Another relatively cool week on the farm. The tomatoes keep stacking up their green fruit one after another on the vine. I keep expecting to go out and see a flush of red dotting the lower layer of the tomato aisles…but…not…quite…yet…but soon! Until then, there has been enough of a trickle to give modest amounts to some members, but unfortunately not all.
In the box this week:Onions: red zeppelin Zucchini Broccoli or Cabbage Carrots Romano Beans Tomatoes or Tomatillos or Eggplant (small) Kohlrabi (small) Cut Lettuce (medium and full) Mustard Greens: Scarlet Frills & Mizuna (medium and full) Tomatoes/Tomatillos and Eggplant (full) Cucumber (full) Snap Peas (full)
Eggplants are also starting to come along in larger numbers and peppers are getting close to full size. Signs of the hail from a few weeks ago are still present on some of the crops. You may notice some items in your box with a dent or two still. The lucky ones who pulled the long straws and got tomatoes this week will see obvious signs of it.
We recommend eating those tomatoes sooner rather than later, as damaged tissue will start adversely affecting the tissue around it as it continues to ripen off the vine. Simply cut the small affected portion off when preparing to eat.
We’ve started tilling in our earlier plantings and planting in cover crops. Cover crops are planted to help control weeds, add/hold nutrients and organic matter, and keep the soil from being bare for large periods of time when it can be vulnerable to erosion from rain. Some of the cover crops we planted (this week it was buckwheat and clover) also function as attractors for pollinators and beneficial insects, giving them a healthy stock of pollen and nectar to feed on. Pollinators are such a hugely important part of the growing system. You may have heard the often-quoted statement that one out of every three bites from your plate would not be there if it weren’t for an insect carrying pollen from one plant to impregnate another. Even despite the fact that bee populations dropped between a third and two thirds for many beekeepers across the nation last year, it is important to us to do what we can to make sure part of the landscape is dedicated to our tiny friends who do so much of the important work around here. You can see/hear some bees cruising around our Phacelia cover crop patch here.
Our second patch of beans have started to come on. We hardly ever cook with beans on the farm because we eat so many in the field–one of the most snackable items on the farm. Some of you may have gotten
Romano beans from our first planting: originally those were supposed to be for restaurants, but cool soil temps this spring kept our member patch of haricot beans from having good germination. This batch has both green and yellow beans mixed in. They are excellent eaten raw or slightly cooked. In fact, these babies are big enough you could grill them. Marinate with a little olive oil, salt and herbs, grill along-side other delicious veggies and serve on a platter with a dipping bowl of aioli. Yum.
Medium and Full shares are getting a mustard bunch with the beautiful mizuna and scarlet frills. Mustard greens seem to be one of the most usable/unusable produce items out there. Too many a CSA-er has a yellowing bunch hidden with shame in the deep dark corner of their crisper. It’s time to let go of your mustard fears! Sure they’re a little spicy, maybe you don’t want a whole salad of it, but a little mixed in adds some adventure. They are tough greens, you can cook them and they mellow a bit. Or maybe you’ve been looking for the perfect green to add to your grilled or broiled sandwich that can hold up under the heat yet still be tender. A very diverse, assertive yet amicable leaf that can fit into almost any meal situation. Enjoy!