2016 CSA Share 13
More rain this week on the farm, and the plants are soaking it up, the corn tasseling and tomatoes ripening. New this week from the garden are the first cabbage of the season, the first purple and yellow beans, and a return of more kale. In the garden Farmer Figgins has been focusing on clearing aisles and mulching with a thick later of wood chips. Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, tomato hornworms and squash beetles are making their presence known, and taking a few plants down with them. Neem oil can help with the squash beetles, but tomato hornworms have to be manually squashed, and there are always new ones appearing. Luckily the tomatoes in the garden are just starting to ripen as the tomato hornworms do their most damage in the greenhouse, taking bites out of green and ripening fruit alike and stripping the tomato vine of all its foliage and fruit.
Out on the pasture the sheep and cow are keeping cool and enjoying the regrowth of grass since the last cutting and after the new influx of rain. The chickens have been free ranging and helping peck through and spread our cow Rosie's manure on her pasture. We have a few too many old hens though, and we'd like to put 10-20 in our freezer this fall. If anyone is interested in joining us this fall for a chicken processing date, lending a hand or learning the process from us, we'd be happy to have you!
One of our sows, Buffy (right), will be due with piglets in early September. She's just starting to show some udder growth and filling in. We'll be separating her from the rest of the pigs soon, with a hut to give shelter when she farrows. All of her piglets will be for sale, after 5 weeks old minimum. We prefer to raise pigs for meat seasonally, but these piglets would need to be finished inside. Our other sow, Cordelia, has not been cooperative in having her tested for standing heat, so we may be considering having her go with a boar in the late fall. We do still have Pasture Raised Pigs for sale for your freezer for this fall/winter, contact us if you are interested in getting some Shire Farm pork for your freezer.
New this week is cabbage! Try some Sauerkraut or Coleslaw or Corned Beef and Cabbage this week. We always enjoy making egg rolls with our home grown cabbage, which is another way to use some onion, kohlrabi, and cucumber! Below is a good template for making egg rolls, but feel free to change up some of the ingredients.
More lemon and long green cucumbers this week. Resembling a lemon, these cucumbers originated in the Middle East and have a mild pleasant taste complemented by a cool, crisp texture. The flavor is more delicately sweet and less acidic than the common green cucumber. The time bristles are edible but may be easily removed. These are dual purpose cucumbers, great for enjoying fresh or pickling. Try adding them to a sandwich, wrap, or pasta salad or making a cucumber salad.
Also known as the Mexican husk tomato, this plant is in the nightshade family along with tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes. It bears small, spherical green, yellow, or green-purple fruit inside paper-like husks. They are the central ingredient in Mexican and Central-American green sauces. They keep longer with the husks removed and refrigerated in plastic bags and can be frozen whole or sliced.
Our tomatoes in the field are starting to turn red, starting with the roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, just in time as the greenhouse tomatoes begin to fall under the onslaught of tomato hornworms. Everyone gets an heirloom slicer, red tomatoes, and snacking tomatoes this week.
Cubanelle, jalapeño, poblano and bell peppers this week! Enjoy some fresh salsa with this mix of hot and sweet peppers.
More red onions from our greenhouse. You can't beat the smell of onion cooked up with butter or olive oil and garlic, and a great start to many a dish! Use these this week with the cucumber or tomato, or tomatillo green salsa. You can't go wrong!
Try these sautéed or grilled with our carbonara recipe! The larger zucchini are great shredded and then made into muffins or bread.
More green beans this week, and the start of our purple and yellow beans! The yellow beans are yellow throughout, and will keep their color when cooked, the purple beans however are only purple on the exterior and will change to green when cooked.
For herbs this week we have Italian Basil, catnip and onion chives. Italian basil goes well with tomatoes, summer squash, cubanelle peppers, chicken, beef, and fish. Try it in caprese salad or the mothership tomato salad! This is an heirloom variety called Lettuce Leaf because its leaves are that large.
Onion Chives have a mild onion flavor and pair well with potatoes, chicken, fish, eggs, in dips, soups, sauces, risottos and rice.
Catnip, also known as catmint, is popular for its effects on cats, which will react to the leaves dried or fresh. Its lesser known uses are for medicinal purposes for humans. It has a calming effect on the mind, body, and even stomach and has been used to treat anxiety and insomnia. It also has digestive uses for treating upset stomach, diarrhea and gas. Tea is one of the more common ways catmint is taken. Bring the water to a boil and remove from heat for a minute before beginning the steeping process with the dried leaves of the plant. Fresh leaves and the flowering top can be made into a tincture or essential oil.
To preserve your herbs you can hang them to dry out of the sun and rain where there is good air flow until dry, then crumble into a paper bag and transfer to a storage container. Tarragon leaves can be frozen or dried. If left to dry for too long though, the leaves lose their flavor, so make sure to store them in airtight containers as soon as the leaves are dry.