Small Family Farm CSA

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July Twenty-Nineth

We are at a shifting point in the season now.  The weather is in the upper 80’s and 90’s, the calendar soon turns over to August and the first of the tomatoes are plucked from the vines.  The sweet corn is tasseling, the peppers are anxiously awaiting their first blush and the green beans are more than three inches long.  We are nearly at our half-way point in the Summer Share delivery cycle.  IMG_0828Jillian and Adam pause for a quick snapshot during red cabbage harvest.

Our Spring and Summer broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage plantings are about over.  Crops like green onions, kohlrabi, peas, strawberries and scapes become a faint memory while we happily skip our way into green bean, melon, sweet corn, sweet pepper, eggplant and tomato season.  These are the crops you sort of wish that you could receive every week for the full 20 Weeks of the Summer Share CSA season, but only really last for a sweet, hot bit.  Soon we will be able to harvest potatoes while continuing with celery, beets, carrots, onions, garlic, summer squashes and cucumbers.  Our heat-loving plants will thrive until the days get shorter, frost threatens and temperatures start dropping (but let’s not think about that just yet;). 

I still find it refreshing how the summer heat gives us watery crops that help cool us down, thin our blood and clean us out.  I almost find it a little humorous how nature gives us hot peppers and acidic tomatoes in the heat of the summer.  Perhaps this is the time of year we can tolerate these crops best while we’re moving and sweating the most.  Nothing makes 87 degrees feel colder than biting into a jalapeno!  And in the season where we seem to be the most busy with the least time to cook, snacks like cucumbers, carrots, and celery sticks are a plenty! 

When I go off into a fantasyland about myself, I live on some high mountaintop where the air is cool and dry and the breezes are many.  I live in a little cabin amidst a pine forest eating fruits and meat and drinking spring water.  Truthfully, what keeps me here living in the Midwest, tolerating these excruciating summers with temperatures reaching to 90 degrees, is the tomatoes.  I live for tomato (okay and sweet red pepper) season on this farm.  I feel a sense of urgency to eat, freeze, dry and can as many tomatoes in peak tomato season as my little French/German/Irish  heart can handle.  I feel so excited and honored to be eating our way through a peak Midwestern growing season with you.  Not quite a mountaintop, but a damn good substitute. 

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

Red Cabbage-  We were very happy with the size of these red cabbages.  Red cabbages usually do not grow very large.  They are normally a very tight, compact little head.  Shave red cabbage thinly into salads or have fun with it in a dish featuring red cabbage.  IMG_0817Adam and Jillian harvesting red cabbage.

Celery-  Wow, what amazing heads of celery!  This is the best celery this farm has ever grown!  Local celery is a little more fiberous and has a little stronger celery flavor when compared to California celery, but you've got to give us a little credit here.  Celery is hard to grow, folks!  It has high water and calcium needs.  We're figuring out how to grow this tricky crop, and watering it more frequently is key!  

Green Top Beets-  Green top means that the greens are still on top.  You can cook with your beet greens like you would cook with swiss chard or spinach.  If you plan to keep your beets, remove the tops and the roots will store for months in the fridge!  Our kids love beets because they're sweet!  

White Onion-  Because what would a CSA box be without an oinon?  

Cucumber x 5-  Another generous week with cucumbers.  You may have received a standard green slicing cuke and/or some white cucumbers.  The white cukes were a new variety that we tried this year for fun.  We learned that we really need to peel the white cukes before eating them because we didn't love the flavor of the skin.  We're also picking our cucumbers a little younger this year than we have in previous years.  Cucumbers keep better when they are more rounded out or more bloated looking, but we found that the seeds get too big and their flavor isn't as nice.  The down-side to picking them younger is that they don't seem to keep as long.  

Lacinato Kale-  Huge and amazing bunches of Lacinato kale!  What a fantastic kale year!  

Eggplant-  You may have received a standard looking eggplant or you may have gotten one of the longer, skinnier Japanese eggplants.  Both have their up sides!  I am an eggplant convert.  I never used to know what to do with one, but after years of talking about delicious eggplant recipes in the fields with our helpers, I am inspired and no longer have fear of cooking with it.  Do not be afraid!  Every vegetable is delicious if you find the right recipe for it and have an open mind!  

Jalapeno Pepper-  One more of these hot babies.  Pizza.  

Lettuce-  One small head of lettuce for everyone this week.  We've been noticing quite a bit more deer damage on our lettuce crops this year than we have ever noticed in previous years.  We have lost over half of our lettuce plantings this summer.  We're going to start taking them smaller before they're all eaten up!  

Summer Squash, Zucchini, Patty Pan-  Four items per member this week.  Our little family is having no problems at all using up the summer squashes.  We're grilling them, making soup with them, putting them on pizza (we make home-made pizza a lot;)  and putting them into fritattas.  The possibilities are endless with summer squashes!IMG_0833Wow! Week 9 Bounty!

Broccoli x 2 or Broccoli + Cauliflower-  We are hoping for one more week of broccoli.  Next week will likely be our final giving of broccoli and cauliflower until our fall pantings come on.  Enjoy the last of our broccoli and cauliflower recipes while you have them!  

Sweet Basil-  Beautiful bunches of sweet basil!  Basil does not like to be refrigerated!  The best way to keep basil is to put it in a cup of water like you would with fresh cut flowers.   It will keep best at room temperature like that.  It is still a fresh cut herb and basil is highly perishable, so we recommend using it up asap!  Pizza?  Pesto?  Pasta?

NEW!  Adam's Best Guess for Next Week!  

Disclaimer:  This is only our best guess from what we see up and coming from field walks.  Next week's actual box may look slightly different from this projection.  
Broccoli, Red Cabbage, Beets, Green Beans, Pickling Cukes, slicing cukes, summer squash, zucchini, patty pan, celery, onion, tomatoes, dill, collards, peppers?, lettuce?