FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 7
I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. I know it's a sobering moment when I start seeing all the school supplies and shopping lists coming out... stay positive, we've still got a bit left of this nice weather to hold onto ;)
WE GOT RAIN TODAY!! We're at about a half inch, and we needed that really, really bad! Looks like we're lined up to get some more later today and into tomorrow as well, yes!!
Remember a couple weeks ago when I posted the blank field and joked about how there was nothing there?? We were quick to fill it in!!! Here is a picture I took yesterday when it was nice and sunny out :)
There is always something new coming up at the farm. As every variety is gleaned out of the field we expose more open field space. Little by little, we clean it up, work the ground, and replant in that same spot!! This, my friends, is how we're able to accomplish a full season here at the farm. Though we do wish we had more space, because the possibilities are really endless with a bit more wiggle room!
Gleaning is the act of taking the remaining produce out of the field. Naturally, we grow more than what we actually need to take into account there are little critters out there, deer that walked on the plants, high spots/ low spots that don't do as well, the list goes on. There is always a bit more produce than what we need and this type of field gleaning is what we would bring to the stand for example. After everyone here as gotten first dibs, we bring left overs essentially to the farm stand. That sounds terrible, but that's literally how our farm is designed! And we're harvesting it all fresh (the morning of) so it's not like produce at the stand is old or something. Field gleaning is a task that we really enjoy, I think mostly because I don't like wasting anything! Even the blemished produce has a place, usually in our own kitchen or my canned goods etc.
Isn't it funny how nature designs these things? The red cabbages remind me of roses out in the field!! <3
These are about baseball sized right now so my best guess is we'll be sharing them in two weeks. They grow much slower than their green counterparts but we did plant the green cabbages a little later than the reds, so we'll have to see what's ready first! Cauliflower and the new broccoli patch are also looking awesome!! Glad to see some good production from those- they're a big hit with us around the farm here and hopefully at home with you too! We LOVE fresh cauliflower. If you ask Ben, I'd wager that is his favorite garden fresh variety.
Eeek!!! Don't look, they're NAKEY!
As muskmelon grow they are a nice light colored, smooth green melon. Wierd, right? We all imagine the nice yellow melons with the texture right?
As they grow and mature, they will start getting the "netting" we call it. First they'll grow very big and get to the right size, and then they'll put emphasis on ripening. That'll take a couple weeks to ripen. They'll get the netting first and then when they are truly ripe and ready to pick, they'll turn that brilliant yellow color!! When we harvest muskmelon we are simply walking through the whole patch looking for the color.
When we're harvesting muskmelons we're walking the patch every day and getting hundreds of melons at a time... they ripen literally overnight! I'm sorry to get your hopes up..... we all have to wait a few more weeks before these start to ripen! The good news is- you can see from this picture that there are multiple sizes on which means they set multiple times, and we'll have them for a longer period in the season because of that :) We're looking forward to sharing these in a few weeks I'd guess!
This week in your CSA you can expect: Jumbo/Families: Sweet Corn! Carrots, Onions, Sweet Bell Peppers (assorted colors) and Hot Hungarian Wax Peppers. Singles: Sweet Corn! Carrots, Red Potatoes, Sweet Bell Peppers (assorted colors) and Anaheim Peppers (mild heat).
We were hoping to add the spaghetti squash into the Single Shares this week because it was in the Jumbo & Family Shares last week but they're not ripening as fast as we'd like. To make sure we have plenty, we're going to push those off a week so the following week we're able to give them to all the Single Shares! Same with the other sweet peppers too (gypsys and bananas from last week), we're going to give them a week to grow before we start harvesting those again, that'll be a week 8 variety as well.
Sweet Corn is coming again this week! The true "cheers" to summertime; the flavor of freshly harvested corn can't be duplicated. Did you know that the sugars in sweet corn will turn to starch as the corn ages? As soon as the ear is taken off the stalk it's process of turning the sugars into starch starts. When eating corn that wasn't harvested recently, you'll notice there is a funny texture on your teeth afterwards. That's the starch!! Ever wonder about that? Or maybe you haven't thought of it before, but now you know.
