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July Thirteenth

The pilgrimage has begun.  I'm something of a spoiled 'northerner' and temperatures above 80 tend to bring a new challenge to the harvest, planting and weeding routines on the farm that are normally enjoyable, smooth and comfortable jobs to manage.  It feels like we haven't had a summer with this consistency in warmth for several years now.  With more heat and humidity in the forecast and temperatures in the 90's, the pilgrimage to inner fortitude begins. kale_harvestWorker Shares having fun harvesting Lacinato Kale

Over the course of Sunday morning and Monday morning we received a much needed 3/4 inch of rain that fell upon freshly planted beds of carrots, beets, green beans and transplanted lettuce.  The rain turned our field of hardened clay soil that was turning as hard as concrete on the top layer into a soft, enlivened dark brown again.  We have noticed, just in one day of warmth, rain and sunshine an incredible growth spirt in many of our plants.  The rain caused our second successions of broccoli to mature, our carrots to start bulbing out and our beets to take more shape.  We also noticed that our green beans grew what seemed like several inches over night. 

The rain also caused your farmers to be able to breathe again.  Our chests constrict with each passing day that the clay soil hardens and cracks.   I know that what you really want to hear about is how the tomatoes and potatoes are progressing.  What's with our addiction to night shades?  No one has sent any e-mails wondering about peppers and eggplants yet, but I know you're wondering.  The truth is they're doing wonderful.  We're trellising the tomatoes and the plants look beautifuly healthy.  Possibly tomato and potato harvest will begin in mid August, but both are revelling in the heat and humidity.  Enduring the heat and humidity seems like an honorable sacrifice if what we get in return are thousands of pounds of shiny, red globes of sunshine.   

Sooo, What's in the Box?  

Green Cabbage-  A very nice and fresh head of green cabbage to beef up the boxes quite a bit this week.  Cabbage can keep for months in cool storage, but you'll be getting more cabbages this summer, so eat up!  

Kohlrabi-  Either a purple or green kohlrabi this week.  These guys are great in stir fry or eaten raw.  If you're craving extra greens, you can eat the leaves on kohlrabi like they are kale.  shiori_lettuce_harvestShiori, our Japanese ag student who is staying with us for 10 days helping with lettuce harvest!

Broccoli-  Absolutely beautiful heads of broccoli this week and lots of it!  Another big week of broccoli coming up!  

and/or Cauliflower-  Cauliflowers have been coming on much more spuradically than the broccoli, so you may have received the cauliflower or maybe not, depending on how much we had to go around.  If not, you probably got extra broccoli!  

Peas-  Finally our last week of picking peas!  I can't say that I'm very sad about this, but I will miss the sweet flavor of spring peas, hello Summer!   

Summer Squash and Zucchini-  Oh boy, the summer squash and zucchini harvest is just beginning and we're totally "squashed with squash".  This is just  the beginning folks, go ahead and look for all the zucchini recipes that your little heart can handle to keep up with the flow.  We made a delicious curry on Monday night!  Summer squashes will keep best at around 50 degrees.  Sometimes they store a bit better on your counter top than they do in the fridge.  They can become wilty in the fridge from the refrigeration.  

Garlic Scapes-  The final giving of garlic scapes.  Pretty soon we'll be able to harvest the real deal!  Fresh 'green' garlic will be coming up soon!  Use your scapes like you would cook with garlic in any dish.  

Lacinato Kale-  The prize variety of kale.  This variety of kale wins as being the best variety of all and loved deeply among kale conniseurs.  Strip leafy part from chewy stem and stir fry kale in oil with your garlic scapes.  Add a bit of tamari and you have a wonderful green dish to eat!

Basil-  Fresh basil leaves for your italian delight.  Basil does not like refrigeration and will keep best if placed in a glass of water standing up on your counter.  Basil will turn black if refrigerated.  

Lettuce-  Holy Lettuce!  A pretty massive lettuce harvest this morning.  We tried to give everyone a red and green leaf variety.  Eat lettuce with every meal!  Remember that lettuce will keep best if stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to preserve moisture and it won't wilt.  basil_harvestCraig and Chris, worker shares harvesting basil bunches!


Pan-Fried Tofu and Green with Almond Ginger Drizzle-Thank you Mary Ender Stutesman! - La Crosse Member

Green Smoothies-Thank you Mary Ender Stutesman!  - La Crosse Member

Southern Style Collard Greens - Thank you Elizabeth Stine - La Crosse Member

Chris Davidson from Dubuque says they learned that their family loves to eat a bit of raw swiss chard torn into salads!  

