffled leaves, and I'd tried them both raw and stuffed with ground lamb. My favorite dish came recommended by a customer at the farmers market, who said he lightly wilted the leaves in olive oil, then drizzled them with honey. Wow.
But that night, two weeks and several drizzled platefuls later, our crop was done, and I was in withdrawal. I pined, then mocked my spoiled palate as I clipped some chard instead. Now on harvest days, Tuesdays and Fridays, I go for raw green chard as an early morning snack.
We graze here on the farm. Like chefs over simmering pots, we taste various crops to see how they're coming along. In the field, we cleave heads of lettuce and sample their inner leaves, pausing to swallow and deliberate. Too bitter and the heads have bolted. No good. Last week, just before lunch, we harvested four varieties of cucumber and took one of each to the table for a tasting. Diva and Tasty Jade were smooth and crisp; Marketmore and Vertina, sweet and juicy. I shared our findings with several customers: 2009, a good cucumber vintage.