Farm Newsletter August 7, 2017
Bulk Produce is Available Again
— See Nuts and Bolts.
Another cool spell is making it hard to believe we’re entering the peak of fresh and juicy summer veggies! Tomatoes are a good reminder that it’s coming, and soon we’ll start picking peppers and melons. Ripening has slowed down a little bit, but once those crops get started not much can stop them.
The veggies are looking great and giving us few reasons for concern; this dry spell is wonderful for keeping plants healthy. The week of hard rains added up to about 7″ here, and “prolonged periods of leaf wetness”, which fungi and bacteria love (just like they love your shower walls). It’s fascinating to watch symptoms progress in weeks like that, and slow way down in weeks like last week, when it’s sunny and dry. Dry sunny weather is our ticket to big harvests for the next couple months; the mystery awaits. Or it’s here and now. Or both.
The weeds are keeping us on our toes, or rather on our hands and knees — It’s also fascinating how one strategy works in most years but some years just doesn’t keep the weeds at bay. This year is one of the latter. We’ve been getting by with some of our older equipment but the amount of hand-weeding we’ve had to do this summer makes it clear it is time to upgrade to some better cultivators and a more modern tractor or two to match them. Who knows when we’ll get to do that, but it always feels good to have a plan to try to prevent a repeat of something like the forests of weeds we’ve pulled the past couple weeks!
Random note: please croon, as we do, at the vigorous green field of winter squash at the corner of our road and Hwy 3 — those plants are stunning and are working hard at making thousands of squashes under that sea of leaves and vines.
Thanks for joining us on the adventure, and bringing extra joy to the farm!
The watermelons and cantelopes are right on the verge of ripening — any day now there will be a pile of them ready to come into the barn. The plants are gorgeous and have a decent amount of fruit on them; it’s hard to tell as the fruit hide under the leaves but it looks like it may be an average watermelon year, and an above-average cantelope year. Once they start we typically have them for four or five weeks.
Tomatoes should give us more and more each week now, and they too look healthy and are holding a good amount of fruit. Such an awesome gift of summer!
Apologies for the lack of kale last week –it just looked terrible. Our wild beneficial insect buddies are good at keeping many bugs at bay, but this is one place where our no-spray program costs us a little bit of harvest — flea beetles chew and chew and chew on the kale til it’s yellowing and tough, and in a couple weeks (maybe sooner) the new leaves grow in and the bugs back off enough that they’re more palatable.
All the rest will carry on.
Garlic will be in the share for 6 weeks total, so five more weeks now. (Each split share can take 3 garlics in the 6-week period.)
We’ll hopefully harvest onions next week and put them in the greenhouse to dry; for now we have plenty of sweet onions, which are best kept refrigerated. Storage onions, the more pungent ones, can be left at room temp, but we won’t give those out for a couple more weeks, once they’ve dried and cured, and we’re out of sweet onions. For now, a sweet onion a day keeps the doctor away! (Kidding!) But they’re awesome raw on sandwiches and salads etc.
What’s for U-Pick?
Beans! — We planted a few too many beans and some are going by…. if you want to pick extra for the food shelf give them to Erin and we will get them donated to the Food Shelf. There are lots of beans coming on for the next month and beyond — dig in and freeze, can, eat fresh to your hearts’ delight.
Cherry tomatoes are ripening s-l-o-w-l-y. Soon, soon. There are tons coming and the plants are looking very healthy, so we will be swimming in them soon.
Cilantro, mint and lemon balm, basil and parsley. We are gapping on cilantro this week—hopefully the next planting will be big enough by next week. Basil is growing slow and got a little over picked, so the abundant harvest will be later this year. Hopefully by the end of August. Until then, we will need to limit it.
Please always check the U-pick board when you’re here to see what’s available and picking amounts.
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. If you’re interested in being on the volunteer list, please let us know too!
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 : Carrots, Beets, Cucumbers, Summer Squash, Sweet Onions, Fennel for $1 / lb. Eggplant for $1.75 /lb. Swiss Chard for $3 / lb. Lettuce Mix for $5 / lb. Garlic is for sale in the barn from now on during share pickup hours, for $1 / head, no need to order ahead. Thanks!
Share Pickup Hours Monday, Wednesday Friday 2:00-6:00pm. You can U-Pick any time (when U-pick crops are in season.)
Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.
Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.
Thank you so much for enjoying the farm!!