Kate Schachter from Madison says she found a bit of folklore in her 'African Cooking in America' Book that says:

For headache, place a fresh collard green on your forehead.
To keep away evil spirits, hang a collard green over the doorway.

Oven Fried Zucchini Spears

July Twentieth

Ode to the Worker Share

On this farm we started a worker share program a couple years ago that started out quite loose and without structure.  “Worker Shares” were invited to come to the farm whenever they could make it out in an effort to work 3 hours a week in exchange for their CSA box.  In the beginning this program wasn’t quite as popular as I had hoped and I hadn’t really asked for structure the way we depend on it now for its success.  Today on the farm we have 13 ‘Worker Shares’ that come to the farm every week, same time, same day, same place no matter the weather conditions, and on harvest days like today, I am eternally grateful.Dirty_WorkersJillian, Adrianne and Shiori dirty from a hard days work in the field on Monday!

As I approach my third trimester in pregnancy and my ability to climb the hill at my usual pace slows, my ability to lift full bins of cabbage and my enthusiasm to drive the truck full of bins to the field to harvest in extreme heat wanes, I am eternally thankful for my helpers.  My body is using up most of its energy for baby making and I’m left with some skilled hand work in the field and the ability to orchestrate and lead workers when they arrive.  What makes this program unique is that we have a very wide range of age, experience level in farming/gardening and personalities.  Some of our workers are in their mid-sixties, some of them aren’t even 16 and some of them are just down-right gung-ho 20, 30, 40, and 50-somethings that love to be outside, stick their hands in the earth, feel the sun on their cheeks and watch their food grow.  I love it! 

But it’s their respect and loyalty to the program that means so much to me.  It’s their genuine interest that brings them here and it’s their own personal levels of perseverance that keep them showing up each week on time and on schedule-all for a ¾ bushel box of produce grown on our farm.  I know she’ll never read this newsletter, but Barb Perkins, owner of Vermont Valley Community Farm, is largely to credit for my inspiration to create and organize this program.  Her leadership skills, her confidence, her strength and no-B.S. attitude are what kick-started the success of this entire season’s worth of work. 

(Adrianne, don’t think I’ve forgotten about you.)  Adrianne is our one and only full time employee who works harder than anyone on this farm, including prego-ol’ me.  Well, maybe Adam (my husband) works harder-maybe.  Adrianne is my right-hand woman who is my constant companion, friend and rock-star helper on the farm.  She is willing to work no matter the weather conditions, no matter how much lifting is required and no matter how new she is to each task we tackle or how dirty the job. 

So 'Thank You' Worker-Shares.  I appreciate you!  Adrianne, you rock!broccoliA bird's eye view of the broccoli

Sooo, What's in the Box?

Kohlraibi-  Finally the last giving of spring kohlrabi. You'll see more of these guys in the fall when the weather cools off again.  Remember that you can eat the leaves on kohlrabi if you hate to see them go to waste.  Kohlriabi will keep in a plastic bag in the fridge for over a month.   

Beets-  Beautiful 'Early Wonder Tall Top' Beets.  We always harvest the beets with their leaves on.  Beets are in the same family as spinach and swiss chard so you can cook with them like you would any cooking green. 

Celery-  Wisconsin-grown celery is very diffferent from California-grown celery.  It has a bit of a stronger celery flavor and it's stalks aren't quite as juicy and succulent at California celery.  You can use celery leaves in soup stocks and chop fine into fresh salad for extra flavor.  The leaves can also be dried and dehydrated for soupl flavoring later on. 

Broccoli-  Another big week of beautiful broccoli!  In the intense heat, the broccoli isn't holding in the field the way it does when it's cooler outside.  But they still look delicious!  Broccoli prefers very cold storage in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pan-  I sure hope every week's squash harvest isn't as big as this weeks harvest because we're becoming slaves to the zucchini patch now.  The patty Pans are the white, space-ship shaped squash.  Summer squashes will keep best at around 50 degrees.  Sometimes they store a bit better on your counter top than they do in the fridge.  They can become wilty in the fridge from the refrigeration.

Cucumbers-  A cucumber or two for everyone this week.  Cucumbers are just starting to come on now, and at the perfect timing!  Cucumbers are here to help us beat the heat!  Cukes store best at 50 degrees and refrigerators can make them get a bit wilty.  

Bunch Onions-  Finally some green onions to hold us over.  Remember to use the greens as well in your salads and dressings.  

