Farm Newsletter August 21, 2018

IMG_0366IMG_0366Farm Newsletter August 21, 2018

Farm News        Crop Forecast

 U-Pick       Recipes       Nuts and Bolts


Greetings Friends! 

Well when it rained it poured, that’s for sure.  Everyone seems to agree that last Thursday’s rain was more than we needed all at once; spread out and more gentle is obviously preferred, but it’s good we’re out of the drought warning area.  We got about 1.75″, and most of that soaked in.  We heard from people within a 5 mile radius who got 3.5-4.5″ too.  We were on the northern edge of it, as usual, which usually is a good place to be.

Our neighbors across the street, Beth Holmes and Don Bratland, asked a few weeks ago if we needed rain.  It had been 2 weeks since any measurable rain, but I (Ben), somewhat cavalierly, said we’d be happy if it didn’t rain til November 1!   Clearly I might regret that if it came true.  But our well has been working well, the irrigation pipes are all set up and running fine, and to be able to control which crops get water and which don’t, and when, makes it much easier to get all the fall’s harvest, weeding, discing and cover cropping done.  But of course in our non-arid climate we rarely get that kind of do-it-whenever -you-want window for more than 2-3 weeks, which is overall a fantastic thing.  The rains soften the soil, increase biological life in the soil, and help the crops grow in ways we don’t always achieve with irrigation. The nerve-wracking for the vegetable farmer is when rain pounds (and threatens ha–), and as we’ve said before, the pounding raindrops are one of the most yield-decreasing weather events, the way they spread fungal and bacterial diseases in the plants.  But with so much dry before, and dry days right after a brief afternoon of rain, we’re hopeful that health will reign in our fields.  And of course we’re only talking about the pros and cons of last week’s rain in reference to our own little corner of the world — the forests, the non-irrigated fields of many farmers large and small, the wildflowers finishing their seed-making for the year, and more — clearly they gained a big boost from exiting the early-stage-drought zone.  We’re also very curious if the big August mosquitoes will be out soon!

By the way, we mentioned “fall” up there. The earlier sunsets and later sunrises are our gentle cue that for many people the season, and some daily routines, are changing or will be soon.  We like that it’s so gradual, even though we’re surprised every time when the noticeable changes start in mid-August; it also gives us a couple weeks to slow down and make sure we’re enjoying the summer, not just plowing through.

We hope you’re well, and grateful that we have a good harvest to help you be well.

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Crop Forecast

Cantaloupes and Watermelons — the whole squash family has loved this summer’s weather.  The melons are showing it, in flavor, size, quality and abundance.  We’ll probably run out of cantaloupes sometime this week, they’ve all ripened fast, but a few stragglers might still be coming in.  For watermelons, we have a few of the amazing orange and yellows, but it’s time to switch to the big pink melons.  They are so so so flavorful, and sweet.  And jumbo.  We should have them two more weeks.

Everything else is on track to be the same as the last week or two.  Except broccoli, which 4 weeks’ worth all came in last week for some reason.  We plant ten different plantings, and 4,5, and 6 all sized up at once; we’re waiting for number 7 to catch up.  So we might have some but not tons.  And eggplant — so glad that nothing else had the pollination troubles that eggplant had this year.  There will be a few, but probably not enough to go around.  We’ll try to save some for the end of the day people this week or next.

For Cooking Greens — the kale might just be too bitter now, we’ll cook some tomorrow to check.  The bugs have been chewing it almost to death, so might stop picking it for 1-3 weeks, and start again when some fresh leaves are ready.  And then soon after, the young plantings will be ready which is so tender and mild.  Swiss chard has been sick too, so we’re going to wait and let that re-grow, hopefully healthier.  If we don’t have kale out and you’re hungry for cooked greens, you can wilt any of the greens on the greens table, but not the lettuce.  Arugula, totsoi, komatsuna especially are great wilted on a sandwich, on or with a filet, a pizza, or pasta dish.

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What’s for U-Pick?

Remember to bring SCISSORS for flower picking — maybe leave a pair in your car.

Cherry tomatoes unlimited — Grab the bounty while you can!

Beans — Edamame is ready and the others are continuing to produce.

