We grow a variety of Asian vegetables here at the farm and all of them have been grown here since the farm began back in the early 1940s - that's almost eighty years ago now! Back then we grew them wholesale for many Asian markets and restaurants all along the east coast from Canada to Florida. Now we grow them for our retail and CSA customers. As we introduced our customers to the family of "choys" or Asian cabbages, I have tried to do as many cooking demos, tastings, and classes as I could manage along the way as a working farmer on a schedule with little time to spare.
Most recently I stir-fried on our outdoor cooktop at the OPEN HOUSE, and in our latest "Cookshop" class on May 22nd, where we tasted baby bok choy RAW, straight from the green house - so tender and SWEET - and then cooked up a stir fry in the kitchen with our popular stir fry sauce that brings out the best Asian flavors with its garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil. I gave tips on how to grill the baby bok for easy summer cooking, as well as how to steam it whole for an elegant dinner party presentation. Stefanie Sacks, our in-house culinary nutritionist and chef added to the class with even more recipes featuring the Asian greens.
I sense a growing interest and openness to cooking with these unique veggies this season and so I will continue to introduce others, such as guy lon (Chinese broccoli), u-choy and nyuchoy (both flowering sweet cabbages) and hopefully dow mew (snow pea shoots), if they will grow for us in the summer heat!
We will be featured in October on the PBS show Lucky Chow, highlighting Asian culture through the lens of food because of the farm's rich history and also because the farm continues to grow and introduce to more customers, these unique and delicious veggies and through all of these years continues to be an integral part of current Asian cooking trends.
I hope you feel adventuresome this summer and try eating some of these yummy and good-for-you greens!!
- Karen Lee