I may have mentioned my affinity for the unique. It's something I've been attracted to for as long as I can remember. Blame it on the aquarius sun sign, rebelliousness, and maybe just a little on the fact that my mother has been a conformist (love ya, mom). Luckily, the chefs at the Harvest Table happily tolerate my odd deliveries, and I hope that you will too!
Sometimes, I intentionally search for strange varieties of 'normal' produce: purple carrots, purple broccoli, purple asparagus, purple tomatillos, purple beans. I just can't stop myself when it comes to the purple stuff.
The produce stands out at market, and also on your plate at the restaurant. Once I was given free reign with the seed catalogs, the weirdness went off the charts. On a walk around the farm, you'll find kohlrabi, egyptian walking onions, mizuna, celeriac, and mexican sour gherkins. If you've eaten those before, it's likely that you found them at the Harvest Table.
Beyond searching out new and colorful varieties of produce, I bring things to the table that may otherwise be left to wilt or end up in the compost pile. Kale raab, for example, is the flower of the kale plant just before it bursts into bloom. It tastes a lot like broccoli and is available much earlier and in abundance.
From spring through fall, you can find edible flowers of all shapes and colors. We make use of whatever mother nature decides to give us.
"That tatsoi I planted started flowering from the dry heat before it made a nice head? Great! Tatsoi flowers for weeks!"
"The violets are trying to overtake the asparagus bed? Let them flower, take all of their babies, and pull them up before they set seed!"
"Beets germinated centimeters rather than inches apart? Good thing beet thinnings are tasty served in salads AND cooked as sides."
Please: Don't be intimidated by the weirdness. Don't hesitate to ask questions! I've got recipe ideas flowing out of my ears, and I'm always happy to share. Do trust me; I won't feed you anything I haven't already tried (and loved) myself.
Our sassy salad mix offers a safe avenue to try something new. The mix changes weekly, and always includes something unique. Last week, we mixed kale, lettuce, thyme and radish flowers to make a mix with just the slightest bit of bite and sweetness. This week, look out for some colorful beet thinnings along with mizuna flowers and lettuce.
It's not all about being unique. Our decision to cook with, sell, encourage the use of these sorts of produce items stems from our underlying mission of sustainability. We strive to get the most out of each crop, and to increase diversity whenever possible. We hope you'll join us! We're at the Abingdon Farmer's Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and you can find our ever-evolving seasonal menu here.