Small Family Farm CSA

We Dig Vegetables

 

August Twenty-Nineth

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One of the most beautiful parts of being part of a CSA farm is the connection to weather patterns and the seasons. There may have been days when you were at work or at home and noticed the storm coming in, the heat wave or that is has been dry lately. You maybe even thought of how these weather patterns were affecting your crops or imagined what it was like for us out here on the farm.

Eating within the seasons reduces your carbon footprint from eating out-of-season produce from who-knows-where trucked in from who-knows-how-far away. Your vegetables are always fresh and taste like it. Spring vegetables are green and detoxing and crispy to clease and nourish us from a long winter of warming, starchy roots and squashes. Summer is hot and long and the fruits of the season are juicy and cooling and quick to prepare. I even love the late-summer veggies like sweet peppers that offer color and flavor and texture as our juicy fruits fade away.

Tomato production is plummeting. I always feel quite sad about this fact when it inevitably happens because we look forward to tomato season all year long. When tomato season hits, it hits with a bang and never lasts long enough for me. This will be the final week of such hefty givings of tomatoes. Make your pico-de-gaillo or your gazpacho or your tomato soups while the season lasts. Our summer cucumbers, zucchinis and summer squashes are finally over. Winter squash harvest becomes the new heavy harvest.

Because I am blessed enough to live amidst so much bounty, it never makes sense to go to the grocery store or coop and shop in the produce aisles when there is so much at home already. And I love that a certain kind of loyalty has grown within me to eating within the season. It feels like me and summer are buddies. We’re one with one another. I feel like I’m wearing summer’s crown when I cut up melons and slice tomatoes and drink cucumber water.

I don’t mind when summer passes the baton to Fall because then I can look forward to butternut squash and Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. I love Fall Spinach and broccoli and romanesco. Fall is the Finale. It is an explosion of colors and flavors and foods that last. We see much less perishability in the Fall Veggies because many of them will need to sustain us through the winter. In the end we will store carrots, parsnips, celeriac root and carefully cured onions and garlic and sweet potatoes.

Eating within the season also feels like a reunion with an old friend when they come back around again. I even love the part of missing the tomatoes in the off season. I’m too much of a seasonal loyalist to buy slicer tomatoes out of season. I love the anticipation of wathing for the first of the asparagus that comes up in the spring. I love walking the rows with the girls and hunting for it and reveling in its bounty by eating asparagus for every meal once it finally does arrive, because I know the season is short. And now, we can look forward to pumpkin pie and potato leek soup!

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

Pepper- Two sweet peppers per member this week. We’re still waiting for sweet pepper production to pick up. We grow mostly colored sweet peppers, so you likely won’t receive many green peppers from us unless they were accidentally picked unripe or unless there is a danger of frost and we pick them green before they have a chance to turn colors. We’re patiently waiting for all of the colorful and beautiful pepper varieties we selected to start sharing with us their true colors. C’mon peppers!

Red Potatoes- Yes! Finally potatoes! 2.5 lbs per member this week. Freshly dug potatoes scuff easier than potatoes that have been in storage. We do not wash potatoes because they are less likely to scuff and get damaged in the washing. Unwashed potatoes also stay fresher and keep longer. After eating storage potatoes all winter, there is no comparison to a fresh-dug potato!

Cherry Tomatoes- The cherry tomatoes are the Sun Gold variety. Sun Gold’s ripen orange. Don’t wait for them to turn red because they won’t! We love this cherry tomato variety because of how wonderfully sweet they are!   Some people received two pints this week.

Green Beans- .95lbs of green beans per member this week. Beans are best eaten fresh! Don’t try to keep them long! We washed the green beans again because they were so muddy at harvest-something we had just done for the first time last week that went well! A nice hearty helping of beans for all this week!

Cucumbers- 1 Cucumbers per member! This is the final giving of cucumbers for the season. How I do love cucumbers while they last, but all good things must come to an end!

White Onion- One nice and big white onion for everyone. Will keep just fine on your countertop.

Tomatoes- Another heft 8 lbs+. We grow a wide variety of tomatoes each year. About 12-15 different varieties. Some are romas (the longer more pear-shaped varieties with less water that are good for making sauce), yellow slicers, red slicers, tie-dye slicers, and the infamous herilooms that are slowly coming into season. Heirlooms usually ripen a little later in the season since they are a larger tomatoes and are not hybridized for early production. You are likely to receive a very wide selection of tomatoes over the tomato-growing season with a wide variety of colors. We recommend leaving tomatoes out at room temperature to ripen naturally. Remove them from their plastic bag and set them out on your counter or windowsill so they don’t get funky in the plastic bag and mold or rot on you. We pick tomatoes with a ‘blush’. This means that we pick anything that has any early signs of red or pink or color. Once a tomato begins to blush it will ripen fully off the vine and this still qualifies as a vine-ripened tomato. Their flavor will be much better if you just let them sit on the counter to ripen. We do not recommend putting tomatoes in the refrigerator at all, ever, unless they are nearly over-ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get a chance to use them up before they go bad. Refrigerators seem to suck flavor out of tomatoes as well. For the full experience, let them ripen on the counter!

Carrots- Some of Small Family Farm’s famous sweet carrots! 1 pound per member.

Melons- This week everyone received two melons, but we gave three varieties of melons so not everyone received the same varieties. We shipped some Honeydew (or Arava melons that have the green flesh) and some Cantelope melons. Everyone received one Yellow Doll Watermelon. These little yellow watermelons are sure to be a crowd pleaser! Cantelope and Honeydew (or Arava) will ripen off the vine. Be patient and let your melon sit on the counter until it starts to smell like a melon. Don’t put it in your fridge unless you’re sure it is ready to cut up. You will know that a cantelope or honeydew is ready when they have a strong melon smell.

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper- These were tucked inside your tomato bags. Hungarian Hot wax are amongst the most mild of hot peppers, but they may surprise you! Hungarian Hot wax are usually found a lime-green color, but they also ripen orange to red. We don’t want you confuse your hot pepper for a mini-sweet as we have begun sticking minisweet peppers in your CSA boxes.

MiniSweet Pepper- I know it’s a very small giving, but these guys are just starting to produce now too. Minisweets are one of my children’s favorite foods. They can eat piles of these things in one sitting. The minisweets are red, yellow and orange. The only possible issue here is that since they are small peppers, they could easily be confused for a hot pepper. But I assure you they are not hot so long as you are able to differentiate in your CSA box which is the minisweet pepper and which is the Hungarian hot wax pepper. Have fun learning your peppers!

Garlic- One beautiful bulb of garlic per member this week. We shipped a porcelain german white garlic this week. Garlic keeps well on your countertop in dry storage.

Next Week's Best Guess: watermelon, French melon, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, carrots, potatoes?, chard, green beans, Hungarian hot wax pepper, minisweet peppers

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