July Thirtieth

I feel like I owe a tribute to my husband.  I write all of these newsletters and I answer most of the e-mails and I’m the person you’ll get to work with if you come to the farm any day out of the week.  I’m the face and the personality of the farm, while my dear, loving and loyal husband works feverously in the background.Cherry_TomatoesIt begins! The flavors and colors of Summer! My personal favorite, a ripe Sun Gold Cherry Tomato!It is interesting how my initial interest in farming was for non-traditional reasons rooted in a strong spirit of independence and maybe even laced with some feminist ideals.  I was once a highly self-governing individual.  But I find it fascinating how marriage, children and the farm have de-veiled my illusions of independence.  As hard as I am able to work alone and with as much as I may wish to achieve, I am still highly dependent on the people who come to help on this farm.  And increasingly, as they say marriage ages like a good wine or cheese over time, I am dependent on my wonderful husband. 

Adam is the guy who makes sure that no balls hit the ground.  I’m the one throwing the balls in the air.  He does all of the dirty work behind the scenes that the rest of us don’t even think about.  He’s not working with the harvest crews, or doing the hand-weeding with the weeding crews or even mulching or washing most days.  He’s the guy running the irrigation lines and keeping the pump going, spraying to control the flea beetles and cabbage loopers, and doing the nerve-racking and highly-skilled cultivation jobs that I prefer not to think about. 

Adam does daily field walks monitoring the sweet corn patch for raccoon damage, the ripeness of the melons, and daily he is walking the onion rows and potato rows to see how close they are to harvest.  Honestly, I can’t take all of the credit as the great farmer who keeps constant updates on the crops and how close they are to harvest.  I get my updates from Adam most times.  My brain stays wrapped around leading our daily work crews and keeping everyone busy and then switches like a light switch to our daughter and dinner and the house at 5pm.  We make a great team in this way.

It is not uncommon to look off in the fields and see Adam standing alone and looking at the plants or walking rows.  It’s actually a common sight around here.  He frequently takes leaf samples to the computer room to do google searches to find out what disease is living on the pepper plant leaves, or what the most effective fungicides are to control blights and diseases.  He even knows all of the UW Madison disease pathologists and local soil agronomists by their first names.  He’s the guy who you can save your soil test and fertility questions for.  He’s more than he seems behind his quiet, bearded and tall, slim stance.  We’re lucky to have him. 

Sooo….What’s in the Box????

Melons-  Delicious honeydews.  These are a green flesh variety with more of a yellow outer rind when ripe. 

Celery-  Unfortunately, when celery comes into season, it all comes into season at once.  You’ll have to get creative with your celery uses as we have at least another two givings in our future.  Cream of celery soup?  My mother in-law said that she is going to blanche and freeze some for soups-I may do the same!  One member said she wanted to try her hand at a home-made celery salt.  Get creative!

Carrots-  Now this is what carrots should taste like!  I get really excited about this because the flavor in these carrots does all of the explaining for me as to why fresh, local organic food puts California produce to shame-organic or not.  What a difference! 

Cucumbers-  Okay, the workers on the farm, mostly me, are getting really sick of picking cucumbers.  I’m happy that we’re having a bumper crop cucumber year because I know that everyone loves cucumbers, but my body will be happy when the cucumbers are over!  This Cucumber Soup recipe uses a lot of cucumbers! lettuce_washingWho is that hiding behind that head of Romaine? Amy, is that you?

Lemon Cucumbers-  These are those little yellow guys floating around at the bottom of your box. 

Summer Squash, Zucchini and Patty Pans-  If you’re feeling a little “squashed” remember that you can grate your squashes with cheese grater and freeze them in a zip lock bag.  Use your grated squash in the winter months in zucchini bread, to beef up your lasagnas or cannelloni stuffings, add to soups and chilis or to thicken your spaghetti sauce. 

Onion-  Because who cooks without onions?

Broccoli/Cauliflower-  A heavy week of broccoli and cauliflower harvest.  The cauliflowers out numbered the broccoli, so we were shipping quite a few of those.  Broccoli and Cauliflower like to be stored in very cold temperatures.  Use your broccoli up first as it doesn’t keep well outside of refrigeration. 

Eggplant-  Either a standard Black Beauty Eggplant or a long, Japanese eggplant for everyone this week! 

Lettuce-  Either a Red Leaf, Green Leaf or Romaine lettuce this week.  We were surprised at how beautiful the lettuce looks still, even in late July this year! 

Cilantro-  A fresh bunch of cilantro for everyone again this week because it’s a popular item! 

Jalapeno Hot Pepper-  These are the little green ones that pack a little punch. 

Hungarian Hot Wax Bananna Pepper-  These are the longer, lime green colored pepper.  The banana peppers do have some heat to them, but usually it is much more mild than the Jalapenos. 

Swiss Chard-  More perfect and gorgeous bunches of swiss chard!  If it’s not your favorite flavor, you have to admit that it sure is beautiful!  One member told us of making chard muffins.   I found a recipe online below! 

Tomatoes-  Okay, this is the very beginning!  You may have received a half-pint clamshell with orange, Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes in it or you may have received one or two loose tomatoes of any kind.  It could be a pink brandywine heirloom, it could be a darker colored cherokee purple when ripe or just one of your standard red romas.  It could also have been a yellow Taxi, an early-maturing yellow tomato.  We harvest any tomatoes we see when picking with a “blush”.  This means that we harvest tomatoes with any kind of color on them because once they start ripening, the ripen quickly and we don’t want them to get too soft on the vine so that we can’t handle them or that they won’t ship to you.  It is crucial that you leave them outside of refrigeration if you want them to ripen and offer their best flavors. 


Savory Zucchini Chard Muffins-  Thanks Jared for the inspiration! 

Zucchini Bread Pancakes-  Thanks Kami!

Zucchini and Summer Squash Risotto-  Thanks again, Kami!  These both look amazing!  

Cold Cucumber Soup  Adrianne swears this is delish!