Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

August Twenty-Third

Have you ever wondered how we do it all?  All of these vegetables!  So much variety!  So many different vegetables, all from one farm!  All in one season!  And it’s not over; just slightly more than half-way over in fact.  We still have a lot more to offer you before the end is here!  But it’s a tricky job, you know.  As carefully as we may plan and predict and then expect certain crops to mature at certain times and to look certain ways, we are entirely at the whims of mother nature’s mood.  It’s a really fun game of succession plantings that need to be kept up with! IMG 3028

When you buy produce at a grocery store and you buy a cucumber, for example, you’re likely buying that cucumber from a farmer who only grows cucumbers and maybe a couple other crops.  You’re also only getting to see that farm’s cucumbers during their peak production when the cucumbers are #1 quality and when the stores will buy them. 

What makes a CSA farm a little different is that we don’t just grow a few different crops in a season, we grow over 45 different crops, and if you want to count the different varieties within those 45 differet crops, we’re looking at over 100 varieties.  Within different varieties, we’re talking about different lengths to maturity, different growing behaviors, different harvest specs.  It keeps things very interesting for us farmers and for the workers who help on our farm.  I would say that this is a very fun farm to work on because we are so widely diversified with vegetables.  Almost every day there is something new to experience! 

But the catch is that quality on some crops may suffer slightly.  While we’re at the very end of summer squash harvest season and cucumber harvest season, we’re still sharing those crops with you as we continue to harvest off of the last of what the plants have to offer, but the presentation isn’t as beautiful and perfect.  This is also the very ,very last celery giving as we did a final sweep of the patch.  The celery are still perfectly edible, but we had to cut many of the heads apart to discard the parts of the plants that didn’t look so great anymore.  These are a far cry from those beautiful, huge celery we were harvesting a month ago when they were all fresh and new! 

Adam and I care deeply about the quality of the produce you receive.  If we’re shipping you veggies that look “inglorious” or “imperfect”, it’s because we’re trying to reduce the food waste on the farm, we believe you might still want to eat cucumbers before they’re out of season, and it’s better to fill up those CSA boxes, rather than leave those imperfect veggies in the fields and have lighter CSA boxes.  Usually there is something new and fresh coming into season, and occasionally a veggie that we’re all getting a little tired of, like cucumbers, that is drifting out of season slowly. 

We hope to make up for an imperfect bunch of celery and a mis-shapen cucumber with bountiful bags of fresh beans, and long-awaited tomatoes, sweet corn, melons and more!  Many more new and fun items to come!  Let’s eat!  

Sooo....What's in the Box????

Beans!-  1.43 lbs per member.  We picked green beans, dragon tongue beans and also yellow wax beans this week.  When we were bagging them, we tried to give you a little of each variety.  The dragon tongue beans are large, flat, cream-colored bean with purple streaking.  The dragon tongues will loose their purple streaking in the cooking process once they are cooked.  Beans are such a lovely summer vegetable.  It takes a very long time to pick this many beans for almost 300 CSA boxes! 

White Onion-  A nice white onion for everyone this week!

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  Also known as a banana pepper.  The Hungarian Hot Wax pepper has a spicy name, but they are quite mild on the spectrum of hot peppers.  They can be a bit of a mixed bag.  One Hungarian Hot Wax pepper could be very mild with little to no spice, and the next one you try could have a surprising amount of kick.  Give them a little nibble before cooking with them to gage how much to use in your dish.

Jalapeno Pepper-  Our first giving of Jalapeno Peppers.  These little guys are the smaller green pepper floating around in your box somewhere.  As you probably know, Jalapenos are hot!  To me they are very, very hot since I’m sort of a hot-pepper wimp.  So wear gloves when handling them in the kitchen, especially if your fingertips come anywhere near the seeds or seed cavity. 

Celery-  We promise, this is the FINAL giving of celery.  We really had to scape to get 300 bunches this week.  And some of the celery are actually bunched because we were discarding some of the more unsightly parts of the plants.  Now is your chance to try out some of your favorite celery dishes before it goes out of season. Cucumbers-  3 Slicing cucumbers.  This is also the final cucumber giving.  We all love cucumbers, but the farm workers will be happy to be done harvesting these every couple days! 

Red Curly Kale-  A really fun recipe for a Massaged Kale Salad this week!  Kale keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.

