Radishes & Spinach
In the Pacific Northwest, the first two crops of the season are often spinach and radishes, and this year is no different for us on Full Circle Farm. These hardy, early plantings endure many of the transitions from winter into spring like fluctuating temperatures of very cold hail and wind to bug infestations that devour the first young and tender shoots.
Staying ahead of the mildew is often an issue with spinach, but our varieties, Olympia and Molokai, love the fresh, cool, Pacific spring air. Their smooth, dark green leaves grow rapidly and seem to adore the low 50’s temps throughout the day.
As we all have gathered by now, spinach is the “Popeye” vegetable with high amounts of vitamin C, calcium, folate, beta-carotene, and a high amount of iron that can be difficult for the body to process. As Leanne Kitchen writes in her great book, “The Produce Bible,” spinach is a staple in many Middle Eastern dishes, and the wonderful green made its way during the 12th century to Spain via The Moors and much later in the 16th century, traveled with Catherine de Medici from Florence to France upon her marriage.
Since then, many dishes with spinach have been known as “a la Florentine.” Whether you lap it up with cream, cheese, butter, prosciutto, or try a lighter fare of soy sauce, rice vinegar, toasted sesame seeds served over grilled chicken or salmon, it is always a lovely and graceful green to companion your meals.
Radishes coming from the Latin word “radix” meaning “root” and are known for their classic cherry-red ball shape, but also growing in popularity are the finger-size, elongated shapes as well as the Nero and Purple varieties. On our farm, we do Escala, the classic, and Viola Purple, the fun, round, deep purple variety. Dating as far back to Egyptian times, radish seed oil was prized long before the olive. Radish leaves as well as the vegetables are nutritional with vitamins A, C and B. Back in my days of Northwest Institute of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine while getting my license, we often studied the healing components with whole foods. The radish in its powerful, raw nature is an excellent digestive aid and cools the blood to help with stagnation in the body. Enjoy radishes raw! Sliced and grated, they are wonderful additions to salads and slaws and on top of your favorite sandwich. They are great as sticks for little fingers to dip into a salad dressing, and don’t forget to toss the greens into stir-fries or soups.
Don’t forget to find us on Instagram (@fullcirclefarms).