CSA Box and Crop Update
We are still ending up doing deliveries on Saturday but my goal is to gradually move the delivery day back in the week. Believe it or not, this is a very busy time. On the sign-up page on the website, I make sure people understand that we live in a unique zone where we can enjoy fresh produce all year ’round, but ironically, it’s not the Winter that’s the toughest part of the year to grow. It’s the 4 to 6 weeks after July 4th. We use a lot of tricks to keep things cool, like shade cloth and intermittent misting, but the offerings are most limited this time of year. That said, we have some cool stuff as we’ve learned new heat-fighting tricks the past couple years. You can get an idea of how we do some of it below.
Shading and Misting
Our Fall determinate tomato crop seedlings are almost ready to go in the ground, peppers, Summer and Winter squash, too. But under the right conditions, some crops like turnips and green beans can actually be direct seeded now. Here are a few pics from this week of our 268′ high tunnels with shading and misting. It only took 3 days for the direct seeded crops to germinate. Our “Jack & the Beanstalk” 🙂 English Cucumbers are looking perfect.
This Week’s CSA Box
Potatoes – Red Skin and/or Yukon Gold
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.
This has been a really good year for the potatoes. I’ll have more all-blue in the coming weeks but we are doing Yukon Gold and Red Skin this week. I still think the best way to eat them is roasted/baked and seasoned with herbs, salt and pepper. Incidentally, you can make a really colorful rustic mashed potatoes dish with the skin on by using these. And, instead of boiling them, go with the roast.
Here’s a link that gives an idea of the method, but try roasting all the potatoes and garlic instead of boiling. It’s crazy good.
We call this “green squash” on the farm 🙂 They are in another large, well-represented plant family, Cucurbitaceae, which includes summer squashes, winter squashes, 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 have a friend who is the produce manager at a Food Lion and he gives me sales data. It’s surprising to me that yellow squash is 2 to 1 preferred over zucchini.
One of our awesome CSA Members, Jacqueline, has sent me some great pictures of her recent culinary creations. Pictured left is her broiled zucchini with radish – 4 minutes with simple drizzle of whisked to combine olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and S&P. Man that looks good.
She takes a nice picture, too. Soon, I’ll be writing about her improvements to our mayo, in both taste and method. See the featured image for a sneak preview.
All the Kales are in the Brassicaceae family with the turnips, mustards, and cabbages. This is my favorite in the field and on the plate. It’s extremely hardy, both heat and cold tolerant, and bug and disease resistant. It’s also easy to harvest. Even when it bolts (goes to flower) the flowers are great tasting in a salad or even a wilt.
Green Kale is very good cooked like you would spinach, just don’t over-do it. In fact, even our bunched collards don’t need a long time in the pan or pot. Next year, we will be planting some old school, open pollinated collard that are the type to slow cook in a big pot with a ham hock. Everything else, including this week’s kale, are best with a light touch.
Cucumbers are (surprise surprise) in the Cucurbitaceae family along with the squashes and melons. The variety in the box this week is one only you will have ever had so far!! My buddies at Castle Hayne Farms received a new variety from their source in Holland and they are fantastic. It’ll be interested in what this variety is eventually named.
Eat these skins and all in salads. And, definitely try them sliced as a garnish for cool drinks. It’s better than lemon or lime. I vary rarely drink anymore, but boy I’m looking forward to one of these Cucumber Vodka Lemonades someday soon.
We have a different variety of corn this week. It’s a nice bi-color called Peaches and Cream.
As I’ve said before, grilled corn in the husk is best, but there are so many great ways. And again, I usually hate to boil anything, but preparing corn the old school way still works. Try some lime butter for a different flavor. It’s exceptional.
That’s it folks! I’ll see you or your house sometime tomorrow. We are ready to go so it shouldn’t be any later than early afternoon.