FARM NEWSLETTER // WEEK 5
Good afternoon All! We are chugging along into week 5 with our summer CSA, and we've got a lot of treats in store for you this week!!
Spoiler alert- Ben just started digging potatoes!!! They're big enough to start digging for CSAs!!
Last week our lettuces bolted so we weren't able to finish the week out with lettuces. We ended up subbing out the lettuce for another variety (it was different for different days of the week). Bolting is when a plant goes to seed basically. Lettuces don't like the heat, so their survival technique is to go to seed (producing a lot of small cute flowers) and essentially die in the heat. They all bolted at the same time. Earlier this week we were working in 100* weather which caused them to bolt even faster than we expected.
To start us off this week, I want to touch on some housekeeping so that everyone is on the same page. Please make sure to collapse your empty CSA box at your site. At a residential site (someone's home) or a business, we want this to be as convenient as possible for our hosts and this is greatly helpful!
Also, please make sure that you're returning your CSA box on your CSA day. The reason for this is because when you drop off an empty CSA box during the week (not on your pickup day) your host won't be looking for boxes or thinking to move them inside or out of the weather.
This is actually a great opportunity to mention this: regardless of whether or not you return your CSA box weekly, we will still pack a Share for you! Of course it makes it easier when we have your box, we still will make sure that you're getting your veggies either way!!! We have extra CSA boxes on hand all the time, and we'd be happy to use one for you if you forget to return your box for a week. Thank you for your help in making our CSA run so smoothly!! :)
Now that we're past housekeeping I want to touch on something from the blog post last week in specific; the pigs. I want to clarify that the waiting list is established and we're still taking on orders from folks who signed up back in May of 2021. The only time someone is removed from the pig waiting list is if they don't sign up for a vegetable CSA again. So for those who didn't sign up for a Veggie CSA this summer, they're automatically removed from the waiting list (which is good news for others on the list!!)
I wish I could be done talking about pigs but I'd do myself a disservice by foregoing this.. I spent the afternoon running around the farm chasing little pigs. Yup. The newest ones which are only about 6 weeks old, were helped out of their pen because Luna (our retriever) wanted them to come out and play. So she pushed through part of their fencing to help them out! Which has now been reinforced... enough about those little trouble makers ;P
Emails- this past week we were severely short staffed and we all ended up filling in where ever we needed to. That took a lot of time away from my office and for that, I'm sorry to keep you waiting! I'm working on emails tonight and tomorrow and look forward to getting back to everyone by Monday. Thank you for your patience!
This week in your CSA you can expect:
Jumbos & Families: SWEET CORN! Bell Peppers (variety), Red Potatoes, Broccoli, Zucchini & Slicers. Singles: SWEET CORN! Bell Peppers (variety), Broccoli, Zucchini & Pickles.
SWEET CORN! This is always the show stopper. We haven't had corn in so long that it's hard to see past that on the crop list this week!! Everyone will say there are different tricks to cooking corn on the cob the right way. Don't ask me what the right way is, but I'll tell you how I do it.
Start by removing the husk and getting as much of the silk off as possible. I start a big pot of water and add a bit of salt (a tsp or two depending on the size of the pot- kinda like pasta). Once it's at a rolling boil I add the corn and cook it until the color has changed slightly; 3-6 minutes. Never more than that though. Then immediately remove and roll in a little butter and sprinkle some salt on there. Everyone once in a while I'll add fresh cracked pepper to my corn too, but I've been told I'm the odd one out on that trend, haha.
Broccoli- This is one of the varieties from the farm that is more appreciated because the flavor cannot be duplicated anywhere else. This level of freshness is unparalleled, and yes I can say that, I'm a broccoli snob! We're cutting these in the morning before they go home with you!
