In your box:
–Potatoes, “Red Gold”
This week we finally welcome beans to our box, and they will be a regular for the next five weeks or so. This week I’m mostly finding green beans with some yellows starting to reach full size. We have also planted purple beans and a yellow/purple variety called “Dragon’s Tongue” that should find their way into your box in the next week or two. All of our beans should be kept in the fridge until you use them up. If you boil them for a side dish, I recommend just 3-5 minutes of boiling time. Otherwise they turn to mush and you’ll be responsible for turning off a whole generation to the simple delights of well-prepared green beans!
I’ve finally dug up the last of our scallions for this year, so for the rest of the way we will have full-sized onions. This week we have red onions, still with the tops attached and edible. These are all supposed to be a torpedo-shaped Italian heirloom called “Red Long of Tropea.” But they don’t seem to have germinated true to seed, since many of them are the usual round shape of more familiar red onions. Either way, the uses are the same. A slice of red onion, a couple leafs of lettuce, a slice of tomato—this week’s box is demanding some kind of burger to go under it!
I was also able to take advantage of the recent lull between rain storms to dig up our first potatoes of the year. This year I planted three varieties: a white cooking spud called “Kennebec,” a tasty yellow one called “Yukon Gold,” and the “Red Gold” variety I’ve started digging up. Red Gold potatoes have red skins and yellow flesh and have a much better taste than the red/white spuds available in stores (and don’t get me going on the $0.33/lb “potatoes” available in gas stations…..).
What’s that? You’re wondering why I’m so mad about underpriced potatoes in gas stations? Ok, I’ll vent a little bit. First of all, no potatoes cost 33 cents for a pound. If you ever see this, know that the gas station is willing to take a loss on the potatoes to get you to come to their store and grab a bag of potatoes while you fill up your vehicle with fossil fuels. They are paying more than 33 cents a pound from the farmer and making up the difference with sales from gas and donuts. But the public sees spuds for a third of a dollar and generally thinks that this is what potatoes should cost. This is not what potatoes cost. And when I value mine at $2.00 a pound ($2.50 if I could get away with it), it makes me look like the greedy 1 percenters that Bernie Sanders warns us about. I am not in the 1%. I dig my potatoes with a digging fork, the sweat of my brow, and an aching back. I don’t have a tractor-mounted digger because my potatoes are spread all over the garden so that potato bugs and disease won’t wipe out my whole crop. So I dig them at about the rate of 40 pounds per hour and spend another 30 minutes or so washing them. So if I can dig and wash them for 30 pounds an hour and value them at $2.00, I’m valuing my time at $60/hour. I have to subtract for fertilizer, gas and time to deliver them, and time spent weeding, but this is still a livable wage. This is what potatoes cost. If I had to value them at $0.33 a pound I would give up and find out what a hedge fund manager is and try that job. This ends the venting segment of this newsletter.
Starting to amass an army of cucumbers and squash in your fridge? Be sure to try out the pickling recipes, below. Of course, the crops will still be in your fridge…. But they’ll be in a different form, which at least will make you feel like your fridge is under control.
Expected next week: Parsley, head lettuce, cucumber, squash, beet greens, escarole, pepper, sweet onion, beans and tomatoes.