August Twenty-Third

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This week on the farm we brace ourselves to brave the heat wave on the horizon.  Temperatures expected to be as high as 100 degrees this week on Wednesday.  These kinds of temperatures are stressful on the workers and also on the plants.  With no outlook for rain in the forecast farmer Adam is back to irrigating again.  We’re hoping the heat wave passes quickly and isn’t quite as hard to handle as it looks.  The humidity and heat are helping the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants to ripen as well. 

This week I am reflecting on the fabulous farm dinner we had this last weekend.  The dinner was a success in many ways.  The weather cooperated, the food was delicious, the music enchanting and the Turtle Stack beer added a festive and cheerful tone. 

The farm dinner is a LOT of work to put on.  While the tickets aren’t cheap, there is very little money made from this event.  But the money is far from our true motives.  Setting up the lights, the tables, the chairs, the plates, silverware, tents, flowers, and an entire outdoor dining area as well as a complete outdoor kitchen, is a tremendous amount of work.  Not to mention the hours of meal planning and the days of food prep that go into preparing a 6-course meal for 60 people.  And then a full day’s work for a small crew in clean up when the event is over.  Phew, what a task it is to pull off! 

The real reason is to offer an experience that is rare and special and unique to our CSA members.  To offer a romantic encounter on a small family farm, with the farmers, in the beautiful countryside, on a gorgeous summer evening. Meals where the food only travels a few hundred feet from field to table are exceptionally rare in the world today.  The food is good.  The food is very, very good.  But the setting and circumstances are purely magical.  In a world where the origins of our food, down to the very farm and bed they were raised in are nearly impossible to trace, I believe that dinners like what we accomplished this last weekend, are not only uncommon, but extraordinary. 

I have always believed that a community farm like ours should have transparency.  CSA farms should hold farm events or find creative ways to get their CSA members out to the farm so their CSA members can begin to cultivate a relationship with the place where their food is grown.  When you have been here you can hold a lasting image and impression in your mind and heart of the actual place where your food is coming from.  It’s not about being best friends with your farmers, but it is about being connected to the source of your food and the place and culture it is coming from. 

Certainly, farm experiences do not need to be pricy.  Coming up on Sunday, September 24th, we will be hosting a FREE family event.  We are hoping to offer cider pressing, pony rides, wagon ride tours of the farm, pumpkin picking and a potluck dinner.  This event is from 3-6pm and is an informal excuse to get out to the farm.  Community farms are intended to be places for community to gather and what better way to build trust, encourage a neighborly network, or simply spend a beautiful fall Sunday than on the farm breaking bread with your friends.

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What’s in the Box?

Sweet Corn-  5 ears sweet corn per member.  Sweet corn is sweetest the sooner it is eaten after being picked.  You will want to eat it up as soon as possible.  If you don’t eat it right away, be sure to get it into the fridge to keep it cool. 

Melons- 2 per member mixed variety.  Melons could be either a cantelope or a canary melon.  Canary melons are bright yellow on the outside and are not to be mistaken for a spaghetti squash. Canary melons are unique in that their flesh is green and crispy like a cucumber.  We pick the canary melons ripe, so don’t feel like you need to wait for it to ripen and don’t wait for it to get soft!  Melons are usually fine on your counter until you get them eaten up. 

Celery-  We’ve picked over the largest of the celery by now, but there are still plenty of beautiful looking stalks out there.  We’re continuing to share celery for another week or two.  Notice how local celery is different from California celery, much greener and stouter than Cali celery, but wow, the flavor!  Celery greens can be used as well if you get creative!

Onion-  One white onion per member this week. 

Tomatoes- 6 lbs+ per member this week.  A wide variety of tomatoes to share, pink, yellow, red, and ‘black’ heirlooms, red slicers, romas, we grow it all!  This was the first picking and we’re so excited to be back in the tomato patch picking tomatoes again this year to share with you!  Tomatoes love 50 degree storage temps.  We pick any tomato with a ‘blush’ which means any amount of color that it has started to turn, we pick em.  They still qualify as ‘vine ripened’ tomatoes even when we do it this way.  If we picked every tomato when it was 100% ripe, you would instead receive tomato sauce in your boxes, and that gets messy!  We highly recommend not putting tomatoes in the refrigerator as refrigerators tend to suck flavor out of tomatoes.  For maximum flavor and enjoyment, allow them to sit on your counter to ripen and promptly use up once ripe!

Eggplant and/or Peppers-  We almost had enough eggplants for everyone, but those who did not receive an eggplant got an extra pepper.  Everyone got two or three sweet peppers if they did not receive an eggplant.  Eggplants are a mix of the Asian and standard varieties. 

Collards-  Keeping you stocked in cooking greens for your salads, soups and fritattas.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Glow Stick Carrots-  1lb bags per member.  These are a mix of purple, orange, yellow and a light orange/yellowish carrot.  We were amazed at their flavor and how straight they crew.  Sometimes the rainbow carrots can lack in flavor what they provide in appearance, but not these carrots!  Their flavor is amazing and sweet! 

Green Beans-  1.6 lbs of green beans per member this week.  A lovely summer treat. 

Garlic-  One bulb of the Asian tempest garlic per member.  Garlic will keep fine on your counter for a few months, but after the first of the year it should go in the fridge, but I’m guessing it won’t last that long at your house! 

Next Week’s Best Guess:  Sweet corn, melons, green beans, celery, tomatoes, hot peppers, onion, garlic, green kale, carrots, peppers


Grilled Corn Salad

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Skillet Garlic Green Beans

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Classic Ratatouille

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Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole with Gruyere Featuring Carrots and Celery

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