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Week 6 Newsletter

July 29, 2011

 

In your box:

  • Beans or eggplant or raspberries
  • Carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Dill
  • Garlic
  • Head Lettuce
  • Scallions or sweet onion
  • Turnips (white)
  • Zucchini or broccoli

This week marks the most delightful transition from spring crops to the bounty of summer. While we miss the hearty greens of cooler weather, we’re excited to begin harvesting more of the crops with which more people are familiar.

New this week:

Carrots

are a little later than we might have hoped, due to a late planting, but they bring some much-needed color to our mid-season box. We are experimenting with some rare colors this year—reds and purples in addition to the usual orange. Unfortunately, they lose most of their coloring when cooked, so appreciate them before throwing them in the pot.

Cucumbers

are finally coming in sufficient quantities to allow every box one or two, with many more to come. While most of our cukes are standard, we do have a couple heirloom varieties that might be pointier or differently colored than you’re used to. We also grow Lemon Cucumbers, which are all yellow but used just as you would green cukes.

About the same time that doctors feared that breathing in basil would breed brain scorpions in humans, they also managed to find time to create a stir against consuming raw vegetables. One death was even blamed on over-consumption of cucumbers. Due to this paranoia over raw veggies in the late 17th century, cukes become most commonly called Cowcumbers, in that they were “fit only for consumption by cows.” While your friendly neighborhood cow would certainly appreciate a cucumber from your box, we recommend you eat them all yourselves.

And in case you were wondering, the phrase “cool as a cucumber” is quite apt—on a hot summer day, the inside of a cucumber keeps its temperature to as much as twenty degrees below the outside air.

Head lettuce

is now taking over for our salad mix. Lettuce does not germinate well over 60°, so trying to seed for the mixture is nearly impossible in most of July and August. By starting seeds for head lettuce in our basement, however, we can cheat the cruelties of a Minnesota summer and provide somewhat consistent head lettuce during the summer. Due to the excessive heat of the past few weeks, however, we have lost some smaller heads and we can’t rely on consistent head lettuce throughout the summer. We’ll provide it as it comes in, with the mixture returning in late September or October. This week, we’re including either an all green Romaine variety (“Winter Density”) or a broad-leafed red and green heirloom (“Grandpa Admire”).

Our Onions are now nearing full size, so we will phase out the smaller scallions (green onions) in favor of short-storage sweet onions and eventually red and yellow onions. Like scallions, all of a sweet onion is edible. Be sure to include the lower green growth, especially, when preparing these. Sweet onions do not store well, so be sure to refrigerate them and use them within 2-3 weeks.

Coming soon

: The joys of summer! Sweet corn, tomatoes, sweet peppers

Special thanks to the Mahannah family from our Chanhassen site for their help with harvesting on Friday.

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