In your box:
–Sweet onion or Scallions
This week’s box is a little different than I had planned a week ago, largely due to the good rains we received Wednesday night. We picked up over an inch and a half in a good summer downpour, which started just as I raced from the field back to the shed on my tractor. I was only about halfway back when the heavens opened, leaving me thoroughly soaked in the final minute of my tractor ride as I haphazardly parked it in the open space.
The rain was welcome as we make our way through summer, as many crops still have a lot of growing to do. The only downside is that it left the soil much too wet to dig up potatoes for everyone this week, so they will wait one more week while things dry out again. In their place we have actual beets, much welcome after a couple weeks of baby beets and greens. These have sized up nicely in just the two weeks since I thinned out their neighbors, and they have some more good growing coming up shortly.
This week we finish off all of our scallions for the year and start to offer sweet onions in the box. Sweet onions are delicious raw or cooked, and the greens can be used just as with green onions. They don’t store for as long as the yellow and white storage onions we’ll offer in September, so they should be used up within a few weeks. They can be kept for up to a month and are equally happy in the fridge or in a cool, dark pantry.
I was delighted to find the first tomatoes of the season for this week, and it looks like we’re in for a great season as we flip the calendar to August. Most of what I’ve picked so far are “Juliet,” an heirloom variety that produces absurd amounts of plum tomatoes consistently throughout the growing season. These are not as stand-out tasty as some of the heirlooms that are still ripening, but they have a great meaty texture and hold together well in a salad or chopped onto your favorite dish.
I’ve also started picking cherry tomatoes this week. We’ve again planted a red variety called “Jasper” and a slightly larger orange variety called “Sungold.” These continue bearing throughout the tomato season, so I will keep track of who has received them and make sure that everyone gets to try some cherry tomatoes this year, as long as the harvest continues.
We have sadly picked the last of our spring raspberries, which ended up being kind of a dud after such a promising start. Only about half of you have received raspberries yet this season, but we do have a fall variety that will come on in late August and continue until our first fall frost. If you have not yet received berries, you will be first in line to get these fall berries.
I had hoped to start offering beans in your box this week, but unfortunately it looks like we need to wait one more week before their harvest begins. The plants look very healthy and are full of flowers, so I’m confident we’ll have a good bean season—just as soon as they’re ready!
While we wait on beans, I noticed that our escarole has reached a good size. Batavian Broad Escarole looks a lot like our head lettuce this week, so I recommend you google the term to note the difference. You can also try them—the head lettuce is soft and sweet, while the escarole leaf is more solid and bitter. Escarole is also known as endive, but true endive is much more bitter and resembles dandelion greens, while escarole is more versatile and can be eaten raw.
Escarole mixes well into a raw salad, where you can best appreciate its nutrients (vitamins A, B, and C as well as calcium, iron, and phosphorus). If the taste is too bitter, it can also be sauteed and used as a cooking green in place of spinach.
Expected next week: Parsley, head lettuce, cucumber, squash, potatoes, chard, sweet onion, beans and tomatoes.