In your box:
During this time of year I feel like I’m not really doing my job as a farmer-citizen unless I eat three square salads a day. There is so much green stuff in the garden in spring and early summer that it just seems right to enjoy some crispy lettuce or spinach with pretty much every meal. One good aspect of our climate is how rapidly the seasons change—and the garden produce with it. Just as soon as I can’t bear the sight of asparagus any more, its season is finished and we don’t have to try to figure out how to stuff asparagus into macaroni and cheese for another 10 months. The same with salad—after weeks of bountiful greens in every shape and color, and just as a fourth salad of the day doesn’t have quite the same appeal anymore, the calendar flips to July and salads are slowly ushered out in favor of brighter colors and different tastes from other parts of the garden.
I know we’ve been heavy on salad ingredients in the first few boxes, but it looks like we’re soon turning the corner on that season of the year. Lettuce, spinach, arugula, and sorrel are all cool-season crops and don’t handle the heat of summer very well. I still try to offer head lettuce throughout the summer as growing conditions allow, but for the rest of the season we expect to have greater diversity than we’ve had so far. And just when you’ve had your fill of cucumbers and tomatoes, the weather turns cool again and we’re able to enjoy some more great salads before they’re all covered in snow. So enjoy the last few big salads for a few weeks, and start clearing out room in the fridge as we work toward the the height of summer’s bounty.
The basil was a surprise this week, but much of our first planting is about to go to seed and I wanted to harvest it while it’s still in prime condition. Basil doesn’t tempt me too much without tomatoes to pair it with, but the leaves are great in pesto or spread on a simple pasta. We have two plantings of basil and expect a few harvests from each, so we’re sure to have more basil throughout the heat of the summer.
And speaking of tomatoes—I spied my first fruit starting to change color earlier today. It wasn’t red enough to pick it yet, but it’s a good sign that tomatoes are just around the corner. The heat and humidity have been a big blessing to peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, summer squash, and beans. All of these crops are looking great and we should start to see some of these typical summer crops in the following weeks.
We are pleased to offer Turnips this week after an earlier planting was flooded out. These are not the usual bitter fall turnips you might be used to, but a sweet white variety called “Hakurei.” These are quite sweet and tasty and we hope you enjoy them. You can chop them up and eat them plain or with a little salt. They are a great addition to a salad or they can be stir-fried as well. They do not need to be peeled unless they have any residual dirt on them you can’t get off.
We continue to get way too much rain, but we’re still avoiding destructive flooding. What has made this year so difficult is how frequently we’ve been getting rain. Just as soon as we start to dry out and I can think about planting a late crop or catching up on weeding, another thunderstorm pops up and we get another inch of rain. We have lost a few scattered crops in low spots where the rain puddles and sits stagnantly, but so far we haven’t seen any of the diseases that usually accompany wet and humid weather. So, while we haven’t had any catastrophic flooding despite all of the compiled rain, it certainly makes me apprecite a sunny day with low humidity!
Just a reminder to return your CSA boxes each week. There are two ways to do this, and it doesn’t make much of a difference to us. You can either bring your own bags or boxes to your delivery site and transfer everything out of your box and just leave the empty one there, or else take the box home for the week and bring it back empty when you pick up your new box the following week. These are a significant expense for us, so we appreciate your help and cooperation!
We hope you all have a safe and enjoyable 4th of July holiday! Nina and the boys will enjoy a parade and maybe some fireworks on Wednesday (unless the thunderstorm moves in too soon) and I’ll be staying well-hydrated as I pull weeds and start getting ready for Thursday’s CSA box. Hopefully your holiday is a little more enjoyable than sweating over weedy beets!
Expected next week: Salad mix, garlic scapes, chard, cabbage, kohlrabi, cucumber or zucchini, and baby beet greens.