Small Family Farm CSA

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August Ninettenth

This week on the farm has been busy and heavy!  Farmer Adam continues to find ways to get water to the crops that need is most. We are on a very long stretch with no rain. We did receive 1/10th of an inch last Friday night which was very quickly absorbed and seemingly insignificant. I search the forecast for chances of rain looking farther and farther into the forecast. The 10-day forecast is more of a dreamy forecast. Can they really predict the weather that far in advance? Are those precipitation percentages real or a mirage on the horizon? Adam says he feels uneasy when he can’t hear the pump running or knowing that something is getting watered somewhere on the farm.

One positive side to no rain is that the tomato plants are producing well. Tomatoes do love to have dry leaves. We actually have to search for the tomatoes amidst the foliage this year which is somewhat new. The plants look healthy and strong and are really picking up in production now. The bins of tomatoes fill up quickly and we haul bin after bin to the ends of the rows. The colorful array of tomatoes look lovely and we talk about salsa and canning and bruchetta and share recipes and veggie inspiration as we work.

The bodies of the farm workers are tired. We talk about our legs and elbows and knees as we work. We feel fit and healthy and strong, but also tired, a little sore and strained.   Our hands look like the hands of someone who digs them into soil. They’re thicker and tough. They look stained, a little cut and cracked and I don’t remember the last time my nails looked clean and presentable. Luckily the only one I need to present them to is the vegetable plants, and I appreciate their non-judgment.

We toss melons at harvest to clean up what remains in the fields. We finish up the last of the sweet corn harvest and are sad to have pulled the final succession of sweet corn out of the field but relieved of the duty of needing to protect the crop from sneaky raccoons. I’m sure those rascally raccoons are just waiting for their chance to get in there to clean out any unclaimed ears.  

This week we will begin harvesting our winter squash. Some of the shorter day varieties like acorn and spaghetti squash are mature and ready to be harvested. We will clip them and get them into the greenhouse to cure and dry and keep them safe from squash bugs and cucumber bettles who will readily move in on mature fruits that are left out too long. While it will be a few more weeks before we are shipping squash in CSA boxes, the harvest begins now and will be ongoing for a few more weeks still until we find the time to get them all out.

Squash are dense and heavy and we bend and clip and toss and bend and clip and toss and bend and clip and toss. Winter squash has such lovely Fall colors. The deep blues in the acorns and buttercups and bright yellows in spaghetti squash and rich oranges in the pumpkins and kabochas as well as the cream colored butternuts. I’m not ready to eat squash yet. I still want to eat tomatoes and peppers and sweet corn. I still want the summer warmth and the long days. But I do hear the crickets singing in the night and I see the monarchs taking flight. I see the apples ripening and I feel the nights are cooling. The load may be heavy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I will not wish one of these magical days away!

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

Melons x 2- Everyone should have received a Canary Melon.  The Canary melons are yellow on the outside with a crispy, green-ish colored fresh.  Canary melons have been mistaken by CSA members for spaghetti squash as they are shaped similarly and have a bright yellow rind.  Their flesh is a little crispy like a cucumber or pear, but is sweet and unique.  We hope you'll love this melon as much as we do!  You should have received another melon either an extra Canary melon or cantelope or watermelon.  Canary and cantelope will ripen off the vine.  Feel free to wait a bit if you suspect your melon needs an extra few days on the counter to ripen.  The watermeons will not ripen off the vine, so feel free to dig right in on your watermelon if that is what you received!  

Sweet Corn-  5 ears of standar sweet corn!  

Sweet Corn (starchy)- 3 ears per member.  These corn are a bit of an 'oops'!  This succession of corn was supposed to have been ready to pick next week if the timing on the successions turned out the way we had planned, but this crop got a little over-mature.  It matured sooner than we realized.  The ears are big and beautiful, but not as sweet and crispy the way sweet corn should be!  They have more of a reddish color on the wrappers and the kernels are a little over-developed.  We thought this corn was still worth giving and could be used to make Elotes!  See recipe below!  We didn't have room in the boxes this week to give you all of this succession as we had hoped to have for next week.  

Tomatoes-  4.8lbs  Tomato production is picking up quickly!  We pick tomatoes with a 'blush'.  This means that we pick any tomato that is showing any signs of color since tomatoes ripen so quickly off of the vine.  If your tomatoes need more ripening, we recommend letting them sit out on your counterop or windowsil.  Only put tomatoes in the refrigerator if they are fully ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get to using it up.  Refrigerators suck flavor out of tomatoes.  The more you can leave them to ripen on the counter, the better their flavor will be.  We grow all kinds of tomatoes in all different shapes and colors.  Some of them are heirloom tomatoes (but the herilooms ripen a little later still mostly), the oval shaped romas that are more of a paste tomato and less juicy like a slicer.  We also grow all kinds of slicers that range from yellow to red to purplish-black to orange.  You'll know if your tomato is ripe if it feels slightly soft to the touch.  Even though your tomatoes were bagged in a plastic bag, they much prefer to not be in their little plastic bags.  Remove them from their plastic bag and allow them to 'breathe' on the countertop.  

Onion-  One white onion per member this week.  

Peppers- 4-5 peppers per member.  We are feeling a little discouraged about the pepper crop this year.  New to our farm this year, we're seeing some kind of disease on the leaves of the pepper plant that is causing the plants to drop their leaves exposing the fruits to the sun to get sun-scaleded.  We are picking more peppers at this stage on the greener side than what we would like to.  The last few years on our farm we have had fantastic pepper years giving large, beautiful red, yellow and orange peppers, so this years crop is a bit of a dissapointment to us;(  We are also tossing a large percentage of the peppers simply because they have rotten spots.  We planted peppers next to the road in a new field this year.  Maybe they don't like being next to the road (dust getting kickd up on the leaves?).  Maybe the new field didn't have the fertility that our more 'seasoned' fields have?  Maybe we just picked up some kind of pepper plant disease this year?  We are also trying a new method of mowing between the rows of peppers rather than cultivating and perhaps the peppers don't like the grass clippings/dust that gets stirred up in mowing between the rows?  

Broccoli-1 beautiful broccoli per member this week!  Broccoli prefers to be kept very cold for maxium storage life!  

Carrots- 1 lbs bags per member!  

Red Curly Kale-  Trusty kale is here to keep us stocked with greens in the heat of the summer when it's too hot to grow lettuce.  We did actually have a succession of lettuce that was supposed to be ready to harvest this week that was too bolted and bitter to harvest becuse it has not gotten rain since transplant.  So Kale it is this week!  

Green Beans- 1 lb bags per member.  Green beans are such a lovely summer treat.  They make such a nice vegetable addition to a quick summer meal!  

Cherry Tomatoes and/or Mini Sweet Peppers-  A modest harvest of cherry tomtaoes divided up for everyone this week.  We also picked a small quantity of mini-sweet peppers that we put in the same bags as the cherry tomatoes.  Some members may have received only mini-sweet peppers if we ran out of cherry tomatoes at the end of bagging them.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Melon, red cabbage, green beans, onion, garlic, broccoli, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, swiss chard, carrots

Recipes

Sweet Corn and Coconut Milk Chowder

Elotes (Mexican Grilled Corn on the Cob)

Chocolate Kale Smoothie

Green Beans with Lemon and Pine Nuts

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