In your box:
–Beans, squash or tomatillos
–Garlic, “Killarney Red”
According to the calendar, it is still August. According to my arbitrary method of breaking up the growing season into six-week segments, we are still in the midst of the “summer” season. Yet a few minutes outside without a coat suggests that autumn is already knocking on the door and maybe even pushing its way in.
There’s nothing finer than working outdoors in a light sweatshirt on a crisp afternoon under the hard blue brilliance of a fall sky. I’m not much for the hazy gray-blue of summer—it’s the pure blue of fall that refreshes me. So, even if it is still August, I’m happy as can be to work all day without sweating and to hurry between jobs just to keep my body temperature up. The crops, however, are still hoping for a little more summer. All of our fruiting crops need a generous amount of heat to carry on their reproduction and ripening, so a prolonged cold spell like this one throws off regular harvest patterns. Beans, cucumbers, and zucchini wait around, hardly growing as they wait to see if the weather will come back to bless their young fruits. Our watermelon and cantaloupe patch is a beautiful array of healthy vines, but the poor humble fruits are still tiny and nowhere near ripeness. So as much as I love working outdoors on a 65-degree day, for the sake of the plants I hope we get a little more heat before fall arrives for good.
Tomatoes, however, remain blissfully ignorant of the autumnal air mass over head. Monday’s harvest set my personal record for a one-day harvest with 265 pounds of red and orange goodness. There are still another 50 pounds at least in the field ready for harvest, but I ran out of bins for the first time ever and I don’t want to completely overwhelm you with tomatoes, anyway. This week I’ll break from my usual limits on the maximum weight of tomatoes in your box and provide 2 lb for half shares and 4 lb for full shares. If this is getting to be too much, tomatoes are easy to freeze—just set the whole thing in the freezer. It won’t be good raw once it thaws out, but you can process it for pizza or spaghetti sauce. Alternatively, you can blend or juice your surplus tomatoes (just remove the stems and throw the whole thing in a blender or food processor) and put them in a freezer container that way.
This week we offer Celery for the first time of the season. For our first few years we grew a tough, dark green variety that had many small stalks. We just stumbled upon this “Tall Utah” variety a couple years ago, and it has easily become a favorite. Celery is great as a raw snack, and is also essential in soups. If you have more than you can use, just chop it into fine pieces and freeze for up to six months.
This week we also have one of my favorite herbs, Sage. This is perennial green sage, not to be confused with annual white sage that is used for incense 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 completely dry. The bunch itself can also be hung to dry, with the leaves removed afterward. Once dry, the leaves may be stored in an airtight container. Try dried sage as a tea or baked in dishes or soups. Dried sage makes an incredible pizza topping, especially when paired with winter squash.
Mark your calendars: Our annual Fall Festival will be Sunday, September 27th from 3-6:30pm. Join us for farm tours, yard games, and a surprise visit from Donald Trump. Ok, Donald Trump is not invited. We will cap things off with a potluck dinner around 5pm. Bring lawn chairs, games, a dish to pass, table settings, and any questions you might have for Hillary Clinton. Ok, no questions. There will be no politicians here of any stripe—we promise. But we hope to have Jack-o-lanterns for the kids, some kind of craft that Nina always throws together, and a fabulous evening as we enjoy country life and refuse to engage in political discourse for one magical night. Note—we are hosting our party on a Sunday for the first time after feedback from members in the past. Also it was the only way to accommodate Jeb Bush’s schedule. Hope to see you here! (you, dear reader—not Jeb).