Lettuce-  A couple heads of lettuce for everyone again this week.  Remember that lettuce will store best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  It will become wilty if not kept in a bag to preserve moisture.  

Collards-  A southern cooking green and a fantastic addition to any meal.  Rip collards into a quiche, tear into a soup or simply sautee with garlic and oil and enjoy.  

Flowering Dill-  Dill also has cooling properties.  If you don't think you can use it all up while it's still fresh, hang it to dry or stick it in your dehydrator to become dry and then crumble it into a jar with a tight lid for storage.  Use dill in dips, soups, marrinades and dressings for added flavor.  

Next Week's Guess:  Zucchini, Summer Squash, Patty Pan, Cucumber, Lettuce, Broccoli, Celery, Green Garlic, Cilantro, Red Cabbage, Swiss Chardearly_july_fieldBeautiful Brassicas


Zucchini Pasta

Zucchini Brownies

Blue Moon Celery Salad

Tofu Broccoli Cashew Peanut Madness

July Twenty-Seventh

Because I know that only on very rare occasions will he read the newsletter, I’ll go ahead and spotlight my husband, Adam.  I’ll have to admit that he’s turning into a full-fledged, totally obsessed, genuine farmer.  We like to joke about how when we met he couldn’t tell the difference between a cucumber and zucchini, and now he’s the one telling me which varieties of cucumbers and zucchinis to grow, when to plant them, when to spray (only our organic sprays) for cucumber beetles and squash bugs, and how to identify and tackle powdery mildew that is a fungal disease that grows on cucurbit plants.  I used to think I was the boss around here, but I’m not so sure anymore.Week_8This week's offerings!

Like the healthy functioning farm couple that we are, we make all of the big financial decisions together, manage day to day chores with quality communication and support each other’s needs in a loving way, but when it comes to when and how we’ll be harvesting celery, I've no say in the matter.  Luckily I find it all a little humorous.  I’m stunned, usually, that when I decide to listen to him and follow his farming advice I discover that he’s almost always right.  What woman wants to admit that?

I’ll remind you that Adam has a full time job off the farm.  I am currently the full-time farmer of the family, so to know that he’s coming home from work and paying attention to details and specifics of the crops that I miss while my face is stuffed in the celery plants all day long-is impressive to me.  He works for Organic Valley in the Produce Department where his job is to visit farms, talk with farmers about their crops and address the innumerable issues that arise to help the new growers make sure they’ll have crops to sell to the company.  He gets paid to consult with farmers about their crops and then he comes home to me, and in my self-righteous nature, I don’t want to listen to a word he has to say or accept any authority or insight that he might have about our cabbage.  He tells his farmers that he works with that there is only one farmer who won't listen to his advice on vegetable crop production, and it's his wife.  

On Sunday night when we were finishing up chores together a little past dusk, with Adam in the drivers seat of the truck, we had to make a really quick run out to the onions to check for some kind of blight he thought he might have seen on the onions.  As I watched him from the passenger’s seat of the truck bent over in the onion rows I had to smile and shake my head at him (leaf samples are a common specimen to be found sitting next to the computer in the office).  He's become quite interested in disease and plant pathology.  He know the life cycles of most of the insects that attach our crops and spends his spare time researching the effects that mineral defeciencies can have on the outcome of the crops.  Because I’m so much more the face of the farm, I thought it would only be fair if you knew that if it weren't for Adam, there simply would not be so much beautiful food. Garlic_harvest2Adam, Julie and Drew after garlic harvest with a truck fulla garlic!

Sooo, What's in the Box???  

Red Express Cabbage-  We've got more cabbage than you can shake a stick at on this farm.  These beautiful cabbages will keep for over a month in your fridge in a plastic bag, but I wouldn't let them sit that long because in a couple weeks you'll be getting more!  

Marketmore and Tasty Jade Asian Cucumbers-  Finally a cooling food to help us beat the heat!  Cucumber harvest is starting to really pick up now!  Some of the long and skinny cucumbers are an asian variety that often times gets more chewed up than your normal slicing cucumber.  I would recommend peeling the Asian cukes if they're more chewed up than you like.  We think their flavor is better than the 'marketmore' cukes.  We also shipped out a few lemon cucumbers.  They're a small, yellow, and round cuke with a cucumber flavor.  

Zucchini, Summer Squash and Patty Pans-  More soft summer squashes to fill the grill up with.  Marinade them in your favorite oils, vinegars, herbs or condiments and then grill them up.  They're fabulous on skewers also!  

