Wednesday, August 31, 2016

2016 CSA Share 14

2016 CSA Share 14

As September approaches we are seeing the first hints of fall, and the corresponding change in the garden and in things to be done on the farm. New crops this week for shareholders are the very first of our okra and some more eggplant, optional to take for those who like it. In the greenhouse the lemon cucumbers are succumbing to downy mildew, the leaves turning yellow then sandpapery and brown, then shriveling up. The greenhouse tomatoes are slowing down, and the first hints of powdery mildew are appearing up on summer squash, signaling the coming end to those crops. Field tomatoes are coming in to full swing though, and the corn is getting close. We can spot orange pumpkins in the field, and fall apricots and pears will be ready in a few weeks.

Soon we will need to start hauling and storing firewood for winter. Fall butchering is also approaching, for our old layer hens and our lambs. The piglets were born later, so we will keep them up until the beginning of deer season, before the processor's get flooded with deer business. We still have one lamb and 1 and 1/2 hogs available, for those looking to source their meat locally. Buffy's piglets are due in the next two weeks, but we're taking reservations now for those who are interested. 

We've had some trouble with the piglets respecting the electric fencing this year, which underlined the importance of training them on it early and having a consistent charge--we were having issues with old batteries losing their charge on our solar powered electric fence chargers. As much as we love these chargers, the batteries have to be replaced about every year. So we purchased an AC powered charger and have been retraining the piglets to that fence, but have had issues with the ground rods and not getting the charge through. After trying and replacing everything we could think of, we decided to shift the 8' ground rods, and found that the first ground rod was in soil too sandy and too dry. Piglets are now respecting the fence again, and these farmers are breathing easy again.

In other news on the farm, we are looking to sell our Dorset ram Henry and our Texel/Polypay ewe Emma. While we've liked some parts of our experiment with sheep--less mowing and wool, we've had too many issues with escapes from the portable electric fencing that has taken time away from other things on the farm. We've concluded that if we want to do sheep we would need permanent pasture fencing. And because we prefer rotational grazing, this would be a lot of fencing, which we are not ready to make that kind of investment in. We've already found a home for Simone this Monday, and are now looking for a home for Henry and Emma. Both are young, Henry 5 and papered, Emma 4. Emma has always thrown twos or threes, with no problems as assistance necessary. If interested, contact us to come take a look at them. 

Large Share pictured: 2 heirloom slicing tomatoes, 8 red paste tomatoes, 4 long green cucumbers, 4 lemon cucumbers, 1 eggplant (optional), 1 okra, 4 lbs green beans, 2 bunches kale, 6 summer squash, 2 yellow onions, 2 banana peppers, 8 jalapeño peppers, 4 bell peppers, 2 cubanelle peppers, 2 lbs tomatillos, 2 bunches herbs.

Small Share pictured: 3 summer squash, 1 lb tomatillos, 1 eggplant (optional), 1 okra, 2 lbs green beans, 4 jalapeños, 1 heirloom slicing tomato, 4 red paste tomatoes, 2 bell peppers, 1 yellow onion, 1 banana pepper, 1 cubanelle pepper, 2 lemon cucumbers, 2 long green cucumbers, 1 bunch kale, 1 bunch herbs


New this week is the first of the Okra, so only one for each shareholder.  We like to use our Okra by slicing it and dicing a jalapeno and adding that to a cornbread recipe.  Okra can also be grilled, sauteed, fried, stir-fried, or added to soup.  

Eggplant (optional)

Not everyone's favorite, we don't have quite enough for everyone this week, so please only take one if you want one! Also known as aubergine, brinjal or garden egg, the fruit is widely used in cooking and is related to both the tomato and potato. The raw fruit can have a somewhat bitter taste, but become tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor. The great is capable of absorbing large amounts of cooking fats and sauces, making for very rich dishes. Try is roasted, skinned, mashed, mixed with onions, tomatoes and spices and then slow cooked. It is often stewed, as in the French ratatouille or deep fried for eggplant parmesan. A simple way to try it is sliced and grilled with cumin, salt and pepper seasoning. 

Easy Eggplant recipes


This week we have the first kale of the season, enjoy these young leaves as kale chips or sautéed in olive oil, garlic and a little cayenne, or add them to a soup, or a frittata, or a quiche, you can't go wrong with kale. 

Kale Chips


More lemon and long green cucumbers this week.  The lemon cucumbers are succumbing to downy mildew, so likely next week will be our last week of lemon cucumbers, hope you all enjoyed them while we had them!  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 tiny bristles are edible but may be easily removed. These are both 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. 


The greenhouse tomatoes are slowing down, but just as our field tomatoes are kicking in. We have a different heirloom tomato slicer this week, one that was given to us by another farmer and so we can't remember the variety's name. Also lots of red paste tomatoes for bruschetta or salsa or caprese salad this week! 


Cubanelle, jalapeño, banana and bell peppers this week! Enjoy some fresh salsa with this mix of hot and sweet peppers. 


Some smaller yellow onions from the field for your salsa this week. 

Summer Squash 

Try these sautéed or grilled with our carbonara recipe or in a cooling summer pasta salad. The larger zucchini are great shredded and then made into muffins or bread.

Green Beans

More green beans this week, enough to preserve some for the winter, and we'll have more available at pickup for those looking to put away more. 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, onion chives and orange mint. 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. Orange mint can be added to water or juice and left for 10 + minutes to infuse their flavor, or they can be dried and made into a tea, or used as a mint in any cooking recipe that calls for them, goes well with eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini.

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. 

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