Spring is chugging along my friends– chugging along very, very slowly.
Things started with a real burst for us in mid-April. We were blessed with 70-degree weather and an absolutely perfect week. We planted onions and lettuce right on schedule. It rained when we needed it to. It stopped just in time. We planted a bunch more things (scallions, kale, broccoli, cabbage). Our employees started. They were every bit as amazing as we dreamed they’d be. Everything was coming up roses, and then, well then things began to change.
First it snowed. You already heard about that. Then it got even weirder. It turned oddly gray for May. And oddly cold. And so very rainy. We got about five days of dry weather in the middle of the month, and went mad planting and weeding and field prepping and working dawn until dusk. Then it started to rain even more. In all our seven years, we’ve never experienced a start to the season quite so soggy.
We’re working when we can, somehow keeping up on the weeding, and staying about a week behind schedule on our planting calendar (which feels tremendously impressive given the fact that we’ve had half as many workable days as most years).
The plants are looking happy though in a weird early May kind of way. The cold nights and lack of sunshine are keeping them from really soaring, but we know things will catch up eventually and we’re patting our winter selves on the back for anticipating the slow, damp spring ahead and deciding to begin the CSA a week later than usual.
ll-in-all it’s a calm start to this farming season though we can’t help but feel the mental strain of a wet spell that’s now lasted from late August to late May. Our work has found it’s rhythm in the middle of all this moisture, but our spring souls (usually filled by abundant sunshine) aren’t quite sure to do with all this gray.
So we celebrate life in all the ways we know how– with rainy runs, dog cuddles, NBA playoff games, field beers (and ciders), new couch cuddling, impromptu date nights and so many vegetable salads.
And this salad can’t help but perk up the gray. It’s a spruced up version of a Midwest classic my mom has been making for family picnics and friends’ children’s graduation parties since before I can even remember.
I used fresh bok choy and scallions in lieu of packaged coleslaw mix and a combination of cashews and sesame seeds for added crunch, but kept the ramen noodles and flavor packet because sometimes it’s fun to eat a meal that brings you back to your roots.
Dreaming of more sun,
MIDWEST BOK CHOY RAMEN SALAD
Takes 15 minutes
1 head bok choy, sliced thinly (stems and greens)
1 bunch radishes, greens removed, cut into matchsticks
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted and salted cashews, roughly chopped
1/4 cup white or black sesame seeds (or a mixture)
Noodles from 1 package of beef ramen
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
Flavor packet from 1 package of beef ramen
Pinch Kosher salt
- In a large bowl, combine bok choy, radishes, scallions, cashews, sesame seeds and ramen noodles. Toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth and uniform. Pour over bok choy mixture and stir well to evenly coat. Let sit 15 minutes before eating.