Welcome to Summer after Fall!
We are extremely curious about the effects of this upcoming warmer weather. All the crops seem to have made it through last week’s chills just fine — we are grateful the skies were mostly dry and sunny. We’re expecting this heat will propel things along, which will be a good change. Last newsletter we were all worried about the size of the share becoming smaller for a week or two, but the carrots and beets were growing leaps and bounds the hours that we wrote those words. They must have finally opened their mail and read those love letter we sent them.
We are still knocking on the door of the broccoli, wondering why it won’t come out to visit, but it still seems unhappy about something that is a mystery to us. Maybe it’s afraid we’ll eat it or something unthinkable like that. There have been just five or so heads a day when we’d hope for 80 or so. Other farms have lots of lovely broccoli now, so we’re wondering, well, what’s wrong with us. We’ve been making sure it has enough water to drink, which is about all we can do at this point, but it is starting to feel like hitting our heads against the wall next to that door we’re knocking on.
We’re not that neurotic, but close. We’re happy with the food coming off the farm right now, and we hope you are too. It should only get more diverse, summery, sweet and juicy from here.
The potluck was very … well, to be redundant like life is in all its glory — the potluck was summery and sweet. The bugs left us mostly alone, we dined in the barn and the kids played all around and in the mud. Now the birds are singing lovely songs and the bees, flies and wasps are pollinating like there’s no tomorrow. We had an awesome buckwheat cover crop to feed the pollinators and crowd out the thistle, and the next cover crops for feeding the soil are coming up. Cells are dividing even faster than 3 year olds can run down the driveway. Hopefully all this is on its way to bountiful harvests for all!
Please read the Nuts and Bolts section for a few important updates.
Cucumbers are the other crop that has been slower than usual, and hopefully the heat will give them and the broccoli the boost they need to bump up the harvest numbers. We plant plenty so we don’t usually have to place limits per share on items, or if we do it’s only for a day or two, so hopefully we’ll be done with that soon.
The heat will most likely mean a bigger harvest of all the same things we’ve been picking, except radishes. Head Lettuce and Boc Choi are done, and Napa cabbage will be coming soon. The eggplants that are trickling in are Asian ones — their skins are so tender you don’t need to peel them, just chop and cook. They’re great roasted, grilled, or stir-fried; marinades never hurt but these are so sweet and absorbent of the flavors they are cooked in, they’re one of our most favorite easy parts of summer eating. Later in August the Italian globe style eggplants will be ready too. By next week we should also be able to start picking sweet onions, which make everything taste even better.
There are a few half size peppers out there, and a few tomatoes blushing, but they’re both probably still 2-3 weeks away from any sizable harvest. We’ve also spotted watermelons and canteloupes that are softball-sized and bigger. They’ve got 1-2 weeks more of growing to do and then 1-2 weeks to ripen, so they won’t quite hit the August 1st start date that happens in a warm year, but once they start it could be big –they’re loaded with flowers and baby fruits.
For all these harvests, fair, mild weather is our favorite this time of year! The veggies pant their way through hot windy heat waves just like you do, so the mellower the weather the bigger the farm bounty in your kitchen. Our ideal is 80s during the day and 60s at night and it looks like we’ll hit that this week. Here we are riding the waves of summer!
What’s for U-Pick?
Peas don’t like hot weather, but they’re looking healthy and still making new pods, so if the heat only lasts a day they could make it into next week. They’re struggling with a disease– the brown spots on leaves and pods, but there are enough healthy ones to hopefully keep us at 1-2 quarts this week. The pea tendril rows are a variety that normally produces snow peas but this year they’re looking like shelling peas, so if you find some in there feel free to take them home.
In a week or two we might all get a taste of cherry tomatoes, believe it or not. It is early yet and the plants are small, so picking will be VERY limited for a couple weeks, but they are so sweet and flavorful it’s nice to get even just a few. Kind of strange to have peas dovetail into cherry tomatoes…
Green beans are looking good, with another planting on the way this week. Hopefully we will move to unlimited soon. We planted lots more this year and we’ll probably add a few rows next year so there are plenty of these popular favorites.
Herbs – Cilantro, Dill, and Basil. Plus lemon basil, thai basil,thyme, oregano, parsley, and cutting celery (use like celery leaves). And mint, lemon balm, and anise hyssop are down the hill near the perennial flowers.
Flowers are brightening our house, and hopefully yours too!
