Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Harvest Newsletter

Greetings from the Garden!  This week's box has corn, potatoes, tomatoes, ripe bell peppers, hot peppers, eggplant, summer squash, Walla Walla sweet onions, red or Chinese cabbage, Kale, basil and parsley.

Field Notes.   The news here is two fold - RAIN (over 3") and a fast switch from hot (nearly 90 to cooler than usual - an evening temperature under 50 degrees.  The plants and animals had a job to acclimate to forty degree weather shift in less than 48 hours!  Even the farmers were a bit stressed.  Ken says we have been on the edge of too much rainfall most of this season.  In some ways it was a relief after a dry spring and a few years of drought.  The crops look great!  The down side of so much rain is that along with crops growing so well, the weeds are going great gonzos - a phrase from Ken.  He is working diligently to keep weeds cultivated, pulled, or even in some situations mowed so they do not set seed for next season.

Last Tuesday we took a filed trip in the rain to Spooner.  Why?  The Spooner U W Extension agricultural station has test plots and we really enjoy seeing all the field trials of vegetables and fruit.  There are also samples and we discovered a great tasting new tomato and hot pepper.  There are also speakers and Ken spoke to the state fruit expert from River Falls about hardy root stock for apple trees and varieties of raspberries.  And for those of you who read northern Wisconsin newspapers a reporter from the Washburn County newspaper insisted on snapping our photos as we were the only folks (except the master gardener directing folks to the ag station) out in the rain looking at the garden!  It was a nice get away and we each learned new things.

From the Kitchen.  With shorter days, Ken has been in the kitchen in the early morning and later evening.  He made a great chowder for lunch with onion, some pork, ripe red pepper, potatoes, and sweet corn he cut off the cob in a pork stock.  Delicious!

Here is his chocolate zucchini cake

Ken has also been experimenting with a savory "ketchup."  He wants to make a tomato based sauce that has no sugar in it.  He cored and cooked some tomatoes, let the juice drain off, and then ran everything else - tomatoes, peppers, celery, onions and some garlic through a food mill, then ran the pulp through a juicer and then put the sauce in the large crock without the lid to condense.  Then he canned the juice in large jars and the "ketchup" in pints.  We both really like it.

'Til Next Week , Judith

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