Cilantro , Dill,  Basil, PLUS Parsley, Oregano, Thyme, Sage, Anise Hyssop (great for use in tea).  The Basil sadly caught the downy mildew we’ve had in recent years; it’s interesting it started on several area farms in the same 2-3 day window.  You can pick the good leaves, but if you the pick the ones that are yellowing and blackening they won’t last even as long as the green leaves do.

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Nuts and Bolts

TOMATO BOXES ARE HERE!!!!!  We have lots so order freely, preferably 2 days in advance.

Congratulations to anyone who ordered a box last week!  In the frenzy of August harvest we gave you twice as much as usual!  NO worries about paying extra, it was our fault and that’s your reward for ordering early.  But if you order again we’ll be packing them in the (usual) smaller boxes!

Bulk Produce for You — Check here each newsletter for what we have available for extra purchase.

This week’s selection is : Carrots, Beets, Summer Squash for $1 / lb.  Lettuce Mix for $5 / lb.  Watermelons for 60 cents/lb.  Tomato Boxes, 12 lb Seconds for $20.

Remember your reusable bags and also to sign in when you pick up your share. 

Share Pickup Hours TUESDAY and THURSDAY 1:30-6:30 pm.

Change Pick-Up Day Form — Click here.  Please fill out this form instead of emailing us.  Thanks!

Please Drive Carefully —Children are everywhere.

Thank you!

Your farmers,

Erin and Ben, with Allia, Alissa, Danny, K’rin and Sahara

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Watermelon Gazpacho

from Love and Lemons


  • 4 heaping cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cucumber, diced, reserve half
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced, reserve half
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced, reserve half
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions, diced, reserve half
  • 1 garlic clove
  • small handful basil
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ jalapeño pepper, optional\
  • diced avocado, optional
  • micro greens, optional for garnish
  1. Set aside the reserved half of the chopped cucumber, tomatoes, red pepper and green onions and place the remaining half in a blender. Add the watermelon, garlic, basil, vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and jalapeño pepper, if using. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  2. Pour into a large bowl (or small individual jars, as pictured) and stir in the reserved chopped vegetables.
  3. Chill for 3 to 4 hours or overnight. Serve with drizzled olive oil.
  4. Optional: garnish with diced avocado and/or micro greens before serving.

Rice Stuffed Tomatoes

from Smitten Kitchen


2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse or Kosher salt
6 medium-to-large (mine were 3 inches across, averaged 8 1/4 ounces in weight) tomatoes
Red pepper flakes, to taste
1/4 medium or 1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
9 tablespoons arborio or another short-grained starchy rice
Few tablespoons chopped parsley, oregano or slivered basil (or mix thereof)
Handful breadcrumbs, if using (unless using gluten-free breadcrumbs, this will of course negate the dish’s gluten-free status)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an ovenproof baking dish with olive oil.
Prepare tomatoes: Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out tomato juices, seeds and flesh into a non-reactive (i.e. just about anything but aluminum) bowl. I like to use a grapefruit knife to make the first cuts, then a spoon to remove the rest, but you can use anything you have around, being careful not to pierce the bottom of the tomatoes. Salt the cavities of the tomatoes and turn them upside down on a plate to drain.
Prepare reserve: Run scooped-out tomato flesh and juices through a food mill or pulse in a blender until coarsely pureed. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add 2 tablespoons olive oil, heating it too. Once hot, add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes, cooking them together for 2 minutes, or until onion begins to soften. Add rice and cook them together for about 3 minutes, or until rice toasts a little. Add tomato puree and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt, then cover skillet with a lid, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until rice is par-cooked. Adjust seasoning if needed.
Reassemble tomatoes: Stir fresh herbs into tomato-rice mixture. Arrange tomatoes right-side-up in baking pan then spoon mixture into tomatoes, filling them just 7/8 of the way to leave room for the rice to finish expanding. Coat with breadcrumbs that you can drizzle lightly with olive oil, if using, or you can replace the tomato lid on each (though, do not spend 10 minutes trying to match them back up, as I did last summer. It’s pointless.)
Bake: Uncovered for 30 minutes, until tomato walls are soft and the rice inside has finished cooking. Serve hot. Repeat again tomorrow.

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