We believe that tending the earth is equal parts hard work, trust, and patience. As farmers, we can do everything possible to ensure a bountiful harvest, but a large part of the process is totally out of our hands. It seems as humans we try to control everything, but at the end of the day, we can't force a flower to bloom. We can predict that every seed sown will not germinate, so we over-plant, and then thin crops to the desired spacing. Nothing is wasted on our farm, and while thinned plants are a great nitrogen boost for our compost pile, they can also provide early season nourishment on our dinner plates.
Here at TRF we love the variety and heritage of cultivating heirloom plants. Growing in our garden now are long rows of Rat's Tail Radish Pods. An Asian heirloom originally grown in the US back in the 1860's, radish pod plants produce tender large seed pods that we are going to be pickling this summer to garnish cheese plates, charcuterie boards and cocktails!
On the back of the Baker Creek seed packet, we were instructed to thin plants to 12" apart, and a meal was inspired by that project! This is our version of a Niçoise Salad. Today we used the thinnings from our radish pods, paired with French Breakfast radishes from Whatley Farm in Topsham, tuna, and Niçoise olives.
Tuna Niçoise Salad on Wilted Radish Greens
makes 2 entree salads
1# radish greens, cleaned
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t olive oil
6 oz can of tuna
1/3 c Niçoise olives
1/3 c feta
3-4 radishes, sliced thinly
1/4 c toasted sunflower seeds
lemon zest for garnish
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 c olive oil
6 stems parsley
- Sauté minced garlic in 1 t olive oil, until fragrant.
- Add the radish greens, turning with tongs until wilted.
- Plate wilted greens and compose the rest of the salad using the tuna, olives, feta, radishes and sunflower seeds.
- To make vinaigrette: chop herbs finely and place in the bottom of a small bowl. Pour in lemon juice and then slowly pour in oil while whisking to emulsify.
- Drizzle vinaigrette over salad.
- Top with lemon zest and enjoy!
- If you don't have radish greens in your garden use other thinnings like kale, chard, brussel sprouts or broccoli!
- We use either a Spanish or Italian canned fish, because we value the quality of fish that they preserve, and the quality of oil that they use. Two brands to check out are Ortiz and Tonnino.