In your box:
- Chinese Cabbage
- Head Lettuce
- Kale, Red Russian
- Scallions (green onions)
- Sugar Snap Peas
This past week has been a great one for watching corn grow and farmers collapse from heat exhaustion. Actually, we’ve modified our schedule during this obscene heat wave to maximize our work hours in the early morning and evening, with some much-needed siestas in the hazy afternoons. Of course, it’s not really not that much of a break to work in the mornings if it’s already 82 degrees when we get out of bed. The mosquitoes have also been bloodthirsty, although they kindly step aside when deer flies approach to torment us. All in all, it’s been a pretty miserable week. But we’re able to get away for a couple days of vacation this weekend to my uncle’s cabin, so we can recuperate and spend plenty of time washing our sweat off deep in Big Bass Lake.
The farm seems to have come through this heat wave well, aided by good soil moisture at the beginning of the week and sporadic rains throughout. However, most crops exert their energy staying alive and don’t focus much on growing or producing fruit in such heat and humidity. Our main concern was that all of our fruiting crops have a tendency to drop their flowers when the heat persists overnight, resulting in a delay of fruits and legumes like green beans, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. Thankfully, the plants and their young fruits seem to have survived and should be growing rapidly once the temperature moderates.
Our main new addition this week is Chinese Cabbage, also known as Napa Cabbage. This crop is very intolerant of heat, so we have harvested it before its heads have fully formed. The entire plant is edible, however, and the outer leaves can be used just as well as the inner head leaves. We plant these again for the fall, when the cooler weather is more favorable to their growth. Napas keep well for up to two weeks in the hydrator drawer of your fridge. It can be eaten raw (chop it into fine pieces), shredded into cole slaw, steamed, or stir-fried. It can be used in any recipe calling for traditional cabbage, but reduce the cooking time by about two minutes. Both the stems and the leafy greens should be eaten. Try it in soup, egg rolls, mashed potatoes, or fried rice. As with any cabbage, over-cooking leads to an unpleasant aroma that might even be enough to drive everyone out of the air-conditioned house during these hot days….
We also introduce Sage for the first time ever in our boxes. A perennial herb, we planted this last year and expect harvests well into the future. There is a similar crop, White Sage, that is an annual and grown primarily for inscence and decoration. This green sage is commonly used in stuffings and soups, but its leaves can be eaten raw in salads, omelets, marinades, and meat dishes. If you don’t have a use for it currently, it can be stored by removing the leaves from the stem and placing on cloth or paper in the shade until dry. The bunch itself can also be hung to dry, with the leaves removed afterwards. Once dry, the leaves may be stored in an airtight container. Try dried sage as a tea or baked in dishes or soups.
Please remember to return your boxes weekly. These cost us just under a couple dollars each, but we are able to reuse them all year. Also, it is helpful to save room at delivery sites and to save me time in loading if you collapse the boxes. To do this, flip them upside down. The shorter ends fold up and out, allowing the longer sides to fold up and the whole box to smash down flat. Thanks for your help!
We hope everyone has had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July, and that you’ve been able to stay cool or submerged in a pleasant body of water!