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CSA Share Weekly Update August 7th-10th!

Hello all!

We are starting our 8th week of CSA Shares together, this marks the half way point of our season together. Looking back to the first few weeks of CSA Shares we had a great time sharing the cold crop varieties like the lettuces, leafy greens, snap peas, strawberries, etc. Now that we are getting into the mid-season crops we will soon be enjoying watermelons and muskmelons, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and more. We also have the fall varieties to look forward to, such as broccoli, Brussel sprouts, more lettuces, winter squash, pie pumpkins, apples, and more! No need to worry, we still have plenty to share with all CSA Share members!

Thank goodness we got rain! We received about 3 inches on both fields, which was enough to hydrate the soil but not too much to cause damage. We desperately needed that rain, as all the leaves on the pickles were even starting to yellow around the edges. All of the plants are making a come-back on harvest. During the couple of dry weeks our harvest decreased by up to 50% on some varieties. Yes, it does make that big of a difference in the harvest of every variety!

We will continue to add cauliflower and cabbage on a 2 week rotation because the cauliflower doesn’t grow at a constant rate. Some are not even heading yet, and some have huge heads and are ready for harvest. So if you receive cabbage this week, you will receive cauliflower next week, and vice versa.

While packing shares this past week, I found a few cauliflower that were yellow-white with purple as well. Keep in mind that if there are any strange color combinations like that in any produce you receive it is due to cross pollination. When bees go from one type to another of the same variety they can share the colors- which happens fairly frequently in beans as well!

I am sure you all noticed tomatoes last week as well. As I mentioned in the first few weeks of the updates, the list of produce varieties we expect for the following week is usually accurate- but sometimes something isn’t quite ready yet, or it’s ready for harvest earlier than expected like in the case with tomatoes last week. Those were called “4th of July” tomatoes because they are a 4 ounce tomato, they don’t get any bigger than that. The reason we grow them is because they are ready for harvest up to a couple weeks earlier than the large slicing tomatoes for example. We are just starting to get into the large tomatoes and Romas!

This week in your CSA Share you can expect to receive: Cauliflower or Cabbage, Sweet Corn, Cucumbers/ Pickles, Beans, Kale, Turnip Greens, Gypsy Peppers, and tomatoes!

Cauliflower is a seasonal treat, it is considered a cold crop. It is best harvested in the spring or fall (we have both!). It does not keep well. Refrigerate fresh cauliflower in a plastic bag and it should remain fresh for 1 week, and still be usable for up to 2 weeks. For long term storage, cauliflower can be frozen the same way as broccoli. Blanch (boil) 2-4 minutes, rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process, drain, let dry, and pack into freezer storage bags. It won’t be firm when thawed, but easily can be used in stews and soups.

Sweet Corn! Woohoo! This is just the beginning of corn. As mentioned before, leave your corn in the husk to keep it fresh in the fridge. It will keep for a week but will taste the best if you eat it within a few days.  I love adding corn to our meals for the week, it’s about the easiest side to supper there is and the kids always enjoy it.

Beans are coming again this week! If your beans have “sweated” in the plastic bag they come in please leave the top of the plastic bag open to dry them out. When beans are stored wet they produce tiny little red spots nicknamed “rust” which doesn’t really affect the flavor as much as the aesthetic value.

We have got a TON of beans. If you are a canner, or know someone who would like to use your CSA Share member discounts send me an email with your order and we would be happy to deliver it along with your CSA Share for the week. We sell beans to non-members for $55 a bushel or $30 a half bushel. For CSA Share members a bushel is $45, and a half bushel is $25.

Kale and Turnip Greens should be kept in the fridge as well. Keeping them in a plastic bag will help keep the leaves firm. Kale will keep for weeks if stored in the crisper in a bag. Turnip greens have a strong flavor, similar to uncooked cabbage or radishes both having a signature sharp, spicy flavor. Most people cook with their turnip greens. To make it into a side, add a little oil and garlic in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the leaves and turn off the heat, cook for no more than 3 minutes or they will be past tender-crisp texture.

Cucumbers and pickles. Yes, they are different varieties, yes they can be used for some of the same purposes, but not always. Cucumbers can be used for making refrigerator pickles for instance, but not if you are canning pickles because they will soften. Pickles and cucumbers will last in the fridge for over a week. Keep an eye on the ends of the cucumbers and pickles to check for softness. If they aren’t soft, they are still good to eat.

Peppers! THIS IS IMPORTANT! During this last year we made an advancement with the help of CSA Share member feedback. We grow hot peppers and sweet peppers of course. If they are in a plastic bag (clear produce bags) that means it is a hot pepper. If it is loose in the CSA Share box it means it is a sweet pepper. That way the produce isn’t affected by the heat of the peppers like jalapenos for instance. And if you don’t have time to read the blog you can assume hot or sweet on the peppers very quickly (as some do look almost identical).

Gypsy peppers are among the sweetest that we grow. As with other peppers, they can be stored in the hydrator drawer for up to 2 weeks. If they soften a little bit before you get to use them, try cooking with them in a stir fry for example instead of eating them raw.

Tomatoes should not be refrigerated, unless you have eaten half of a tomato and need to store the other half. They will lose their flavor if you keep them in the refrigerator because the sugars start to break down (similar to corn in this way). We will be adding tomatoes of some variety for several weeks now, this is just the beginning!

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