September Sixth

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September on the farm marks a transition.  The kids are going back to school, the crickets are singing their loudest chorus in full unison, the yellowjackets are experts at finding the sweet, ripe fruits, and the apple trees are, by some miracle, offering generous loads of fruit for our fall harvest delight.  I paused for a moment on Monday as I was walking up the hill as a glittering shower of small, golden leaves were flickering and shimmering as they made their ceremonious decent to the ground from the full height of the walnut tree in our yard.  Maybe the light was shining on them just perfectly at that moment, or maybe my legs were tired as I slowly climbed the hill and got lucky to witness the moment of beauty, but either way, it felt new and transitional and undeniably like Fall. 

We picked the majority of our Fall Squash this week.  We worked in teams snipping and clipping and tossing squash up to catchers in the macro-bins.  The bright orange fruits reminded me of the waning sunlight and how all the sunlight I was going to need to make it through another winter is stored up and bound inside these orange, yellow and red foods that will carry us through the voyage as we tilt slowly away from the sun.  The sun gold cherry tomatoes, the vibrant sweet pepper harvest, the bright and colorful carrots, the bins of hard squashes filling up our dry storage, the county fair coming to town next weekend, all promise Fall. 

While most of the winter squashes are safely in storage now, we will begin harvesting our potatoes this week.  We will break out our antique old potato digger that I believe to be one of the most amazing machines (and noisy) on earth, and begin harvesting potatoes.  We were noticing that the potatoes that we always hill when they are cultivated throughout the summer are still nicely hilled in powdery hills of soil that can be easily scooped up or smeared flat with your hand like sand on the beach.  Usually the hills are flattened and hardened throughout the summer from heavy rains hammering and compressing the soil down.  I’m a little surprised that when the wind blows the soil doesn’t just lift of and float away to be honest. 

Tomato harvest takes up a large portion of our time these days.  There are 5 rows that are 750 feet long.  We put black bins inside of wheel barrows and push them down the rows handing full bins over the trellising to the person on the outside row who can stack them in the truck.  Two trucks are needed now at peak harvest, one loaded with empty black bins and one for filling up with full bins of tomatoes.  Cherry tomato harvest is our favorite, a less labor intensive harvest where there is more time of talking, storytelling and what we were joking feels a little like ‘confession’ (for those of us raised catholic), as we talk to one another through the vail of tomato vines sharing our stories, revelations, denials, opinions, and denials. 

After one last, brutal week of heat what we are looking forward to the most is a stretch of cool weather.  Hope for rain is a lofty, comical idea, but cool weather would be a reprieve that will help us, and the plants, make it through to the end.  The heat takes more out of us than the actual work.  A few of us are reminded of our allergies as the ragweed is in full powdery form.  September is perhaps my favorite month providing a little more time for our last summer adventures, but reminding us that the inevitable is coming, Fall.  I look forward to better sleeping weather and an extra spring in my step as the cool weather returns. 

What’s in the Box?

Tomatoes-  8 Whopping pounds of tomatoes!  The number just keeps getting bigger!  A reminder to remove your tomatoes from the bag and allow them to air out and sit at room temperature outside of the plastic 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!

4 Sweet Corn-  Final giving!  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-  .55 lbs of green beans per member this week.  A little less out there this week, but they do keep coming, so we keep picking them! 

 

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-1 pound bags per member.  These ripen orange.  Sun Golds are the most flavorful and juicy tomato of them all!  This is the only cherry tomato variety we have grown simply because they’re so darn good! 

Sweet Peppers-  4 per member.  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-  Lacinato kale to keep you stocked in cooking greens. The kale looked like late summer kale.  We cleaned the plants up and we’re hoping to get some re-growth that is more tender and perfect looking. 

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

Fennel-  One head of fennel per member.  Cut the fennel in half lengthwise and remove the core from the base of the plant.  The bulb can be sliced like an onion and sauteed like an onion even and in this process it looses much of it’s strong flavor. If you love the licorice flavor, shave it raw onto salads.  The frawns make a beautiful garnish and are also edible! 

Red Cabbage-  Smaller heads of red cabbage that store beautifully.  Very dense heads.  Red cabbage is a colorful addition to almost any kind of salad. 

Beets-  One pound beets per member.  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge. 

Eggplant-  One eggplant per member.  You may have received either an Asian eggplant (long and thin) or a standard eggplant. 

Next Week’s Best Guess:  Tomatoes, potatoes, spaghetti squash, napa cabbage?, brussels sprouts tops, onion, sweet peppers, green beans, cherry tomatoes, hot pepper,

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Our daughter, Aliza, put the basil bunches in every box this week!  Such a great helper!

Recipes:

Lemony Lentil Fennel Salad with Parsley

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Smoky Pork Burgers with Fennel and Red Cabbage Slaw

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Easy Caprice Salad

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Panzanella

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Classic Ukrainian Red Borscht (Beet Soup)

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