FARM NEWSLETTER / / WEEK 6
Updated: Aug 10, 2019
It feels like it’s been summer for a long time now right? Plenty of trips up north, school supplies out in the stores, and the reminder from seemingly every direction that our summer is coming to an end right?
Wrong!! We have a lot left to look forward to! I’m trying to see the silver lining because we have had a bad string of luck, there are a handful of things that should have been included by now but the weather has held some back and destroyed others. Good news- we have a TON to look forward to still!
This upcoming week we will have broccoli for the first time this season. It’s been since last fall that I’ve had ‘real’ broccoli. Fresh from the field flavor is unmatched. Broccoli florets are tight when the season has cool weather. When it’s really hot, they loosen up and aren’t as tight, which makes them less desireable. So even when you’re in the grocery store- that’s one way I look for what broccoli to choose in the offseason. Florets being stringy VS or small and tight. Small and tight means better flavor in most cases. This season has been perfect broccoli weather, and the heads are good sized!
MUSKMELON! Oh my gosh guys. This is such an exciting time for us. To be able to harvest produce which we previously saw as a loss. They are not as pretty as they could be- a couple of knicks on each melon but it doesn’t affect flavor.
People ask me at the market- which one is a good one? My answer is that they’re all good! But really there is more to it. When your melons turn bright yellow under the netting they’re signaling that they’re ripe. In the field, every melon grows bright green, then the netting (outside texture) develops, and then they turn yellow. It’s not gradual like a tomato- it’s literally overnight. One day it’s green and the next it’s yellow. Another telltale sign is the ripening spot. Every melon will have one but some are more noticeable than others. They will have an orange-ish circle wherever the melon rested on the ground. Sometimes there are even purple hues in the ripening coloration, wild right?!
I also have people tell me crazy things; for example, if it floats it is ripe. It’s ripe if there are sugar crystals on the stem end of the melon. Or, if you hold it against your head and your hair has static, it’s ripe. OK I made up the last one but the old wives tales around melons are hilarious. Problem is that is all it is- there is no truth to many of them. Smelling the end of the melon where it detached from the stem is a good indicator to how fresh it is because it should be fragrant. However, having crystalized sugars there could also signal it’s been off the vine for a while and potentially overripe. I always look for the ripening spot too, which means that it ripened on the vine (implying it is sweeter).
Melons are kind of like zucchini- they start out kind of slow but give it a week or so and it’ll be like a waterfall. Before the hail knocked off some of the blossoms (that would have developed into muskmelons), Ben mentioned to me that it could be the best muskmelon crop we’ve ever had. While that isn’t the truth anymore- there are still a lot of melons out there!
Tomatoes are still not looking that great. We’ve replaced irrigation, tied the plants again to support the weight of the tomatoes and still they’re not setting more tomatoes on. The plants are more concerned with repairing their foliage than they are producing fruit right now which is really unfortunate. It wasn’t going to be a record crop, but it was going to be enough to share for several weeks at least. We’re not even sure if we’ll be able to harvest enough tomatoes to share. I will keep updating you all, because of course (as many past members can attest) we LOVE tomatoes and that is such a staple to our CSA program. Praying for better weather and fast healing for the plants!
This week in your CSA Share you can expect: Broccoli, Red Potatoes, Thyme, Zucchini/ Summer Squash, Slicers/ Pickles, and Spaghetti Squash!
We will also be sneaking in muskmelons this week, but we don’t expect to have enough for everyone until they really start ripening quickly which we expect to be next week. We are only harvesting a dozen per day right now, and when they’re really coming in we will harvest over 100 in a day!
Broccoli! We make broccoli Alfredo a lot in our house. I enjoy cooked broccoli more than fresh broccoli but enjoy making a dill dip to go with it. We do not use any pesticides- so don’t be alarmed if you find a little green worm in your broccoli. Our trick is to soak the broccoli before we put it in your CSA because the worms will literally drown and fall out of the heads (lots of proof on the bottom of our wash tank). If you want to be double sure, add a tsp of salt to 8 cups of water in the sink and let the broccoli soak in the water for about 20 minutes. It won’t change the flavor because broccoli won’t absorb salt.
The zucchini/ summer squash and slicers/ pickles might be getting a little overwhelming, I know. It seems like we’ve had them every week since we started the season but that’s because we had to delay the season and we never have them right away to start the year. Plus, these patches have been producing longer than usual because of the cool weather (less stress on the plants), but it’s also a lower yield. Hence the reason why we keep going back and forth between zucchini and summer squash, and also slicing cucumbers and pickles.
If you’re getting bored, try the creamy cucumber salad recipe, or look up some fun ones on our blog! Maybe even freeze the zucchini/summer squash for the winter by shredding it and placing it into bags for making bread or cake. I always measure out 3.5 cups of zucchini in each bag, even though my recipe calls for 3 cups because after it’s frozen a lot of the water comes out and you need a little extra zucchini to account for that. Freezing it in perfect portion sizes makes it a lot easier to come back to this winter!
Thyme is a fun herb to cook with. Thyme complements rice, green beans, broccoli, carrots, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, parsnips, peas, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, stuffing, chicken, and eggs. For short-term storage, stand upright in a container with an inch of water. Then cover the herbs loosely with plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. To dehydrate the thyme, remove leaves from the stem and place piece of paper towel on glass plate. Cover with another piece of paper towel. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Leaves will be dry. Crinkle them with your finger and place them in a dry container, such as a Mason jar with a lid.
The variety of the week is Spaghetti Squash!
This is a really interesting type of squash because it’s actually considered a ‘winter squash’ but it is completely different from the other winter squashes you’ll see this season. It is best known for its substitution in making spaghetti of course. Cook it open faced on a baking sheet until fork tender at 350* degrees but the time depends on the size. I would say an average sized spaghetti squash takes about a half hour to cook. Once done, use a fork to ‘comb’ the flesh from the skin. This is VERY important! If you use a spoon and just scoop it out, it won’t have the right texture.
Here is my post from last season about Spaghetti Squash with a TON of details! https://www.brownfamilyproduce.com/post/how-to-cook-spaghetti-squash
These were one of the popular veggies a couple years ago. We see trends in veggies just like we do in clothing and fashion. Remember when Kale was the best thing for you in the whole world? Or the last couple years it was all about pumpkin spice? The reason the spaghetti squash was so popular is because it is different from the rest of the winter squashes. Out of the dozens of kinds of winter squash, all of them can be substituted for each other EXCEPT spaghetti squash. Nothing can take it’s place, and if you use it in place of other winter squash you’ll be bumming because the texture is so different. This is likely the only week we will have these, so please enjoy them! Another great thing about winter squash is that they’ll last a couple weeks (sometimes longer depending on storage conditions)- so if you don’t get to it this week don’t worry.
We are starting to see a little bit of a rainbow over the rest of the produce in the fields, lots of hope for the remainder of the season <3
Have a wonderful weekend!! ~The Farmer’s Wife