Small Family Farm CSA

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July Twenty-Second

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We are now entering the part of the season that is the most exciting, sweet, popular and delicious of all of the vegetables. These long, peak-summer days give us the warmth and sunlight that ripens many of our summer crops that we have all been waiting for.

We are watching the sweet corn patch closely these days. Farmer Adam faithfully plugs in the electric fence around the sweet corn patch every night and unplugs it every morning. The ears are ripening now and we’re hoping that next week could be our first sweet corn harvest. We get excited about sweet corn harvest not only because we love to eat sweet corn, but also because we can stop being so worried about protecting it from wildlife. I do wonder how anyone can grow sweet corn with so many raccoons in the world! Thank goodness for electric fences!

Other exciting crops like watermelons are coming into season. Next week could be the first watermelon harvest as well. When we’re watching a crop to see if and when it’s ready for harvest, we’re looking at things like “days to maturity” which each seed company lists for every crop. “Days to Maturity” are always somewhat variable. We are also dealing with other factors that are a little more difficult to measure such as how much moisture that crop has gotten, daytime temperatures, nighttime temperatures, dewpoints, humidity, wind and sunlight verses overcast days the crop has received. We have seen melon varieties sit in the fields weeks longer than when we expected to harvest them which is excruciating! As we are so much more less in control than what we would like to be, so we simply wait and watch.

The beauty of a CSA farm is the widely diversified crops that we grow. The humble celery and eggplant aren’t quite as popular as sweet corn and watermelons, but we sure are happy to provide these new offerings. Carrots stepped onto stage this week as well satisfying our endless desire for this standard crop.

I found this fun little history expert from the Bounty from the Box CSA Cookbook I thought I would share with you. Sweet corn is a crop with so much history behind it, it’s fun to explore the ‘roots’ of our food from time to time.

Corn

by Zea Mays

Corn has a long history as a staple food for humans, especially for the peoples of the New World. Also known as maize, corn has evolved into an astonishing number of forms, from plants growing 2 to 20 feet tall and ears measuring anywhere from the length of a thumbnail to 2 feet long. One characteristic common to all of them is the placement of seeds in orderly rows along a central cob.

Maize’s value to modern humanity is inestimable. Most of the corn grown in the United States and Canada is used for livestock feed; the making of that ubiquitous sweetener, corn syrup; and for grain alcohol and its sister product, the fuel alternative ethanol.

Sweet corn is a relatively recent phenomenon. The Iroquois were raising it in central New York by the early 1600s, but it was not widely cultivated until after the Civil War. Selective breeding has elevated the sugar levels of this crop to new heights, with “supersweet” and “sugar-enhanced” varieties available with higher sucrose levels than that of standard sweet corn (at the expense of traditional corn flavor, according to some).

History

Maize is native to the Americas, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. The earliest maize probably came from Mexico, and pollen has been found in Mexico City dating 60,000 to 80,000 years ago. Native Americans have long cultivated maize, which is one in the famous trio of vegetables (corn, beans, and squash) that contain complementary vegetable proteins. Wherever maize was grown, it became a staple food, and it is no exaggeration to say that the Incan empire was built on the prosperity that corn provided.

When Europeans encountered maize in the New World in the 1500s, they were not so impressed, for its gluten-free seeds lacked the rising and baking qualities of their more familiar grains such as wheat. In many areas, like Russia, where maize was imported in 1921 to ward off starvation, people stubbornly viewed it as food for swine and consumed it only because they had no choice.

Nutrition

One medium ear of sweet corn contains 80 calories, with lots of dietary fiber, a few grams of protein, and a fair amount of vitamin C, vitamin A (unless it is white corn), potassium, niacin, and folate.

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

Carrots-  1 pound per member this week.  We were waiting for the carrots to size up a little more to harvest, but we thought they were big enough to do our first dig.  We're happy to share these fresh beauties with you!  You know a carrot is very fresh when the white tips are still on the ends of the carrots!  

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  4-5 squash per member this week.  If you're struggling to keep up with all of the squash, remember that it freezes very nicely!  You can grate it and freeze it in ziplock bags and use it in bread, fritters, enchilada filling or whatever you can think of this winter.  

Cucumbers-  4-5  While it might feel like you're drowning in cucumbers, the season is all too short and we miss it when it's over!  Put on your cucumber hat and have fun!  Cucumber water.  Cucumbers in spring rolls.  Cucumber juice.  Cucumber salads.  Cucumbers and veggie dip.  

Green Onions-  This is the final giving of green onions and next week we will begin harvesting white onions to share fresh!  Remember that the greens of your onions are edible as well!  

Celery-  Admittedly, it's hard to compete with the celery we are all used to from the supermarkets out of California.  Cali celery is succulent and juicy.  It's crisp and white and doesn't have all of those greens on it.  Local celery is hard to grow!  We don't pump it as full of water because we are growing so many different crops that it's hard to manage irrigating the celery with everything else we have going on.  Local celery has a deeper green color with a stronger celery flavor.  We left the greens on for you to enjoy in soups, salads or however you wish to use them.  It's not quite as juicy as Cali celery and maybe not Ants-on-a-log Grade A, but it's what we could do!  It's great in soups, stir fries or diced finely into your egg salads, tuna salads or however you like to cook celery!  

Green Curly Kale-  Large bunches of curly green kale to share with you this week!  

Green Leaf Lettuce/Salanova Lettuce-  Two heads per member this week.  You may have received two heads of green leaf lettuce, or one green leaf lettuce and one Salanova lettuce.  Salanova is the variety with lots of crinkly cuts and is a little more "frilly".  Salanova is a new variety we tried this year that is supposed to be heat tolerant.  It's a little tougher, but we found that it didn't get bitter in the heat and it is supposed to have a bitter shelf life as well.  

Mint-  Classic Peppermint variety.  Cute little bunches of mint this week for making tea, tabouli or Mojitos!  Mint is cooling and offers lots of flavor and essence to any dish or drink!  

Eggplant-  2-3 Eggplant per member.  You may have received 1 Standard Eggplant and one Japanese Eggplant or you may have received 3 Japanese Eggplants.  The Standard eggplants are the more rounded, oval shaped fruits.  The Japanese Eggplants are more long and slender.  The Asian/Japanese Eggplants are `popular because some people think they are less bitter, have less seeds, and lend to an easier culinary experince  for slicing and dicing in the kitchen.  Eggplant also prefer 50 degree storage.  The fridge is a little too cool and the counter is a little too warm, so you pick the place you'de like to store them!  Great first Eggplant harvest to share with everyone!

Cauliflower or Broccoli-  The broccoli and cauliflower harvests continue.  We should have broccoli and cauliflower to share wtih you again next week as well!  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Celery, carrots, summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers, broccoli and or cauliflower, kale, white onion, garlic, eggplant.  Maybe:  sweet corn, watermelon, parsley, jalapenos

Recipes

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Beguni (Chickpea Battered and Fried Eggplant)

Cucumber and Celery Salad with Tuna

Sweet Kale Salad with Poppeyseed Dressing

Vegetable Pajeon (Korean Scallion Pancakes made with any mix of vegetables!) Thanks, Simon and Asheley for suggesting this one!

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