"Hot Peppers" are coming in the CSA this week! We have anaheim and hot hungarian wax peppers, also known as hot bananas.
Remember that all of our hot peppers will be in plastic bags when we send them in your CSA. We know that spice is not meant for everything, and don't want the spice to be shared with all of your box contents for the week, so we bag them up for you! The entire bag can go straight into the fridge if you don't have plans to enjoy them right away.
These are one of my favorite hot peppers because they're so approachable. They do have a heat to them but they're the most mild hot pepper we have! To cover our bases, we grow 3 kinds of spicy peppers, in order of heat, the anaheims, hot hungarian wax peppers and jalapenos! Jalapenos are pretty small yet.
The anaheims are considered very low on the scoville heat until scale, where a lot of folks actually suggest enjoying these raw! I've done it and my midwest taste buds aren't even too overwhelmed (which is surprising)!
Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers!
These are TRICKY. For those of you who got the banana peppers last week (Single Shares!), I would suggest either eating them all right away or putting them in special spot/ container to keep these separate. Hot and sweet banana peppers look IDENTICAL. We always make sure to plant the hot bananas first in the patch and then work through to the other varieties, making sure there is a sufficient space between these and sweet bananas. As I'm sure you can tell, in our first year we actually planted them next to each other without thinking about it. All season we were testing the peppers to double check and make sure we were getting the right ones... it was like Russian roulette lol.
Hungarian Hot wax peppers are too hot to eat raw in my opinion. The heat is in the seeds and the membranes mostly, the actual pepper itself doesn't have nearly the amount of heat if you deseed the pepper and take out the little white membranes (that hold the seeds). To deseed a hot pepper the easiest way in my opinion is turning a spoon around and using the smaller blunt end to scrape the inside of the pepper. I'll make sure to get you some recipes for your hot peppers this week as I know not everyone is used to welcoming these in your kitchen! Keep in mind you can use these just like any jalapeno recipe too, so you could make poppers or breaded and fried peppers, add them (diced really small) to a cheese dip, etc.
Carrots! These are special because this is likely the last time you'll see them with green tops. As the season progresses and the greens are beaten up by wind or insects etc, the tops are removed and just the carrot is put into your CSA. If you're wondering about some of these carrot top recipes, I'd highly suggest trying it this week because you might have to wait another year before you see these again! Roasting the carrots whole or eating them as a quick snack are my favorite uses for them. No need to complicate something so fabulous- but more power to you if you're into trying new recipes!!!
Red Potatoes are coming in the Single Shares this week! The skins are a little thicker now so they don't peel off as easily but they're not really thick skins yet either. As the season progresses we'll see the skins gradually get thicker and thicker. Red potatoes are considered a low starch potato. They're waxy and hold their shape well when you cook them. This makes them ideal boiling potatoes for salads, soups, and stews. Unlike the higher starch potatoes like the russets and golds that are better for mashing. We'll get more into that later ;)
We've got Onions in the CSAs for the Jumbo and Family Shares. Make sure you're storing these in the fridge please. We're going to start pulling and drying them soon so you won't see much of the un-cured onions for much longer. Keep them in the fridge in a plastic baggie or tupperware; just as long as the onions aren't exposed to circulating air (placed directly, unprotected) in the fridge. These last a fairly long time too, you'll be able to use these weeks from now if you store them correctly!
This season is really under way now as we're approaching week 7 on Monday! To remind you, we have 16 weeks of our CSA Season. Technically we should be on week 8 right now but as you know we had to push back our CSA by a week so we're going to extend the season a week in October (our last week of harvest is the second full week of October).
In the same breath I can say that the school supplies make me think summer is almost over but the fact that we haven't shared any of the big hitters like watermelons, tomatoes, squash, muskmelon etc, reminds me that we still have a LOT left to look forward to!! Don't let the start of school trick you, we've still got more than half of the season left together.
Life is good!!! Stay well Friends,
~The Farmer's Wife