Heirlooms of Passion

Cape Cod Garden  /  GARDEN ANNUAL 2022 /

Writer: Chris White

On Easter weekend, there’s always a lot of fuss about bunnies and eggs, but at the Chatham Bars Inn Farm, the holiday hunting offers better and tastier bounty than any Cadbury confection or Reese’s treat. Easter time at the farm means Spring, and the farm stand’s season opener. Customers and vegetable lovers who have spent the desert winter months subsisting on supermarket fare—South American-grown tomatoes, California cucumbers, generic GMO items that taste only of water—can bounce on over to fill their baskets with fresh flavors. Located in Brewster, about 10 miles from its eponymous beach resort, the farm sells plenty of traditional Easter holiday fare, sure—flower bouquets bursting with the colors of rebirth, chocolate from local virtuosos such as Chequessett—but the real treasures would drive rabbits to ecstasy: baby bok choy, pea shoots, sweet Italian basil, tender greens. Perhaps the closest thing to eggs are Hakurei Turnips, which are diminutive white globes about two inches in diameter. Farm Manager Josh Schiff says, “They’re really popular in Japan because they’re so sweet, tender, and amazing raw, with no bitterness. They’re also wonderful cooked; we recommend with butter, miso, and a little brown sugar.” Another feature of the early harvest is Persian cucumbers, an heirloom variety also known as Beit Alphas. “Developed in Israel to grow in screen houses, they don’t need to be pollinated,” says Schiff. “The bug screens exclude unwanted pests. These cucumbers have really thin skins, no seeds, no bitterness, and they’re sweet and crunchy.” One of the most popular items at the farm stand is its Signature Salad Mix. “People come back for this every Spring, and it changes seasonally,” Schiff notes. Right now, the mix includes wild mustard greens, arugula, baby kale, and mizuna (another variety of mustard green); in the summer, a variety of lettuces will…

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Chris White

Chris White is a frequent writer for Cape Cod Life Publications and has written on topics ranging from the history of Smith’s Tavern on Wellfleet Island to the sinking of the SS Andrea Doria off Nantucket. Chris also teaches English at Tabor Academy in Marion.