Herbs present their own unique challenges and benefits beyond normal produce. Culinary herbs are actually a wide range of different plants, all of which add a lovely zip to our cooking. Some herbs are perennial plants, and require year round care and attention. These include things like rosemary, lavender, oregano, thyme, and some types of sage. Perennials are great because they are hardy and will give us a crop year after year, but they do require some time to establish themselves. We look forward to sending big bunches of these in future years of the CSA as our long term herbs get established.
The annual herbs that we re-seed and grow multiple times a year also have their advantages. These include cilantro, dill, parsley, and basil to name a few. There are varieties suited to almost all weather conditions, so we can get many crops throughout the season. Another wonderful thing about growing herbs is they are generally much more pest resistant than standard produce. The flavor compounds that we prize in in these plants are actually their defenses against bugs that might want to munch on them. While a caterpillar might happily munch on a tomato, it will usually pass up cilantro and parsley. Annual herbs are also very productive, if you carefully harvest from the plants, you can get multiple cuttings from the same plant. This is known as ‘cut-and-come-again’, and it is a wonderful trait for farmers and CSA members!
This week’s recipes highlight the current bounty of herbs. One is an updated take on a classic Chimichurri sauce, a chopped herb sauce originally from Argentina. It is fantastic on grilled meats, sausages, or roasted vegetables (roots, squash, etc.). The second recipe is a really wonderful couscous salad infused with a wonderful mix of herbs and a really unique cardamom dressing. You should be able to make both if you split all of your herb bunches in half between each recipe. Let us know how you like them!
-Sarah & Billy