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Week 13 Newsletter

September 11, 2014

In your box:

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower (full shares)
  • Celery
  • Garlic (“Lorz Italian”)
  • Kale (“Winterbor”)
  • Onion
  • Sweet pepper
  • Tat Soi
  • Tomatoes

Remember in elementary school when you learned about the seasons? How they go in order, with one season changing beautifully and slowly into the next? With the weather this “fall,” we might have to chalk that one up to “Lies my teacher taught me.” For some reason, we seem to have skipped fall altogether and over just one night.

It looks like we will almost certainly get our first frost this weekend, probably on Friday night when we dip down to 36 degrees. This will set our farm record for the earliest frost ever, besting (or worsting?) 2011 by two nights. Frost will kill off some crops that have slowed dramatically anyway, including cucumbers, zucchini, and beans. It will put a merciful end to our melon bed, which hasn’t produced anything anyway (too cold this summer). But it will also bring the demise of our tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, raspberries, and basil, all of which are still producing wonderfully.

The good thing about the change in weather is that we finally have a box that is dramatically different from the one before it. For most of the summer, the boxes are quite repetitious. But when they are stuffed with tomatoes and green beans, there’s not much to complain about. This week we will usher in the first of our fall crops, starting with broccoli and tat soi.

Our spring planting of Broccoli did fairly well this year, and in fact we are still harvesting a few heads from those plants (they are usually done in early August). But broccoli loves the fall, and we have some giant heads ready to go this week. We have just a few heads of cauliflower ready, so we will start those for the full shares. We hope to have enough for all of the half shares before the end of the year.

Tat Soi is another crop that loves the fall. If you’re not familiar with this, it is the crop with long green spoon-shaped leaves and white stems. It is most common in Asian cuisine and is a member of the cabbage family, most closely related to Bok choy. We had good success with our spring planting right up until it all flooded out on the first harvest of the year. Thankfully, the rain has finally moderated and we’ve got a beautiful crop of Tat Soi ready now.

To use tat soi, cut off the root base but keep the stems attached to the leaves. Wash them well and add them to a stir-fry, wilt them and add to pasta, or chop into ribbons and add to lasagna or a hot dish.

We also have a different variety of kale, “Winterbor.” This frilly-leafed variety is probably more common in grocery stores and restaurants, and it is used in exactly the same way as the “Red Russian” we had earlier in the year.

Enjoy your tomatoes this week! Their days are numbered….

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