What's in the Standard Share
Carrots, Greentop - 1 bunch ($3/bunch)
(With Custom Order Options and Prices)
Cucumber - 3 cucumbers ($.50/small cucumber; $1 per large cucumber) (OVER ABUNDANCE SALE)
Eggplant, Globe - 1-2 eggplant ($1.50/eggplant)
Eggplant, Japanese - 1-2 eggplant ($1.50/eggplant)
Garlic, Hardneck - 1 bulb ($1.50 each)
Green Beans - 3/4 lb quart ($4/quart)
Pepper, Green & Purple - 3 peppers ($1/pepper or 3 for $2.50)
Pepper, Colored - 1-2 peppers (Standard Share Only)
Hot Pepper, Jalapeno - $.50 each
Hot Pepper, Green Chile - 4 for $1
Onions, White - 1 pound ($3/lb)
Tomatoes, Slicing - 1-2 tomatoes ($1/tomato)
Tomatoes, Roma - 1-2 tomatoes (Standard Share Only)
Watermelon, Yellow - 1-2 melons depending on size ($2-6/melon depending on size)
Also Available for Custom Order
Basil, (Choose Italian sweet, purple, cinnamon, lemon, or Thai) - $2.50/1.5 oz. pint or 2 pints for $4
Beets, Bulk - 1.5 lb bag for $4.50
Beets, Greentop - $3/bunch
Beets, Small Pickling- 1 quart (~1.33 lb) for $4
Broccoli - $4/bag per 1 pound plus bag
Cabbage- Choose green, red, savoy, or Napa. $2.00/head or 3 for $5 (REDUCED PRICE)
Kale, Red Curly - $2/ bunch or 3 for $5
Kale, Green Curly - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Kohlrabi, Green or Red - $1/bulb or 3 for $2.50
Parsley - $2/bunch or 3 for $5
Potatoes, Purple Majesty - $4/quart (1.75 lb)
Potatoes, Yukon Gold - $4/quart (1.75 lb)
Tomatoes, Medley (Cherry, Juliet) - 1 pint ($4/pint)
Zinnia (flowers) - $5 per bunch with returnable quart jar
Cucumbers - 9 pounds (enough for most any pickling recipes) for $7.50
All annual & perennial herbs and annual vegetable plants are $2 each
Early apples - a few
Blueberries - 1 pint
Tomatoes are continuing to come on stronger and stronger. I anticipate the peak to be the end of the month. The cherry tomatoes, however, have been a struggle due to splitting and damaged skin, so they are in more limited supply than I would like. The celery root crop looks great and I may throw in a fresh one in the next 1-2 weeks, while the rest will be saved back in storage for the end of the summer share and the fall share. A whole new planting of broccoli is starting. Leeks should make an appearance again soon. Waiting a week on lettuce. The kohlrabi inventory is coming to an end, with fall kohlrabi looking good in field.
This time of year feels to me a little bit like spring in reverse. On a beautiful summer night like this, with the cicadas buzzing loudly, not a breath of wind, and the temperature just right, fall still seems far away. But when I look at the date on the calendar I know its not. Just as in early April its sometimes hard to imagine the explosion of life in mid-May, its certainly hard to imagine the chill of early October in the midst of the state fair, the last days before school starts, and perfect mid-August weather.
This is the time of year when I plant my last round of crops and look to get cover crops established before the cool weather sets in. While right now is optimum growing conditions for most plants, those conditions quickly change over the next 6 weeks as daytime and nighttime temperatures begin to fall and the hours of light per day continues to drop. By late September or early October, plant growth has begun to slow and there is typically a frost. As of this weekend we have roughly 45 days more of "good growing conditions," which dictates what sort of crops can still be planted and have time to mature. The growing season can be extended beyond this time with good fall weather (like we had last year) as well as protections such as row cover, which provides a warmer environment protected from wind. I still have radishes, spinach, turnips, lettuce, arugula, kale, and herbs left to plant. I could even risk planting some other crops that may not have enough time left to mature but could if the weather cooperates.
Its also a time of year when I begin thinking about winter, and even next season. I have already begun dabbling in crop planning for next season, informed by some of the things that I am experiencing right now in the midst of the season. I've begun to realize that the winter "off-season" is not nearly as long and empty of distractions as I imagine it to be, and that its important to begin the planning process for next year well before the end of the current growing season. That's particularly true when thinking about how to prepare the fields this year for the crops that will be planted next year. Crops needs to be rotated through the fields so that the same crop or type of crop is not grown in the same bed for at least several years. This requires a lot of planning and thinking in the off-season, as well as the season before.
My long-term goal is for 100% of the vegetable fields to be covered in some fashion going into the winter, so that the bare soil is protected from winter erosion by wind and water and it is protected enough to allow soil life to remain active during the warmer periods of the late fall, winter, and early spring. That could mean an actual living cover crop, a dead cover crop, or a covering of mulch such as straw or hay. I was so impressed this spring to see earthworm activity in soil that had cover crops on it as early as the beginning of March, when no plants had even begun growing yet. To work towards this goal of 100% winter coverage, I have to begin preparing in August to make sure that I know what is going to happen when with each field going into the fall months.
