VICTORY GARDENS: On Swiss Chard, The Long Distance Miracle Runner Of Veggies

by Lisa Giroday, Sandra Lopuch and Sam Philips | You can harvest Swiss Chard right now, and sow seeds and raise transplants. But when is it in season? The question is, when is it NOT in season? You can sow chard seeds from April to August, and the harvest duration for chard is even longer than kale! Freaking kale! If you have chard in the garden right now that has overwintered, it is probably beginning to bolt with this warm (insanely scorching and uncharacteristic) weather, but as this happens, if you started chard in the garden in April, you can soon be harvesting baby chard leaves for salad mixes. Did you know that Chard is in the same family as beets and spinach? Yup, they’re known as the Chenopods. Our absolute favorite variety to grow is the heirloom “Flamingo Pink”, with its hot neon pink stalks.

Swiss chard is high in vitamins A, K and C, with a 175g serving containing 214%, 716%, and 53% of the recommended daily value. It is also rich in minerals, dietary fiber and protein. Can this possibly be true?! One seasonal culinary pairing that is particularly delectable is spring leeks with chard – sautéed with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.

Sauteed Spring Leeks and Swiss Chard

2 bunches of chard – pick your fancy – rainbow etc.
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (you know what amount you like to drizzle in)
2 large leeks, sliced relatively thinly
sea salt and pepper to taste

- Cut stems from chard. Stack chard leaves and roll like sushi. Cut rolls crosswise to make 1-inch-thick strips of leaves. Thinly slice the white and pale green parts of the leek.

- Heat oil in a skillet over moderately high heat, then sauté chard stems and leeks with sea salt and pepper to taste, stirring occasionally, until slightly soft, about 5 minutes or less. Lastly, add chard leaves and continue to sauté, stirring frequently, until wilted. If you find that the leaves are browning, add a bit of water to the skillet.

Where to Find Chard: Yippie! The Vancouver Farmers Market opens at Trout Lake this upcoming Saturday, so go get yourself some chard! Not only that, but we at Victory Gardens are participating in the Stone Soup Festival on the same day! You could head down Commercial after Trout Lake and pick up some Chard seeds and starts.

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Victory Gardens is a team of local urban farmers for hire. Lisa, Sandra and Sam help transform tired or underused residential and commercial green spaces into food producing gardens. Their goal is to challenge the way communities use space and to participate in the change needed to consume food more sustainably. For the rest of the growing season, they’ve hooked up with Scout to share some cool tips and tricks on how to get the best from of our own backyards.