Friday, July 30, 2010

Amazing kohlrabi

One of the things I'm beginning to understand since arriving on the farm are the difficult economics of growing vegetables for a living. Here at EST, we have a relatively small plot of tillable land, only a couple of acres, and so we make up for that by producing a modest line of prepared foods: hummus, veggie burgers, pesto, and more.

We also have to be strategic about what we plant, hence the abundance of tomatoes, green leafy things, raspberries, and the like -- stuff our CSA members love and that command good prices at market. The amount of space we can devote to unusual herbs or less popular veggies is, unfortunately, somewhat limited.

But we do have some fun stuff growing here, as I've noted before, and even some trendy greens like arugula. One thing I've grown to love here is our kohlrabi, a popular vegetable among the health-conscious that is increasing available in regular supermarkets.

Kohlrabi has the texture of an apple and secretes a little bit of juice when bitten, but the taste is far subtler, with a little bit of radish and some cabbage thrown in. We use it in salads mostly, but there's plenty of other applications. Over the last few weeks, ours have been in full swing and it feels great pulling these fully formed baseballs from the dirt.

But the thing I love most is its appearance. The variety we grow comes in an amazing shade of almost neon purple, earning it the nickname, in our fields anyway, of the Avatar vegetable. And the way the stems connect with the body resembles nothing so much as a human heart. It's smooth to the touch and sensually textured. I love just looking at it and holding it.

That it's edible too is, quite simply, the icing on the cake.

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