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Week 11, 2010

August 27, 2010

 

  • Basil
  • Beans or summer squash
  • Cabbage or kohlrabi
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Hot pepper
  • Potatoes, Red Norland
  • Sweet onion
  • Sweet pepper
  • Tomatoes

 After weeks of relentless heat and humidity, we poor farmers greeted the cooler weather and chilly nights with great enthusiasm last week. The air had a touch of fall, even though we know that summer weather is far from over. It brought a welcome promise of rest, comfort, and enjoyment of all that we’ve been able to set aside throughout this growing season. As exciting and promising as the summer months are, it is around this time of the year that I secretly start hoping for a frost that will kill all of our cold-sensitive crops, ripen the winter veggies, and bring back salad greens.

For a few weeks at the end of August and beginning of September, the boxes are predictably regular. We alternate the herbs and cooking greens for a little variety, but overall things stay pretty standard. As the weather cools, however, we will start sending out the fall crops: leeks, rutabagas, winter squash, pumpkins, and parsnips. I’m even hoping for a minor miracle, in the form of a successful crop of fall broccoli. Stranger things have happened…

After this weekend, I will be without my faithful partner, garden volunteer, and entertainer as Nina heads back for teacher orientation this week and kids after Labor Day. I couldn’t keep the farm going without Nina’s help throughout the summer, and she will be missed. Thankfully, by now the important weeds have been pulled and the gardens can somewhat just coast into the fall. I would appreciate help on harvest mornings, especially Fridays. For most of the summer I have two or three helpers to wash the veggies and pack the boxes, but starting September 10th I will be on my own. If you are interested in helping out, volunteers are greatly appreciated any time between 7am and noon on both Tuesdays and Fridays. Please call the farm if you are interested. I’ll even show you our rare tree that produces Newman’s Own Ginger-O cookies….

I feel that I’m giving too much Basil this summer, but we have it in abundance. I had a few plantings of dill and cilantro that failed to germinate, so I’m largely short on other herbs. If you have more basil than you can use in a given week, try hanging it up to dry. Once all the water is removed from the leaves, blow off any dust and crumble the leaves into a jar for dried basil throughout the summer. If you have supplies to make pesto, it can also be frozen through the winter. Either make up a batch or set aside leftovers when making pasta and keep it in an air-tight container in the freezer until you’re ready for it.

In addition to the cantaloupe, watermelons, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant that sneak into the boxes each week, we will also be sending out some close tomato relatives: Ground (or husk) cherries and Tomatillos. We don’t have enough to give every box some of these, but we’ll keep track of who receives them and try to spread the joy. Both of these crops come in husks that should be removed prior to usage. Ground cherries are small and yellow/orange and are generally munched on raw or baked into “fruit” crisps. Tomatillos grow until they burst out of their paper husks, are green with hints of yellow or purple, and common in Mexican cuisine. Try them in homemade salsas or green sauces.

Even though much of our Carrot harvest was swallowed up by standing water from our rains in early August, we will continue to give out what crop we do have, every other week, until we run out. Likewise, our Onions did not fare well with the wet weather. These stayed wet and muddy in the fields while growing, so that the outer layers ended up forming around the mud and moisture within. As a result, any with this contamination are rotting quickly. We do our best to feel for soft spots and squishy spots, but I fear that some foul onions might make it into the boxes. If possible, remove any rotting areas from the onions and enjoy the rest.

A couple weeks ago, I predicted the imminent death of our green beans. The beans have since proven me wrong, but the harvest has become so small that it’s no longer worth the time to pick them. So this is the last of the beans until next July.

Please note: Our last delivery will be Week 17, on October 8th and 12th

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