CSA Share Weekly Update for August 13th-17th!
Updated: Aug 11, 2018
We are having a lot of fun in the fields right now. Every day seems to be bright & new because we are constantly seeing new varieties ready for harvest. Last week, the muskmelon, beets, green onions, and 2 kinds of peppers were new to us. This week, we’ve got a whole new bunch of varieties as well. We are about in the peak of the harvest right now, this is the time of year that we dream about!!
My main communication is through the blog here, this is where you will find all the most important information- CSA Updates and any important announcements. I also post to Facebook fairly frequently but that’s mostly pictures and fun facts. If you want to follow us on Facebook, click on Brown Family Farm here and like our page. Facebook changed their algorithms on what we see in our newsfeeds so to see our posts right away instead of by chance, click on the “Follow” drop down tab and select “see first”. (See below).
Don’t forget, if you have a recipe you’d like to share, ANYONE can post to our blog here. Imagine if we all shared just one of our favorite recipes- it would be like our own private CSA veggie arsenal! The more recipes and ideas we have to share with each other, the easier it is to utilize all of our fresh produce. The more the merrier. I hope you’re enjoying your shares! Blog tip: We also have a search bar on the blog- so if you're cruising for beet recipes for example just punch it in and they'll all come up!
A little housekeeping, please keep in mind that we’ve got a holiday coming up. Labor Day is Monday September 3rd so we won’t be delivering. If your CSA Share delivery is any other day than Monday, your schedule that week will remain the same. If your delivery day is on Mondays, I will be sending out an email with the change in schedule when it's closer & it’s also available in the CSA Member Handbook I sent out prior to the season starting.
This week in your CSA Share you can expect: Muskmelon, Spaghetti Squash, Carrots, Zucchini, Roma Tomatoes, Anaheim Peppers and Gypsy Peppers!
Muskmelon was added to our CSA Shares last week as a surprise! It wasn’t included on the list here, but the warm weather the previous weekend gave them the little extra push they needed to start ripening. We've got a huge planting, so we are still harvesting melons and look forward to getting them to you this week as well.
I have had a few folks ask me about melons, how to know when they’re ripe or best to eat for example, so I’ll share more about this. Muskmelons in the field grow a light green color and develop the webbing on the outside of the melon before they ripen. When we are harvesting muskmelon, we’re looking for the color change and the ease of stem removal. The melons will turn that light yellow color and the when you pull on the stem it easily detaches. The blossom end of the melon (where the flower originally developed, opposite of the stem) will give just a little bit when pressed on. Be gently though, don’t want to bruise your melon!
During the off season, that’s how I check if a melon is ripe. Looking at the color of the melon, and feeling the blossom end. At this time of year, we are only harvesting ripe melons. They provide the best flavor! The melon you get in your CSA Share box will be ready to cut when you get it- it won’t need to sit for a few days on the counter. It’s actually quite opposite, it needs to be eaten within a couple days otherwise it will get soft. If you cut it up and keep it in a Tupperware in the fridge, it’ll last for 5-7 days longer.
Why does produce ripen? It’s basically the same with every produce variety that has a “ripe” stage. Ripening is the biological process of the plant pushing as much sugar as possible into the produce variety (could be winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, etc.). The more sugar in the fruit, the faster decomposition happens and the more efficient their seeds are at germinating. It’s all about seed success, and we appreciate it because of the wonderful flavors it provides! J Because we are harvesting only ripe fruit, they’ll have a shorter shelf life but have a way better flavor!
TOMATOES! We’ll be including Romas this week. They’re known for their low water content and more elongated shape. They’re also my go-to for any sort of dinner that would call to sauté tomatoes because they hold their shape better than the traditional large slicing tomatoes. Don’t be fooled though, these tomatoes can be used for anything from BLT’s to spaghetti sauce, as can any tomato. These are often used in making sauces because with the lower water content, you don’t have to spend as much time cooking them down and boiling off excess water to thicken the sauce.
Do not refrigerate tomatoes; cold temperatures deplete their flavor & texture. If your tomatoes smell fragrant and yield slightly when squeezed, they are ready to use. If not, store them for a few days at room temperature out of the sun until they are ripe. If they’re not quite ripe enough for you, a trick my dad taught me is putting the tomatoes in a brown paper bag on top of the fridge (where it is slightly warmer than the counter) and it will accelerate the ripening process.
Carrots! Another new variety to us this season. We are growing the colorful carrots- they are orange, yellow, and red. The seed mix seems to have more orange than any other carrot color though, so next year we will likely try a different mix to get more of the colorful carrots we want for our CSA Families. *updated- Ben said the colored carrots aren't growing as fast as the orange carrots. We will be offering just the orange carrots this week and saving the colored carrots for about 2 weeks from now. Sorry aabout the change, I didn't know.
To avoid “floppy carrots”, you need to remove the green tops as soon as you can, leaving about an inch of the stem intact. If you can only do one thing to prep your veggies for storage, this should be it. Refrigerate these carrots in a plastic bag. You can also store them in a bin of water (like celery) to keep them crisp. Change out the water every few days. You can use the tops to use for a pesto or seasoning (store in a plastic bag in the fridge).
As with all of our produce, it’s necessary to wash everything before you eat it. Some varieties aren’t washed during the prep stage at the farm, mostly because it will add to the shelf life and overall value of your CSA Share. If you don’t have a vegetable scrubber yet (stiff bristles), it would be worth investing in one. They’re about $5 at the grocery stores.
Peppers! We love peppers in our house. It’s kind of like onions, they can really be worked into anything. This week we have 2 varieties for you to try. The gypsy peppers are similar to the banana peppers in flavor but a little less sweet. They’re shorter and more round than the banana pepper, but share the light yellow color. The second is the Anaheim peppers which are very mild, these are peppers that we can mix into our family meals and the kids don’t complain because they’re that mild. We will be bagging them anyway, because they are a hot pepper and as per my standards, we want to make sure that the flavors aren’t crossing between varieties in your CSA Share box.
To store, you can refrigerate peppers in a sealed plastic bag in the hydrator drawer for up to 2 weeks. If they soften in that time, keep in mind they can always be cooked with even if they’ve softened a little. If you’re cutting them up raw as a snack, I would make sure they’re still nice and firm.
Spaghetti Squash is the variety of the week! This is a really fun variety for us. It’s a special kind of winter squash because it’s the earliest that’s ready for harvest every season. This is also the only squash with this texture. After it’s baked or microwaved, you can use a fork to comb out the flesh, making it look like spaghetti noodles. This is a variety that many of us haven’t used, so I created its own blog post with information about the spaghetti squash, and tips and tricks on how to cook and use them! Check out that blog post here!
Have a wonderful weekend,
~The Farmers Wife