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Rhubarb Season is finally here!

I have been working for about a week at the Asparagus Farm and I am quickly realizing how much of a treasure this odd looking vegetable is to the area. People come from all of the surrounding neighborhoods and practically line up for this stuff. I am also amazed at how fast the stalks grow, at least 2-3 inches a day! This makes picking it quite of a challenge because it grows to unruly lengths to cut! We have been picking up to 600 pounds a day! On the days that we have a good crop, someone is on the phone calling all of the restaurants in the area to see if they would like to buy it because it doesn’t keep for more than a week, while others are conveniently chopping it for use in soups.

When time allows, I head to the rhubarb patch and pull stalks to bring inside to chop up for pies. This makes it easier to sell because all of the heavy washing and cutting is taken out of the mix for our customers. It makes it much faster to throw together a pie. While I was pulling it today my mind went wild trying to think about which rhubarb recipe I was going to try first, since this would be our first taste of it for the season. While I was cutting I took a taste of it and decided that it had the perfect amount of tang for Rhubarb Crisp.

After this short amount of time working on a farm, seeing how much work goes into the food that is brought to our table makes me appreciate what I eat as well as the farmers who provide the food that my family eats. It is so easy to get caught up in the amount of “fresh” food available in supermarkets without even thinking about where it comes from. I mean tomatoes from Mexico or grown in a hothouse in the middle of winter, this doesn’t even make sense! It makes me think about where I buy my food from and how far it has traveled before getting to my plate. It also makes me think about my responsibility to protect our environment; therefore I have become an avid supporter of local farmers and businesses.

The recipe that follows was made with rhubarb grown 1/4 mile from my house without the use of any chemicals or fertilizers. I cut it myself and walked to bring it home. How much more local can you get? The whole time I prepared this dish, I felt all warm and fuzzy inside because I contributed to the production of the main ingredient. Of course I am not taking credit for growing it, so I thank the Ketcheson Family for growing that delicious rhubarb that made our dessert so tasty! I just hope that next year our rhubarb patch takes off as nicely!

Rhubarb Crisp
Recipe From:
Makes: 6-8 servings

• 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup quick cooking rolled oats
• 1/2 cup melted butter
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 4 cups sliced rhubarb
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1 cup water
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

1. In mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, oats, butter and cinnamon; mix together until crumbly. Press half of the brown sugar and oats mixture into a buttered 8-inch square baking dish. Top with the sliced rhubarb.
2. In a saucepan combine 1 cup granulated sugar, cornstarch, and the 1 cup of water and vanilla. Cook together until clear, then pour over rhubarb.
3. Top rhubarb with remaining crumb mixture and bake at 350° for 45 to 55 minutes.

   This recipe was excellent and full of flavor, perfectly mixing sweet and tart. When I make it again I will cut the amount of white sugar, not only to allow for more tang, but also to save my teeth. I might even mix the cornstarch, white sugar, vanilla, and a few tablespoons of water with the rhubarb instead of pouring the mixture over the rhubarb and crumb mixture. It made for the finished dish to be a little less crispy than I would have liked. I also think next time I will serve it with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. But regardless, it will be made again and there will be plenty more rhubarb recipes to follow!

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