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July Eighteenth

It finally feels like summer on the farm. Summer never really feels like summer to me until it’s so hot that our clothes are sticking to our skins and the cicadas are singing in the middle of the day. It feels like summer when you body aches from the heavy haul of cucumbers and zucchinis and cabbage. It feels like summer when your brain is so full and busy from the millions of activities happening everywhere all around you and all you really want to do is go swimming. It feels like summer when salad for dinner and something on the grill sounds good enough because you don’t want to heat the house up. The hot, humid air delivers a full-body summer experience that fully takes you over.   The shade of a tree never felt so good.

It smells like summer too. For the first time this week I began to smell the corn pollen. If I can smell it, so can the raccoons-so it’s a good thing we got the sweet corn trellising up this week before the raccoons could get to it. The basil harvest this week brings nostalgia unique to summer like none other. The smell of the tomato plants on our hands as we went through to harvest the first of our cherry tomatoes this week smelled like summer. The dill and the cilantro we have given in previous weeks brings a fresh summer smell that has a way of cooling and lightening the spirit.

The tastes of summer are upon us. The heat-loving plants like cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash and basil are the pioneers. Soon we will be blessed with the true summer gems that make us wait a bit longer such as sweet corn, melons, tomatoes and peppers. The lettuce begins to taste different too. While we are still able to grow lettuce in these early summer days, it’s not quite as crunchy and watery and smooth as it was in June. The lettuce gets a tad thicker and a little bitter in its resentment to the summer heat. All plants that choose to survive the brutal, scorching temperatures must ‘’toughen up” to make it out there. We say good by to the tender and succulent spring greens and hello to the sweet, crunchy and watery summer veggies that arrive to help cool and sustain us.

Most obviously, it looks like summer on the farm too. The corn is getting tall. The tomatoes are setting fruit. The fields are full and the horizon has a shimmery haze to it that will transport you anywhere you want to go. The lillys are in bloom everywhere and the dog spends his days sprawled out under the farm truck or under the canopy of any nearby shrub or foliage. The lightening bugs blink their blinky-blinks and the monarchs flutter their flirty flutters. Encouragingly, we have seen more monarchs this summer than any summer we can remember on this farm.

The children run bare foot and the baby’s only clothes are his diapers.   The relentless lawn won’t stop growing and we see small fruits hanging from the trees in our small orchard. The workers are tired, but they keep coming in tandem, on time and on schedule trusting in the reward of the satisfaction of finishing off a good season on a farm.

Summer.  Ah, Summer.  How we missed you all winter.  We're so glad you're here!  DSC 0036 2

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

Green Cabbage- This variety is called Quickstart. It's a looser head of cabbage than the really dense of storage varieties you can buy in the Fall. Quickstart will satisfy all of our desires for the cabbage flavor and texture and is a Summer favorite on the farm.

Broccoli x 2- Small to medium heads of broccoli again this week. The Broccoli plants do not love the intense heat like we have been having. We're still getting a nice harvest, but they're not as nice as some of the Spring/Summer Broccoli we have grown. Broccoli likes to be kept very cold. Some dropsites are outside, so please plan to arrive at your dropsite as soon as you are able to rush your broccoli home and get it in the fridge to keep it green!

Green Top Beets- We call them green top beets because they are so fresh they still have their greens on them. Beets greens are also perfectly edible and can be used like swiss chard or any cooking green. Beets will keep a terrifically long time if topped and kept in a plastic bag in the fridge. But you won’t have the room in your fridge to keep them since you keep getting more veggies, so just eat them up and anticipate more soon! 3 beets per bunh.

Summer Squash and Zucchini- 4-5 squash per member. Summer Squash are the yellow ones and zucchini are the green ones. Zucchin 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 it's generosity! Plenty more zucchini and summer squash to come.

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.

Garlic Scapes- Each garlic plant produces 1 garlic scape per year. It is the plants effort at producing a seed head. If left on the plant, the small nodule you see towards the top of the scape would swell and develope into seed pod. But we snap them off to tell the plant to put more of it's energy into producing a larger garlic bulb and not to put energy into making seed heads. Lucky for us, the garlic scapes are scrumptious and edible! The best part to eat is the blunt end up to the little nodule. The tip is usually a little more chewy, although still edible!

Cucumbers- 7 Cucumbers per member! Woah! Cucumbers hit 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!

Bunhcing Onions- A cute little bunch of green onions. These are actually just small, immature standard oinons that are planted very close to each other so they stay small and tender. They don't have all the bite that a storage onion might have. Edible from root to tip!

Curly Green Kale- Gorgeous bunches of curly green kale this week. Have you tried Kale Chips yet? It’s a great way to use up a bunch fast!

Basil- Basil is best used the moment it is plucked from the plant. But since this is the best condition we can get it to you in, it will just have to do. It was perfect just hours ago-see the pictures! Basil cannot be refrigerated! It will turn black in refrigeration! Basil prefers to be cut and set in a vase of water like fresh cut flowers. I’m not sure if it will spring back to life after being shipped to your dropsite or not, but it might be worth a try. Use your basil up quickly since it doesn’t tolerate storage well!

Next Week's Best Guess: cauliflower, carrots, chard, cucumbers, summer squash, Zucchini, green onions, lettuce, eggplant, celery? Cabbage? Mint?

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