FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 7
I hope everyone's start to the weekend is going well! It seems crazy that we've already cruised through July. We're almost half way through our season, which makes me sad for the varieties that have passed by us already this season but still very, very excited for the varieties yet to come!
In that same breath... I can tell you that almost half of the varieties we have for you this week are brand new :D I'll give you a hint.
Reminder that if you'd like to order the add-on shares that they are available for purchase through the website HERE-Become a CSA Member - Brown Family Farm (brownfamilyproduce.com)
We offer a Fall Share, Apple Share and 2 Honey Share options. **If you order Fall Share by July 31st (tomorrow is the last day!) we will include a free one pound container of honey in your Fall Share! All of the add-on shares will be available for sale for another month at least. When the deadlines are coming up I will announce it again. To reiterate, if you want the bonus honey make sure you sign up for your Fall Share before the end of the day tomorrow.
TOMATOES: The plants started out the season looking great. They're still doing okay but they're definitely not looking like the bumper crop we had hoped for. The tomatoes aren't getting very large actually, but we've been watering like crazy for weeks. We did go out and harvest a couple baskets!! This isn't enough to even cover half of one day of CSAs, unfortunately. Tomatoes start out like all the other varieties though- one day you look and there are only a couple, and then a few days later you've got a waterfall (hopefully!!). I would guess it'll be two weeks until we have tomatoes in quantities to have them in your CSA Shares. This was one of the latest things we planted this year because of the risk of frost. Then when that risk passed, a few weeks later, a frost came through anyways (we bought row cover to save them).
I read an article from the U of M the other day about the tomatoes and their speed of ripening in this heat. They do not ripen almost at all on the 85-90 degree days. At these temperatures, lycopene and carotene, the pigments responsible for giving the fruit their typical orange to red appearance cannot be produced. So they literally can't ripen when it's so hot!! I know that you might think I know a thing or two, but I still learn new stuff every day too!! :D
Let me reassure you that the tomatoes are still doing good guys- no need to worry about them!! They're just slow to ripen, or we're just impatient, I think it's a combo of both this season. I know my patience is very low but that's because it feels like it's been summer for 3 months already it's been so stinking hot!! We're ready for 'maters!!
I would go back there and get a picture but Mike & Julie with Honeycomb Acres were here today harvesting honey!! The bees are in the back corner of the field on the edge of the swamp, but the tomatoes are the closest variety planted next to the bees. We'll wait until tomorrow to check on the tomatoes again, lol. The bees aren't super aggressive or anything but they're also not happy when you take their honey frames!
If anyone wants to can or freeze green beans now would be a great time. This patch is producing but there are no guarantees that we'll have them in the future (even though they are planted). As a CSA Member you get a price cut compared to other customers. A peck of beans is $15, a half bushel is $25 and the bushels are $50 (Instead of $18, $30 and $60). If you want some let me know as soon as possible so I can make sure we get them to you this week. (Maybe in the future too, but with this weather yah never know).
As many of you might remember, I mentioned a couple weeks ago that we would be hosting our friend Kristen as a blog writer. She is a registered Dietician and has a lot of insights into the food we will be enjoying together this summer <3
Her blog post, Dietary Guidelines: New this Season! is available to read on our blog!!
This week in your CSA: For the Jumbo & Family Shares- Sweet Corn! Cauliflower, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Slicers/ Pickles, Crook Neck Summer Squash, Jalapenos, & Lemon Basil!!
For the Single Shares- Sweet Corn! Cauliflower, Yukon Gold Potatoes, Zucchini, Slicers/Pickles, & Jalapenos!
For the pickles and slicing cucumbers I want to remind you that we do record who gets what, that way we can make sure it's even. We make our best effort to switch back and forth every week for you, but depending on the harvest sometimes it doesn't work out. Either way, we do our best to make sure you get an equal amount of both slicing cucumbers and pickles.
Pickles and slicing cucumbers can be used interchangeably for the most part. They're both a cucumber of course; the slicers have a thicker dark green skin. This is the "normal" type of cucumber you'll find in the grocery stores. The pickling cucumber is lighter green with some white, and can be harvested at any size from an inch to 6 inches. The most desirable range is between 3-6 inches, though some people pick them super, super tiny for make baby dill pickles. The larger ones in the 4-5 inch range are often used to make pickle spears (if you're canning). For eating fresh, anywhere in the 3-6 inch range is good! Pickle skins are a little thinner than the slicing cucumbers. When I eat pickles I don't peel them unless there is some scarring on the outside. Throwback pickle pic:
Cauliflower is on our list for everyone this week! We love, love, love cauliflower in our house. Raw or cooked, it is awesome and super versatile. I have to admit that I never thought I'd get on the cauliflower bandwagon, but here we are. Cauliflower pizza crust, baked cauliflower casseroles, cauliflower rice, the list goes on ;)
When you get this home you'll see some of the leaves that grow super tight around the head which help protect it! Take those off first and then turn it upside down and use a knife to carve out the center. Just like coring a tomato. It'll naturally break a part a little bit, then just cut to size. There is a noticeable color variation in cauliflower. Some are very white-white, some are off white, some are yellow and some are in between. The reasoning for this is because exposure to the sun results in the pigmentation to change in the cauliflower. It doesn't change the flavor but the color does vary a bit.
Let's talk squash. Winter squash is another whole type of variety that we won't dive into right now... I'm talking summer squash- and there are a lot of kinds!!
In an attempt to classify squashes, there are about 70 varieties of "summer squash" which can include the light yellow crookneck summer squash, the yellow zucchini or green zucchini, in addition to many more varieties as well (these 3 are just the ones we grow).. They are constantly producing, unlike their winter squash counterparts. All varieties of summer squash grow very fast! They are known for being a soft fleshed, tender skin squash. Jumbo & Family Shares will get the crook neck summer squash this week and the Single Shares will get zucchini this week!!
We have to harvest them every other day all season long or they'll go from 6 inches to 12 inches the very next day! I mentioned this before too but just so you know, every zucchini has a place in the kitchen. The thin small ones, the large thick ones and everything in between! :) The same can be said for summer squash.
Because of their bland flavor, summer squash lend themselves to many cooking applications, taking on the flavor of whatever they’re cooked with. Try using them as a substitute for rice, pasta or potatoes. Slice tender, young summer squash into salads. Try them in stir- fries, with pasta. Lightly steam (4-5 minutes) and dress them with fresh herbs or pesto. Or coat squash lightly in oil and roast at 350 degrees whole or sliced in half for 15-45 minutes. For larger squash, cut it in half and remove the seeds, then stuff your zucchini (or summer squash!) with your favorite stuffings. Don't forget zoodles, too!
Yukon Gold potatoes!! These are more like the red potatoes in that they're not super high in starch. These are considered a multipurpose potato! I personally enjoy the flavor that these potatoes have. When you have store bought potatoes, or even just red potatoes in general, they don't have a super strong flavor. With the yukon golds, they are buttery! They hold their own on a dinner plate, that's for sure. A few ways we like to cook them are roasting, grilling, boiling and or mashing :D
I am going to be making an effort to get my blog post to you on Fridays so that you have the information you need about the produce you're getting before the start of the weekend!! I know some of you do your shopping with this list in mind. As you may guess, I love writing the blogs and spend considerable time on them every week.
There is never enough room to write everything or enough time to get it all typed out ;) Until next week, friends.
~The Farmer's Wife