It is officially farm season. Normally our first crop of every season is chives. This year we had garlic greens and kale from our farm earlier than chives, but for me and my “biological farming” clock, harvesting chives is when I think farming has begun. This culinary delight has been gracing tables for 5000 years. Of course, even though I am north of 50 years old, I am not able to verify exactly how many years it has been cultivated. I am good with 5000 though.
Now, mind you, we grow around 400 linear row feet that we harvest several times throughout the growing season. We also weed it several times throughout the season. This year I wasn’t sure that the chives were going to come out of the winter very well.
About a month ago, I was quietly lamenting the loss of the chive crop. It just didn’t look normal, but really how many of us were starving for a little warmth this last winter too. But like the champion of Spring they are, they came roaring back! These chives have been cultivated from one 4″ pot that we planted in 2003 in our herb garden.
Chives love to multiply; no, they EXCELL at multiplying. Every few years, when the weeds begin to take over and compete with the chives, and the grasses move in, we dig up the healthiest clumps and break them apart and replant one lonely single chive every six inches. And within a few months one has become 6. Last week I spoke about the miracle of seeds. Plants that propagate by multiplying are equally amazing.
All this to share that for some of you who have been customers for over 15 years, we have been harvesting and tending this crop of chives for your health. It is rewarding to think that with a little attention, and intention, such a healthy allium can feed thousands of families in its life.
All the onions/alliums are incredibly healthy and are off the charts as a health food. Scallions, leeks, red, yellow, white, and sweet onions, and shallots all have incredible cancer fighting components. I know that the saying is an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and that is true, but adding an onion or garlic to your daily plan will definitely keep you healthier than not.
Chives, unlike its other onion relatives, are best added at the end of the cooking process. For soups or potato dishes cut them in into 1/8” sections and add them on top. For scrambled eggs and souffle’s add them at the end as well. And for a salad, mix them in.
To keep your chives fresh, treat them like flowers and keep them in a vase.
But mostly, eat them!