FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 6
We have got our hands full this week :D We have now transitioned out of weeding, hoeing and cultivating and have started to focus on keeping up with harvesting. In the new patches of cukes & zucchini, beans and herbs, etc. we have been doing a good job of keeping the weeds down. We want to make sure the plants get established before the weeds start infringing on their space. Having a lot of weeds is not abnormal for this time of year. In previous years we have actually seen the weeds be beneficial because when the early frosts come the plants and their fruits are insulated from the frost. In the past, weeds have saved entire pepper and squash patches from frost in mid-Sept.
The muskmelon are looking awesome!! There are a handful of big ones on already that have their netting. See the picture here- they grow smooth and then once they’re reaching maturity they will develop the netting/texture on the outside. It looks to me like the first set of muskmelons are a ways out still, there aren’t many in the first set. The second set of this patch will be huge though. There are SO MANY FLOWERS! When I say “set” I mean that there are 2 major pushes in these plants to produce flowers. The first is right when they’re rooted and the second is after they’re established. I think the first set is so small because they all sustained some damage from the frost. Remember when we lost half of our muskmelon plants in the beginning of June to frost?!
We also direct seeded some melons too, so we aren’t necessarily down in the number of plants in the field but they’re taking a bit longer than expected. Direct seeding is literally putting a seed in the ground. Usually we start our melons in trays because it gives them that little extra bit of help to push them to produce earlier, so we transplant them from the trays to the field.
A bit of housekeeping- please do not approach a CSA site when someone else is there picking up their box. With the new mask mandate in place, we are all trying to follow the law. If you’re less than 6 feet away from someone (even if it’s outside) you are violating the mandate and you could be making the other person uncomfortable too. Please be considerate of your fellow CSA members.
The onions are getting to be a good size finally! The only problem is that wind during the last storm caused all of our onions to basically tip over. They're all laying down, and the center stems are damaged so we aren't expecting much more growth. They could still perk back up... but this is new to us too so we don't really know what to expect. We will be harvesting a lot of these onions this week. Please know that you can also use the greens on the top! Some of the tips have browned because of the heat in the past couple of weeks so please cut that little portion off. It's better for you to cut it off than for us to remove layers of the onion because we know that when you get them home the first thing you'll likely do is remove the outside layer anyways. Can you tell Ben is a fisherman by the way he holds these onions?? LOL
The herbs are looking great. We just got done planting the parsley yesterday. The lemon basil will be planted this upcoming week. We had originally seeded it weeks ago so it should have been planted already. But, considering not everything goes as planned in farming, a rainstorm came through and washed out the tiny little seedlings in the trays so we ended up having to reseed all of them. The seeds are so small and delicate, they were flushed right out of their trays. They’re looking great now though, pretty short still but they are very thick and healthy.
If you are having troubles getting our emails please add “firstname.lastname@example.org” to your contact list. When you don’t get the emails that is because your email address thinks I am spam, so it’s ‘protecting’ you from me. When in reality it’s just me, lol. When I send the blog posts through the website, the email address above is what your email sees (not my actual email), because it’s sent through the site. If you have spotty deliver ability please try this.
They’re getting bleached by the sun! This is what happens after big storms when some of the leaves are damaged or missing, the peppers are exposed to the direct sun and with how hot it has been we’ve seen quite a bit of this out in the field. This is not an emergency though- there are a ton of peppers on the plants that look awesome! I just took a picture of these peppers as more of an educational piece. It’s scary what the super-hot sun can do without any rain. This happened mostly with the bell peppers because of the way they grow, whereas the other sweet peppers grow underneath the foliage and don’t stick out as much. It does happen to them periodically too though, just not as much.
In the Jumbo & Family Shares this week you can expect: Sweet Corn, Slicers, Onions, Gypsy Peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Zucchini, Thyme & hopefully Broccoli too!
In the Single Shares this week you can expect: Sweet Corn, Pickles, Onions, Gypsy Peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Zucchini & Thyme.
