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Week 8 Newsletter

August 2, 2016

In your box:

Beans

–Beets

–Broccoli

–Cabbage (full shares only)

–Endive

–Red onion

–Summer squash or cucumber

–Tomatoes

If there is one veggie by which we remember this farm season, so far the leading candidate is by far the green beans. Every year we plant the same amount of land to beans, but the resulting harvest varies from “mehhh” to “unhhh” to “great shakes, what do we do with all these beans!” This year we are definitely headed toward the latter category, as the beans are all struggling to outdo each other. I have far more beans ready to pick than I have time for their harvest, and I’m doing my best to keep up before the beans start to harden. During August I spend about 6 hours a week just harvesting green beans, and I can pick 25 pounds an hour if I’m not distracted by playing Pokemon Go (just kidding—I’m not even sure what this is. I just know it is something that is happening right now. But not to me).

I try not to overdo it with beans in your boxes, but I also hate to just throw the beans in our compost pile. So if you do find yourself overwhelmed with green beans, you might consider freezing them. To do this, just cook them up like usual for about 5 minutes. Once they are cooked through, spray them down with cold water to stop their cooking process. Pat them dry (roughly) and put the cooked beans into a freezer bag. They’ll keep in the freezer for 6-12 months, and can be thawed out for green bean casseroles, stir-fries, and side dishes all year long.

We are also coming into the prime season for tomatoes. I’m really surprised at how strong the harvest has been this early in the season, and it has me wondering if their peak of harvest might come in mid-August this year rather than around Labor Day as it usually does. Regardless, we’re already picking a surplus and we’ll have 10 lb. boxes available to anyone interested in canning or freezing them or making salsa. We charge $25 for a 10 lb. box of tomatoes, mostly the “meatier” tomatoes that process well with a few heirlooms thrown in for good measure. This is in addition to the usual tomatoes you’ll receive in your box. And the good of the whole CSA comes first—we only offer canning tomatoes during weeks when we have at least 1.5 lb of tomatoes for half shares and 3 lb. for full shares. If you are interested, please send me an e-mail and I’ll add you to our list. You can also let me know if there is a week that might work best for you to receive them.

Cucumbers and summer squash harvest were a little short this week, but the plants are full of flowers and baby fruit and it looks like they’ll bounce back soon. Full shares will receive one of each while half shares will receive one or the other this week.

This week’s box is pretty similar to what we had last week, with just a couple of exceptions. First of all, a new onion. These red onions are a specialty variety, “Red Long of Tropea.” They are supposed to be long and torpedo shaped and to thus be “different” and spark your interest. Instead, most of these onions—like our entire onion patch this year—grew to a huge size and don’t really resemble torpedoes in any sense. Basically, they are just big fat onions. As with the sweet onions, the tops on these are edible and they should be stored in the fridge for up to one month.

The other new entry is our lone harvest of Endive for the season. Endive is a relative of chicory and dandelions, just a couple cousins removed from head lettuce. Endive is extremely reliable in the heat of summer and doesn’t bolt to seed like most head lettuce does by the first week of August, so it’s a hearty stand-in for your salad this week. Endive is a little more bitter than lettuce, so if it’s not to your family’s liking you can also try wilting it over hot water for a couple minutes to sweeten the taste and tenderize the leaves.

Some of our distant neighbors have started putting up signs advertising sweet corn, and indeed it looks like ours might be ready before too long. I’m guessing the first ears will be ready in two more weeks. I’m not really sure what to expect this year as far as yield, but I’ll be thankful for any that our neighborhood raccoons decide to share with us….

Expected next week: Head lettuce, Yukon Gold potatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, beans, sweet onion, cabbage or broccoli, and tomatoes.

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