August Twenty-Nineth

This week on the farm I am reminded of how much farming is like athletics.  There is a physical and emotional stamina required to make it through a long day on the farm filled with lifting, bending, kneeling, tossing, catching, clipping and chatting.  The harvest is getting heavier this time of year and we are hauling it in and filling up our storage bins.  This continual physicality also requires a good amount of emotional and mental stamina. 

While hauling heavy bags of sweet corn in the hot sun to the truck, I was reminded of my days as an athlete.  As a school kid I played soccer, swam on a competitive swim team, played a bit of basketball and volleyball and then ran cross country in high school.  My days in sports prepared me well for my days on the farm.  I remember swimming laps and running the track and making lap after lap around the soccer field.  I remember not loving every moment of it and the feeling of pushing my body to discover what it was capable of.  It wasn’t until later in life (as with many lessons in life) the true value of this perseverance became apparent to me. 

Doing hard things makes our bodies and minds stronger.  Later we discover that we have also developed character from our experiences of doing hard things.  The most rewarding and satisfying of all of our achievements are earned from crossing some kind of threshold beyond what is comfortable and what we are actually capable of. 

In the workplace it can be a little iffy asking people to push their comfort zone a bit.  If it was up to me, I would turn down the heat but unfortunately, I’m not in control of such things and the harvest must come in-heat or no heat.  But farm work has a way of drawing in those who are up for a bit of a challenge and like to step outside their comfort zone a bit. In the heat this week we talked about the Wim Hoff method and the said health benefits of exposing our bodies to heat and cold and temperature fluxuations.  We worked through a little heat this week and it was uncomfortable at times.  Most of us were up for a little challenge and most days we were able to end the day sitting on our bums cleaning garlic or onions for a ‘cool down’ the last hour or two of the day.  Keeping water bottles topped off was key to surviving the heat! 

I have always loved the athleticism of organic vegetable farming.  I love that my workout is built into my work day.  I love that I can eat whatever I want whenever I want.  I love that I sleep like a log and I have a deep sense of satisfaction at the end of the work day that I have done something meaningful with my energy. 

While I do love the physicality of farming, we are always thinking about ways to work smarter and not harder.  We love to use machines whenever and wherever we can to be as efficient as possible.  No one can sustain hard physical labor every day all day.  Many wonderful machines have made our lives so much easier, and we are interested in keeping our workers sticking around and not burning them out!   I feel like there is a nice balance here on the farm of working hard and a big enough crew that we can all take turns being the ambitious ones for certain harvests. 

Now, bring on the breezy, cool, 70-degree days of Fall!  I’m ready!  A little rain mixed in would be wonderful! 

What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-  7 Whopping pounds of tomatoes!  A reminder to remove your tomatoes from the bag and allow them to air out and sit at room temperature outside of the plasitic bag.  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!

Garlic-  One bulb of the Armenian 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!

Hot Pepper-  A Hungarian hot wax pepper per member.  Technically the Hungarian hot wax peppers are a hot pepper,  but they are quite mild on the spectrum of hot peppers. 

1-2 Melons-  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-  The final giving of celery.  We’ve picked over the largest of the celery by now, but there were 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!

4-5 Sweet Corn-  Sweet corn is a tricky crop to supply for CSA boxes. When sweet corn is ripe and ready to pick it is ideal to pick it and consume it that day for optimal crunchiness and flavor.  Sometime ears sit on the plants a little longer than we like because were still 4-5 days away from our next CSA harvest.  Or sometime successions all want to mature at the same time. Or, sometimes you get a giant wind storm (like we did a couple weeks ago) and your corn is all knocked over and the ears were slightly compromised.  This weeks corn is good, but not great, because of the aforementioned scenarios.  We’re eating it and are still so happy to have fresh, local, sweet corn!  We hope you enjoy it as well! 

Green Beans-  .65 lbs of green beans per member this week.  A lovely summer treat.

Carrots- Orange carrots for your carrot satisfaction. 

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-1 pound bags per member.  These ripen orange.  Sun Golds are the most flavorful and juicy

Sweet Peppers-  2-3 Sweet peppers are beginning to come on a little heavier these days.  We are thrilled to be offering such colorful treats!  Sweet peppers could be red, yellow or orange bells or the carmen type (pointy at the tip) which are also sweet and come in yellow and orange.  No matter their shape or color, we hope you enjoy them! 

Kale-  Green Curly kale to keep you stocked in cooking greens. 

Onion-  One white sweet onion for your everyday cooking glory. 

Green Beans-  .65 lbs of green beans per member this week.  A lovely summer treat.

Next Week’s Best Guess:  Red or Napa Cabbage, Sweet Corn, tomatoes, sweet peppers, eggplant, fennel, brussels sprouts tops, green beans, onion, cherry tomatoes?, parsley or basil?

Recipes

Tomato Pie with Brown Butter Garlic and Shallots (recipe contributed by CSA members who rave about how delicious it is)

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Elote (Mexican Street Corn)

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Chicken Fajitas

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Cherry Tomato Tart (Served at the Farm Dinner as an appetizer-Personal Favorite)

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