Greetings from the farm! It’s Kierstin here, an AmeriCorps volunteer helping Jason this summer in Garden City Harvest’s (GCH) fantastic Community Education Program (CEP). Truth be told, I knew pretty close to nothing about GCH, let alone farming, my first day on the job. Given my conspicuous lack of plant know-how, I was pretty self-conscious my first few days among the experienced farmers and students at the PEAS Farm. They spoke of “kohlrabi,” “drip tape” and “Ophelia,” and I had no idea what they were talking about.
But I kept my cool. And somehow, four weeks later, I have confidence in my growing, farming knowledge. Of course, it’s all thanks to the folks at Garden City Harvest who make beginners feel not only welcome, but valuable.
Now, to the important stuff… This week was the PEAS Farm’s season debut of an oft-forgotten member of the onion family: scallions. I got to harvest, trim and wash some of these little fellas Thursday morning with the farm crew. You may know them by a different name, of which they apparently have many: green onions, spring onions, salad onions, green shallots, onion sticks, long onions, baby onions, precious onions, yard onions, gibbons, or syboes. We like to give our CSA shareholders “big” scallions, somewhere between the size of a marble and a gumball. (Five star chefs would positively abhor these bigger scallions. They prefer their scallions to be pencil thin, probably for presentation’s sake.) Though similar in taste and smell to an onion, scallions are much milder. They are also much less likely to induce crying.
The Greek philosopher Theophrastus apparently had a thing for scallions and gave them their original name, “askolonions”. A student of Plato’s, he didn’t waste his time on just any old thing. He only studied that which he felt would truly enrich his mind: moral character, sensation, metaphysics, and, yes— scallions, in works called Enquiry into Plants and On the Causes of Plants.
So, we conclude: Scallions will enrich your mind. Dice up this flavorful spring veggie and add to a crisp salad, soup (e.g. http://www.thekitchn.com/best-simple-supper-miso-soup-w-136147), stir-fry, curry, or sandwich. As with onions, there are a million different ways to use them. Do as the ancient Greeks did, and enjoy your scallions!