Melons

Farm Newsletter August 31, 2015

Melons

                                   Melons

Farm Newsletter August 31, 2015

Storage Share — NEWS for 2015

Farm News             Crop Forecast

U-Pick         Recipes          Nuts and Bolts

Greetings Friends!

We’re so glad for the return of warm weather!  Most crops did fine through that stretch of mini-fall, but a warm September keeps them rolling!  We thought that cool week, on top of the cool summer, would slow things down and make the share size smaller.  But enough crops kept on trucking, and are still looking pretty good now.  We even have some late cucumbers that look promising, and they usually don’t like September at all.  That will be interesting, but the bigger “normal” fall harvest will be keeping us moving, like a busy ant colony.

Hopefully the warmth sticks around — 3-4 weeks of this week’s 80s/60s forecast would be fantastic.  That should make most of the peppers red and orange, keep tomatoes going, make the winter squash ripen sooner, size up those south-country sweet potatoes, and just for fun lengthen the harvest of summer crops like cucumbers and summer squash.

A lovely harvest like this year’s is what you get for joining a CSA.  In times of low yields, you share the loss with us.  We all get less of those crops, and miss them.  But we get to do it together, instead of the farmers bearing the loss alone.  In times of bounty like this summer has been, you share the gains.  The shares this month have been pretty big, and we hope you’ve enjoyed the variety and the quality.  We sure have!  Of course we’re always tweaking our field plans for future years so we can hopefully avoid those pesky limits on cucumbers or broccoli, or scrawny cherry tomato plants — but with so many crops on a farm like this, it is rare that all of them are thriving.

So thank you for sharing the risks and rewards of farming with us!  It makes the hard times easier, when they come, and the easy times, well, dreamy.

May your transition to fall be as graceful as that light on the leaves.  And your tables filled with glowing meals!

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Crop Forecast

We love all the seasons, but September is, really, our favorite month for cooking and eating.  The overlap of this climate’s super-sweet summer treats, and fall’s sweet heartiness…and the colors of it all, in the field, in the barn, in our kitchen and on our table — it’s like having a sunflower and a sunset and fields of green, everywhere we go.

Once again there are lots of details to tell you about most crops, if you have any questions please ask.  Yes, we’re busy but we’re busy with and for you — your questions and feedback, and friendship, are always important to us.  We want this eating/farming relationship to work for you!

Tomatoes  — We have a late planting coming in that should keep these in the share for several weeks, though not quite as many.  We think we’ll have at least a handful for the next couple weeks.  For extra tomato boxes, a 12 lb box of nice seconds is $20. We are still taking orders for tomorrow (Monday the 31st) until 8 am.

Peppers are coming in nicely.  We hopefully will have them all September, and if we’re lucky we get to keep picking them all October too.  Reds, greens, and a few oranges and yellows.  The hots are always on the greens table — PLEASE be careful in your bags and kitchens, do not mix up the spicy red anaheims — red, long and pointy — with the sweet Italian frying/roasting peppers — which are also red, long and pointy.  We weren’t careful, and had a surprised cook sample the pepper on its way into a cucumber salad.  It just became a spicy salad, but in kid’s hands or sensitive mouths, those red anaheims can be a little too exciting.

Why are some of our red peppers still partly green?  Because red peppers start out green and mature into red (or orange etc), and once they’re fully red they are very close to rotting.  (Many things are like that — like a sweet cantelope– super sweet to eat but teetering on the edge of rotten.  The microorganisms think it’s sweet too.  So we pick colored peppers a little green still.)  They are fine to eat in that multi-colored stage, but TO FULLY RIPEN YOUR COLORED PEPPERS — just leave them out on the counter for 1 or 2 days.  Easy as that.  They get a little sweeter.  But touch them each day to catch them before they get soft — then eat them or put in the fridge.

Watermelons and cantaloupes— We keep hearing from you that the flavor has been amazing, and we agree.  The rains were small enough that they didn’t drink too much and get mushy and bland, and they’ll enjoy this warm weather as they taper off.  It’s been a great year for them, no doubt, and we’ll have them this week, and maybe one or both next week too.

Garlic will be a part of the share for 3 more weeks, for 6 total. After that it will be for sale for $1/head. You can buy more now at that price if you like, and we don’t need advance notice for garlic, unless you’re stocking up for winter. Which you can do, but let us store it for you until September or October.

Broccoli harvest may continue to go up and down, but the plants look good and it should be steady.

Eggplant will be more of the globe, and less of the Asian types.  The asian eggplants may bounce back, but the plants are looking tired.  The potato beetles really chewed on them  a lot this year, and got away from us.  They also chewed holes in most of the fruits, so we had to lower our standards and give you more funky ones than usual.  They should all have still been good eating though.  We’re considering spraying an organic pesticide, a cultured bacterium, next year.  The globes, in the meantime, look gorgeous for the next couple weeks.

Summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers, in our experience, are completely unreliable in September.  That said, they look good and it’s warm enough to keep them sizing up the little fruits, and even to make more.

Lastly, we’ll keep having good harvests of the rest: carrots, beets, eggplant, onions,cabbage, napa cabbage, kale, swiss chard, and lettuce and greens.  Spinach and spaghetti squash in 1-2 weeks.

Thank you!

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What’s for U-Pick?

We need U-Pick containers.  Please bring only clean ones.  Thank you!

Last year Katie Felland was so kind to gift us those nice clamshells that have been in the U-pick bin, but when those run out we’ll be relying on your yogurt containers, so keep bringing them back!  We really appreciate it!  Thank you for the kind gift Katie!

Raspberries have been great, and nearly bug-free.  The fruit fly populations can grow fast, as they may in this warmer weather, but something about the last few weeks made them almost not present.  (It was good napping weather.)  More coming for 2-3 more weeks.

