I hope that everyone enjoyed their veggies this week! I know I’ve gotten some super sweet emails and notes lately about the meals you’re creating using our farm fresh produce, which is absolutely amazing to see!! I love to see that you're embracing the exciting new veggies you're getting and learning so much!! There is literally no better compliment to a farmer <3 Thank you!!!
Look at all these 'Maters. This entire lean-to on the barn is nicknamed the tomato lean-to. Literally, if we're looking for something "Have you checked the tomato lean-to yet?" hahaha!!
There is a good reason for that obviously. Our plants are producing well and we've got tomatoes coming out of our ears right now! The hardest part is keeping them sorted and being able to keep picking! We are getting about 20 baskets every other day in from the field. If you were going to plan a meal around tomatoes- this would be the week!! As many of you know, you either got slicers or romas last week. We will be keeping that in mind as we add tomatoes to your CSAs this week as well! For those of whom may have missed it, I keep very detailed records of who gets what to ensure that everyone gets a bit of every variety!!
Not so great-
Ben hurt himself. Yup. All within a day, we aged years.
He threw out his back!! Which is not surprising in our line of work or with how hard he works. Some of you earlier on this past week got emails from me apologizing for being late to deliver because of it. Thank you for all of your kindness and encouragement, I got so many thoughtful emails and notes!
Monday morning he literally wasn’t able to stand on his feet without being in pain. He went in and they adjusted him (without an xray, which I was kind of worried about!) and he is seemingly better now (4 days later). He is still stiff in the morning but with some frequent chiropractic care he is getting back to normal. But hey, not so fast!!
It’s hard to convince a busy body that they need to slow down. Ben getting hurt and not being able to work up new ground for the next planting of cole crops is just killing him. I’ve had to remind him multiple times to take it easy. We had him bunching basil this past week which is mostly sitting. He says he feels lazy for taking a day to sit down and ache. Really?! This is comparable to mom (and dad) guilt that we have when we’re sick. Sure we might spike a fever, but those dishes have to get done!... Let the dishes be. Let the weeds grow. Let yourself heal and get back to “normal”!! So we'll be making sure to remind him of that often moving forward as well. For now things are looking really good.
Most of the time we welcome rain, especially in this drought, but there are other times we don’t welcome the rain. For instance, when the cauliflower is about the right size for harvesting and gets molded and browned because of the wetness. This happened in two days. The super hard rain we got on Sunday this last weekend was nice, we got about an inch and a quarter. But that rain also ruined some of the cauliflower crop! All of the Members who pick up on Thursdays got broccoli instead of cauliflower. I have mentioned before that if we needed to we would substitute produce in your CSA. This is a great example! It was quick thinking on Farmer Ben's part!! Broccoli was harvested a couple weeks ago and after the main heads are cut off they produce side shoots. It's really strange, but they really do create little heads of broccoli all around where the original head was cut! So we bunched side shoots and made nice "heads" of broccoli for our Thursday Members!!
THIS WEEK IN YOUR CSA SHARES:
In the Jumbo & Family Shares: WATERMELONS, Spaghetti Squash, Red Potatoes, Zucchini Sweet Banana Peppers, Tomatoes.
In the Single Shares: WATERMELONS, Spaghetti Squash, Summer Squash, Sweet Banana Peppers, Tomatoes.
Peppers! We are adding sweet banana peppers to your CSA this week!! These are super fun! They’re versatile and sweet. They even get some purple in them from time to time. See the picture above. This is totally normal and actually pretty cool looking, if I say so myself! We use these in stir fry pretty often. These are also a great pepper to simply slice into long slivers and dip- we favor ranch and hummus in our house. These are sweet peppers, but we have one kind of pepper that is hot that is identical to these. So remember, these are sweet because they’re not bagged! But if you see them next week in bags (I assume you will!) they will be hot. The hot version is called the Hot Hungarian Wax Pepper. They look the same on the outside but they’re certainly not the same. The ones you get this week will be a sweet treat :D
We are going to start harvesting watermelons!! We grow 3 different kinds- the red seeded, red seedless and yellow seedless!
We are going to try and get everyone every type of melon this season! As you know, not all the melons on one plant ripen at one time. They ripen gradually, so all of these melons planted at the same time will ripen over the course of the next couple weeks. We're working with the natural biology of the plants here to make sure that we're harvesting the best tasting melons we can! If they're harvested under-ripe they will take a long time to sweeten up.
SO- this is just like the tomatoes. I take notes and do the best we can to make sure that everyone is getting every kind of melon :)
Some of these melons are actually pretty small compared to previous seasons. We cut a few open and can attest they still taste wonderful! Ben thinks that we might be able to pack the melons into the CSA boxes. In normal years we don't, we have a sign at each site with melons in plastic bags. This year- or at least this week- we're going to assume we can fit the melons into your CSA boxes. If we can't fit them in the boxes there will be a sign at your site that will tell you that! Communication is important and we want to make sure you know what's going on ;)
These are a fun treat! They are considered a winter squash, but they are ripening much earlier than the rest of the winter squash. The next to ripen is usually the acorn squash but I expect that to be a few more weeks. Spaghetti squash are unlike all other winter squashes because of their texture. If you recall, a few years back these were all the rage. They were most popular for their use as a substitute to, you guessed it, spaghetti! They are a much lower in carbs and calories, high in fiber, and many other nutrients. When you cook them, "comb" the flesh out of the squash so that it makes that stringy texture. Other squashes have a soft texture, almost like a baked sweet potato.
To cook these bad boys, cut them in half and clean out the seeds from the inside. Coat them in olive oil and grind some salt & pepper. You can use other seasonings of course, but this is the most basic way to try them. Also happens to be one of my favorite ways to enjoy them. Their flavor shines through using this method! Place the squash halves face down on a sheet pan (preferably with tin foil), and bake at 350* for about a half hour. The size of the squash will dictate how long to cook it. Some smaller ones cook for 20-25 minutes, larger ones can need to be baked for 40 minutes or more. The way to test them is to poke them with a fork. Kind of like testing a potato, can the fork pierce through the skin easily? Or is it still hard? Once the fork pierces the squash with ease, it's done! Pull it out and let it cool for a few minutes, then use a fork and comb the squash out.
These are a classic in our house and we're digging more fresh for you this coming week :) The best way to store potatoes is... in the ground, lol! Seriously though, they do stay much more firm in the ground than if we were to dig them in advance, wash and store them in the cooler.
The trick to getting fresh vegetables is to make sure they're fresh. That's one thing we can pride ourselves in. We're harvesting almost all of your CSA Share the morning that you're picking up your CSA!! This is part of the reason we chose to focus on our CSA program instead of going to farmers markets. At the FM if a vendor doesn't sell what they have, they'll pack it up and use it the next day. We don't ever have more than what we'll use because we know and CAN PLAN on harvesting the right amount of everything we'll need. The planning aspect of our CSA makes farming easier for us, really! And it also gets the best produce in your hands every week.
Thanks again for joining us this season!! :D
Stay well friends,
~The Farmer's Wife