In your box:
- Bok Choy
- Daikon Radishes
- Salad Mix
- Summer squash, cucumber, eggplant, or tomatillos
- Sweet Pepper
As I was harvesting the pittance of cucumbers and summer squash still ripening in the fields today, for the first time all year I really didn’t want to be doing it. I have harvested “zukes” and “cukes,” as we call them, for the past ten weeks. I’ve now brought in 707 pounds of summer squash and 755 pounds of cucumbers this season. The plants look miserable. And, after this week, I think it’s time to let them rest. We have had an early September frost in the last three seasons, which kills off these crops and many more. Although we’ve had only patchy frost yet this year, the plants are clearly in decline and I think I’ll tip my cap as I end their season with this week.
Perhaps you’re as ready to be done with these summer stand-bys as I am ready to be done picking them. Keep in mind, though, that soon enough there will be no fresh fruits from Minnesota, as we embark on a long winter of produce from root cellars and a distant hemisphere. With that in mind, I thought I’d share a poem this week that came my way from a good friend. As you crunch your twelfth cucumber of the year, I hope you find in it enough summer blossom to last you through the dark winter.
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
Of course, we’re not nearly done with fruiting crops. Tomatoes, peppers, and a few eggplant should hold on for another week or so. And pie pumpkins and winter squash are soon to follow! Most excitingly, next week I’ll begin digging up sweet potatoes. This is our first foray into the crop, so I’m not promising anything. But our fingers are crossed for a bounty beneath the soil. Smell those sweet potato fries already….
The onset of fall brings some new root veggies, including the Daikon Radish. These are also known as Japanese Radishes or Mooli. Unlike spring radishes, these are mild in flavor and are still desirable once they’ve grown to a large size. Daikons look just like parsnips or white carrots, but with much broader foliage. While Daikons are usually associated with Japan and Japanese cuisine, they are thought to have originated in continental Asia. The root does not need to be peeled, and can be eaten raw or in a dish. Store it in the fridge, in either the hydrator drawer or a plastic bag, for up to two weeks. The greens are edible but do not store as well as the roots.
This week we have a new (to us) variety of red Bok Choy. If this isn’t the most beautiful veggie we grow, it’s gotta be near the top of the list. This can be used just like Tat Soi or Chinese Cabbage, and lends a great crunch to any stir-fry.