More New Crops Coming Every Week!
Wow, what a crazy weather pattern. I didn’t expect it to keep coming after last week. Actually, I love the rain, but it does make harvesting more difficult. On the other hand, an extra day has allowed me to harvest some new favorites like red skin potatoes. So, tomorrow, we will have some regular staples, but also a handful of new items like tomatoes, red potatoes, fresh sweet corn, and Castle Hayne Farms is donating some sunflowers to brighten the table. * The featured image on this post is of a gift from the Castle Hayne Farms guys to Sue on her arrival back to TFF – White Lisianthus flowers.
More Farm and Membership News
I finished the crop plan for the Castle Hayne Farms outdoor high tunnels (with shade cloth) which will be used for growing crops through the heat of the summer. This is just a fraction of what we are doing below, but each line represents a bed, and each four bed vertical grouping represents a 268′ high tunnel covered with shade cloth. The soil is prepped organically with compost and organic fertilizers. This is an example of a very basic snapshot of one (2 on some beds) successions – a “game plan” of sorts. In the next couple weeks I’ll share the larger game plan for the Teachey farm where we are doing mostly longterm crops like winter squash, sweet potatoes, cabbages, Irish potatoes, etc. Sometime later, I’m hoping to find a way to show the Members the real, complete, Tend.ag crop plan
|Type||ds/tp||Crop||Crop var||268′ Bed||134′ Section 1||134′ Section 2||stagger||DTM||succession|
|F||tp||Tomato||2 x 18″||Slicer||1||Grand Marshall||Grand Marshall||536||78||1|
|F||tp||Tomato||2 x 18″||Slicer||2||Paisano||Paisano||536||78||1|
|F||tp||Peppers||3 x 12″||Bell||3||Escamillo||Escamillo||804||60-80||1|
|F||tp||Peppers||3 x 12″||Bell||4||Sprinter||Sprinter||804||60-80||1|
|L||tp||collards||2 x 18″||green Georgia-type||1||Flash||Flash||358||180/180||55||1|
|L||tp||kale||3X 18″||Dino/Toscano||2||Black Magic||Black Magic||536||268/268||65||30 days|
|F||ds||Beans, Bush||3 x ds||green||3||Jade||Jade||25,000||12.5k/12.5k||52||21 days|
|F||tp||Beans, Bush||3 x ds||yellow||4||Rocdor||Rocdor||25,000||12.5k/12.5k||65||21 days|
|L||tp||lettuces||5 x 10″ alt||hot mix||1||Muir green||Muir green||1608||50||14 days|
|L||tp||lettuces||5 x 10″ alt||hot mix||2||Muir green||Muir green||1608||50||14 days|
|L||tp||lettuces||5 x 10″ alt||hot mix||3||Cherokee Red||Cherokee Red||1608||50||14 days|
|L||tp||lettuces||5 x 10″ alt||hot mix||4||Coastal Star green||Coastal Star green||1608||50||14 days|
|R||ds||salad turnips||8 x ds||salad turnips||1||Hakurei||Hakurei/Hakurei||12864||1/2-1/4-1/4||7 days|
|R||tp||salad turnips||8 x ds||salad turnips||2||Scarlet Queen||Scarlet Queen\ScarQ||12864||1/2-1/4-1/4||7 days|
|R||ds||carrots||8 x ds||orange heat tolerant||2||Romance||Romance||12864||all||70||21 days|
|R||ds||radish||8 x ds||watermelon type heat tol||2||Red Meat||Red Meat||12864||1/2-1/4-1/4||70||14 days|
In Teachey this weekend, we will be prepping beds for our Fall crop of winter squash which will include a pumpkin-looking yet delicious variety called “Sunshine.” We are also going to be prepping our high tunnel for a Fall tomato and cucumber crop. We are hoping to have farm visits in the Fall. If any Member needs a particular crop grown for canning, or decorations (Fall corn, eg.) just let me know.
This Week’s CSA Box – New Stuff!!!
Red Skin New Potatoes
If you’ve never had potatoes straight out of the ground, you’re in for a treat. Over time the sugars turn to starches so the sooner you eat them the better. Potatoes are in the solenaceae family along with tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. They are fun to grow and can be planted as early as February 1st around here.
Culinarily speaking, well, I’d just roast (bake) them with olive oil and S&P. You can roast them whole, but I like to cut them so they are similarly sized and have more exposed interior surface area for browning. Add in your favorite herbs, dried or fresh, like parsley, dill, tarragon, or chives. You can certainly use the spring onions in combination with these potatoes.
We call this “green squash” on the farm 🙂 They are in another large, well-represented plant family, Cucurbitaceae, which includes summer squashed, winter squashed, and melons. This variety is called Green Machine. We plant them monthly since we get at least 30 days worth of harvesting from them. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how far into the late Fall 2020 we can carry these under high tunnels.
There are myriad ways to prepare zucchini. The most basic of which, and one that would work very well with this week’s CSA Box, is to simply cut them in rounds with the yellow squash, and saute them in olive oil, S&P. Slice up those spring onions and add them in too for extra flavor.
