With the tomatoes going into the ground this week, and with our first harvest share boxes for the Bay Area going out for delivery, Starr and I took a brief getaway down to Ventura ahead of what we hope will be a very busy season. It was a very mellow scene with warm weather, gentle breezes, a white beach, and surfers bobbing in the waves. We took a walk down the esplanade, and it was the typical zoo of Southern California humanity: tattooed women on unicycles, rainbow-clothed Deadheads selling bootleg swag in the shade of the palm trees, a gentleman taking his 6 foot boa constrictor for a walk on the lawn, and of course there was a fruit vendor.
We stopped at the fruit vendor’s cart and bought a serving of chopped, fresh, fruit. It felt very much like being back in Mexico. Mango, watermelon, cucumber, pineapple, cantaloupe, and jicama chopped and tossed with the juice of a fresh lemon and then dusted with red chile powder. As I watched the waves roll in and enjoyed the fruit, I had the thought that this simple preparation would be perfect with kohlrabi standing in for the jicama. Maybe even better, I thought, because the kohlrabi has the toothsome crunch of the jicama, and the white color which contrasts so pleasantly with the orange, red, and yellows of the fruits, but it has its own sweetness that makes it almost fruit-like.
When we have kohlrabi people always ask me, “How do I cook it?” My new answer is going to be, “Don’t.” And while we wait for fruit to come into season up here, kohlrabi can make a lovely salad all on its own, with maybe some chopped green onion. If you slice the kohlrabi, lightly salt it, and dress it with lemon juice, it tastes great. If you have the patience to put it in the fridge and wait a day, it tastes even better.
The lavender colored beans in your box are “Flor de Mayo,” or “May Flower” beans. In Mexico they would be flowering in May, but we planted our crop last summer and harvested them in late fall. We’ve saved the seed we’re going to plant so everything else is available to eat. They cook pretty quickly. A lot of people feel that it’s necessary to soak the beans overnight before cooking, but I never bother. These are so fresh they cook up fast and easy and soaking doesn’t achieve anything dramatic.
A bit of rain today and then some sunshine should be just right.
See you soon,
Andy and the Crew at Mariquita Farms
© 2022 Essay by Andy Griffin
Photos by Starr Linden