In your box:
–Baby beet greens
–Kale, “Red Russian”
–Turnips or summer squash
Somewhere in rural Carver County, likely within a mile of Fox and Fawn Farm, rests a deer with exquisite taste. No hum-drum garden fare for him—not baby beets, a fine salad mix, flowers, or tender tree growth. No, this deer fancies only the finest hearts of lettuce. And, specifically, only those grown at Fox and Fawn Farm.
Last night I checked on the fields and examined the crops I hoped to harvest this week. I was struck by the head lettuce, massively oversized and still a few days shy of bolting (producing flowers for seed and turning bitter). I noted the numerous heads of perfect size and shape and thought with pleasure of the sandwiches and salads by which you’d enjoy this week’s head lettuce.
Then this morning I awoke and went to harvest the lettuce, just after dawn when the taste is the sweetest and the early rays of sun would remind me just how beautiful it truly was. Whistling a tune and patting myself on the back for being such an amazing lettuce grower (or was I swatting mosquitoes?), I ventured out into the field but stopped dead at the sight of a deer hoofprint. And a head of lettuce with its heart nibbled out. Then another, then another, all the way down the row. Some tattered leaves sat discarded in the aisle, rejected by this snobbish deer as it continued mowing down the row. All told, the deer ate only as much as perhaps one whole head of lettuce. But by eating only the exceptionally sweet center, it ate one hundred bites out of one hundred different heads of lettuce. This deer—obviously a Wall Street banker and a member of the 1%–ruined an entire crop of head lettuce within hours of me harvesting it and providing it for you. So there are no heads of lettuce this week in your box, thanks to a very picky deer. Provided he has had his fill and never comes back, we’ll forgive him this time. But if he ever pays us another visit we’ll have to talk to Donald Trump about building a wall around our field—and making the deer pay for it.
We will have a couple weeks off of the head lettuce as I continue to harvest the loose leaf salad mix. I do have more head lettuce coming in a few weeks once it becomes too hot for the salad mix to keep up. I aim to provide lettuce for every week of the season, but between deer and heat waves it can be a little tricky.
The bok choy in your box is the “miracle crop” of the week. I had given up on it a few weeks ago when the leaves turned brown and started to flake off of the plants. On a whim I peeled off the browned leaves and left just the tiny green core of the plant to keep trying in the field. With a little patience, they’ve bounced back incredibly well and are a welcome addition to your box. In case you’re not familiar with bok choy, this is the cabbage-shaped vegetable with deep green leaves and pure white stalks. Bok choy is great in any stir-fry, as its stalks add some welcome crunch and the nutrient-dense leaves add some great flavor. I’m sure there are other options for bok choy, but it’s so good in a stir-fry that we haven’t branched out from that option. With the scallions, garlic scapes, and kale, you’re well on your way to a delicious and nutritious stir-fry in just one CSA box.
This week brings the final harvest of our garlic scapes. Now that the garlic is reduced to reproducing itself exclusively via its cloves, it will start filling out the delicious root with everything that makes garlic so essential. The bulbs will continue growing for about another month, at which point the greens on top will begin to wilt and the growth period will be finished. I’ll yank them out of the ground around August 1st, hang them out to dry, and start adding garlic heads to your box a couple weeks after that.
This is also the last harvest of the sweet turnips I’m so crazy about. We do grow the usual storage turnip along with their close cousin, rutabagas, for harvest late in the fall. We ran a little shy on them in the boxes this week, so some of you will receive summer squash instead. Our squash plants look amazing this year—much better than they have in recent years. As long as they stay healthy, we should have a bumper crop of zucchini and other squash for the next few weeks.
The next few weeks will bring a lot more of our “summer” crops as the boxes become a little more diverse each week. Fennel and kohlrabi look like they’ll be ready for next week, and we should have cabbage and Chinese cabbage soon after that. Cucumbers are close behind, and the tomato plants are heavily-laden with green fruits just waiting for a little more heat.