CSA Share Weekly Update for July 17th-20th!
The weather has fluctuated a lot this week, it started with hot temperatures and high humidity before the storm blew in on Tuesday night. At an elementary school in Zimmerman less than 2 miles from our field, there was hail damage. While we didn’t receive any damage from that storm, it’s very scary seeing it so close! Since then, it has cooled down quite a bit, with overnight highs in the 50’s near us. One thing that we could use more of right now is heat, the peppers and melons both love heat and thrive in the warm 80-90 degree weather.
If you haven’t checked out our Facebook page yet, here is a link for Brown Family Farm! If you would support our page with a like or rating we would be very pleased! I will post to the blog for all things CSA Share related, if there is ever any updates I need everyone to have at one time for instance. I like to use our Facebook page to post the quick updates, pictures of our fields, and even videos! The reason I don’t like posting those little things to the blog is because everyone would get an email every time I posted, and some of my posts aren’t worth interrupting everyone’s day no matter how proud we are of our tomatoes!
This week in the fields, we finished harvesting all of our lettuces. We won’t have any more lettuces until late September, when our fall crop comes in. Since we finished out with the lettuces, Ben tilled that part of the field in. That means turning over the dirt, and prepping the soil for the next variety to be planted there- muskmelon! In that same area we will also be planting a late zucchini, cucumber and pickle crop.
Now that most of our planting is completed for the season with a few small exceptions, we will now transition to field maintenance. Yes, that is a fancy way to say Ben and I are weeding during just about every down moment we have outside of picking, packing, and delivering CSA Shares. This is a crucial time to keep the weeds down, because a lot of our plants are just a little taller weed-height right now competing for sunlight. One of the biggest problems is with beans, because though we till the field prior to planting, the weeds germinate again faster than our bean seed. So by the time the beans have pushed up through the ground, the weeds are already 3 inches tall. It’s a big job, but one we are happy to manage.
For those who are new members with us this year, let’s talk about pickles and cucumbers. One big misunderstanding is that they are the same thing. Pickles and cucumbers are separate varieties, but can be used interchangeably in some ways. Pickles are great for snacking, as their seeds are smaller than normal cucumbers and they are often “snack size”. Cucumbers and pickles can both be used for making refrigerator pickles, but cucumbers can’t be used for canning pickles because they don’t hold their shape or stay firm like a pickle would. It may seem confusing now but I will continue to provide recipes and tips about both!
This week in your CSA Share you will receive: Broccoli, Zucchini, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Pickles, Beans, Beets with greens, and Green Onions.
We are happy to provide broccoli this week, as it has grown substantially since my last post. The higher temperatures early on this week were very helpful! Since we don’t treat our produce with products or pesticides, you might see a broccoli worm. We do take measures to prevent them from going home with you: we soak the broccoli for about an hour before taking it out of the wash tank because the worms will float to the top where we can get them easily. While I would be happy with no broccoli worms, I am happier with no pesticides and the risk of a worm here or there. Hope all of our members agree! If you would like broccoli recipes, please reference the week 4 post for a couple options.
Zucchini comes in all shapes and sizes, as I am sure you will see the variations throughout the season. We grow yellow and green zucchini. Both varieties of zucchini are types of summer squash. Not to confuse, but we also grow a crook neck summer squash that you will likely see in the next few weeks. Zucchini is best kept in the fridge. If it is firm, it is still good to use. Softened zucchini are undesirable, but can still be used to cook with (breads, fritters, stir fry, etc.). During the off season when you are at the grocery store, check the firmness of your zucchini by gently pinching the flowering end (the side without the stem).
Yukon Gold Potatoes are one of my favorite potatoes! They have a reputation of tasting like butter. In our house the most common way to make Yukons is simply to cut them into pieces and boil them. When they come out we add salt and pepper but butter is unnecessary as they already have a great flavor, unlike some of their potato cousins who aren’t as strongly flavored. Don’t get me wrong, every potato has a purpose but Yukon Golds are my favorite!
Yukon’s also have a very thin skin- another way to test if they are fresh or not during the off season. You should be able to lightly rub the skin and it will fall off. The bigger the potato is, the thicker the skin will be (that’s also one reason why some adore “baby reds” because of their thin skins). These potatoes are “field run” which means they aren’t sorted by size. Smaller potatoes will soften more quickly than larger potatoes but to be safe you will want to keep these Yukons in the fridge.
Pickles! As with all pickles, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, etc. it’s best to keep these in the fridge. You will notice that pickles won’t last very long in the fridge, about a week at most before they start softening. If you peel the pickle make sure to eat it right away as it won’t stay hydrated in the fridge without the skin. I hear a lot of feedback from people who like pickles because they are “snacking size”.
Green Onions are best kept in the fridge for up to a week in a plastic bag in the crisper. If you would like to keep them longer than a week, try standing them up in a small cup with water at the bottom, with a plastic bag draped over the tops of the green onions. This is a common method used in keeping herbs fresh for a long time as well, you will see this come up again in a few weeks!