Farm Newsletter August 22, 2016
If two weeks ago was the “wait-and-see” time, this is the “starting-to-see” time. It’s fun to see the bigger late summer and fall harvests start to unfold.
Tomatoes have obviously been ripening, and we’ve been very pleased with the quality — they have been looked and tasted great, despite the various pathogens and the ongoing rains. By the way — Rain, rain go away! We are grateful they have not been the pounding two- and three -inchers this month, but the frequent rains are more than needed, and the plants being wet so much of the time makes diseases live long and prosper. At this point we want the crops to live long and prosper — a long, dry-ish fall harvest is one of the great pleasures of growing vegetables, and eating vegetables. If we are spared a fro– event in August and September, and have a decent amount of sunny warmth, we get to enjoy extra weeks of tomatoes and peppers, and get the benefit of extra growth in fall crops like sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, lettuce and spinach.
You may have noticed the onion harvest is in, curing in the greenhouse. This week we’ll have them in the share, for the rest of the fall. We snuck that harvest in between rains last week. Sunny fall warmth also makes the next big harvest, winter squash, much better and easier. In a couple weeks we’ll cut the squash from the vines, lay them in rows to cure for a few days to weeks, then pick them up into bins, for further curing and storage in the greenhouse. After squash we’ll dig up the sweet potatoes, the last fro– tender item on the watch-it-closely list for the next month.
For now we harvest and eat the peak of summer! Juicy, flavorful, crispy and smooth, these foods are the short-lived height of a northern growing year — let’s hope it carries on well into the fall!
Tomatoes — have risen to the occasion! We hope you’ve enjoyed having so many in the share. They have ripened so far without many major blemishes, and peaked fast — Tuesday’s harvest was double the amount of the previous harvest on Saturday. They’re slowing back down a little now, but will hopefully be steady and beautiful throughout September.
Peppers — Are hanging in, despite losing leaves and not producing much late fruit for September, they are producing nice peppers now. Red and orange ones will be turning color more and more, one of the most beautiful parts of fall.
Broccoli — we’ll be very low for this week, and maybe next. Broccoli is one of the sad cases of plant disease with all the rain. Our fields now have the unwelcome guest of a bacterial disease called “black rot.” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Some florets have been showing signs, too, hopefully that hasn’t been a problem for you. We do think we’ll have another planting coming in healthy enough next week, we’ll see.
Lettuce — is back, finally. It still has some rotten leaves in it, which we’ve been trying to avoid and pick out ; “lettuce” know if it’s been too rotty.
Watermelon — seem to have turned out alright. They were smaller than we usually have, but it seemed to us they were mostly very flavorful. The watermelons this week are our later, bigger variety. This year they’re also not as big, but should be good eating still. The flesh is pink on the late variety; we still may have a few red, oranges and yellows, but there’s not much left out there.
Cantelopes — usually are made bland by rain and flavorful by dry weather. They have been quite bland up to now — our apologies, we usually sort out the bland ones but that would have meant even less than the few we’ve had the last couple weeks — but then Friday, after 1″ of rain Thursday night, there seemed to be more good- or great-tasting ones than we’ve had yet. Go figure. This week or next they should be peaking, and there should be more available. If they peak this week we might not have any left next week. Hopefully the flavor holds!
Zucchini — gave in to mosaic virus, and if the plants have managed to survive the fruits are bumpy and warty. Sounds like that’s the case on several farms we’ve talked to. Usually our zucchini limps along closer to September. For now try summer squash anywhere you might use zucchini — we’ve wondered for a long time if they are interchangeable in every recipe, to everyone’s satisfaction.
Garlic!! will be in the share for four more weeks. Extras are for sale in the barn, for $1 / head, now until the end of the season.
More carrots, eggplant – Asian and globe types, cucumbers, summer squash , cabbage, beets + golden beets, “baby” leeks. Kale will be from a new young planting — it’s not as good as the kale that’s gone through severe cold, but it’s more tender and mild than the spring planting we’ve been picking from.
Thank you for letting us grow for you!
What’s for U-Pick?
Basil — So glad many of you have picked plenty for preserving. It is going downhill now, succumbing to the new basil downy mildew that’s been bothering growers all around the country.
Cherry Tomatoes – still have honor of being the sickest, and worst-looking, plants on the farm right now. There are split tomatoes and ones with black spots and other issues…we hope that a sunny break will help the next round of fruits be better-looking. We’ll be planting more next year, and more ground cherries too since we keep hearing requests for more of those. For now, we’ll try to set the limits just right, which is tricky to do but we can usually get it close.
Flowers and Green Beans! Still going strong! Thanks for sending us pictures of your bouquets, they were beautiful!
Plus cilantro, dill, lemon balm, mint, Thai basil, parsley, oregano and thyme.
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 or one of the crew and we can loan them.
Nuts and Bolts
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 : Tomato Boxes! Seconds 12 lb for $20, Firsts 12 lb for $24. Tomato boxes should be available 2-3 more weeks.
Carrots, Beets, Summer Squash for $1 / lb, Green and Red Cabbage for 60 cents/lb, Eggplant (Globe or Asian) for $1.50 / lb. Plus Garlic for $1 / head — available in the barn, no need to pre-order garlic.
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.
We hope you enjoy the harvest,
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Aaron Ray, Ali, Anna, and sometimes Brynna, Jesse and Karl
from Recipes from America’s Small Farms by Joanne Lamb Hayes & Lori Stein
4 to 5 cloves garlic (maybe 1 if from Open Hands 🙂 )
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped coarsely
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 (28 ounces) can tomatoes, whole or chopped with juice
2 to 3 cups cubed, scrubbed red potatoes
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 cup sliced fresh green beans
1 cup fresh corn kernels
1 (15 ounce)can black-eyed peas or 2 cups cooked dried beans, drained
2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil, or 2 tsp dried
1 Tbsp chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper
Finely chop garlic; set aside. Heat the oil in a large pot; add the onion and garlic. Saute them until just golden, about 4 minutes. Add the cumin and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, potatoes, and carrots to the pot; cook for 15 minutes.
Add the green beans, corn, and black-eyed peas; cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley, basil, and oregano, if using, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 minutes more, or until all the vegetables are tender.
Tomatillo Taco Casserole
from Recipes from America’s Small Farms by Joanne Lamb Hayes & Lori Stein
1 lb ground turkey, beef, or soy substitute
1 small onion, chopped
1 to 2 small hot peppers, chopped (optional)
1 garlic clove, minced
6 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips
2 cups cooked black or kidney beans
1 ½ cups halved small tomatillos
salt and pepper
1 cup grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 cup salsa
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the bottom of a 13×9 inch baking pan. Brown the meat in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, hot peppers, if using, and garlic; cook until tender.
Spread the tortilla chips in the bottom of the baking pan. Top with the meat mixture. Combine the beans, tomatillos, and the ½ cup water in the skillet used for the meat. Simmer gently until heated through, about 10 minutes; add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the tomatillo mixture over the meat layer in the pan. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Uncover and sprinkle with cheese. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the cheese melts. Serve with sour cream and salsa as toppings.