Cherry tomatoes, tomatillos and ground cherries — well, we won’t plant them in that spot again.  Thin, rocky, sandy soil, and greenhouse shade…they all made lots of fruit while they were growing, but they basically stopped growing about a month ago.  That top growth, with later flowers and fruits, is what we normally are picking now.  Oh well, there’s always next year.  And other good things to eat now.

Basil — There is still downy mildew on the plants, it might have to be eaten even quicker than usual after harvesting.

Beans, Flowers and the other Herbs are all looking good.  Beans and flowers should go until fr-st.  The last planting of beans (the eastern two rows) will start rolling in this week.

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. And bring pruning shears for those giant sunflowers!  They’re gorgeous, even in a jar in the front yard, cut down to kid height.  When the petals go by and the seeds form, they can be hung as a bird feeder.

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.

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STORAGE SHARE NEWS

Sign up Starting this week for the November Storage Share  — 

Thursday, November 19, 2015  10am – 6 pm

THREE NEW ITEMS:

1) We can store some carrots and other root crops for you, in the new root building.

2) If you are able this year, full payment in September will help us with construction overruns and related expenses.  If that doesn’t work for you, no worries, we of course understand.

3) In addition to the November Storage Share, we are currently planning on being “open” for purchase of root crops once a month through the winter, starting in December.  This is for folks who want more roots through the winter, and/or don’t want the variety in the storage share, and/or for whom storing the crops isn’t feasible.  However, we will almost definitely not have winter squash, potatoes, garlic, onions or other crops available at the “winter store.”  The new root storage is for just a few root crops — it’s too cold and humid for everything else.  If you want the other crops — and we think you should, they’re all so good! —  please buy a storage share.  Also, if it works for you, the storage share is definitely the best deal for you.  It’s an efficient, one day extravaganza for us, given the amount and variety of food it adds up to.  You can buy by the pound to suit your needs at the “winter roots store,” but prices will be higher.  It won’t be fancy or big — we’ll be filling the barn with equipment and noise while washing roots in there for wholesale accounts — but there is a little extra expense in it for us.

On with the annual details:

You can sign up with one of us in the barn.

A deposit of $10, or the full amount, by Oct 25th will hold your spot.

For a price, we believe $90 is fair for all of us.

We asked in last year’s survey about doing a winter CSA, with monthly pickups through February or March, but based on your responses we decided to stick with this Storage Share.  Mostly, there wasn’t enough enthusiastic interest for us to justify the work involved in storing all these crops as long as possible and in doing monthly pickups.   So as a service with the new building, we can store part of your storage share here until later in the winter — but just the carrots, beets, parsnips, radishes and turnips.  Note this doesn’t include winter squash, onions, potatoes, etc — the conditions required for carrot storage are much too cold and humid for those crops.

In general, this year’s storage share will be similar to the last six years’, varying according to this year’s yields.  It is separate from the regular season share, a one-time pickup in November before Thanksgiving, and we hope it looks something like this: two bags of super sweet fall carrots (20 lbs total), a smaller bag of mixed fall roots, 3-5 squash, +/- 10 lb potatoes, +/- 5 lb sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, garlic, onions and leeks, kale and maybe cabbage. For dried herbs, a selection of thyme, sage, oregano and rosemary.

It’s early to predict yields and September will tell us more, but yields for all these crops are looking average or above.  Of course nothing is certain to be in the share, and sharing the losses and bounties are part of the CSA relationship — but right now we don’t see any big changes to that veggie lineup.

All for $90, a fair and reasonable price for all of us. We provide info and inspiration on eating and storing all that goodness too!  The picture below is most of one storage share. Let us know if you have any thoughts on it or questions about it, we’re happy to answer questions.  If there’s any part of it you won’t be interested in having, just let us know on the pickup day and we’ll donate it to the food shelf.  We love providing this food for you, we hope you enjoy cooking and eating it!

Slide Show

Nuts and Bolts

We are Open on Labor Day, Sept 7th.  Feel free to switch to or from that day, just let us know.
Bulk Produce for You — Check here each newsletter for what we have available for extra purchase.

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 : Tomatoes $20 for 12 lbs, Watermelons 60 cents / lb, Lettuce Mix for $5 / lb, Globe Eggplant for $1.75 / lb, Carrots and Beets for $1 / lb, Kale and Swiss Chard for $3.50 / lb, Garlic for $1 / head (no advance notice needed for garlic.)

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!!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Daniel, Jesse, Karl, Kelly, Malia, and Aaron Ray

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RECIPES

Arugula, Watermelon, and Feta Salad

from Ina Garten at foodnetwork.com

For the vinaigrette:
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
1/4 cup minced shallots (1 large)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 cups baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/8 th seedless watermelon, rind removed, and cut in 1-inch cubes
12 ounces good feta cheese, 1/2-inch diced
1 cup (4 ounces) whole fresh mint leaves,

Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly, to form an emulsion. If not using within an hour, store the vinaigrette covered in the refrigerator.

Place the arugula, watermelon, feta, and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle with enough vinaigrette to coat the greens lightly and toss well. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.

Grilled Veggie Shish Kabob

from food.comMARINADE

  • 14 cup soy sauce
  • 34 cup olive oil
  • 18 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 12 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 14 cup pineapple juice

Veggies

  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 12 slices Japanese eggplants
  • 12 mushrooms
  • 12 small onions
  • 2 yellow peppers, cut in 1 inch squares
  • 12 slices yellow squash
  • 12 slices zucchini
  • 12 pineapple chunks
  1. MARINADE: Blend all ingredients together in blender for 1/2 minute.
  2. Pour in a zip lock bag with all ingredients and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Arrange vegetables on skewers, grill on medium high flame turning and brushing with marinade for 10 minutes or until cooked.
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