OK so a little more info on broccoli- since we're not using pesticides you need to be aware of the risk of hitch hikers. Small green worms naturally love broccoli. We used to use an organic pesticide called dipel for them but now we found a way to avoid that completely- soaking them in the wash tanks! We harvest the broccoli right away in the morning and put it in the wash tanks with a burlap sack over the top of them. That way the broccoli worms sink to the bottom of the tank, instead of going home with your broccoli! This is NOT a fool proof method but we figure we'd rather see a bug here or there vs. spraying the broccoli, so I hope we're all on the same page there.
When you get home, I suggest putting about 1/4-1/2 cup of vinegar in your sink with your broccoli to "rinse" it again. The vinegar is acidic and also does the same job as the wash tank basically. I'll ask you to do this with your cauliflower and some other varieties as well. No one wants hitchhikers.
These are fresh! "Baby reds" essentially refer to the freshness of the potato and not necessarily the size. Because an old potato, even if it's small, doesn't taste the same as freshly dug ones.
The Baby reds are usually just thought of as small potatoes, but just because it's a small potato, doesn't mean it's fresh.
You'll notice we don't scrub them. We're rinsing them by hand and do our best to get the majority of the dirt off. As with every produce variety we send you home with, we hope you are washing it thoroughly. Especially potatoes- because there can be so many deep pockets (eyes).
The most notable characteristic of new potatoes is their skins. Back in the day they used to have a fingernail test. If you could run your fingernail over the potato and the skin would peel off easily, it was a new potato (freshly dug). If the skin was too hard or thick to peel with your fingernail, it wasn't regarded as highly. When I go to the grocery store in the off season, this is probably the most important thing I look for when buying potatoes. The thickness of their skins says a lot about a potato. Later in the season you'll notice the skins get thicker as they "age" and grow in the ground.
PLEASE keep in mind that I made a whole resource for you to store your produce, I've got it attached here again. I don't have enough space in the world to get all of that info into each blog post, please reference the guide if you get a chance to explore it!
Guys, this is the first of our peppers basically!! We've only harvested a handful here or there to get the patch up to the production rate, but now we're actually looking at some dandys out there that we'll harvest this coming week for you! We grow green, purple and white / pale yellow bell peppers. They're all sweet peppers!
One side note that I want to mention is that ALL hot peppers are placed into plastic bags. So if you don't read the newsletter one week and you open your box and wonder if that's a hot or sweet pepper, remember that hot peppers will be bagged and sweet peppers will be floating in the box freely.
These bell peppers have some funny shapes and sizes, in addition to the colors! The green bells are almost all just the solid green but there is some almost black looking tips, which is normal for field grown peppers!!
The purple peppers are beautiful! We actually grew almost twice as many of these because they're so popular. They can be used just like any other bell pepper. Their flesh is considerably thick and do well with stir frys, stuffing, and being frozen (but we'll get to storage / preservation info later in the season...) I like to slice these and add them to my veggie sticks because they're so pretty (and tasty!).
We're going to do our best to make sure that everyone gets a variety of colors all of the time. If we run out of one color or another, please know that I keep really great records and if you miss out on yellow peppers this week for example, you'll be the first ones to get them next time we're harvesting them for your CSAs. I actually have a whole log that I document everything in. So in case you're wondering, I know what sizes of CSAs got which colors of zucchini this past week, lol! Paying close attention to detail benefits everyone and ultimately gets the best Share in your hands!! :D
Quick update- I'm sorry to say but there's no word on the blueberries yet. Fingers crossed that we can work it out!! I'll make sure to mention it here either way so you're in the loop.
I have to say that I've always wondered if we should change the blog newsletter to something like the vegetable academy. I love sharing what I've learned over the years and by teaching you about the produce you're coming home with today, you'll be getting value from your CSA all winter too by being able to pick the best of everything in the store. By size, by freshness, or by coloration, we're going to touch on basically all the varieties we grow!!
Thank you for joining us this summer, we've got a lot of produce to look forward to!! Stay well Friends,
~The Farmer's Wife