Tuesday, July 30, 2013

CSA Newsletter

squash blossoms
Greetings from the Garden!  This week's box has tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, bok choy, turnips and beets, green onions, basil.

Field Notes.  Well, it has been dry.  Monday night's rain was about a half inch.  Optimum rainfall for growing food is an inch each week.  Although we started the season wet and cool, Ken cannot remember measurable precipitation since early July.  What has saved us has been the years of growing the organic matter in the soil.  Ken read last winter that for each percentage point of organic matter, the soil can hold an inch of water.  So our 6% organic matter provides a buffer when there is no rain.  Other farmers are often shocked at how little we irrigate.  This is the reason why.

corn, potatoes, squash
The cool nights have been nice for sleeping, but they really have stalled the ripening of crops like tomatoes and peppers that like it hot.  We actually experienced a period of dropped blossoms on beans and hot weather plants.  This means a gap in production.  Temperatures did not read above 90 or below 50 degrees, so we are wondering if all our pollinators chose the basswood blossoms over our vegetables!  We encourage native pollinators and have seen bumble bees this season, and Ken has been adding supers to his hives, so the honey bees are busy, too.  We are hoping for a good honey year.  

planting future greens
Field work continues.  Thank you to all who have helped us in catch up due to Ken's horrible reaction to a spider bite.  He is continuing to get better, but tires easily.  This week we will be harvesting the main crop of onions, and then focus shifts to fall crops.

From the Kitchen.  Once the hot weather crops start, I shift focus from lettuce salads to other options - tomato salad, cucumber salad, grilled vegetables like zucchini, and other greens like Chinese cabbage, cabbage, bok choy,  kale and chard - salads and slaws.

zuchetta and "regular" zucchini
 One of our favorite summer squashes is an Italian variety called zuchetta or trombochino. This long summer squash has all its seeds on the bulbous blossom end.  The flesh is firm and stays firm - great for grilling or ratatouille.

Last week I made a tomato salad (from the blemished tomatoes).  I use a combination of balsamic vinegar and olive oil with finely sliced ribbons of basil.  After I served it the guests asked me to bring it to their pot luck! A friend does the same combination, but instead of wedges he slices tomatoes, drizzles the dressing between and reassembles them.  He serves by slicing with a sharp knife - very beautiful presentation.

'Til next Week, 

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