Just like vegetables, cover crops need good growing conditions to put on biomass before the onset of cold that will effectively "cover" the soil and protect it from erosion during the winter months. There are two basic types of fall cover crops - those that will die over the winter (winter-kill) and those that will go dormant and survive the winter (over-wintering). Those that will winter kill are more cold sensitive and need adequate time to grow so that when they die, their dead biomass will actually be sufficient to cover the soil over the winter. Overwintering cover crops typically can germinate and grow in colder soil, so they need less time to get established before winter and produce roots that will hold the soil in place. Winter rye can be planted in October, sometimes in November, and still germinate, grow, and survive the winter.
This is the last week before the Mid-Season Joiner Share begins. I will be taking sign-ups all the way up until the week of the share starting (August 22).
What to Do with Your Share
Carrots - These carrots are quite a bit larger than the ones earlier this season, and bunches may include some split carrots, which happens when they grow too rapidly or stay in the ground a bit longer when they are mature.
Preparation & Cooking: Carrot greens can either be discarded or saved and used similar to parsley as a fresh herb. I have never tried it, but several customers have told me they enjoy carrot greens in smoothies and even as pesto. Carrots are wonderful raw or cooked. No need to peel them - a good scrub with a bristle brush will do to remove any remaining dirt.
Storage: Detach greens from roots and keep each in separate sealed plastic bags in the crisper drawer set on high humidity. Use greens within a week or so. Roots can keep for well over a month. These carrots are not a storage variety, but will still hold up very well in fridge.
Cucumbers - I grow several prolific American, burpless slicing varieties. While the European types with thin skin are wonderful flavor, they are more difficult to grow and sustain more pest damage. I don't grow small pickling types. Cucumbers have been peaking the last few weeks and are available in 6 pound bulk orders this week for pickling.
Preparation & Cooking: I like to leave some of the cucumber peel on by peeling them in stripes. Check Recipes of the Week from the Week 9 newsletter for a good ways to get your fill of raw cucumbers.
Storage: Keep cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer set on high humidity and use within a week or so.
Eggplant - Japanese eggplant are the long, skinny type with either dark purple or pink skin. The globe eggplant are the larger purple eggplant. They can be used together but each has unique qualities that make them suitable for particular dishes. See below.
Preparation & Cooking: Japanese eggplant's thin skin does not need to be peeled, but globe eggplant should be. Japanese eggplant tends to be milder and less bitter than the globe variety but also spongier, so it soaks up marinades (but also frying oil) more readily. There are many ways to cook eggplant â€” try grilling, sautÃ©ing or baking thin slices coated lightly in oil. Baba ganoush is a simple and wonderful eggplant spread using just a few ingredients - eggplant, lemon, garlic, salt, and tahini (sesame seed paste). We particularly like roasting slices of eggplant until they are very tender and just a little crisp, then tossing in soy sauce or salt. Delicious! Eggplant picked at the right stage should have few or no seeds inside and will not be bitter. However, in order to ensure that there is no residual bitterness, you can slice eggplant up, coat in salt, and leave in a colander for 15 minutes or so. The eggplant will begin to "weep". You can then rinse the salt and liquid that has weeped off the eggplant.
Storage: Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer set on high humidity. Use within a week, while the eggplant is still relatively firm. It will begin to shrivel and discolor when it gets too old.
Green Bean - I am now picking from the 2nd planting of green beans, with the 3rd one not too far behind. So far its been much better than the first planting!
Preparation & Cooking: Like cabbages, broccoli, and just about any other vegetable, roasting is a great option for green beans. They can also be sliced and sauted in oil or butter as a side dish. Green bean pate is another favorite recipe of mine.
Storage: Store in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer for up to a week.Green beans, like peas, diminish in quality fairly rapidly the longer they are stored, so the sooner you use them the better.
Garlic, Hardneck - Garlic is now considered fully cured (dried). This particular variety is a hardneck type (has stiff, woody neck, fewer larger cloves), as opposed to the softnecks (have a soft pliable neck, more smaller cloves) that you find in grocery stores. As compared to a typical softneck, hardneck types have a stronger, spicier flavor.
Preparation & Cooking: I peel garlic by smashing the unpeeled clove with the side of my knife on the cutting board, which causes the paper to split and slip off more easily. Just got a recent tip about preparing garlic from the Splendid Table on National Public Radio. Crush the peeled garlic clove with the side ofyour knife or a garlic press and sprinkle with salt. Mince up the garlic and salt. The salt helps draw out the flavor of the garlic and also acts to enhance the flavor of the subsequent dish.
Storage: Keep this garlic on the counter. Don't refrigerate cured garlic, as this will actually encourage it to sprout. Peel cloves can be refrigerated but should be used quickly. Leave cloves unpeeled for best shelf life and to not risk mold or pathogens developing. Can keep for several months if properly stored.
White Onions - These onions are now fully cured (dried). They have moderate storage ability, meaning that they will keep for several months but not all the way through the winter like storage onions.
Preparation & Cooking: I quickly clean and peel onions by slicing off the root and the top and cutting them in half, then taking off the top layer of skin. They are then ready to be sliced into half rings or diced. White onions are mild and sweet. Good for using raw or cooked.