Thyme is typically used in savory dishes like roasted meat, vegetables or fish. As well as in savory baking. It can also be used to add flavor depth to marinades, soups, stocks and teas.- via google. Personally, we try to use it fresh because it has the richest flavor fresh. I’ve found most success in using it in marinades because it has time to ‘muddle’ in the liquid and gives it the best flavor. Another way to use it is to add it to melted butter and use that to brush over the top of the chicken breast (or whatever meat you prefer), or on top of the veggies you’re cooking with. If I use it with veggies I usually find myself roasting them in the oven. I.e. put them in a big glass pan and top with the butter & thyme. For short term storage, place the bunch in a cup in the fridge with a small amount of water in the bottom, then cover it loosely with a sandwich sized plastic baggie. Cover it loosly with a plastic bag upside down over the top. If you'd rather not use it right now, please reference your farm to table storage guide where I have laid out how to dry your herbs :)
The broccoli got really hot and started to bolt. That means that the heads are not tight and uniform, but they're lots of florets and loose. The stems are much longer, and they're just not very pretty. Ben said he will try to harvest what he can but there is a lot out there that went to seed. This super hot spring did not do the broccoli any favors. The flavor is still very good, but they're not uniform like I like them to be. We will also be making notes about who receives them and who doesn't get broccoli this summer. We have another planting for this fall and hope to get it into the CSAs several times this fall. Cauliflower haven't even really started heading. They're also not happy with these growing conditions, so we will just have to wait and see what happens over the next couple of weeks. I will keep you updated on the status of these.
Sweet corn is one of our staples. You won’t see it every week from here on out, but we will have a lot more ahead of us that’s for sure! In the beginning, I always recommend eating it the traditional way right on the cob, grilled or boiled etc. If you’re corned out, another way to use it is to cook it and cut it off the cob. There are a lot of salads that use cold cooked corn in them. We also like to make burrito bowls that almost always have the corn on top :)
Slicers and pickles are mostly interchangeable. We prefer pickles as the snacking cukes and slicers as ones we would use to top a salad or add into a glass pitcher to flavor water. Pickles have a thinner skin, so I find myself just rinsing them off and munching away. With slicing cukes I almost always peel them. If you want to get really fancy, run a fork down the length of the cuke (very shallow- don’t dig it in), and then slice it. It gives that the nice edges that are very ascetically pleasing.
If you want another idea for zucchini, CSA Member Amy sent me an idea this week I want to share with you. She said she cooked her ground meat, added some shredded zucchini to it, and then added the taco seasoning and simmered it for a while. It resulted in an awesome base for a taco salad! We eat taco salads around here all the time :D so we will definitely be trying this idea! Also, I have to say I applaud the innovation here. Adding zucchini makes a lot more volume in the dish and also adds the health aspect that you’re consuming more high nutrient produce within the disguise of awesome tacos <3 I will also be adding extra recipes to the newsletter email so you can get some inspiration. I know that zucchini has been coming consistently for a couple of weeks already so at this point you might need some more help using it up in a fun new way.
Gypsy peppers!! These start a brilliant green, then turn to a bright yellow, then orange and then red! So throughout the season I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of colors in these babies. They’re small to medium sized sweet peppers. They have a thinner skin than a bell pepper but thicker than a banana pepper. So they hold their own in a stir fry without getting soggy which makes them one of my favorites.
Here in our house I end up making stirfrys a lot because of the varieties we have on hand. I start with some virgin olive oil in a pan, thinly sliced potatoes first (cook for 2-3 minutes), then adding the peppers, onions (anything else you want really!), and then finally the zucchini. Just make sure to not add all the ingredients at one time or the zucchini will be soft. To change up the day to day stirfrys I will add teriyaki marinade, minced garlic, even fresh tomatoes right at the end. There are so many ways to enjoy them, and every year I learn something new. If you ever have recipes you want to share feel free to send them over my way or post them to our FB page. The more recipes the better in my opinion, more inspiration is always a good thing.
The Anaheim peppers are mildly hot. They’re considered an Italian sauce pepper, so they’re often added to spaghetti sauce for example. They do have a mild heat but they’re so mild that even our kids can eat them without making mention of the heat. We will ALWAYS pack hot peppers into plastic bags to prevent heat transferring to the other goodies in your share box. That means that even if you don’t get a chance to read the newsletter that week you can always assume that the hot peppers will be in bags and anything that isn’t in a bag is a sweet pepper of some kind.
I hope you guys have an awesome rest of your week and enjoy your CSA with us this upcoming week!!
Take care, ~The Farmer’s Wife