In your box:
–Kale, “Red Russian”
–Summer squash or cucumber
For the past few weeks we’ve been enjoying an incredible migration of Painted Lady butterflies. I’m not sure why the population has been so sizeable this year, but it seems to have something to do with perfect weather conditions for their reproduction. About three weeks ago we had a surge of Painted Ladies move in, and they are only now moving southward and decreasing their population here. I’ve planted several orange Mexican sunflowers and some native prairie perennial flowers to attract native pollinators, and they have been thick with these butterflies lately. They seem really reliant on sunlight, so as soon as the sun hits their flower in the morning they are busy all day until sunset. We have several hundred comfrey flowers on our property, and this seems to be among their favorites. It’s actually been tricky walking through our young orchard, where many of these comfrey are—it’s hard to move without running into a butterfly! I’m sure they will be moving south once the weather turns, but for now we’re loving this explosion of life among us.
Our lone new-comer this week is a head of savoy-leafed cabbage, my personal favorite. This is almost comparable to a Napa cabbage in its crispness, but has the storage life of regular green cabbage. It is great in a cole slaw or lightly wilted into a salad, and also works great in stews. I couldn’t keep the cabbage moths off of it this year, so there are some cosmetic issues. But as they say, you can’t taste the holes….
We have one final harvest of broccoli for the year, and the plants have done quite well this fall. The 90 degree heat has them a little confused, so some of them have started flowering. I’ve never seen this in autumn broccoli before, while it’s expected with the spring crop. The flowers are harmless and still tasty, and can be eaten raw or cooked with the rest of the broccoli head.
Even though we can’t quite shake the last of the summer heat, the changing of seasons is definitely upon us now. This week will be the last of the summer squash and cucumbers, as their plants have stopped flowering and won’t be producing any more fruits. This has been by far the most productive squash & cucumber year we’ve ever had, so I’m definitely not going to look down my nose at them for retiring now. Our tomatoes are also done in for the year, partly due to the shortening days but mostly due to a late blight that is killing off our plants. We have just a few plants that haven’t been effected, so enjoy the tomatoes in your box this week—it will be nine months until you taste any tomatoes this good again! Our sweet peppers have been slowing down the past couple weeks, but I’ll try for one more harvest next week and then be finished with them for the year.
This week I’m finishing off a couple beds of beets, so I’m providing more beets of smaller size than usual. I’m giving a mixture of red and gold beets—the gold ones having a tapered shape that resembles carrots, even while their greens are distinctly beet-like. Red and gold beets can be used interchangeably and have a similar taste. The only difference is that gold beets don’t bleed like red ones do, making clean-up much easier.
A quick note on the end of our season—after this box we still have four more to go. This will keep Tuesdays busy until October 24th. Since we started the season on a Thursday, their boxes will end the week before that. But since this falls on MEA weekend, and since Nina and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary with a child-free vacation, I’m planning to bump that delivery up a day to Wednesday, October 18th. All deliveries until then will still be on Thursdays, so this will only affect that final delivery. Please let me know if you need other arrangements for that last delivery. I will remind you before that final box, of course. Enjoy the next four weeks!
Don’t forget–our annual Fall Festival will be on Sunday, October 1st from 3pm until 6:30pm. Hope to see you on the farm!
Expected next week: Arugula, lettuce, garlic, storage onion, winter squash, carrots, komatsuna, sweet pepper.