The Race to Reproduce (and Harvest)
Spring is a wonderful time to grow food in the Illawarra with many crops practically leaping out of the ground. But with the longer days and warmer temperatures, a new challenge emerges for us.
The crops we grow, like all living things, have evolved to do one thing above all others – reproduce. When the conditions are right, they can be triggered to ‘bolt’ and ‘go to seed’, putting most of their energy into producing flowers before growing as big and vibrant as they normally would. Crops planted 1-2 months before the spring equinox are particularly susceptible to this.
We carefully plan our planting calendar to try to maintain a consistent variety of produce for veg boxes. But when nature decides to move on a different timeline, we must observe and react and be ready to harvest when required. This can be particularly challenging for us since the majority of our produce goes into veg boxes and we only harvest a couple of days each week.
You may see signs of this rush to seed in your veg box at the moment, in the buds or small flowers on your bok choy or broccoli, for example. The good news is that many flowers of food crops, particularly when young, are edible and delicious! So, if you see these little treasures in your box, let them remind you of their (and your!) connection to nature.
Fair Food Coordinator
In your box this week:
Note: We sometimes need to make changes to what we pack in your veg box based on the quantity or quality of produce that we can harvest and source. If you have any questions about what is in your box, don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected].
Feature Veg: Watercress & Water Celery
Watercress is an aquatic vegetable that dates to ancient times. This superfood chart-topper is packed with antioxidants and vitamins, and it boasts many health benefits. Raw watercress tastes fresh and peppery; It can be eaten raw in salads or on sandwiches or cooked too in soups or stir fries. Watercress can be used in place of rocket, kale, or spinach in most recipes. Check out https://insanelygoodrecipes.com/watercress-recipes/ for 25 watercress recipes.
Water celery (also known as water dropwort or water parsley) is an aquatic plant that grows well in the damp gullies between the swales we’ve built around the farm to catch water. Think of it as parsley with a celery taste. It is delicious raw in salads or as garnish in a huge range of dishes. The luscious stalks are also delicious chopped up in a stir-fry