Storage: Store in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Good ventilation is helpful. A mesh bag hanging is ideal. The fridge is not a good place for onions unless you can keep already cut or sliced onions for a week or so. Old onions will begin to shrivel and sprout.
Sweet Peppers - We divide the pepper field up into two sections each season - one where we pick green peppers as soon as they are large enough and the other where we leave those green peppers to ripen into red (or orange or yellow depending on the variety) peppers. For unripe peppers, you will receive both green and purple peppers. For ripe, colored peppers, you may receive red bell, red bullnose, orange bullnose, or chocolate brown (reddish brown). Ripe peppers have fully matured and are sweeter than green peppers. They also tend to be more susceptible to damage in the field so are often less perfect.
Preparation & Cooking: Being "immature" peppers, green peppers do not have the sweet flavor of colored peppers. I like to saute them with onions in the skillet for eggs. To quickly prep, cut the pepper in half lengthwise and pull out the stem and seeds from the top of each side and discard. Slice the peppers lengthwise. Colored peppers can be used like green peppers but you can also slice them in half, lay them out flat on a baking tray, brush with oil, and broil them on low in the oven. They should be watched closely and removed just as the skin begins to char. You can then remove the skin and refrigerate the roasted pepper for up to several weeks.
Storage: Keep in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer set on high humidity. Use within a week or so, while the peppers are still relatively firm. They will begin to shrivel with age.
Tomato. Slicing & Roma- Slicing tomatoes denotes any larger, round tomato that is typically used for making tomato slices. It could be a hybrid or heirloom tomato depending on availability. Roma tomatoes are a long, oval tomato that have less water and more meat than slicers. They are specifically meant for cooking, as they do not need to be boiled down as much as slicers do to produce a sauce or paste.
Preparation & Cooking: Cut out the stem end of the tomato and the pith just below it. Roma tomatoes should be chopped up prior to cooking. Some people prefer to remove the skin first. To do so, bring a pot of water to boil. Dip in the tomatoes . You may also use slicing tomatoes for cooking, but they will have more water.
Storage: NEVER refrigerate tomatoes unless you're trying to keep them from going bad for a short period of time. They lose their flavor in the fridge. Keep them on the counter and use ripe tomatoes within a few days. Unripe tomatoes may be held separately from ripe ones and given a few days to develop full ripeness and flavor. Store tomatoes upside down (resting on their shoulders) in a single layer on the counter, windowsill, tray, plate, etc, out of direct sunlight. Don't pile up tomatoes and don't put them a bag. Watch for signs of spoiling and use spoiled ones immediately or discard. Tomatoes freeze very well without cooking. Simply remove the stem end and pack in a sealed freezer bag.
Yellow Watermelon When I decided to stop growing winter squash, pumpkins, and melons, I did make one exception. I think these small 4-5 lb. yellow watermelons are truly unique in their flavor and worth the space needed to grow them. I got more positive comments about these watermelons than anything else last year, so that's what really convinced me to continue growing them. I determine ripeness by three signs (in this order of importance, I've found) - 1) the small tendril where the watermelon fruit stem meets the watermelon vine is dead and shriveled, 2) there is a well developed yellow ground spot where the watermelon rests on the soil, and 3) ripe watermelons when tapped with a finger have a deep, resonant hollow sound. Unripe melons just sound dull.
Storage: Keep these watermelons whole or sliced in the fridge. They will keep best and have the best flavor upon slicing if they are kept cold, although watermelons can keep well for a few days without refrigeration.Their small size makes them easy to fit in a fridge (icebox melons!).
Recipe of the Week
Pico de Gallo
These is a great fresh salsa to have in the fridge this time of year. Literally translates as "beak of the rooster". How much it will peck you depends on how generous you are with the jalapeno! Use less at first and "walk it in", tasting as you go. I regret that I do not have cilantro right now, but I am including a jalapeno or two in the share this week for this recipe specifically.
YIELD - 2 1/2 cups
4 ripe roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaf, chopped (or more to taste!)
2 -3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped (less if desired)
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt to taste
- Combine all ingredients; cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- This tastes best the same day that it's made, but is okay the next day
Photo of the Week
It seems like this time of year I always have awesome local lunches. Pictured here (forgive the bluriness) is locally baked semolina rye bread (thanks shareholder Laura Engel!) topped with homemade baba ganoush made from farm eggplant AND garlic, with farm tomato, as well as store bought feta cheese. Below that is a lettuce salad with pickled cucumber and onion (all from farm). The top left portion of the plate is a vegetable curry made by my wonderful partner Emily (she makes a mean curry!), with all farm vegetables including carrots, peppers, potatoes, and more. And, of course, a can of La Croix sparkling water (we'll call it regional, produced in Michigan). Not pictured, yellow watermelon from the farm. To be able to eat this lunch on just about daily basis, this truly is the life!
SEND ME A PICTURE OF YOUR LOCAL LUNCH (OR DINNER). I'll post it on Facebook or put it in next week's newsletter. Make sure to tell me what the ingredients are!