Tango Celery-  Adam says we have to keep harvesting the celery or it will go bad!  We're finding quite a bit of some kind of rot in the hearts of the celery.  We've taken to cutting their bottoms off, ripping out the centers and bunching them the way they are.  A bit more unusual of a style to receive celery, but still really awesome tasting celery none the less.  A bit stronger celery flavor and a darker green color than you're used to seeing from California celery.   Love the local flavor!  

Lettuce- This is among one of the last lettuce givings for a while.  The heat is claiming a large portion of the lettuce beds and we'll have to hold off until fall again for more lettuce.  It's flavor is also more bitter in this heat.  This is the nature of peak-summer, locally-grown lettuce.   

Curly Leaf Parsley-  More cooling foods to help us through the heat.  If you can't use the parsley while it's fresh, you can dehydrate this one also and then crumble it into a jar with a tight lid for storage.  Parsley is a great addition to almost any dish if added in small quantities or in large quantities in Tabouli!  

Swiss Chard-  More of your favorite cooking greens to sautee up!  

Broccoli-  Probably the last giving of broccoli until Fall again.  You'll notice that the broccoli is really odd shaped, in my opinion.  It really behaves quite odd in this intense heat.  The plants are wanting to bolt before they reach maturity.  Broccoli is a cool-weather loving plant.  I guess it was good while it lasted.  garlic_harvestJillian, Adrianne and the neighbor boy Tommy with another truck fulla garlic!

Green Garlic-  Garlic harvest!  Our garlic was planted last fall in mid November.  We got it in and got it mulched just before the ground was frozen and the snow started to fly.  Garlic spends a long hibernation under the mulch and emerges for growth, after 9 months spent under ground they're finally un-earthed!  Ta-DA!  You can hang your garlic to cure in a well ventilated place for up to 3 weeks or you can cut it up and use it fresh.  Notice that there is a tough membrane around each clove that needs to be peeled away.  It's a bit more difficult to notice in the fresh garlic, but that membrane turns into a tough papery layer in the curing process that we always peel away before eating.  

Green Onions-  Each week they should get a bit bigger.  We still have a couple more weeks of green onion harvest to go.  Don't forget to use the green tops as well in your cooking!  

Next Week's Guess:  Carrots, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Summer Squash, Patty Pans, Green Garlic, Green Onions, Cilantro, Lettuce, rainbow lacinato kale, green beans


Quinoa Tabbouleh (Tabouli) Recipe

Cucumber Salad-Yum Yum!  

Sauteed Zucchini with Walnuts

August Third

Do worms eat your garbage?  Do chickens?  Do pigs?  Do your dogs or your cats?  Where do your beet tops and onion roots and cabbage centers and basil stems all go?  Is it called 'garbage' in your home?

We're a little uuber-weird about recycling on the farm.  Our "garbage" falls under at least 3 different categories.  We have burnables (all paper products of any kind that are burned in our stove), recycleables (your classic tin, glass, plastics and so forth), and our food scraps, or what we like to call "compost".  The remainder of our "trash" is usually packaging materials that things we buy come in that are not either burnable, recycleable or edible to a pig or chicken.  Our biodegradable waste is all fed to our pigs at present.  Has anyone ever told you that pigs will eat anything?  They will!  Sour milk, tea bags, bananna peels, nut shells and more!  I would recommend that you all get your own personal pig for your back-yard, but I do realize that this isn't truly practical.  

I do often wonder, however, what I might do if I were you: a concious urban dweller with nearby neighbors that might get cranky at the idea of pigs, chickens or neglected and stinky compost piles in your back yard.  If you're anything like our family and the amount of honest waste that you produce weighs heavily on your mind with a guilty concience, you're wondering what you can do to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.  I'm not going to pretend to have the solution for you today or to announce that we'll be offering a "How-To on Backyard Compost Piles" workshop.  I'm merely hoping to bring the issue to your conscious mind so that you're at least aware that the food scraps that you scrape off the edge of your cutting board are actually considered nutrient-dense organic matter to a farmer.  Those stems and leaves and un-used peels that you wrap up in your plastic garbage bags and send off to the land-fill are really valuable soil-food to a farmer or a tasty treat to an egg-laying hen.  

