Tag Archives: Radishes

A Reminder to Love Your Lilacs and Eat Your Japanese Turnips

photo-417Well the pace hasn’t gotten any more relaxing around here—no eating of bon-bons while reclining on the chaise happening any time soon. So I’m cheating again on the blog, treating you to a few of this week’s Instagram pics, so at least you’ll know that the colors are changing, and pink and purple (oh my!) have appeared. I swear the lilacs are early (maybe they like cold winters? I think I heard that). And the radishes are right on time.


I did such a good job with the spring bok choy (that’s the lovely purple variety below) that naturally I had to screw something else up.


After growing beautiful Japanese turnips last spring, this year I planted them too close together and never thinned them.


They are pretty small (see above) but still tasty.  I think I may still thin them and see if the rest grow bigger. (In the meantime, if you see them at a proper farmers’ market, you can follow my tips for a yummy stir-fry from last year.) The greens are totally delicious, but kind of a hard sell on their own. (As are mustard greens AGAIN. Apparently I have been wrong about predicting that mustard green trend. Oh well.)


We have some lovely Ruby Glow romaine lettuce (above) about ready to harvest. There are zillions of strawberry blossoms. And the peas (and everything else) are breathing a mega-sigh of relief today with some long awaited rain. My dear farm helper Laura (more on her another time) helped me plant 16 of our tomato seedlings in the hoop house this morning and transplanted the first of hundreds of basil seedlings in the other hoop house bed. And everywhere you look, there’s something else to do. Why, there goes Roy on his tractor now…heading out to the back field to get the tomato rows ready.

Before you know it, we’ll be grilling eggplant. Just a reminder to stop and smell the lilacs (and eat the baby turnips) while you can!

Baby Kale, Avocado & Radish Salad—Susie’s Pink & Green #9

photo-40Lately I have been obsessing about this Red Russian kale we are growing in the hoop house. I feel kind of silly, as it isn’t exactly a new thing—other farmers on the Island have been growing this variety and harvesting it young for a few years now. But I finally got around to planting a thick carpet of it (in order to harvest it as baby greens), and my, oh, my, is it tickling my fancy. It’s beautiful, yes. But tender, too. And almost sweet. (Even Roy likes it!) Which means now I have no business being cranky about kale salads. (I have come around on this, and even have a kale salad in Fresh from the Farm, but I am still not big on thick chewy mature kale leaves in salads—massaged, or not.)

I do think the hoop house kale is particularly tender, because it grows fast in those lovely conditions and doesn’t have to toughen up to the elements outside. But Red Russian kale is so delicious young, that I’d say, hoop house or not, rush out and buy yourself a packet of seeds and dump some in a pot of soil right now. In 28 days you’ll have a tender kale salad.

(If you live in Texas, maybe wait until fall’s cooler weather at this point.)


DSC_4738Also, as most of you know, I am obsessed with the color pink. And this year we’re growing French Breakfast and Cherry Belle radishes in the hoop house, and they are nearly big enough to pull. Nearly big enough, yes. But since I am the boss, I get to pull them up whenever I want to.

In fact, since I realized I was heading towards yet another variation on a “pink and green” salad for my lunch today, I thought, “I’m going to put whatever I want in this salad!” So in went avocado, a few toasted pecans, a little blue cheese, and a drizzle of Perky’s Vinaigrette. Honestly, for your own variation, you could put just about anything you like in with that baby kale and it would be lovely.

DSC_4789If I sound like I am being obstinate, it’s because I have to go traveling again this week and am wishing I could just stay home and keep working outside until dark like Roy and I have been doing every night this week. (I’m not kidding, it really is satisfying.) But off I go so I’m having one last pink and green salad for the week.


DSC_4669And speaking of pink, we snuck off to get a quick peek at some trees in bloom at Polly Hill Arboretum Sunday afternoon (a stone’s throw from us).

I’d never seen this unusual magnolia, but fell in love with the pink blooms.

Of course.






Susie On the Road: A Visit to DC, My Hometown, March 1 & 2

DSC_3123I’m saddling up the horses and heading off to America this week. Actually, driving down to spend a night with my parents in Delaware, then a weekend with my sister Eleanor in Virginia. Leaving Roy alone at the farm with 500 chickens, a farm dog, a frisky kitten, and a lot of eggs to wash. Not to mention about 600 farm chores to start on now that the weather is (sort of) breaking. Lucky Roy.

Hopefully I will manage to pick up some farm supplies while I am off-Island.

Though I hate to be away, I’m looking forward to seeing my family, and of course, my official business for this trip is book promotion, and I can already tell that a visit to DC, my hometown, is going to be swell.

lacuisine photo2

On Saturday from 2 pm to 5 pm, I’m going to be at the very fabulous La Cuisine cookware store in Old Town, Alexandria, Virginia. (The Old Town Boutique District is serious shopping, folks, in case you need an excuse to get out!). I’ve admired Nancy Purves Pollard and her store (mostly from afar in my years away from Washington) for her one-of-a-kind collection of high-quality cookware and cooking ingredients. I’m just afraid of what I might buy while I’m there. I hear she has amazing coffee, too.

lacuisportraitsmNancy and I have cooked up a scheme to serve a selection of yummy recipes from Fresh From the Farm. Nancy’s going to make the Curry-Coconut Butternut Squash Soup and the Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Farmstand Veggies. And I am going to make the Rustic Roasted Tomato Tarts and the Christmas Slaw with Slivered Pears, Cranberries, & Pecans. I’ve even enlisted my Mom to make Libby’s Lemon Blueberry Buckle! (That’s Nancy on the left in the photo at right, with co-workers Val and Larissa and rescue dog Carina.)

