Saturday, August 11, 2012

CSA Newsletter

Onion bed post harvest -ready for next planting
Greetings from the Garden!  This box has salad and heirloom tomatoes, peppers, Asian eggplant, cucumbers, zucchini, green onions, beans, cabbage, lettuce, kale, basil, and the first corn.

Field Notes.  We got welcome rain last week!  All the crops looked less stressed after the rain.  We are still in rainfall deficit, and are grateful for what ever we do get. 

Last week began the "fall" harvest as Ken got up the red, Walla Walla and yellow storage onions.  The onions are the first of the crops harvested for the fall and winter.  As the days shorten and the nights cool down, I think of the story of the ant and the grasshopper.  Each crop is important, and weather this time of year is crucial.  The lack of rain means the difference between storage cabbage heads that weigh four or eight pounds.  This year with less rain, the root crops look smaller, but should keep better in storage.  And too much rain this time of year could mean melons aren't as sweet or winter squash that are like water balloons and won't keep.  We shall wait and see!

Onions drying in field
From the Kitchen.  Each August we have a week or two where growing lettuce is a challenge.  Lettuce likes cool, damp weather, and we have had a hot, dry summer.  When its eight week growing time is hot and dry, the lettuce has a stronger flavor and tougher leaves.  Gone are the huge spring tender heads - they will return in fall once it cools down.  And why am I writing this in the cooking section?  Because if there is lettuce in this week's box, you might want a stronger flavored dressing to suit the greens.  Garlic, for instance.  And there are other vegetables to use for salads.

Tomatoes are so versatile.  I like to cut them in chunks or wedges and dress with a combination of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic or onion and chopped basil.  Whenever I bring this to a pot luck, the serving bowl is empty when I come to collect it.

And cucumbers are versatile, too - sliced, salted and dressed with something creamy like yogurt, or an Asian dressing.  Another salad vegetable during the heat of the summer.  Ken just saw a recipe to add cucumbers to beverages with lemons for a refreshing hydrating alternative.

As for green, there is basil.  Certain flavors are summer flavors.  Basil is one.  Basil and garlic are great combined as pesto.  Pesto can be frozen for winter use.  Some people use an ice cube tray to freeze pesto cubes so they can add a small amount to recipes.  They pop the cubes once frozen into a freezer bag.  I tend to use freezer jam jars with a thin layer of olive oil to maintain the deep green color.

Ken made eggplant pickles from a recipes he found on the internet.  Quite good!

'Til Next Week!

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