After a very slow start, it seems like the vegetable garden has finally decided to start growing.

Our first harvest of about 3.5 bushels of Korean cabbage is destined to become kimchi. The spring planting was not bountiful, by any means, due to an over-abundance of moisture and wild swings in temperature.  This stresses the plants out and causes them to flower prematurely (or "bolt").  There should be enough kimchi, however, to make some Kimchi and Bacon sausage (yup), and we may even have some jars for sale at the markets.  I'm excited about this Korean cabbage - comparable to a Napa cabbage but it doesn't form a tight head.  This means it has more sturdy green leaves and should make for an exceptionally flavorful ferment.  I seeded another planting for fall harvest, so we're looking forward to a late-season bounty.

Our early planting of cilantro is having similar ideas.  It spent a whole lot of time in the soupy soil doing nothing, and now would appear to be focusing on creating some heirs before giving up the ghost.  So we're going to go with the flow and let it flower - beneficial insects love cilantro flowers, and we love green coriander berries.  The green berries will get picked and pickled, making for a sort of capery treat that I'm sure will pop up in a delicious sausage later this summer.

The tomatoes and the peppers have decided to quit their lollygagging and get with the production program.  The pepper plants are still small, but appear healthy and are just starting to produce fruit.  The tomatoes are growing like crazy, and we finally had to trellis them to keep them up out of the dirt.  The first planting of carrots looks good, and the onions are going gangbusters.  This means that soon enough we'll have homegrown carrots and onions for our new favorite spicy sausage, Carrot Habanero.  

But the real star of the garden so far? Parsley.  Yes, parsley.  Beating all expectations and looking like it's set to form a hedgerow between the potatoes and the onions.  As a wise man once said, there is nothing that wouldn't benefit from the addition of some fresh minced parsley.  So true, Angelo Pellegrini, so true.  (Find a copy of The Food Lover's Garden and read it.)   After our next round of pigs goes to the butcher next week and we actually have some meat, we are going to find out just how much parsley one can reasonably (or unreasonably) put into a sausage.  Parsley and Green Onion sausage?  Yeah, I think so.

Jeff Backer