Erin and Ben, with Allia, Anna, Bisharo, Jaime, Paul, Ray and Sahara (with Zach joining us soon)
Tangy Garden Gazpacho with Sun Gold Salsa and Grilled Croutons (Serves 4 to 6)
From Fresh from the Farm By Susie Middleton
-Eight ¾ inch slices from a French baguette
-2¼ to 2½ pounds beefsteak tomatoes
-1 large clove garlic
-½ teaspoon minced serrano peppers (seeds and ribs included)
-⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro stems and leaves, plus 1 teaspoon chopped leaves
-4 tablespoons olive oil; more for the salsa, croutons, and drizzling
-1 small cucumber (about 8 ounces), peeled, seeded, and thickly sliced
-1 small red bell pepper, grill-roasted, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped (to yield about ½ cup)
-1½ teaspoons balsamic vinegar
-16 sun gold or other orange cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
-1 to 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions (green part only)
Remove (and discard) the crusts from 4 of the baguette slices and rip the bread into pieces. You should have about ½ cup bread pieces.
Core the beefsteak tomatoes and cut them in half crosswise (through the equator). Over small bowl, gently poke out most of the seeds and pulp using your fingers. (Don’t throw away the seeds and pulp – put them in a fine mesh strainer and capture the tomato liquid that gathers. You can use that liquid later to thin the soup if you like.) Roughly chop the tomato halves and measure out 3 packed cups for the soup (some liquid will come with chopped tomatoes). Save any extra for salads.
Put the garlic, serranos, ⅓ cup cilantro stems and leaves, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a blender. Blend on high, stopping to scrape the blender from time to time, until well chopped. Add the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, roasted red peppers, balsamic vinegar, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and the half cup of the ripped baguette pieces. Blend on high for 2 full minutes until very smooth and a tad frothy. Taste and add more salt if desired. If the soup seems a bit thick, add some of the reserved tomato liquid (start with about ¼ cup) and blend again. Chill in the refrigerator until very cold, at least 2 hours.
In small bowl, combine the sun gold cherry tomatoes, scallions, the remaining 1 teaspoon chopped cilantro, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Toss the salsa well.
Heat gas grill on medium or a broiler on high. Brush the remaining bread slices generously with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Grill or broil until nicely toasted on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Coarsely chop each baguette slice into small pieces. (They do not have to be uniform; crumbly is good.)
Ladle the cold gazpacho into shallow bowls and garnish each portion with generous sprinkling of croutons and a nice scattering of sun gold salsa. (You may not use all of the croutons.) Drizzle a small bit of olive oil over all, too, if you like.
Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Farm Stand Veggies
From Fresh from the Farm by Susie Middleton
-1¼ teaspoons ground cumin
-1¼ teaspoons ground coriander
-1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
-4 tablespoons olive oil
-1 15½ ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
-1 medium zucchini (about 7 ounces), trimmed and cut into small dice (1⅓ cups)
-1 cup halved grape or cherry tomatoes
-1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears), microwaved or blanched for a few seconds
-1 small (or ½ large) red bell pepper, seeded and cut into small dice (½ cup)
-⅓ cup sliced scallions (white and light green parts)
-¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
-¼ cup fresh orange juice
-1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
-2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
-2 teaspoons honey, preferably local
-¼ teaspoons Asian chili-garlic paste
-½ to ⅔ cup toasted pine nuts
Combine 1 teaspoon salt, the cumin, coriander, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the salt-spice mixture, stir well, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the quinoa, stir again, and add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and the germ has separated from the seed (it will look like a ring), 20-22 minutes. (If there is a little water left, bring back to a simmer and cook for 3 to 4 minutes more to boil off the water.) Remove the pot from the heat and stir once. Put a folded paper towel over the quinoa and cover with the pot lid again for 5 minutes. Uncover, discard the paper towel, and transfer the quinoa to a large, shallow mixing bowl or a large baking sheet (where it will cool more quickly). Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, combine the black beans, zucchini, tomatoes, corn, peppers, scallions, chopped cilantro, orange juice, the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, chili-garlic paste, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir well and let sit while the quinoa cools, stirring occasionally.
Combine the black bean salad with the cooled quinoa and mix thoroughly. Taste and season as necessary. (It will continue to build flavor as it sits.)
Serve, garnished with the pine nuts and cilantro sprigs (if using) at room temperature or chilled, or refrigerate to serve at a cookout or potluck later. It can be made up to a day ahead.