CSA distribution #12 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday July 22 and Thursday July 25. For those who haven’t seen it yet, we’ve been working on a fun project this year, taking representative photos of each week’s share and compiling them on this site. Take a look if you like; it’s a neat way to track what you’ve been getting (these photos show standard shares with no extras).

THIS WEEK’S PRODUCE
NEW! Potatoes New potatoes, Red Norland and/or Kennebec. Store them on your counter, but since they haven’t been cured, plan to use them reasonably soon.
NEW! Tomatoes Just a small quantity, probably a mix of slicer and cherry, but we’d like to get a taste to folks. Hot, dry weather makes for excellent tomato flavor. To keep that flavor at its peak, don’t refrigerate. Plenty more developing.
NEW! Edamame (maybe) Still developing; Thursday may get first crack at these. Edamame should be boiled in salted water for 3-5 minutes, then shelled and eaten fresh. Very labor intensive to pick, so be sure to savor these!
Sweet onions Now moving on to Cipollinis: flattish, sweet onions. These aren’t a long storing type, so our plan is to harvest & distribute most of them fresh.
Summer squash Maintaining a slow but steady trickle of squash for now…
Cucumbers Losing some plants to wilt, but others are still producing nicely.
Beets Just roots, in storage from last week’s final harvest
Scallions Last week for these
Basil Standard option for everyone again, as it continues to do well.

HERBS
Due to standard basil in shares,  will again do 3 other bundles per full share and 1 other bundle per single share from the following list.

NEW! Dill heads These heads are at the flower and/or immature seed stage, quite suitable for pickling or fermentation purposes. We want to make sure to offer these while the current cuke planting is still producing.
NEW! Coriander
Some of the cilantro plants have finished maturing their seed into fully dry coriander. We’ll chop off a cluster of stems, put them in a bag, and let you separate out the seeds from stems & anything else. These are suitable for either culinary use or for planting to grow your own cilantro/coriander.
Lime basil
Still going strong!
Thai basil
Green coriander

Parsley
Orange mint
Kentucky Colonel mint
Tarragon
Papalo Cilantro-like flavor, a bit citrusy, but also developing some bitterness. Limited quantity. Would love to hear thoughts from those of you who have tried it: How did you use it? Did you like it?
Green shiso 
An herb with a flavor that we think is somewhat reminiscent of cumin. 

MENU SUGGESTIONS
So many ways to use new potatoes. Boiled with butter & herbs is an obvious choice. We particularly adore potato pizza; slice them very thinly & there’s no need to precook before putting them on the pizza. Skillet-fried breakfast potatoes are nice too. Make a chunked Greek salad by tossing cubes of tomato, cucumber, and minced sweet onion with a basil-vinegar dressing and some feta or soft cheese. This salad needs peppers to be ideal, but we’re getting there. Olives & dates optional. Pesto isn’t just for pasta; basil also accentuates many Asian dishes nicely. Parsley supply is picking up slightly, so if you get some and haven’t used it all with new potatoes, consider making tabouli with parsley, mint, scallions, cukes, and tomatoes. One of our members mentioned making Okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese vegetable pancake; sounds yummy. Though we haven’t made those yet, we have been making a fermented vegetable pancake using sourdough starter & an assortment of grated veggies (anything on hand); the recipe is inspired by Sandor Katz’s books, Wild Fermentation & The Art of Fermentation (both available from the library).

FRESH EGGS
Eggs will be for home/work delivery only, NO Edgewood delivery this week as the hens are still laying slowly in the heat and we want to rebuild our personal stock.

RECENTLY ON THE FARM
We’re finally settling back into a semblance of normal routine after three very un-routine weeks that saw a family visit, WWOOF worker stay, overnight canoe trip, and a lot of extra workers shifts to make up for that little bit of time off. Only now are we getting back to normal, and it feels good.

WHAT’S GOING RIGHT
The shares are still nice, we’re eating well, and we don’t have to deal with farmers market politics anymore. We really appreciate the independence and relative simplicity that CSA has brought to our lives, and the direct connection with dedicated customers that helps insulate us from the messy world beyond. Eric ran into a second-year member at the hardware store this past week, and enjoyed catching up on life & happenings while getting some direct feedback on the shares so far. Thanks!

WHAT’S NOT SO GREATCSA12_1
We are dealing with a significant outbreak of Japanese beetles, the largest we’ve had in our seven years here, which are attacking lots of wild plants (especially grape & rose, but even elm, shingle oak, and more) along with our apple trees, blackberries, okra, edamame, and eggplant. We’ve found the best way to deal with these prolific and active pests is to approach them first thing in the morning, when the dew is still on, and shake/tap them into containers from the plants. They seem to be unable or unwilling to fly in these conditions, and are much easier to handle. We then take the trays of relatively immobile beetles up to the chickens, who adore this “free” protein supplement:CSA12_3

WEATHER NOTES
Once again, Columbia received some rain that we didn’t. So far, this July is drier than last July, although temperatures haven’t been quite so hot. We are now officially concerned and stressed about the developing drought conditions here; a recent NWS forecast discussion used the apt phrase “hemorrhaging moisture” to describe soil conditions in the region. While the air temperatures aren’t as hot as last year, the sun angle and intensity is the same and is having similar effects on the landscape.

The ground is so dry in places that, while moving the pigs’ net-fences recently, we had to use a bucket of water to moisten the soil just so we could get the fence posts in. We’re in near-constant-irrigation mode, planning our laundry & dishwashing around the crops to keep our water pressure up. We just invested in a few more timers to help us control the irrigation, but it’s still one more thing to manage in an already busy season.

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