Broccoli and cauliflower really need no introduction, since they are two of the most popular veggies. Since our farm is quite small, we don't grow the "big brassicas" like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages, so the broccoli, cauliflower, or romanesco in your share this week most likely came from French Farms, or Verde Farm, both in Homestead. When you've got 22 acres to tend, like Verde Farm does, there's plenty of room in the fields and in your schedule for large low maintenance crops such as this. A fully grown "big brassica" plant that's ready to flower (the part of the broccoli plant that we eat is actually the bud of its large ornate flower) can take up more than 2 square feet in the field. That's a lot of farm space for one item; we would have to plant over 300 feet of our farm in these varieties just to make sure all of you got some. We focus on faster growing, higher yielding crops and leave the big brassicas to our partners in Homestead with more space.
Broccoli, cauliflower, romanesco can only be grown during the fall and winter in South Florida because of the heat of our spring and summer. Heat sends a signal to some plants that it is the end of summer (usually the hottest part of the year) which triggers the plants to create flowers, in our case sometimes prematurely, before the whole plant is mature enough to produce a nice big head of broccoli or cauliflower. These plants need a long period of cool weather to mature and then finally bloom when they are actually ready.
Just in case you are bored with your usual recipes for these veggies, here's a list of fun new ways to eat them.
Roasted whole cauliflower head
Ottolenghis grilled broccoli with chile and lemon
Asian crunchy broccoli stem salad
Farmer Tiffany has been making "cauliflower rice" at her house as a way to cut some carbs out of her diet and replace them with veggies. Here's an easy recipe for "cauliflower fried rice" from one of her favorite cooking blogs, thekitchn.com
And here's a fun list of more creative ways to use cauliflower instead of carbs!