Newsletters: 9 June, 2010

Excerpt from the Market Newsletter originally published on 9 June, 2010. View the full newsletter for all the photos and links.

Looks like we’ve got some hope of dry weather for this week. We could use it. The thing about rain, of course, is that it keeps some people indoors. This is bad for the market, as it (ahem) dampens sales and all the vendors get bored, standing around in the rain waiting for you when they could have gotten just as wet at the farm, weeding beans. It’s great for the customers, though — lines are short, and bored vendors are often in a mood to deal. Shoppers who show up around 1:45 on a rainy day can be pretty sure of finding someone willing to sell something cheap rather than haul it home again. Even if you can only get there right before the noon rush there’s a good chance your favorite vendor will throw in an extra radish or some free whipped cream. And as my mom used to say: you’re not made of sugar, you won’t melt.

Rainy day shopping is an easy way to make sure our market survives these tough times. If you want to get more involved, here are some other ideas:

•Bring your friends and coworkers. A nice walk in the fresh air and the bustle of the market will clear the office fog from your brain and lift your energy level. Bring your whole lunch meeting and start thinking outside the box by thinking outside the building. Build up your team by enticing your team members with beautiful, healthy, amazingly fresh vegetables.
•Encourage a favorite business to become a sponsor. It’s a great way for them to get their name in front of people like you, and it helps us pay for all kinds of things, from publicity posters to the market manager herself. You can even become a sponsor yourself, you don’t have to be a business. There’s more information on the sponsor page, or contact the market manager.
•Buy market bags and raffle tickets. Market merchandise directly supports the market. We don’t know yet if we will be able to sell Olympic Mountain ice cream this summer; if we do, it will also directly support the market. Which brings us to the next point…
•Volunteer. We really need someone to sell raffle tickets and help with the ice cream, but there are all kinds of things to be done. You don’t even have to be available during market hours. Volunteering is almost as good for you as fresh vegetables. It’s a great way to plump up an anemic resume, meet interesting people, be a part of something positive, and feel good about yourself. Check out the volunteer page or contact the market manager for more information.

Cooking, and reading about cooking
Broccoli raab is one of the lesser-known vegetables currently in season. Here’s the only recipe Epicurious had for it, at least under that name:

Micro-Quick Hot-Sweet Salad of Broccoli Raab and Carrots
1 lb broccoli raab (or a little more), tough part of stalk removed
About 1 pound fairly thin medium carrots, peeled
1 tablespoon sweet sherry or sweet vermouth
1 tablespoon cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground hot pepper
2 tablespoons peanut or corn oil
1 tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
Wash broccoli raab in several changes of water, lifting out so debris settles. Without drying, spread in microwavable serving dish. Cover with plastic wrap and cook for 2 minutes. Toss, then continue cooking until not quite done, 1 to 2 minutes more. Pierce plastic and allow to cool. Place carrots in microwavable dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Cook just until carrots lose their raw crunch but are not cooked through — 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Pierce plastic and cool slightly. In a small dish, mix sherry, vinegar, honey, salt and hot pepper to taste, stirring to blend. Add peanut and sesame oils. Line up broccoli raab stems on cutting board. Cut apart from tops (the florets and leaves). Squeeze tops dry, then blot with towel. Cut into very thin shreds; return to dish. Slice stems on a sharp angle to form long oblongs 1/8 inch thick; add to dish. Cut carrots the same way and add to dish. Toss with dressing. Season. Chill.

Index to all blog posts.

Broccoli raab

native to: originally cultivated in the Mediterranean and in China
in season here: summer
Broccoli raab or rabe (pronounced “rob”), also called Italian turnip, broccoletti, cime di rapa, broccoli di rape, rappi, friarielli, grelos and rapini, is a lot more fun if you get it at the farmers’ market because you can get it with bright yellow flowers instead of tight broccoli-like buds. It’s not actually broccoli, it’s a closer relative of turnips and is said to taste a bit like mustard greens or kale, although a quick blanch will remove much of the bitterness. It is often steamed and served with lemon or garlic.

Broccoli raab has lots of good stuff in it: protein, vitamins A, C, E (Alpha Tocopherol), K, and B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, and Manganese. In fact, it’s considered a “super food” and does things like slowing aging, lowering the risk of high blood pressure, and preventing stroke, Alzheimer’s, and birth defects.

Read more:
label-style nutrition data for raw raab
label-style nutrition data for cooked raab
health benefits

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.

Orecchiette with broccoli raab

2 lb. broccoli raab (or may substitute Swiss chard)
1/2 cup olive oil (divided)
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 lb. dried (1 1/2 lb. fresh) orecchiette (or may substitute penne or other pasta), cooked and drained
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
salt and pepper to taste

Coarsely chop flowers, leaves, and smaller stems of the broccoli raab, discarding larger stems (for chard, chop the leaves and discard stems). Heat 3 Tbsp. oil over medium heat and add the garlic. Turn heat to high and add broccoli raab. Stir-fry about 5 minutes, until completely wilted. Toss raab, remaining oil, and cheese with hot pasta. Salt and pepper to taste and serve with extra cheese.

Adapted from Peterson, James, Vegetables. William Morrow, 1998. ISBN: 0688146589

Versión en español: this post is also available in Spanish.
Esperanta traduko: this post is also available in Esperanto, because Dana is a language geek.