Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

July Twenty-Fifth

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When I was a girl, my mother used to tell me I was her favorite child after I had just done something that pleased her. She would do this with a wink, and even in front of my other siblings at times. I remember feeling I had just eaten the mushroom in Mario Brothers and I would stand tall and feel proud. But I knew that she would do the same thing to my sister and my brother and tell them that they were her favorite, with a wink of course, in front of me. None of us ever felt jealous, for we were all well-loved and appreciated by our mother. Her praise would encourage good behavior and we each knew that we all got our turn in the limelight.

When asked what my favorite vegetable is, I would have to say it is the freshest and newest and prettiest vegetable on the farm. It is the root I have just pulled out of the ground with a ‘pluck’ whose heart is still beating with life. The one that looks alive and appeals to my sensory that day. It is the one that has just stricken me with its beauty and valor. It is the one that I have just sunk my teeth into and has made me go ‘mmmmmmmmm’.   The one that made me realize how much I had missed it while it was out of season. It changes, you see.

I love them all. As a mother loves all of her children, as we are capable of loving more than one place or one person or one color. I used to tell people that I didn’t like eggplant, for I had convinced myself that I didn’t. But the truth was, I hadn’t learned to love and appreciate it yet. It hadn’t captured me yet. I hadn’t prepared it in a way that I was happy with yet. No one else had cooked it for me yet in a way that made it taste good. But I was still an amateur cook and cooking with eggplant might be a ‘level 2’ vegetable- or at least it was for me.

When you’re in the fields harvesting eggplant on a sunny day, the eggplant come off the vine shining their sexy, sleek, black skin at you. They feel light, yet heavy in your hands and they’re so round and full and smooth and perfect looking. They suddenly appeal to you, and anyone might want to try and cook one. All vegetables have a freshness to them at the time of harvest that seems to slowly fade by the day (or even the hour depending on the temperature they’re stored at) after they have been picked. It’s sad to see it happen, but a reminder none the less, of the perishability of fresh produce.

One of the beautiful parts of belonging to a CSA farm is how incredibly fresh this produce is. It doesn’t taste like a supermarket. It doesn’t have stickers on it. It isn’t wrapped in plastic or coated in wax. The CSA box also forces you, in a way, to try new vegetables. You get to experience each vegetable in its season-in its limelight. The cucumbers taste so good to me now, but their quality will decline a bit and they’ll be old news in a few weeks and we will all have fallen in love with some other new and fancy vegetable coming into season like sweet peppers or melons or something.

It might even work this way with my mom still. She loves me most after a bit of a break. I am the most palatable when I’m fresh and perky and colorful. It’s okay with me, because I know that all things have their season and my siblings deserve their turn. I’ll be making eggplant parmesan this week. And thank you to mom for being such a great cook and making the first pan of eggplant parmesan that helped me learn to love it.

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

Green or Red Cabbage- The cabbages have to come out the field when they’re ready to come out. There was barely room in the box for them this week, but somehow we squeezed them in!

Cauliflower x 2- Organic cauliflower in the heat of the summer can be a tricky one to grow. These aren’t the largest or the most beautiful we’ve ever grown. They varied in size quite a bit. Some were large and some were small and we tried to make sure everyone got either one large and one small or two more medium sized heads. I love how cauliflower has become all the rage in the gluten-free world. It’s such a versatile vegetable!

Sweet Corn- 4-5 Ears of Sweet corn per member this week.   We started taking some of the corn a few days earlier than we wanted to harvest them because we’re already seeing raccoon damage in the sweet corn! Even though we have four wires of electric fence all the way around, somehow they bust their way in! Hopefully we can keep them out long enough that we still get a few more weeks of harvest! Keep your sweet corn very cold until you plan to eat it. Sweet corn looses its sweetness by the minute after it has been picked. We recommend eating it up as soon as possibly for the best flavor!

Eggplant- Very nice eggplants this week. Many people received a standard eggplant. If you did not receive a standard eggplant, you may have received an Asian eggplant. The Asian eggplant are long and skinney. They are loved because of their ease of just slicing them up and for stir fry pieces and because they have fewer seeds. Eggplant prefer 50 degree storage as well!

Celery- This has been a tough year for the celery field. Very few local farms even try to grow celery because it is a very tricky crop to grow. It has very high water needs and prefers a silty-loam soil and high calcium. We don’t always have the perfect soil conditions for it depending on which field it gets planted into with our rotation from year to year. This year we’re starting to take them small like this because many of them are showing signs of some kind of disease. We decided to start giving them small, rather than leaving them out there longer to just go bad. Hopefully four more weeks of celery givings.

Summer Squash and Zucchini- 4 squash per member. Summer Squash are the yellow ones and zucchini are the green ones. Zucchini and summer squash actually keep best at 50 degrees. Some people will set them out at room temp and some will keep them in their fridge since most of us don't have the luxury of a 50 degree storage area. Wherever you decide to keep them, don't try to keep them long, because if zucchini is known for anything, it is its generosity! Squash harvest will go for another month or so, so I hope you’re finding ways to use it up!

Lettuce- You may have received 1 or 2 heads of lettuce this week. We harvested some red leaf lettuce and some green leaf lettuce. You may have received either variety.

Cucumbers- 7 Cucumbers per member! Woah! Cucumbers are still hitting with a bang. It’s time to try out your favorite cucumber recipes that use a few of them. Think cucumber soup, tzatziki sauce, pickles….. My kids eat one for a snack!

Bunching Onions- This is the final week of bunching onions! Starting next week we will begin giving standard, white onions for everyone!

Lacinato Kale- The Lacinato is the most trendy variety of kale these days. It has a smoother leaf and darker green color than the green curly kale. My children love kale that is cooked in a cast iron pan with lots of coconut oil. I cook it until it is crispy and then toss it with soy sauce or tamari. Look for a fun Kale Chip recipe if you’re new to using Kale!

Mint- Mint is a very easy herb to grow and has been a hit in our household! It will come in handy making tzatziki if you haven’t made that yet! Mint is wonderful paired with cucumbers. It also makes a nice tea. You could even dehydrate it if you wanted to dry it and make tea with it later! A cold mint infusion for mint-water is also an idea.

Next Week's Best Guess: cauliflower or broccoli, sweet corn, carrots, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini, tomatoes, garlic, onions, celery, lettuce, thyme?

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