Asparagus Rising + Turnips + Radishes + Rain + Sunshine = Goodness

Happy Glorious Friday, Black Catters and Brambleites! This is almost sinfully luscious weather, yes? Smack on the heels of two days of cool and rain, it’s perfect for one of our favorite pursuits — growing vegetables.

Flowering Chinese broccoli in the foreground, with another flowering Asian green in the background.
Flowering Chinese broccoli in the foreground, with another flowering Asian green in the background.

We started the day early in the fields and toiled in the mud (with the gorgeous sun on our backs) to harvest a diversity of green goodness for the Saturday Market and the restaurants. We have our first batch of lettuce of the year this week, as well as radishes and turnips. Meanwhile early spring greens, like mache, Chinese broccoli and arugula, are in full flower and about to take a bow.

The new mean, green harvesting machine.
The new mean, green harvesting machine.

One treat this week — our new mean, green harvesting machine. A power drill attached to the contraption (see photo of The Notorious Noah) powers the blade at the bottom, and the dangling ropes help shepherd the cut greens into the container. Pretty cool.

The Notorious Noah holding a hail-damaged turnip.
The Notorious Noah holding a hail-damaged turnip.

One downer this week: hail. We had hail close to the size of golf balls thunder down upon the farm, damaging leaves of some crops, including turnips.

Hi there, asparagus. Long time, no see.
Hi there, asparagus. Long time, no see.

And in our acre plot that is always reserved for asparagus, the spears shot up from the soil like rockets (which is how asparagus does its thing — it’s like it’s coiled up beneath the soil for most of the year, and then one day the spring unleashes its power). We don’t yet know whether any of the asparagus will make it to the Market; we reserve most for the restaurants. But stay tuned — harvesting should begin in earnest next week, and we will have a better sense about this year’s bounty.

Our wine program is expanding dramatically.
Our wine program is expanding dramatically.

Wine is central to the Black Cat and Bramble & Hare experiences, and we have been busy this winter developing an even deeper and broader cellar. At this point, the cellar is more than twice the size it was just months ago, with close to 4,000 bottles and more than 1,000 selections. We are keen to share more about our wine program in coming weeks and months. One of the wine niches we explore with earnest is wineries that pay especially close attention to farming. Nurturing the soil remains central to all that we do at Black Cat Farm, which is certified both organic and biodynamic. When we encounter wineries that approach vineyards with the same sort of reverence, we can get a little bit intoxicated with enthusiasm. One winery that we feature at Black Cat, Matthiasson Wines in Napa and Sonoma Valleys, hews to a similarly soil-devoted philosophy. Steve and Jill Klein Matthiasson are committed to soil health and and sustainable farming and lucky for us — but not surprising — the grapes thrive and the wines are spectacular. The next time you hit Black Cat, try their Ribolla Gialla, a grape native to the Friuli region of Italy and neighboring Slovenia. It is an unparalleled food wine, with flavors of lemon and grapefruit, ghosted with a whisper of something saline.

Welcome back, lettuce.
Welcome back, lettuce.

We hope to see you at the Market and in the restaurants this weekend! Here is what we will have for sale at the Market on Saturday. And of course every day we feature whatever is being harvested in the restaurants. In addition to the produce stand, our new prepared food stall this weekend will serve pork burgers, pulled pork, lamb ragout and the salad bar.

  • Spinach
  • Parsley
  • Kale
  • Rapini
  • Arugula
  • Mustard green mix
  • Spicy green mix
  • Frisee
  • Escarole
  • Butter lettuce
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Chard
  • Sorrel
  • Harukei turnips
  • Cherry Belle radishes
  • Carrots
  • Arugula flowers
  • Mustard flowers
  • All pork cuts

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