Oregano-  A small bunch of oregano to add to your spaghetti sauce, meat dishes or however you can get creative with it!  If you don’t think you can use it all, un-tie the bunch and lay it out on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate it for several hours.  Once it is fully dry, strip the leaves from the stems and store it in a ball jar with a tight lid.

Pickling Cucumbers-  2-3 Pickling Cukes per member.  We had three folks send us their tried and true pickling cuke recipes last week.  See those below if you want to try a new one!    

Honey White Melon-  These are small melons, but they are delicious.  We thought they were just a tad under-ripe and they could go a few days sitting on your counter-top before you cut them open.  We liked how sturdy they were.  We’ve shipped very ripe melons before and had to deal with them going bad or getting moldy, so we are really going to try to catch them before that happens!  They are white on the inside when ripe and the flesh may be even slightly crispy. 

Eggplant-  You may have received either one standard Black Beauty Eggplant or you may have received one long and skinney Japanese Eggplant.  Eggplant prefers a 50 degree storage area which can be hard to come by.  They sometimes get a bit wilty in the fridge and the countertop is a tad too warm, so we recommend using these up sooner rather than later because they’re not awesome keepers.  More next week!

Red Beets- About three medium sized red beets per member.  The red beets have truly been lovely to cook with this season.  The nice thing about beets is that they will keep for a fantastically long time if kept in the fridge in a plastic bag.  But, if you're like me, you won't be able to hold onto them that long without devouring them first. 

Tomatoes-  we pick tomatoes in the early stages of 'blushing' and ripening.  We recommend leaving your tomatoes out on your countertop to ripen.  They will slowly ripen over the course of a week.  We need to pick them at this stage of ripeness if they are to survive the shipping and handeling.  We would much rather give you under-ripe tomatoes than smooshed tomatoes.  If you leave them out at room temperature, it will not affect their flavor, they will still be considered vine-ripened tomatoes.  We also recommend not putting your tomatoes in the fridge unless they are fully ripen and you need to refrigerate them to buy yourself some time before you are able to eat them.  Putting tomatoes in referigerators usually sucks the flavor out of them.  Enjoy!  We're hoping for a larger giving next week!

Summer Squash-  1-2 per member.  And this is the final summer squash and/or zucchini giving as well.  Moving on to bigger and better things!  If you’ve had more than enough, just shredding your squash and zucchini and sticking it in a ziplock bag in the freezer will keep it nicely for you through the winter months when a loaf of warm zucchini bread sounds lovely. 

Sweet Corn-  5 Ears Sweet Corn!  Five ears per member.  Did you know that minute sweet corn has been harvested it begins to loose some of it’s sweetness?  Yes, the sugars turn to starches and the flavor decreases by the hour.  We highly recommend keeping your sweet corn in the refrigerator and eating it for supper TONIGHT to maximize the awesome flavor it has!  Some of the corn did have worms in it.  Yes, worms are gross, but this is organic corn folks and there isn’t much we can do about it.  Just take a knife and cut those spots or the tip off if you find one.  We don’t want you be alarmed, because they’re in there!  Farmer Adam did a fantastic job keeping the sweet corn fence electrified at night and keeping the coons out.  We sometimes loose huge numbers of corn to the raccoons.  This year we’re keeping them out so far!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  It’s really not fair, but we had about 220 pints of Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes, so there were about 60 people who did not get a Cherry Tomato pint.  We put them in the boxes at the end of the packing line if it was a box that looked like it was smaller or had more room in the box.  We’re hoping that for next week we’ll have enough for every box!  We tried to make sure the boxes that did not get them were full of everything else!  Sun Gold ripen Orange and not red, so eat them when they turn orange.  Leave them on your counter to ripen and not in the fridge. 

Next Week’s Best Guess-  Sweet Corn, tomatoes, hot peppers, sweet peppers, melon, eggplant, lettuce, beans, potatoes, carrots, basil, onion, garlic

Recipes-

Massaged Kale Salad with Beet and Carrot

Baba Ganoush Recipe (Eggplant Dip) with Pomegranate Molasses

Easy Refrigerator Pickles (Thank you, Danielle!)

More Easy Refrigerator Pickles (Thank you, Steve and Sarah!)

Simple Refrigerator Pickles (Thank you, Sandra)