Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CSA Newsletter

Beans in bloom
Greetings from the Garden!  This box has lettuce and salad mix, broccoli, celery, Chinese cabbage, carrots, turnips, green onions, tomatoes, cucumbers,  zucchini, radishes, potatoes, beans and parsley or basil.

Field Notes.  Hot and dry.  Ken has harvested the garlic; it is curing and I will be pulling out the bulbs we will need to plant this fall.  Then garlic will start to appear in your box.  Ken has also been pulling shallots, and the onions will be next.  The garlic and onions are the first of the full season crops to harvest.

With this heat many of the heat loving crops have come in - the beans have begun.  As I picked these beans I could hear the buzzing of the bees and felt fortunate to have pollinators working for us!

Winter squash vines
In any given vegetable family, there are members who like it cool and as the saying goes, some like it hot.  In the legume family, peas like it cool and beans like it hot.  Spinach likes it cool and chard likes it hot.  And in extreme heat the heat loving crops may drop their blossoms and take a pause in production.  This happened last year and people became impatient waiting for tomatoes, peppers, etc. to keep their blossoms and set fruit.

About every five years I convince Ken to plant some early potatoes.  Tuesday we dug them and I remembered why I usually wait for late season potatoes.  Yields are notoriously low on early potatoes, their skins bruise easily, and they do not keep.  And it is just as much work for Ken to dig and me to pick whether there are few or many.  When I think of space and time requirements, these guys did not pull their weight.  Enjoy them while they last!

We need rain, but I am being careful what I ask for as last time I wished for rain we got over five inches.  And today we are getting some - glad it is not a downpour that does not soak into the soil!

From the Kitchen.  This is a real summer box.  Tomatoes have started. I usually use the small firm and plum tomatoes in sauces, the medium salad types in our salad, and the large ones I slice.  We like tomato sandwiches with homemade mayonnaise - one of the few times I eat white bread.  And I like to layer basil and a balsamic vinegar dressing.  Or just lightly salted and as they are.

These new potatoes require less cooking time.  The skins are a bit more delicate. The flavor is great.  No need to peel them - I just boil a few minutes and serve with butter, salt, pepper, and herbs.

Beans!  The first beans I usually steam and serve with oil or butter.  Beans are good in cream sauces, vegetable combinations, stir fry dishes, casseroles.  Beans freeze well.  If you want beans to freeze, call or email me and I will let you know when I have them. 

Cucumbers also speak of summer heat.  I usually run a fork down the length of the cuke to break up the less digestible skin - and the breaks are a nice visual element.  Once I slice cucumbers I usually salt and set aside for about a half hour.  This alters the chlorophyll  to sweeten the vegetable.  Yesterday I served cucumbers in a yogurt dressing with green onions.  Ken read a cooling summer drink of lemonade with cucumbers.  Once we have more I shall try it and report back.

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