While we’re serving tasting samples (I’ll be at the store from 2 to 5 pm), I’ll be signing books, of course, and offering some tips about how to keep a simple, well-stocked pantry for making delicious veggie dishes. I’ll share advice on some favorite tools, as well. (Nancy will have a stash of Fast, Fresh & Green and The Fresh & Green Table available in addition to Fresh From the Farm–at 20% off!–so if you’ve got gifts to buy, this is a good opportunity.)

On Sunday, I’m off to the Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market from 10:30 to 12:30.  I’m excited that my cousin, Dr. Kari Evans, is going to hang out with me at the market, while I do a recipe demo, offer tastings, and sign books. The Fresh Farm Market folks have a program called “Chef at Market,” and I tried to get down to participate in it 3 years ago. Now I am finally making it, though admittedly March is a tricky season. (I will be there, polar vortex or not.) So we decided to pick a fresh, simple, colorful recipe to anticipate the first radishes of spring—it really won’t be too long, now.

9781600859045I have to say, the May Day Radish and Parsley Salad with Lemon and Ginger has the most delicious dressing and really is versatile enough to serve all year-round.  I know because I made a batch yesterday to judge how many portions I will need for the market. I remembered loving this salad when I developed it, and fortunately, my memory wasn’t warped! Of course, I got into a little thing with crystallized ginger while I was developing recipes for Fresh from the Farm, so I actually had to rein myself in and quit using it after a few recipes. It’s an amazing ingredient in vinaigrettes, because the sugar dissolves and the ginger remains spicy, so there is both a nuanced flavor and interesting texture to the dressing.

Yesterday I ate a good deal of this salad right out of the bowl, and then I threw some blood orange segments into the rest (I had half of a blood orange leftover from another test) and wow—loved that color and flavor. Ate the leftovers with roast pork last night.


While I was photographing the salad, I got photo-bombed again by Barney the kitty. He moves like lightening and goes from floor-to-food-dish in a matter of seconds. He is fascinated with recipe testing.

1621945_10152217617255801_1847068504_nIf you would like to make the radish salad, I urge you to click on over to the Fine Cooking website, where the recipe is now posted as part of a collection from Fresh from the Farm. (Feel free to add blood orange segments!) I am feeling particularly grateful this morning to my beloved magazine for the lovely review they’ve published in the April/May issue, and online. Check it out online, but be sure to pick up that new issue of Fine Cooking on the news stand—it’s one of the best I’ve ever read. Grilled cheese, twice-baked potatoes, tagines, meringues, quick ideas for baby spinach, ham, barbequed shrimp—Oh my!

Hope I can catch up with some of you in DC, but bear in mind I’ll be in Chicago mid-March and Montana and North Carolina in April. (Click here for schedule.) Then it’s home for the spring and summer. Roy will be glad, to say the least.



Small Wonder: Spring on Green Island Farm

I was heading out to the farm stand with this bowl of radishes the other day when a friend intercepted me and bought one bunch straight out of the dish. After that, I rushed in to get the camera before the next bunch disappeared (which it did, very shortly thereafter.) I don’t blame these folks for snatching up the radishes—honestly, is there a cheerier harbinger of spring? Well, I guess you could name quite a few things (flowering trees, singing birds, green grass), but in the vegetable world, radishes are as cheery as it gets. And thanks to the hoop house, I’ve got radishes in April—yippee!

I am celebrating the small stuff all around the farm today as it happens to be warm and sunny, and I was beginning to think “warm and sunny” was some mirage I’d never quite reach. (I should say it is “warmish” here—high 50s.) On Monday it blew so hard that the latch on the gate to the big chicken pen popped open (which it hasn’t done in previous storms) and all of the 200 chickens in it went for a walkabout—over to the neighbor’s woods, through a pine grove, around the future pig pen, and just generally anywhere they could disappear. It took us the better part of the day to get them all back in. Argh. Not to be snide, but I have to say that one of the things I am celebrating today is no wind—and chickens happily back in their pen.

Also, this morning I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Finding Your Soul, and in his post today, “Everything We Need Is Right Here,” David Anderson talks about all the wonder that’s right in front of our eyes while we’re off seeking something better somewhere else. So I thought to take the camera and snap a few other things I’m marveling at now that spring is actually coming to Green Island Farm.

Chartreuse maple flowers unfurling on bare branches against a Carolina blue sky.


Big fat healthy tomato plants in the greenhouse. We started our “early” tomatoes in February and have managed to bring them along nicely, letting them hang out in the hoop house by day and stay snug inside the house at night.


Copious amounts of bok choy to sell at the farm stand. We grew the first batch in the hoop house. Batches 2 and 3 (including the pretty purple stuff) are coming along in a long raised bed outside the hoop house (where the early tomatoes will be transplanted in a few weeks.) Get some of this delicious veggie into your kitchen soon–here’s one recipe idea (a stir-fry; my friend Joannie says this is the best!) and here’s another (my friend Eliza’s favorite–Spicy Noodle Hot Pot!).



The pea plants germinated beautifully and are ready to come out from under cover, where they’ve been hiding from the birds.


Basil seedlings are healthy and we have hundreds of them!


Beautiful Pirat Butterhead lettuce is “too pretty to cut” my friend Mary says. Alas, I’ve already tucked into it and pulled heads for the farm stand.


Last year’s everbearing strawberry plants already have blossoms.


And yes, the grass is green. I know, I know but this is a big deal to me. We’ve been looking at mud for months. This is the pine grove at one end of our back field, where Farmer and I go for walks.

And when it comes to being excited about springtime and fresh grass, no one’s happier than Farmer. We’ll be walking along and all of a sudden he just gets down and does a roly-poly in the grass. He stands back up, shakes, and then skips off, happy as can be. We should all be so carefree. Maybe if your day isn’t going so well, you could try rolling in the warm grass!