I know that in Dubuque, Iowa, where I was born and raised, now collects city "compost" like they collect city recyclables.  Madison, Wisconsin permits up to 4 laying hens per household to be kept in the backyard of city-dwellers.  UWL in La Crosse, WI now has a large Vermi-composting bin (red wiggler worms) that eat all the waste from their school cafeteria.  We like to buy local food.  But what about recycling our waste locally as well and using it as plant and animal food rather than shipping it off to the landfill?  The ball is rolling and folks are thinking about it.  Today one of our CSA members who packs CSA boxes with us on packing night was telling me that he wants to get rabbits to feed his compost to because rabbits are supposed to be one of the best animals at converting forage and compost into meat.  One of our La Crosse members has shared some of her personal stash of red-wiggler worms with us that she uses to digest her food scraps.  

To have an interest in composting usually means you have an interest in using finished compost.  Not all of us are gardeners, domestic-houseplant tenders, or livestock farmers-I know this.   But perhaps is it wise of us to consider where our waste goes and to think about what we can do to reduce the "garbage" in our lives.  If you have an easy, fun or insightful solution to this 'problem' we all share of forwarding waste outside of our homes, please share with me.  I'm interested to know.  In the mean time, I highly suggest that you take a minute to watch this cute film called The story of Stuff by Annie Leonard.  Also check out the short and widely popular Worms Eat by Garbage by Mary Appelhof.  

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Carrots- Finally the carrots have arrived!  

Green Beans-  Plenty of hours spent on our knees bent over the the bean patch.  More green beans to come!

Cucumbers-  Cucumber production seems to be waning already.  We're having a tough time with the cucumber beetles this year.  Some of the long and skinny asian cukes have very blemished skins, but their flavor is wonderful on the inside.  Feel free to peel your cukes before you eat them!  

Summer squash, zucchini and patty pans-  More soft summer squashes where those came from!

Hungarian Hot Wax pepper or small yellow pepper-  We tried to get a Hungarian Hot Wax for everyone which is a very mild hot pepper (like a banana pepper), but some folks got little lime-green peppers that are an under-ripe gypsy red pepper variety.  

Green Onions-  It won't be long until we're sending you the real deal!  

Curly Green Kale-  More cooking greens to fill your quiches, stir fries and soup pots.  

Lettuce-  The last lettuce week for a while!  Enjoy it while it lasts!

Cilantro-  The cilantro patch wasn't looking the best, but we got in there and salvaged what we could.  We were about 10 bunches short of giving everyone cilantro and a few folks got basil bunches.  Don't refrigerate your basil or it will turn black!  

Next Weeks Guess:  Beets, Green Cabbage, Green Onions, Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pans, Cucumbers, Green Beans, Basil, Pepper, Garlic


Cold Cucumber Soup

Kale Chips

Zucchini Lasagna

August Twelfth

By now you may have noticed that the vegetables you receive in your CSA share box don’t always look like the vegetables on the shelves at the grocery store.  Our “specs” are a bit looser than those growers who grow 10 acres of the same crop.  Our peppers might not always have four lobes, our cucumbers may be misshapen, and our carrots may vary in size greatly.  Sure, a green bean is a green bean and maybe a head of cabbage is a head of cabbage, but my job here is to do the best I can to teach you to appreciate the imperfections, the irregularities and the differing crop varieties that we may grow when compared to grocery store food.  Because I too have a tendency from time to time to compare our produce to that which comes from Silicon Valley, CA and it’s a bit like comparing bicycles to motorcycles. 

As CSA farmers we attempt to grow over 70-plus different varieties of food to supply our members with 20 consecutive weeks of produce boxes that contain at least 10 different types of vegetables within each delivery.  In short, we attempt to “do it all”.  When you buy carrots from California, your California carrot farmers have 75 acres of just carrots.  These carrot farmers can afford to throw away all the carrots that don’t have the right length, diameter or color.  Even my neighbor who is a commercial organic swiss chard, cilantro and parsley farmer is unable to sell his crops at all if he cannot meet the high quality standards of the wholesale market or if his cilantro has white spots on it or if his chard has red spots on it or if his parsley isn’t tall enough.  To get perfect looking produce on the grocery store shelves it often times means that ¾ of the crop had to go to waste so that ¼ of the crop could be sold. patty_pansPatty Pan Summer Squash

As widely diversified small scale farmers with a passion for providing fresh, local, organically grown produce to our surrounding community, we are willing to work really hard for celery that will never look like the white, perfect California celery.  We strive for beautiful looking food, but because we’re growing so many different kinds of vegetables, it can become challenging to do everything well.  We’re willing to continue to try to grow cauliflower even though it wants to turn yellow or purple under moisture and heat stress.  And if you think that that our celery and cauliflower look funky, just wait until you see our heirloom tomatoes! No, no, just wait until you taste our heirloom tomatoes! So much of the flavor, shelf-life and character are bred out of vegetable varieties so that they can sit pretty, perfect and packaged on produce isle shelves.  Know that your food that comes from this farm has style, richness, depth.  It has meaning, worth, a story and a face on it.  Your food came from our farm…from your farm! 

