CSA distribution #10 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday July 8 and Thursday July 11. The word of the week is “delightful”, with a combination of comfortable weather, extra help from a week-long WWOOF intern, and a number of new summer crops starting to produce and adding new flavors and fun to our menu.

THIS WEEK’S PRODUCE
We’re starting to eat the first tomatoes, but it’ll be another week or two before enough ripen to fill all the shares. They look glorious, though, as do the peppers.
NEW! Cucumbers Just starting to produce.
NEW! Walla Walla sweet onions We love these mild, sweet onions, which will be a one-week wonder. Great for grilling, pizzas, and more.
Beets
Cabbage Last week for these until fall.
Kale Though the planting still looks beautiful, it must be removed for a late planting of summer squash. We’ll be harvesting everything, so expect a mix of leaf sizes & varieties.
Swiss chard
Scallions Will also make these available as bulk; there’s a possibility of up to several pounds, great for drying or mass use. Some of these are getting pretty large, effectively nice green onions.
Carrots
Summer squash Chugging along slowly, a lingering result of the wet spring.

HERBS
We’ll do the usual number of total bundles (4/full share, 2/single share).

NEW! Papalo (limited quantity) The seed catalog’s description of the cilantro-like flavor of this herb, combined with its ability to handle hot weather, convinced us to give it a try. We’ve nibbled the leaves, which we find to be very intriguing: reminiscent of cilantro, maybe a bit citrus-y, though a bit harsh when eaten alone (as many herbs are). The plant is just big enough to start harvesting lightly; we may not be able to fill all requests immediately.
NEW! Green shiso An herb with a flavor that we think is somewhat reminiscent of cumin. Couldn’t get the red shiso to germinate, so there’s only green this year. Smallish quantities available at the moment, but there should be plenty more in future.
NEW (maybe?) Thai basil
Not sure if this will be big enough to harvest for Monday; maybe by Thursday?
Genovese basil
Growth slowed a bit recently with the cooler weather, but the upcoming week looks like good basil weather. Bundle size will vary by growth rate and demand; some weeks they may be bigger than others. Do not refrigerate; basil does best if you treat it like a flower bouquet and put the stems in a jar of water on the counter.
Lime basil 

Green coriander

Parsley Still in small quantities.
Garlic chives
Don’t have irrigation set up on these, and it is starting to show. Time for a break.
Chives Same situation as the garlic chives.
Orange mint

Kentucky Colonel mint
Tarragon
Lemon balm It’s starting to flower, and it has a tendency to wilt immediately after being cut when the weather is hot, so we’re going to give it a break for a while.
Catnip Starting to flower, but we’ll keep offering it for now.
Cilantro
Probably the last chance for a while; may or may not hold through the full week.
Dill
Probably the last chance for the leaf; seed heads are forming & will likely be ready soon for pickling purposes.
Anise hyssop (very limited): Can’t guarantee that we can fill all requests any given week, but we’ll try to make sure anyone who wants to try it gets a chance eventually. 

MENU SUGGESTIONS
Slaw, wonderful slaw. Many recipes exist for nice, simple salads of shredded carrots or thinly sliced cucumbers. Sauteed squash, chard, and beet greens make an attractive pasta. Dehydrated scallions are a nice winter treat. Beets, carrots, and onions make a very nice combination cubed & roasted (or grilled). Cabbage, scallions, and carrots make a nice base for many Asian dishes.

FRESH EGGS
Eggs have been a source of problems lately, with the laying count dropping off dramatically. We’ve had a black rat snake hanging around the shed, which has already killed one hen and presumably eaten lots of eggs, but we’ve been unable to catch & relocate it.  At about the same time, possibly for that reason, a bunch of hens have started laying outside their shed, hiding their eggs in bushes and other hard-to-find locations, so we’ve been losing a lot of eggs that way too. Hopefully we can get back on track, and will offer all deliveries including Edgewood again this week. We’ll let you know if we can’t fill your order.

RECENTLY ON THE FARM
This week marks our first entry into hosting WWOOF volunteers, after years of talking about it. WWOOF is a really neat organization that describes itself as “a worldwide effort to link visitors with organic farmers, promote an educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices.”  Our first visitor, Sarah (below, turning compost with Eric), has been a hard-working and pleasant addition to the farm, helping us get ahead with lots of work while sharing our lives & meals with enthusiasm and interest. We’re going to miss her greatly when she leaves. CSA10_1

We’re now harvesting garlic, a process that will last several weeks. The good news is that the oddities of last year seem to have all but disappeared; problem plants seem to have de-selected themselves from the gene pool by not coming up at all or by withering before maturity, which is probably the best possible result. This gives us high hopes for future years. The bad news is that the quantity & average head size of this year’s crop is disappointing. There won’t be nearly as much garlic as intended in this year’s CSA, as we need to save a high percentage of the harvest to rebuild our planting stock for this fall. At least the garlic that does go out in the shares should be quite tasty & worth savoring.

WHAT’S GOING RIGHT
Lots of things at the moment. Most crops look great, we’re catching up on workload & projects thanks to the pleasant conditions and extra help, and are considering maybe taking a day off soon. Plus, we’ve tasted the first tomatoes & cucumbers of the season. What’s not to like?

WHAT’S NOT SO GREAT
Other than the egg struggles noted above, and the still-constant background noise of ticks, chiggers, and the like, we don’t have much to complain about lately. Some real rain would very, very welcome.

WEATHER NOTES
It’s dry. From the National Weather Service, here’s the departure from normal precip for the past 30 days; we’re in the 25-50% zone which is right on target. The surface soil is drying out really fast, and we’re now irrigating pretty much everything on a regular basis. Too dry is better than too wet, but nothing benefits crops like an occasional gentle soaking 1″ of rain. For reference, a good rule of thumb is that you need an inch of rain a week for proper vegetable growth. We’ve had under 2″ in 5 weeks now.mo_june_precip

2 thoughts on “CSA distribution #10 & newsletter

  1. Glad things have been going well on the farm since that crazy wet and chilly spring. I also really like making slaw this time of year. This weekend I’ll make some using the cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, then chopped scallion and herbs. I prefer mayo dressing, but I make my own mayo, then use just a little bit and thin it with dijon mustard, cider vinegar, and fresh lemon juice.

  2. Can’t argue with homemade mayo beyond personal preference. We’ve tried it before and the results are definitely superior, it’s just something we haven’t developed a true taste for. Thanks for the feedback!