In Your Box
- Cherry tomatoes
- Lettuce, “Concept” summer crisp
- Sweet Onion or green onions
- Sweet pepper
- Summer Squash
This weekend I was mowing our young orchard and I came across a massive hive of Bald-Faced Hornets. They were not especially aggressive as I watched their comings and goings, so I spied on them for a few minutes from a respectful distance. This hive has completely taken over a gooseberry bush with a basketball-sized nest, but in the past I’ve come across them under a pile of straw mulch. I got a little too close that time, accidentally spearing my scythe right into the hive and running for my life as they chased me across the field like some cartoon. I got three stings that time, all about as painful as a honeybee sting, so I marked the area off and I’ll let them run free this season.
I looked them up to see where they fall on the spectrum of beneficial to pestilential, and it looks like they can actually be helpful both with pollinating and eating insect pests. I also came across an incredible bit of farming lore from long ago:
“The farmer that killeth hornets in the spring shall eat no cabbage in the fall.”
I’ve tried really hard to fit this proverb into pretty much every conversation I’ve had since then, but never with any luck. The idea is that hornets kill and eat cabbage loopers, the little green worms that took over our broccoli this year. By letting the hornets to their own devices, the looper population should be held in check and the farm’s cabbage should come through the season ok. This was a pretty good sized hive, but I’m afraid it really hasn’t done much to help with our farm’s pests this year. Still, I encourage you to use the quote as you like this week. Especially if you are on a Zoom call with your boss.
This week’s box
This weekend was supposed to be the 15th annual Minnesota Garlic Festival, where you’ll always find me at the front gate welcoming people into the fairgrounds. Unfortunately the festival was canceled for the year, probably because someone killed a hornet last year and now we shall eat no cabbage this summer (do you see how brilliant that quote is, and how seamlessly you can fit it into casual conversation?). Our garlic is still drying out but I hope to have it ready for you next week.
Our sweet pepper crop is looking strong, and we have the first fruits ready to go this year. Just a few of them are reaching a full red maturity, so many of you will receive green peppers. We’ll supply peppers regularly for the next several weeks, so you should receive some green, red, and orange peppers. All of them are sweet peppers, with no spice to them. Most of what we grow are an elongated Italian heirloom called “Carmen,” which turns a deep red when mature. We do also have some bell peppers and a yellow variety called “Escamillo.”
Tomatoes are approaching the height of their season, and it looks to be a promising bounty over the next few weeks. If you would like to purchase extra tomatoes for freezing, canning, or making salsa, we offer 10 lb. boxes for $25. You’ll receive mostly paste and meaty tomatoes with some heirlooms mixed in for flavor. We should have more tomatoes than we can stuff in the boxes over the next few weeks, so send me an email and let me know when you would like them and how many boxes you are looking for. I only offer these when we have more tomatoes than the CSA needs, so the regular supply in your weekly boxes come first.
Refrigerator Pickled Beets
- 4 medium sized beets
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon (dry) ground mustard
- 5 whole black peppercorns
- Roast the beets. Chop off any greens, scrub them thoroughly, and wrap the roots in tin foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until a skewer or fork can enter the beet with little resistance.
- Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and mustard to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for a few minutes; take off the heat and allow to cool a bit.
- Add peppercorns and beets to a clean glass jar with a tight fitting lid. (This particular recipe fits nicely into a 1 liter sized jar.) Pour the brine in, covering all the beets.
- Cover and set aside for several hours (or up to 24), then transfer to the refrigerator. These will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
Next week should bring summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant, Dragon’s Tongue beans, carrots, basil, lettuce, ground cherries, peppers, and sweet onions.