Which image of your food would you like to have in your mind:  25 acres of carrots or 7 acres of a widely diversified small scale family farm?  When we think of where our food comes from we like to imagine it coming from a place where workers are treated fairly, the farmers feed their soils and not their plants and animals are grazing happily across bright green grassy hillsides.  We think of children and family and community when we think of where our food comes from.  Thank you for supporting a small family farm in all of its inadequacies while the reality, the image and the true small family farms are rapidly disappearing. 

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Green Cabbage-  Huge heads of cabbage this week!  Cabbage will keep for over a month in a fridge in a plastic bag to preserve moisture.  But don't let it sit that long, because you're bound to get another cabbage before too long!  

Red Beets-  These dark red beauties make a wonderful cold salad.  Beets will also store for over a month if kept in a plastic bag in the fridge to preserve moisture.  green_beansGreen Beans Galore

Tango Celery-  The celery is starting to turn on us quickly.  We were having to cut the centers out of the heads to salvage all that is good on them still.  We found that their outside stalks all looked really nice to eat, but we had to cut out the centers.  Locally grown celery has a darker green color, and sweeter and stronger celery flavor and has more leaves on it.  We did trim the tops off them to prevent from giving too many leaves.  Use the leaves of the celery in soup, stocks, or dry them down in your dehydrator to use the leaves as flavoring to your winter dishes.  I have truly grown to love local celery!  

Green Beans-  Green bean picking will consume a remarkable amount of time.  We spent a very healthy number of hours picking beans this week. There was more there to pick, but time was our limitation!  

Green Pepper-  Peppers are really starting to come now.  We normally only plant red, yellow and orange peppers, but we will pick them while they are still green in some cases so that we can start giving you peppers now!  Such a fun new flavor!  

Cucumbers-  Cucumber production seems to be waning now.  This just has not been our best year for cucumbers.  We lost a good portion of them right from transplant, but still a few cukes every week to every member is not bad!  

Yellow Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pan Squash-  I think that squash production is finally waning.  The plants are starting to turn a little yellow and they're looking a little tattered.  The zucchinis are still going quite strong, but we've noticed that we're getting less and less each time we harvest.  

White and Red Bunching Onions-  This will be our final bunching onion giving this week.  Starting next week we'll be able to start sending whole onions.  Enjoy eating the tops while you still have them!

Asian Tempest Garlic-  This garlic variety may be a bit more spicy than other varieties.  It may not be completely cured down quite yet either.  Your garlic will keep on your countertop to finish the curing process or you could store it in your fridge.  When garlic is finished curing it prefers a cool, dark and dry environment.  

Fresh Sweet Basil-  Large bunches of sweet basil this week for those of you who have been craving pesto!  If you don't plan on making pesto, pluck the leaves from the stems and allow the leaves to dry in your dehydrator, crumple them into a jar and store with a tight lid for winter use!  sun_goldsSun Gold Cherry Tomatoes are orange when ripe!

Tomatoes-  Okay, we didn't even think we were going to be able to give tomatoes this week, but we picked exactly 275 tomatoes.  We tried to give everyone one large tomato or two smaller tomatoes.  We also picked 14 pints of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes which are the sweetest little orange cherry tomatoes you've ever tasted-so if you received these know that they are orange when they are ripe, do not wait for them to turn red because they will never turn red.  Your tomatoes may be yellow, orange, purple, pink or red when the are ripe, but most of all you are looking for the softness of a ripe tomato.  When we harvest tomatoes, we pick everything with a "blush" on it or anything that is showing the first signs of ripening.  Once a tomato starts to 'blush' it will ripen quickly outside of refrigeration within a week.  If you received a tomato that does not feel or look ripe, simply allow it to sit on your windowsil or countertop at room temp and it will slowly turn ripe.  Refrigeration will prevent under-ripe tomatoes from turning ripe.  We also believe that refrigeration takes flavor from a tomato, so allow it to ripen at room temperature and you will still be blessed with all the flavor and goodness of a vine ripened tomato.  Please understand that we need to pick them slightly under-ripe or else they will not be able to make it to you in whole form.  


Beet Borscht

Beet Chocolate Cake

Chef T's Basil Pesto