One of our favorite early greens to grow is tatsoi. We sow seeds in the greenhouse in March and when the seedlings are ready, the first batch is planted in the hoop house. Another flat of seed is sown for an outdoor planting late in the spring. Tatsoi is classified as a Brassica and is a variety of Chinese cabbage and commonly known as spoon mustard or spinach mustard. It is a small low-growing plant that forms a rosette of petite, dark green, spoon-shaped leaves. It is super cold hardy, withstanding a temperature as low as 15 degrees F. We can count on having a bounty of tatsoi by mid-April and it does just the trick for satisfying our craving of fresh greens. Tatsoi has a mild taste, much like spinach. Being a plant that likes cooler temperatures ( perfect for here in Maine, yes?), it will become a bit more bitter tasting if allowed to bolt and flower.
We’ll often eat it raw in a salad or on sandwiches, but mostly we use it in a stir-fry or in an omelet. My favorite way to use Tatsoi is quite simple : Saute a medium size onion in a little olive oil, add a lot of minced garlic ( 4-5 cloves), chop the tatsoi (stems include) and toss that in ( we sometimes add shitake mushrooms), sprinkle in a few red pepper flakes, season with tamari and black pepper. We pile this onto some cooked brown rice and top it off with some crumbled feta cheese. Food for the soul! Often during our busy season here at the nursery, this is just what we’ll eat for lunch.Tatsoi is a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, carotenoids, folate, calcium and potassium. So good, so nourishing, I highly recommend adding it to your garden repertoire.

Chickens and Egg……Rolls

Picture 953Our order of chicks arrived last Friday, 70 Cornish Rocks which will be raised for the freezer, and some new layers for egg production. This breed of meat bird matures faster, taking eight weeks to reach butchering weight. In the past, we have preferred Freedom Rangers, a free range meat bird that takes a bit longer( 11 weeks) to reach a desired weight. This time around, and because of the busy season, we opted for the 8 week bird. The Cornish Rocks will still free range, though they tend to be less active than the Freedom Rangers. Once they have their adult feathers and are large enough not to get lost ( or eaten by predators) in the tall grass, they will be moved out to a pasture area with a movable shelter. The shelter allows us to rotate their grazing area, allowing the chickens to forage and graze on new ground. The fencing and shelter are moved weekly.
Ten new layers arrived with them……Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, and a couple of Black Australorps. Oh, and one black Silkie that will join our friend Sally and her flock.
Picture 955In the kitchen, the bok choy is making its way into a variety of meals, including eggrolls with home made plum sauce. When we find ourselves with an abundance of cabbage, eggrolls go into production. They get gobbled up pretty quickly and…..they freeze really well. Bok choy and pak choi….along with the tatsoi are some of the earliest vegetables we bring in. Right now they are all needing to be picked. Once those beds are empty, they will get a dose of compost and be planted with something else. This could be late carrots or beets or maybe more salad greens. Every space being used and recycled.