One thing I’m going to try this week is to add some of those Fava microgreens to the pan toward the end of the saute to add a nutty flavor.
Obviously yellow squash is the very close cousin of the zucchini and is another Cucurbit. We plant them in the same succession with the Zucchini. Notice that our Multipik has a yellow (not green) stem which is a dead giveaway to it’s variety name.
On the table, it’s an outstanding complement to any dish and is more nutritious and healthful than people realize. There’s a great article here on the health benefits.
<<<Since we all know what yellow squash looks like, I used a picture from one of our CSA Members who has a Spiralizer that makes those wonderful zuchinni/squash noodles. I’ll have to ask him if he added pasta sauce to this. Man, I bet that would be terrific, especially with some of our spring onions.
Hakurei Turnips – just roots this week
This brassicaceae family crop is a joy to grow as it germinates quickly and both the tops and roots are tasty. I give out samples of the roots at the farmer’s market and watch people’s eyes widen in surprise when they taste them. They are mild and juicy.
A nice glaze would work really well, too, and I bet I can pick Chef Dean’s brain on that next week as he is partial to glazed root vegetables, especially with fish. I’ll do my best to keep this in succession for as long as the season, and season extension methods, will allow. Top notch crop in every way.
Give this Glazed Hakuei Turnips recipe a try. It’s amazing.
Sweet corn, as opposed to “feed corn,” is the only true grass (Poaceae) in our crop rotation, although we may grow sweet sorghum in 2020. It’s a fascinating plant with a long history living alongside humans. Michael Pollen, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, posits an interesting theory that we aren’t growing corn, corn is using humans to spread across the world. That sounds odd, I know, but the next time you’re driving through Iowa, (or rural N.C.,) you may find yourself agreeing.
Grilling corn is always a great way to go. I like to make a simple lime butter to smear or drizzle onto it.
We finally have some tomatoes to offer, a medium sized beefsteak. They are in the Solanaceae family along with peppers and potatoes. We consider tomatoes to be a “staple” of the CSA box, and as such, we plan to grow it for as many weeks of the year as possible. Our joint venture with Castle Hayne Farms is a huge step forward toward this goal.
<<A picture sent in from one of our very first Members of our tomatoes topped with our microgreens and dressed with olive oil, S&P, and goat cheese.
What a great idea and don’t forget about BLTs with your own mayo! The Microgreens will be back next week to add to salad or sandwich. For another unique preparation, check out this old magazine article I wrote about my friend, Chef Alexis Fouros. The recipe is at the bottom of the page.
Carrots with tops!
Carrots are in the Apiaceae family along with celery, parsnip, dill, fennel, coriander, chervil, cumin and parsley. We are going to do our best to extend this crop into the summer of 2020 by planting them in open high tunnels under shade cloth at the Castle Hayne Farms location. I consider this crop to be a culinary “staple” so I want to grow it in as many seasons as possible.
Culinarily speaking, carrots are good raw (typically sliced thin,) roasted/baked, glazed and sauteed. The tops are a great addition to salads when used judiciously, or in smoothies. One member told me she saw the carrot bisque recipe from Chef Erin of The Husk in downtown Wilmington and loved it. Don’t forget our pesto videos, of course, for the tops but you can also use the tops, judiciously, in a salad or greens mix.
From the Lactuca family. This week we are going to have lettuce again. This is another CSA “staple” crop that we intend to find a way to grow year ’round. Again, our own use of high tunnels in Teachey and our joint venture with Castle Hayne Farms will make this possible.
We will be returning to bagged salad mixes soon that do not require washing, but you should rinse our salads, or any other greens, that come to you as ahead. We use only organic inputs, but it’s just prudent to wash them – mostly to rinse off any residual sand or soil. That said, I munch on our crops in the field all the time.
Cucumbers are, well, Cucubitaceae – another large crop family that includes melons and squashes. We grow them both outside and in greenhouse/high tunnels. Much more on cucs as the season goes along. Greenhouse growing is pretty complex and we will be doing photo and video on that in the Fall. We are currently growing a large English greenhouse variety that was given to us by Castle Hayne Farms. There will be more news on this collaboration soon.
Culinarily, cucs are good for much more than they are given credit. They are even a fantastic replacement for lemon in a glass of water or even tea. Bon Appetit has a great post that with over 50 tasty looking ideas here.
Don’t forget to try them in a fava bean salad. Cucs and beans go together very well. Who knew? I have sent out a request to Chef Alexis Fouros for some Greek presentations I’ll write about here soon.
I used to grow a lot of these, but our relationship with Castle Hayne Farms makes this unnecessary during the early Summer months. What people may not realize is that these flowers are pollenless. Sunflower pollen from regular sunflowers stain tablecloths badly, and generally make a mess. While the seeds are very expensive, it’s worth it so people don’t need to worry about ruining clothes and linens.
They are also fun to grow and a joy to see en masse out in the open field
That’s it folks! There may be some extras if I can get to them, but I’m really happy with the quality and diversity of this week’s box. I appreciate your patience with the old beat up farmer. HA! Sometimes the years, mileage, and rains get in the way, but I’ll always do my best to get you the best product I possibly can.
Thanks again and see you tomorrow,