2014 CSA distribution #13

The weather this summer has been more pleasant than we could reasonably expect, and as we head into August, the Climate Prediction Center continues to forecast below normal temperatures. No complaints here, though it may slow down the crops such as okra and eggplant that thrive in heat. Sure makes our lives easier for getting fall crops established, though. Some rain would be nice, as it has now been more than 3 weeks since we’ve had an amount that meant anything. 

UPCOMING EVENT REMINDER

Don’t forget to mark your calendars for our BYOB field stroll & produce tasting event on August 15 at 7 p.m. The plan is to spend some time enjoying the setting of the main vegetable field, with harvest & tastings happening live in the field. Tastings should include peppers, tomatoes, and perhaps melons. Assuming good weather, we’ll have dulcimer & possibly fiddle music to round out the evening. Our bocce ball set is another possible source of entertainment. If desired, bring your own beverages &/or lawn chairs. Children are quite welcome if supervised.

PRODUCE

BACK! New potatoes One more round of freshly harvested new potatoes from Kennebec plants that don’t seem to be in any hurry to die back. (We generally wait for the plants to die before harvesting for storage.)
NEW! Sweet peppers
First of the ripe (red/yellow) sweet peppers. We don’t grow standard bells, but rather an assortment of other delightful sweet peppers that can be used like bell peppers. Anything colorful in this week’s share will be a sweet, not hot, pepper, even if it is long and skinny and looks superficially like a hot pepper, such as the Jimmy Nardello’s. The plants are loaded, so there should be plenty more to come. 
Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes

Okra

Eggplant?
Still being annoyingly slow; eggplant plants like heat, and they’re not getting it. We’ll get it to you when enough matures to do so, full shares get first priority if quantity is limited. Check out some recipe ideas here
Sweet corn, Monday only Thursday members hit the peak of sweet corn readiness this week, and we’ll do our best to even things out by giving Monday members another pulse. For maximum enjoyment, please, please eat it the night you receive it! We also appreciate getting feedback on sweet corn, since it can be hard to judge from the outside; did we get it right?
Cucumbers Quantities decreasing, but it does not yet appear that we are in danger of a shortage. Will list cukes again as bulk to ensure there’s a home if overproduction happens, but no guarantee.
Garlic
One variety this time because it is a big one, Russian Giant. Jumbo size heads for full shares & “A” size heads for single shares. These have a spicy kick if eaten raw, and some folks love that for salsa. If you’re not fond of that raw burn, no worries, just cook it and it will mellow out to provide a rich garlic flavor.
Scallions Will offer bulk again, help us use these up to give the parsnips more room! We’re hoping to finish these off this week, then we’ll return to distributing onions.
Summer squash Quantities declining, but expect to have some for everyone.

HERBS

Full shares will receive up to 4 herbs & single shares up to 2. In part because of the dry weather, some herbs aren’t as abundant as usual, so we need some flexibility in filling requests. If you want to maximize the number of herbs you receive, please follow the survey directions (no more than 2 “yes” request for full shares and no more than 1 “yes” request for singles, and enough “sure” responses to give us some flexibility in rounding out what you receive). Also, please remember to fill you your survey in order to receive herbs!

Here are the expected choices:

Jalapeno peppers Moving these to the herb options this week; we will probably handle other small hot peppers like serranos and habaneros the same way.
Cutting celery
More popular than we anticipated, and still a bit limited in quantity since it was just a new trial this year. We’re curious to hear how it has been put to use, since we’re just becoming familiar with this one ourselves.
Dill heads The ones being harvested right now are still at the flowering stage; they haven’t developed full seeds yet, but they’re still good for adding flavor to pickles.
Green coriander
Some of this is starting to dry down and is nearly dry coriander, with the next planting just starting to form seeds. May be harvesting from either planting.
Parsley
Bundles may be flat leaf, curly, or a mix.
Genovese/sweet basil Store all basil flower-bouquet style in a jar of water on the counter for longest life.
Thai basil
Lime basil
Tarragon
Sage
Mint surprise Mint often looks a bit less beautiful in the summer, with insect holes & yellowing leaves , so we’ll be harvesting whatever variety looks best & is most efficient to harvest. If you’re really set on wanting one of the specific varieties, leave a comment and we can probably fulfill the request.

BULK BASIL

A new planting of basil is coming on, and the older one is still in good shape. Thus, we’re going to start offering basil in quantities sufficient to make pesto for the freezer. We’re going to handle this a bit differently than in past years. We’re assuming that those who want to freeze pesto (or otherwise preserve the basil) would rather do fewer big batches than more little batches. Thus, instead of dividing each week’s extra among all those who ask for bulk that week, sometimes resulting in unimpressive quantities, we’ll distribute only good sized bags, even if it means filling some people’s requests and not others in a given week. We’ll keep track of who has gotten what, so that everyone will be treated fairly over the course of the season.

EGGS

Eggs are available as usual this week. We have a good supply on hand, but won’t guarantee how long that will last, since laying tends to slump in late summer/fall. At least we’ve made it though a week with no more losses to the fox….

3 thoughts on “2014 CSA distribution #13

  1. We enjoyed trying the cutting celery but it was so strong! Couldn’t really figure out a way to use it. Maybe would work best in a spicy dish.

    • It is indeed strong, and it seems to be best suited for cooked preparations. I just found this site, http://www.laurieconstantino.com/all-about-leaf-celery/, which has more info and confirms cutting celery flavor is “herby and assertive” relative to stalk celery or celery root.

      A recipe from that same website, linked below, also suggests separating the leaves from the stems, and adding the more robust stems early in the cooking process and the more delicate leaves towards the end. That’s exactly what I did by instinct when using it in gumbo (which came out well), so I was glad to see someone else use that approach. Haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it looks intriguing (& very appropriate for upcoming shares): http://www.laurieconstantino.com/recipe-index/tomato-sauce-with-celery-mint/

      Anyone else have thoughts on using cutting celery?

  2. I had a similar issue. I had to use so little of the stem, I ended up saving them for stock. I’ve found more uses for the leaves, as garnish, adding to mixed herb pesto, adding to chicken/egg/tuna salad or on lettuce salads. The leaves are mild and tender.