Always check the U-pick board when you’re here to see what’s available and picking amounts, and feel free to come anytime dawn to dusk to pick, and enjoy the farm.
Bulk Produce for You
To place a bulk order, simply call or email us at least 2 days ahead of the day you’d like to pick it up. Orders can be picked up at the farm during our regular pickup hours, but it doesn’t have to be your share pickup day.
This week’s selection is : Lettuce Mix for $5 / lb, Summer squash and Zucchini for $1/ lb, Carrots and Beets for $1/lb, and Fennel for $1.50 each.
Nuts and Bolts
Certified Organic Blueberries Next Door
Our neighbor Little Hill Berry Farm is open for blueberry picking! They will be open this Wednesday and Saturday from 8am to noon, and on into August. Little Hill Berry Farm is located less than a quarter-mile west of our farm on the north side of the road. Cash, checks, and credit cards are accepted. They supply picking containers and boxes to bring your berries home in. Blueberries cost $4.50/lb. Supervised children are very welcome. Check out their website at littlehillberryfarm.com for more info and to sign up for picking updates.
New Swingset is Off Limits — We are happy to have a swingset for Allia and playmates, but we are sorry to say it is off limits and not open to farm members during pickups or U-picking visits. This is to keep some privacy in our backyard, prevent injuries as we cannot commit to staffing it, and to keep the children’s eyes on the yummy food and farm while they’re here. This is not an easy line for us to draw, but we appreciate your help in keeping your kids away from it. Most kids won’t even see it — it’s tucked in our wooded (and buggy) backyard — but for their safety it makes it doubly important to know where your children are at all times. Please make this clear to your children. Thank you!
Certified Organic Farm with some Transitional Crops — You might know last year we decided to get certified organic, after many years of growing organically without certification. We like being counted and more visible as organic farmers, including the (somewhat hidden) red signs along the ditch. But we do have one field right now that is in transition to organic, meaning it was sprayed with an organic-prohibited material when in conventional crops less than 3 years ago. Our transitional field was last sprayed in 2012, so it will be eligible for organic certification in 2015. For now, while we use all the same organic growing practices there, anything that is harvested from that field should be labeled as transitional. So you will start seeing some transitional signs in the barn — right now on kale, later on broccoli, some cabbage, plus the fall greens, lettuce and spinach. Same practices, just grown on a field that we’re bringing out of the cycle of inputs and pesticides, and into healthy, life-building organic production. We are always happy to talk about more in detail, if you have any questions please always ask.
Drive Safe — Go slow and be cautious pulling out our driveway, and on and off Highway 3. We saw an accident at that intersection the other morning, the most recent in a long list on that stretch of 3, and hope we all drive in a mindful way to keep that from happening!
Share Pickup Hours
Monday, Wednesday Friday 2:00-6:00pm. You can U-Pick any time (when U-pick crops are in season.)
Please Drive Carefully
—Children are everywhere. On the note of children, please know where yours are at all times.
Thank you so much for your riding the farming rollercoaster with us!!
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Jesse, Daniel, Els and Kelly
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from Fair Share Coalition’s Farm-Fresh and Fast cookbook
Choose young, juicy beets for this recipe. Serve with lime wedges and your favorite tortilla chips, or as a topping for grilled fish.
2 tomatoes, cored
2 green chilies, seeded for less heat if desired
1 orange or red bell pepper, seeded
1 cucumber, peeled if desired
2 cloves garlic
½ medium sweet onion
1 beet, peeled
1 bunch green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Pinch each paprika, garlic salt, celery seed, and cayenne, or more to taste
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Coarsely chop all the vegetables and place them into the bowl of a food processor. Add the herbs and seasonings. Pulse until blended but still chunky. Adjust the seasonings. If necessary, work in batches and transfer the blended salsa to a large bowl for final seasoning. Yields about 10 cups.
Thai Eggplant Dip
from Asparagus to Zucchini Cookbook
- 2 medium eggplants 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 3-4 cloves garlic 1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro
- 1 Tbsp minced, fresh ginger ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar pita bread
Cut off eggplant stem. Pierce eggplant several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and cook in a 350 degree oven until very soft, about 1 hour. When cool enough to handle, remove skin. In a food processor, mince garlic and ginger. Add eggplant, and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except bread. Serve with warm pita slices. Can be refrigerated up to 4 days or frozen. Makes 2 ½ cups.