One of the best things about organic farming is the ability to showcase and play with biodiversity. Our Community Supported Agriculture model allows us to experiment because we know we already have a market for our veggies, especially the weirder cultivars. Of course, our chefs at Great Performances also love to feature some of our more obscure items on catering menus. Read on to learn about the funky things growing alongside carrots, onions, and kale this season.
Dandelion greens are a most proper green: they are bitter, earthy, and extraordinarily healthy. They can be foraged or cultivated, and we've had fun doing both. The Italian-leaning greens can be sautéed with epic amounts of garlic and oil, or mellowed out a bit when added to a soup. Last season we experimented with a dandelion green pesto that was sure to surprise on catering menus throughout the city. A refreshing way to use dandelion greens in this summer? Dandelion Citrus Salad with Honey Vinaigrette.
Purslane is a scrumptious, lemony plant with refreshingly succulent leaves. Like dandelion, it is considered a weed for some, and dinner for others. Purslane grows just about anywhere from fertile garden soil to the poorest arid soils, making it widely available - or widely annoying, depending on your perspective. We like to make use of what we've got and savor this plant in gumbo and salads.
Sweet, earthy, bright - and white! These Holland heirlooms taste just like your standard red beets, but the white flesh makes them unique. Try them in this new take on poke - Beet Poke!
This small, rosebud-shaped variety of cabbage is as adorable as it is regal.
Also known as Mexican Sour Gherkins, these 1" cucumbers look like watermelons but are actually a citrus-tasting cucumber. These are great for pickling, as cocktail garnishes, or sprinkled into a salad for a fun twist. Chef Albert shares his go-to simple pickling recipe here.
Fairy Tale Eggplant
These mini speckled eggplants are just stunning. They are perfect on the grill, which will keep their queenly color in tact.
Ginger? In upstate New York? Oh yes! After a few pioneering trials in the region in 2010, ginger has taken the East Coast by storm with a little greenhouse TLC. We love the crispness of uncured ginger, and make tea from the stems and leaves all throughout the fall months. This is another crop that you can use for Beet Poke or for a refreshing Parsley Ginger Lemonade.
Deep Purple Scallions
Like your standard scallions, but a deep rich fashionable purple. We love to pickle these or use them as a garnish!