FARM NEWSLETTER / / WEEK 7
This week has been a fun one for us. We’re finally getting muskmelon ripening at a good rate! Last week we harvested maybe a dozen or so per day, and just this morning we harvested almost 80! I mentioned this last week but they start pretty slow, and then it’s like a waterfall! The first ‘set’ of melons is ripening now and will produce heavily for a week or so and then trickle off again. We’re hoping to get them in for a couple weeks, but we will have to update you next Friday on that after assessing how many are still out there.
On a personal side note, sorry for getting the blog post up late. My sister just had a healthy baby boy and I’m blogging from Brainerd! It’s been an exciting few days for us. I’m a proud Auntie!! <3
OK, back to business. Sunshine squash are in the CSA's this week. This was the best ‘set’ of this squash we’ve ever had. That means that the plants were very healthy and put on a ton of blossoms at one time, and hence there was a TON of sunshine squash in the field. Since the most recent shot of hail, the plants are so damaged that they’re all dying. When the vines die (which they would naturally die in September anyways), they are essentially pushing all of the sugars into their ‘fruits’ and rushing the ripening process. So this season was supposed to be the best sunshine year ever, but these beautiful squash never got the chance to grow to their full potential. We will be including them this week, although they’re almost all small squash. Depending on their size, you may get one or two in the half shares, and two or four in the whole shares.
The other squash out there are looking the same as the sunshine squash; there is a significant number of squash in the field but they’re all damaged with knicks and they’re almost all undersized.
For those of you who bought fall shares- you will still receive all of the squash per agreement, but they will likely be smaller & more numerous. The other produce varieties included in the fall shares is a pretty safe bet though, because they’re all root crops and the hail can’t damage them as much.
Tomatoes are going to be added in as we can- the harvest is about 5% of what it was last season at this time and they’re pretty much all ‘ugly’. The first round of hail broke off a ton of the foliage but didn’t really affect the tomatoes themselves. The second round of hail damaged all of the remaining tomatoes because there wasn’t any foliage around them to protect them.
We will be including these as we can, but you likely won’t ever see tomatoes listed as included in your CSA shares because we are literally dealing with that small of a quantity ripening at once. I have a chart to record things like this, who gets tomatoes and what kind/ quantity so that we can make sure everyone is getting the same amount. I’ve done the same thing wth swiss chard. As you know we were supposed to have it in the CSAs a while back but it got hit really hard by hail. So as it is growing back, we’ve been harvesting it and slipping it in as we can (because there will never be enough of it to have a full 300 bunches, a lot of the plants died).
This week in your CSA Shares you can expect:
Muskmelon!!, Sunshine Squash, Broccoli, Herb Dill, and one of the following summer squash/cucumbers.
The dill is still considered ‘herb dill’. It still has the classic dill flavor, and can be used in a lot of ways but does not have the characteristic dill flowers. If you were using dill flowers, your options for preparation are a lot more limited because the texture of the flower can’t be eaten like herb dill can. This is the perfect kind of dill for potato salads, creamy cucumber salad, or even with dinner- I know I have a lemon dill chicken recipe that I’ll share to the blog this week that looks really good!
Muskmelon needs to be enjoyed right away. I can tell you that since the melons are ripened on the vines, there is the absolute highest amount of sugar possible in these melons. That means that they’ll be as sweet as ever! But it also implies that they won’t hold as long because the most sugar in a fruit means they will decompose faster in an effort to coat their seeds in sugar for next year’s successful germination. If you cut it up immediately and keep it in the fridge, it won’t continue to ripen. If you just leave it on the counter, it will continue to ripen until its cut up (or refrigerated).
Broccoli was included last week too & at that time I explained how to soak it in the sink to remove possible hitch-hikers (although we do soak it once already to remove worms). Other than that, I would just say make sure to keep it in the fridge because as soon as it’s cut from its stalk it will start to soften. If your broccoli was kept on the counter and it’s not firm anymore, try cooking with it. Steak and broccoli over rice, sautéed broccoli, or broccoli alfredo (our fav!).
Sunshine squash will be smaller than average, but they’re still one of the most desirable kinds of squash that we grow. We grow almost the same quantity of every squash (we grow 7 kinds), and these are always one of the first that we run out of because everyone asks for this squash!! This is a buttercup variety, but it isn’t dark green like the classic buttercup, its bright orange! The flesh is thick, and if you cut it in half, take out the seeds and bake it just like that it is a real treat! Some people like to make it sweeter by adding a little brown sugar to the squash before baking, and if you cook them cut-side up it creates a little bowl. I’ve also chopped apples and baked apples, brown sugar and cinnamon inside the squash for a treat! Top with a little vanilla ice cream for best results ;)
I hope you all have a wonderful week, Take care!
~The Farmer’s Wife