In your box:
–Cucumber, summer squash, or eggplant
After a whole growing season of nearly perfect weather, I suppose we were do for a little disaster…. We picked up 4” of rain on Wednesday night of last week, along with another half inch on Friday and light sprinkles on Saturday and Monday. All of this rain pushed us to 6.5” of rain in the past two weeks, which is more than we typically receive in all of July, August, and September combined. This is much more precipitation than the ground can possibly soak in, so we are having some issues with flooding and rot in the field. Nothing is too dramatic, thankfully, but with more rain in the forecast this week I’m hoping we can dodge any more significant storms.
Besides crops that just died, the biggest problem is that I can’t get in to many parts of the field. I went out to pick beans today only to find that I physically couldn’t. The water level had receded, but there was still so much moisture in the rows that the pathway was a minor level of quicksand. After picking a handful of beans I was already in up to my ankles, and removing my feet became a bit of an Olympic accomplishment. Wanting to keep my shoes and my life, I opted to not destroy the entire field and simply save the beans for another day. As long as things stay dry, I should be able to get back in to pick beans for you again next week. In the meantime, I recommend you make the most of this off-week to finish up any old bags of beans lurking in your fridge….
The carrots will be ok as long as they don’t sit in the water table for too long and begin to rot back from their tips. Scraping mud off of individual carrots is against the United Nations charter on human rights, so instead I’ll switch the schedule around and pick beets (which sit mostly above ground) this week and hold off on carrots until next week.
Other losses include two weeks of head lettuce, which rotted from sitting in a puddle for too long, pickle-variety cucumbers, and many tomato plants (not that you’ll notice—the tomatoes that are still alive are in the height of their production!). There are a few more losses here and there from plants in the low spot of their row, but things are remarkably ok for having received so much moisture at this time of year.
This is the first time this year that we’ll be offering sweet peppers in your box. Most of our peppers are a beautiful long Italian heirloom called “Carmen.” This pepper is so charming and eager to grow in Minnesota that it takes up half of our pepper patch, while the rest is devoted to the usual bell-shaped peppers. None of our peppers are spicy, but can be used in any recipe calling for “sweet” or “bell” peppers. Our peppers slowly ripen to red, but waiting for them to all ripen puts us in jeopardy of a frost-kill during most growing seasons. So I start picking any that are ripe and others that are green (still perfectly edible) about every other week until their season runs out at the first frost of fall.
This week marks the last of our sweet onions for the season. We have a great stock of red, red torpedo, and yellow storage onions available to get us through the season, and many of them look about as big as our sweet onions have been.
Speaking of onions, we will be having a field day here on this Saturday, August 20th, to pick all of the storage onions still in the field, clean them, and bring them in to dry and cure. The work will range from picking, snipping off the root with scissors, thumbing off any remaining dirt, and transporting them into the greenhouse for sorting and drying out. We’d love to have a great group out to help and to see the farm! We’ll aim to start around 10am and stop for a picnic lunch at noon. You can also pick raspberries that afternoon and take any you pick home with you. You’ll need boots that can get muddy, a picnic lunch and supplies, water, sunscreen, and bug spray. Kids, friendly dogs, and un-friendly kids are all welcome. Please e-mail me if you are interested in coming out to the farm on Saturday, in case there are any weather-related changes to the plan. Our address is: 17250 County Road 122 / New Germany 55367. Thanks! Hope to see you out at the farm this Saturday or at our fall harvest celebration in late September.
If you are hesitant about beets, we recommend concealing them in chocolate muffins! See this week’s recipe for a great way to win over anyone who thinks they don’t like beets.
Expected next week: Kale, carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, beans, red onion, sweet corn, garlic, and tomatoes.