CSA distribution #16 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday August 19 and Thursday August 22. A very nice week of stable weather and productive crops; we hope you’re all enjoying the results. We’re looking forward to the potluck & produce tasting coming up on Saturday August 24; we hope many of you can join us.

THIS WEEK’S PRODUCE

NEW! Filet beans These skinny little green beans are a pain to pick but so tasty. Cook gently (they’re also quite sweet raw), by quickly sauteing or braising.
BACK Cucumbers
New planting starting to yield, should be enough for everyone.
BACK Onions We’ll include a few onions again this week. These are storage onions, great for cooking, but on the potent side if used raw.
Sweet peppers At least three per full share, maybe more.
Serrano/jalapeno pepper mix Requests for extras on these may result in a significant handful; these are doing great and members may want to preserve some.
NEW! Anaheim peppers   Large, mildly hot green peppers which are great for roasting or stuffing.
Summer squash Extra requests will likely be filled with squash that are a bit on the larger side–great for zucchini bread, stuffing, etc.
Swiss chard
Okra
Eggplant
Slicer tomatoes Quantities continue to increase, extras likely this week
Cherry tomatoes
Parsley

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

BACK! Chives
Garlic chives These are about to flower. Not sure if the flowers will be opening by next week or not, but the flower stalks will be present in the bundles whether or not the flowers are open. The pretty white blossoms are edible and make a nice garnish.
Thyme
Sage

Green coriander Reaching the end of the “green” phase. May be the last chance.
Coriander
Genovese/regular basil
Will offer this as bulk again, as well, before pulling some of the older plants. The younger plants should continue until frost.
Lime basil
Possibly the last chance for 2013!
Thai basil Plenty available.
Mint (harvester’s choice) The mint is slow to harvest at this time of year because the ugly stems outnumber the pretty ones. For a while, we’re going to offer “generic” mint and harvest whatever is easiest.
Tarragon
Green shiso There’s currently an abundance; try making a shiso pesto.
Borage blossoms
Any feedback on how these held up through transport & storage?
NEW! Squash blossoms
The blossoms are in good shape right now with few insects; normally cucumber beetles make the blossoms unappealing for culinary use. We’ll pick them in the a.m.; please use these delicate blossoms the same day. Still a good idea to inspect the blossoms for insects before preparing. We’ve never distributed these before, and we’d very much appreciate feedback on their condition when you receive them.
Papalo
Very intriguing citrus/cilantro aroma, but with a distinct bitterness. We found the bitterness unappealing when used in salsa either raw or cooked. Though we’ve read this grows to the size of a bush (& thus assumed it could be harvested at that size), we’re now thinking that it might be best to harvest it only at a young stage, before the bitterness develops. The photo accompanying this article on papalo implies that growing it as a dense stand of baby plants is desirable. Always much to learn when growing an obscure herb for the first time, particularly when we’re not even sure how it is supposed to taste. We’re taking it off the list of offerings for now, since we’re not impressed with the quality at the moment.

MENU SUGGESTIONSCSA16_2
Joanna made ratatouille for the first time, using a Julia Child recipe, a dish which fits perfectly with current share contents. It’s a beautiful mix of produce, which we just had to capture (above). We also used a friend’s recipe for Baingan Bharta, an Indian eggplant dish (shared in the comments of our eggplant recipe post), and found it delightful. This is the season for nice chunky Greek salads using tomatoes, cukes, sweet peppers, and more. Also try the sesame sweet pepper salad in the sweet pepper page. Roasted sauces with tomatoes and peppers are a near-constant feature for us. Don’t forget tabouli as a great way to use parsley, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, & onion. Filet beans sauteed with garlic and chard make a nice main or side dish.

FRESH EGGS
Eggs will be available to everyone this week! Production is finally picking up again, and we hope to meet at least some of the pent-up demand for Edgewood delivery. Ask for what you want, and we’ll see what we can do.

RECENTLY ON THE FARM
Joanna has been busy seeding and transplanting fall crops, actually feeling that this work is more or less on schedule for once. The food you’ll eat all fall, she’s already been working on for weeks (or months). Harvest takes more and more of Eric’s time, as the ever-producing summer items like okra, tomatoes, and more really kick in and need to be checked on a regular basis to ensure the best yields of the proper quality and freshness.

Also on the farm… Earlier this year we bought a European-style scythe from Scythe Supply. Joanna has been learning to use & maintain this truly wonderful tool. This week it has been put to good use with a particular focus on slicing down stands of ragweed before the pollen production goes through the roof; it can take down all but the most humongous ragweed plants with ease. This scythe is so much more pleasant to use than a weed whacker/string trimmer: no noise, no fuel, no stopping to replace the string, no broken bits of string left littering the landscape. And we’re pretty sure we can cover more ground with it in less time than with a weed whacker. Mowing has never been so enjoyable.

WHAT’S GOING RIGHTCSA16_1

No raccoons so far!  Last year multiple coons caused extensive damage to our strawberries, corn, tomatoes, melons, and more. This year, nothing. We know there are a few around by prints along the stream, but they’re leaving us alone. Electric fences do wonders, though the tomatoes aren’t protected with electric, so that doesn’t fully explain the situation. You can thank this absence for your sweet corn, for sure. We’re also thrilled with our mixed field of pole (drying) beans, cowpeas, sunflowers, and corn. This is mostly for our own food supply, but it’s doing especially well this year and should really help make up for the lack of goat meat this winter. Popcorn and cowpeas are possible distribution items if the yields are sufficient.

WHAT’S NOT SO GREAT
As nice as this weather is, it’s making us a little nervous for the future. 10 degrees below normal is fine in August, but if this cool pattern holds into September it places us at significant risk for early frosts. At a minimum that’s a lot of extra work for us, covering lots of crops each night, if not a real threat of far-too-early end of season for so many summer items, so many of which have been late to start producing because of the late/cool spring. This reminds us: If any of you have old bedsheets that you don’t need/use anymore, we’re happy to take them off of your hands, as these are really useful for covering crops when frost does threaten. Flat sheets are better than fitted, and they obviously don’t need to be in perfect condition. If you really want to do us a favor: Sew several together in long strips so we can cover rows with ease.

WEATHER NOTES
What a glorious, glorious week. Highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s, just the right amount of rain on Monday followed by a stretch of sunny weather. We’d be thankful for these conditions in mid-September, much less mid-August. Wow.

2 thoughts on “CSA distribution #16 & newsletter

  1. I’ve been using a lot of the share contents (especially herbs) to make simple grain salads. I pick bulgur wheat at World Harvest (a bargain at $1.59 per bag labeled “#2 cracked wheat”) along with some kalamata olives and feta. Boil water and then pour it over the bulgur, cover and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. While it’s steeping, chop up tomatoes, cukes, scallion or chives, kalamatas, and any herbs on hand but especially parsley and mint. Chop the herbs very fine. Add it all to the bulgur, with some lemon juice or other acid like red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Then crumble in some feta. I change the recipe up lots of ways according to whatever I’ve got on hand. Been making this almost weekly, great simple summer salad.

    • That’s another great suggestion; dishes that like are an excellent way to use lots of different flavors from a CSA share. This is especially true if there are small amounts of things, either fresh or left over from other dishes.