It is now definitely “wait-and-see” time, especially with these cooler temperatures. Any day it seems like the harvest size will balloon, and we’ll be swimming in melons, tomatoes and the other fruits of summer.
We’re very glad the humidity is low and it’s not raining with these temperatures though — this 70s/50s forecast is prime fungal weather and can knock down yields of many things if it’s too wet at the same time. It is a good time, here at least, to be drying out — with over 5 inches of rain in July, and more in June, it’s good for plant health and yields for the soil to dry out a little bit. Most of our crops have big root systems now and are still drinking from those rains. The smaller younger plantings and new seedings–such as the first fall spinach, just germinated! — will need watering, and some of the bigger plants will benefit from small doses too. The big plants are using lots of water to make their fruits bigger, and we’re still seeding lettuce, greens and spinach each week so we need to make sure they come up well to fill our plates all fall.
Overall August and September is a great time for drier weather on a veggie farm. Hopefully the temperatures rise back up into the 80s this month to give things a boost in this short northern season!
Our work now is shifting to harvest (and building still!)– some weeding and cultivating, but far less than in previous weeks. The last planting of plants from the greenhouse is scheduled for this Monday — our fall kale planting, the best kale of the year once it survives some cold weather. Where we harvested your spring lettuce, spinach and other crops, we’ve got lovely cover crops growing and feeding the soil. But soon every day of the work week will be dominated by harvesting, hopefully tons of it, for many weeks!
These cool temps make forecasting ripening difficult — sometimes crops proceed just fine, sometimes they stall out. Right now the ripening is just beginning, so we’re expecting a stall.
Melons have been proclaiming August 10th as their start date. We’re all ready. They look amazing. Some watermelons may come in this week, who knows.
Tomatoes got off to a fast start in the heat, but ripening has already slowed down. By next week we could be at 2 per share, or 10. This is the most uncertain thing to “wait and see.”
Carrots, beets, Asian eggplant, green bell peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, squash and zucchini, cabbage, napa cabbage, sweet onions, baby leeks, kale, swiss chard and collards.
Asian eggplant will be heavy for the next 2-3 weeks, so chop it up and go! They don’t need to be peeled like the bigger, rounder globe eggplants, and they are sweeter and more tender.
For peppers, we’ll have a limited number of green bells for a couple more weeks before the reds really start to turn in any number, and the hots should come in about then too. Peppers are really a late August / September crop in our climate — green peppers are kind of an early bonus.
Broccoli we’ll be low on again, but when it comes back in a week or two we should have plenty from the later plantings.
Greens — We should be back to normal amounts of greens this week. Yay!
What’s for U-Pick?
All is looking good in U-pick land. Those flowers are sure liking this year!
Basil — There is some of the downy mildew on the plants, it might have to be eaten even quicker than usual after harvesting.
Cherry tomatoes might pick up fast, or go slow, like the bigger tomatoes. We’ll set the limits to get you what we can! The plants don’t look great –their location is shady and the soil is poor — but they do have lots of fruits on them.
Please always check the U-pick board when you’re here to confirm what’s available and picking amounts. Please bring your own scissors for U-pick. If you don’t have them with you, ask Erin or Ben as we have a few pairs we can loan out.
U-Pick Help: If at any point in the season you are not physically able to U-pick due to an injury or any other reason, please let us know. We have a list of generous folks that are interested in volunteering to pick your U-pick crops for you.
Nuts and Bolts
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, Asian Eggplant for $1.75 / lb, Carrots, Beets, Zucchini, Summer Squash for $1 / lb, Kale, Collards and Swiss Chard for $3.50 / lb.
Remember your reusable bags and also to sign in when you pick up your share.
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. ESPECIALLY Please make sure they don’t go near the wood piles near the house. They could topple and be very dangerous. AND All buildings, except the shareroom area of the barn, are off-limits to children. This includes the new building / root cellar, and the tractor “greenhouse” (though it looks like fun in there!)
We love having all of you come to the farm and hope it can be safe and fun for all! Thank you for making it such a great place to be! Thank you so much for your support!!
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Daniel, Jesse, Karl, Kelly, Malia, Ray, Jesse and Daniel
Wondering what to do with fennel? Here is a link to 25 mouth-watering fennel recipes!
Miso-Glazed Grilled Asian Eggplant
Ginger, garlic and green onions are fundamental ingredients in Asian cooking. Together they provide a flavor base onto which other ingredients—here, savory miso, spicy pepper sauce and tart rice vinegar—can be layered. Slender Asian eggplant, cut lengthwise, offers an exposed surface into which the miso basting sauce can be absorbed and the smoke from the grill can penetrate.
- One 1/4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup white miso
- 1/2 tsp. hot red-pepper sauce such as Sriracha
- 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 Tbs. mirin
- 1 Tbs. water
- 4 Asian eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper for sprinkling
- Canola oil for brushing
- 3 green onions, cut on the diagonal into 1/4-inch slices
In a blender, combine the ginger, garlic, miso, pepper sauce, vinegar, sugar, mirin and water. Blend to form a smooth puree.
Sprinkle the eggplant halves lightly with salt and pepper and lightly brush all over with oil.
About 15 minutes before you plan to serve the eggplant, prepare a medium-hot fire in a grill.
Place the eggplant halves, cut side down, on the grill, cover the grill and cook until the flesh just starts to char and soften, 6 to 8 minutes. Turn the eggplant over and cook, covered, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes more. Brush the cut sides of the eggplant with the miso mixture and cook, covered, until the eggplant is tender and the glaze has browned in spots, 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the eggplant to a warmed serving platter, sprinkle with the sliced green onions and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).