August Fifteenth

In all of the years that we've been farming, none have been like this one.  I'm not talking about the long drought or the intese heat this time, I'm referring to my frame of mind and our level of progress as farmers.  This may be the first season ever, in my career as a farmer, that I have felt like we have a handle on the reigns.  Each season, each revolution around the sun, every dawning of a new season brings with it a theme.  The season begins with a slow, comfortable start of the season in the nice and cozy greenhouse.   Then we're off to a trot in April and May transplanting and dancing around the rainclouds and frosts and windstorms.  Early Summer, in high June, we're at a steady gallop and the pace quickens little by little.  By July we're in a full fledged race.  The bets are on and the race is for the experienced and seasoned dogs.  The intensity of the high season usually brings an element of chaos, anxiety and stress.Purple_VikingFreshly Dug Purple Viking Potatoes

I am happy to announce, although there is still plenty of chaos, anxiety and stress in our lives, it is to a much lower degree this year.  So far this season I have not headed back out the door after dinner to go back to work cleaning produce in the packing shed.  I have not needed to wake up at 5:30 or 6 to get 1.5 hours of chores done before the help arrived at 8am to start the day, and I have not worried how, in the name of all the gods and myths we were ever going to get all of the work done.  Something switched or changed or evolved this year.  Something very good that brought an element of balance and evenness to the farm.  Even with the drastic change in our lives with the new babe to care for, we've achieved a lifestyle that feels wholesome.  

We still work hard enough that our bodies are sore and our minds are tired.   Sometimes we still drag our dirty butts in just before dark and manage to eat a decent meal before we shed our dirty layers and fall into bed.  I am not saying that farming is now easy.  It is not easy.  What I think that I am saying is that I don't feel like a spinning top anymore.  I don't feel like a current is pushing against me.  I don't feel like I'm trying to empty the ocean with a 1 gallon pail.  Because of systems and experience and knowledge and careful planning, the farm feels like it is functioning somewhat.......smooth.  

I can say this today at high season even though the farm truck needs a new starter, the tractor is leaking a little hydraulic oil, the drought continues and the baby still doesn't sleep through the night.  Perhaps now I am just broken in and the weight of all of this just doesn't feel as heavy as it once did.  Maybe it is just as crazy as it ever was, but it is somehow less absurd to me now.  I am the broke horse that does not buck or kick anymore and goes in the direction that I am steered.  While the space for improvement is still vast and endless, the farm feels sustainable.  The farmers feel that they can sustain the farm with the resources they have to care for and steward it.  This is very good news my friends.

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Purple Viking Potatoes-  Freshly un-earthed potatoes!  These beauties have a swirling purple and pink skin with a white flesh.  They're a wonderful all-purpose potato.  They hold firm when cooked in a soup, are great baked, and also make a nice mashed potato as well.  

Green Top Carrots-  Large, beautiful carrots.  To us they tasted a little dry, as though they are reflecting some of the drought.  As we dug these carrots the soil looked so dry.  It was amazing to see that even so far down in the earth, the moisture reserves simply are not there.  

Celery-  Wow!  Can you believe that we grew celery???  We can't either!  I'll have you know that we've been trying to grow celery since the first year we planted it and, thanks to the drought, we (meaning Adam) put it on irrigation this year and watered the heck out of it.  What do you know that celery loves water?  They're not the huge, crunchy California celery stalks that we're all used to, but they are a nice Midwestern celery.  Usually we have a lot of issues with rotten hearts, slug damage and calcium uptake in the soil.  

Tomatoes-  You will notice that we harvest our tomatoes "with a blush".  This means that we harvest anything that is showing any kind of ripening blush.  Once the tomatoes begin to blush, they will ripen off the vine just as nicely as they would ripen if they had been left on the vine.  We need to pick them before they are too ripe or too soft that they still have some amount of firmness to them so they can handle the shipping.  We don't want to try to ship fully ripe tomatoes and end up sending you tomato sauce instead.  LEAVE YOUR UNRIPE TOMATOES ON YOUR COUNTERTOP TO RIPEN.  If you put your unripe tomatoes in the fridge, they may not ripen at all.  Tomatoes prefer 50 degree storage temps as do the cucumbers, summer squashes, peppers, eggplants and more.  Some of the tomato varieties are yellow, pink, purple, orange and red when they are ripe.  If you want to know if your tomato is truly ripe, give it a very gentle squeeze.  You will find a nice mix of heirloom tomatoes this summer.  The funky shaped tomatoes are heirlooms.  They have a bit of a mind of their own at times.  2.7lbs per member this week.  

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  A half pint of sun gold cherry tomatoes for everyone this week!  Remember that they are ripe when they are orange.  They will not turn red!  Possibly the most flavorful cherry tomato out there!

Eggplant-  The eggplants are really producing a lot of fruits this season.  Admittedly, I am not someone who craves eggplant, but I have been making nice friends with it this summer.  We've been getting along nicely so far.  

Broccoli or Cauliflower or Lettuce-  Still some of the broccoli heads are looking a little stressed from the heat and lack of rain.  Some of the broccoli looked just fine.  We tried to harvest the Cauliflowers that were still pretty white and looked appetizing.  A lettuce head or two for those who didn't get a broc or cauliflower.  

Jalapeno Pepper-  More hot peppers to spice up your life!

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers-  Also known as Banana peppers.  These are technically a hot pepper, but they are one of the most mild of all the hot peppers.  

Sweet Pepper-  We tried to give a colored bell pepper to everyone this week.  We resorted to taking some of the peppers that were not fully turned in color just yet.  Your pepper may be half green and half yellow or red.  We're noticing a lot of peppers with bad spots on them this year.  We've done some research that shows that during extreme heat, the plants use the calcium for their leaves which deprives the plant of the calcium it needs to make the fruits.  There may be some peppers that we let in through our screening process with minimum damage that you may have to cut off.  We'll have more info on this next week.  

Lacinato Kale-  Beautiful bunches of lacinato kale with very little flea beetle damage.  

Green Beans-  A nice bag of green beans at .55 lbs per member!  Not as many beans this week as last week.  Hoping for a nice picking for next week.  

Cucumbers-  The cucumber production is waning.  Not quite as nice of quality on the cukes this week, but we are still picking the patch faithfully.  

Summer Squash/Zucchini/or Patty Pans-  Squash production is down as well.  We're still picking, but squash loves the heat and with some of the more mild weather this last week they slowed down a bit.  

Curly Leaf Parsley-  Parsley for potato salad, tabouli, egg salad or drying in your dehydrator.  Did you know that parsley is one of the most nutritious foods in your box?  It is highly alkalizing to the blood, is loaded with Vitamin C and is rich in anti-oxidants and chlorophyll.  Who knew?  Parsley is a super food!

White Onion-  A white onion for the masses

Garlic-  Asian Tempest is a spicy, red-skinned garlic with 4-6 large cloves per bulb.  A very nice garlic, indeed.  


Puree of Celery Soup

Toasted Garlic Green Beans

Eggplant Potato Moussaka