Box 3: Summer squash/ Summer’s here!

Hello hello!

Ya’ll may be wondering just how well your farming partners are faring in this tremendous heat. To put it one way, there are not many who take that saying about “working by the sweat of your brow” quite as literally as we do.  Though that doesn’t really do our bodily moisture justice- we also work by the sweat of our arms and legs, necks, backs, and noses. Pouring our energy into caring for our plants is kind of like watering them with the drops that populate our body- every scintilla of moisture is a bead donated back to the earth, slipping from ourselves to mix in with the stew of life underfoot.

Unfortunately, not all of our plants are faring quite as well as we are. I mean, with our ice cubes, fans, and ability to crawl under a tree and rest in the shade, we are far better equipped to deal with the power of the sun. This especially goes for many of our brassica plants, which can generally handle the cool temperatures better than many of our other plant families, but which have a tough go on hot days such as these.

Because of this, we have such a small window for harvesting much of our crop. If left past their time in heat like this, cauliflower heads can begin to turn nasty pretty quickly. When some of the pac choi begin to go to flower early, we have a day or two to harvest them before they all start getting crazy ideas. This is the reason why the members who picked up last Thursday may have been surprised to find a surprise cauliflower head in their boxes. They were ready so we threw them in! Similarly, today’s two-third shares will be receiving pac choi, while Thursday’s two-third shares will likely receive another item in it’s place. Despite this confusion, we assure you that we take great measures to insure that everybody gets a fair share of what is ripe and ready on the farm, and reiterate that we could not grow vegetables in the ecologically and socially responsible way that we strive to with out all of your patience and generosity. This is what sharing the risk is all about. So, thanks again!

One more important note before I move on to the boxes- there are other living creatures here that have been affected by this wild heat. Our lovely free range chickens- while fully happy and healthy running around picking bugs out of the pastures all day- have stopped producing eggs. We are not sure if it’s the heat, or if they’re beginning to molt or what. But the bottom line is that, unfortunately, egg deliveries will be suspended until further notice. So please do not expect eggs from us for a couple of weeks at least. We will notify all egg-members when egg deliveries are to resume, and any weeks that we end up missing with egg deliveries will be tallied and refunded at the end of the season. If any of you would like to make other arrangements, please contact us at sleepyrootfarm@gmail.com, and we’ll work with you. In the meantime here’s to hoping that the chickens will reward us with their orange-yolked ovals-of-plenty sometime soon- we’ll let you know as soon as they do!

And on to the boxes-

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This week’s two-third share

This week’s boxes include:

Cauliflower

Summer Squash (!)

This year we are trying at a wide assortment of summer squash varieties, from squashes that resemble baby watermelons, to deeply ridged cylindrical types you will likely receive a taste of each one of them over the course of the season. They can all be treated like zucchini for your favorite zucchini bread or muffin recipe, or cut into slices and brushed lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper to put out on the grill.

Sweet Peas

This heat is a bit intense for our tender sweet peas, so this will probably be our last week of plump pea pods until next season. Enjoy them while they last!

Head Lettuce

Walla Walla Onions

Don’t forget to use the greens on these, the first of our lovely summer onions.

Cilantro Flowers

A delicate and delightful garnish to brighten up just about any dish, notice the little seeds that have begun to form from the flowers- indeed, those are coriander seeds in the making!

Thyme

A good tip for herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, and sage- if you aren’t going to use them right away- is to hang them in a place that receives decent air ventilation. They shouldn’t take too long to dry out, and once dry can be stored and used at an opportune moment in the future. Your future self will thank your current self for taking the time to find a place to hang them up.

Kale

Beets (Full shares only)

Yes! Beets have arrived! There will be more beet recipes in the future, but for now I would suggest peeling the skin and then shredding it raw into a salad. It lends such beautiful color and taste to so many side dishes and salads, I can’t wait until we start giving them out to everybody.

Pac choi (Two-third shares only)

Scarlet Frills or Red Mustard

These mustard varieties are going to pack a good punch by this time in the season. If you enjoy the spice (and clearing your sinuses) you can cut them up and simply add them raw to a salad. Otherwise, tossing them into a stir fry after it is already done to let them cook and mild down in the residual heat is a great way to include them in a meal.

Recipe of the week: Grilled Kale Chips

One great way to enjoy kale is by crisping them up in the oven with some oil and salt and making chips with them. Of course when the weather is like this, turning on the oven might be one of the most unappealing ideas you can imagine, but did you know that kale can just as easily be grilled? This recipe is taken from the website thekitchn.com:

“Toss clean, dry kale leaves with a little oil and seasoning, then place on the grill for a couple minutes to crisp up. Turn, crisp the other side and you’re done. The grilled leaves are browned and crunchy in some spots, chewy and tender in others. The stalks — which don’t have to be removed, perhaps this method’s biggest selling point — soften up and become pleasantly crunchy.”

I can’t wait fire up the grill and try this out. Don’t forget to slice up that summer squash and throw them on there as well!

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t announce that we will be giving a tour of our farm as part of the Sustainable Farming Association’s Festival of Farms event which will take place next Saturday, July 14th from 10 a.m until 1 p.m. For all of our members who have not been out to the farm yet this is a great chance to meet us and see the fields- and to check out some other pretty cool farms while your at it! More info at: http://www.sfa-mn.org/crow-river/

Stay cool everybody, until next time,

Kevin

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