Box 12


Greetings all,

I don’t know how many of you are avid MPR listeners, possibly finding yourself listening off and on throughout the day enough to re-hear portions of the news, experiencing the cyclical nature of the daily news cycle. I find myself in this position every so often, especially if the work of the day happens to be stationary enough to keep us within ear shot of the truck’s radio.  Maybe yesterday you heard Tom Crann asking when does summer officially end for you?  Or that astrophysicist who had an essay on early September marking his personal switch to fall as the first yellowed leaves fall from the tree, despite the fact that on the calendar (and astrologically) the official switch happens a few weeks later on Sept 22.  Yes, there are many signs of fall about the farm: the sweet corn is done, the melons are all but through, the shadows seem to be longer all the time, and I’m eyeing up the winter squash and checking last years notes trying to figure out when did we start putting those in boxes?  Next week, that’s when.  I don’t know if they’ll start going in that soon this year, we’ll have to wait until next week to find out (despite all of the pre-planning, the art of selecting what goes in the box for any given week is quite unpredictable until that moment is upon us).  But despite all the signs of fall, there are still signs of summer among us. Like eggplants and tomatoes and sweet sweet peppers and highs in the upper 80’s and I’ll-be-damned if those zucchinis don’t just keep coming.  So even though the kids are packing up for school, and your digging out the storm windows (what, you haven’t done that yet?) let the summer veggies keep coming, cause it ain’t over ’til old Jack Frost comes to town.

Here’s the roundup for the week:

trusty ol’ zucchini
cucumber or small melon or extra tomatoes or extra peppers or extra eggplant 
broccoli/cabbage (two third share only)
melons (full share only)
cherry tomatoes
tomatoes (mixed or opalka paste)

New-comer this week is a very familiar crop to this area, but one that is seldom directly consumed by its growers: give up?  Soy-beans!  Or in this “immature” form, edamame.    The beans are very tender and can be eaten raw, but I highly recommend eating it the way it is served at sushi restaurants: lightly steaming the whole pod, sprinkling with salt and then biting the beans out and discarding the pod–think a vegetable form of salted peanut shells.  A very fun and tasty appetizer to snack on while your making your famous ratatouille or while your making your other famous ratatouille, there are a lot of ways of making ratatouille, you know.

Box 10-Revenge of the Salad

Hello all!  The good times keep rollin’ as we round the corner into the double digit boxes.  This week sees us leaving our steady supply of sweet corn for the summer (a small tear just fell), a return of salad greens (hoorah!) and the first of the watermelons.

Lindsey at the pack station before packing boxes
This past weeks temperatures have brought a taste of fall to come, and misted us with its seasonal sentiment and nostalgia.  As the school season starts for all the youngin’s out there, we say goodbye to Sienna who has helped us on harvest days up until now, as she returns to Morris for her junior year of college.   We will also be saying goodbye to our friend Lindsey who came up from Alabama to stay with us for the last two weeks as she returns home for her last semester.  So long friends!  We will miss you both dearly.

This weeks round up:

Lettuce mix or spicy salad
Melons! (more on varieties below) 
Cherry Tomatoes
Sweet Peppers or Bell Peppers
Broccoli or cabbage (full only)
Onions (Sweet Spanish Yellow)
Snap Beans

For your sake and mine, lets play a little game called, know-your-melons:  Take notes, there will be a vote for best melon at the end of the season.

On the top from left to right: Petite yellow watermelon, Honey rock Cantaloupe,   Tigger Melon, MN Midget Cantaloupe.

On bottom from left to right: Ha’Ogen (a green Cantaloupe!), Sakata sweet, Arava, Sugar baby watermelon.

There are two melons missing from the line up: Petit Gris de Rennes, a cantaloupe that has not started maturing yet (looks a lot like Ha’Ogen), and Golden Gopher, a larger oblong cantaloupe that some of you got in the box this week (in left hand corner in picture of Lindsey), bred by MN agronomists in the 1930’s and named after our state’s beloved mascot, it’s unbelievable flavor is hardly contained by its slightly netted exterior, often splitting when ripe.  Melons may split during transport, don’t worry, they are still delicious and is often a hazard of having heirloom varieties.  You will not run across many of these melons in your typical grocery because they are highly perishable and prone to bruising and cracking–but the flavor!  Oh, the flavor!  Luckily, all the melons you get from us are picked within a day or so of being sent to you.  None the less, keep an eye on yours, if you do not eat it within a few days I recommend cutting them up and storing in the fridge, removing any bruised or splits to prevent the spread of spoilage.

Some of them are surprisingly green inside like the Ha’Ogen and Arava (which is actually a hybrid between honeydew and cantaloupe known as a Galia–hence the cantaloupe netting but absence of cantaloupe ridges). Ha’Ogen may be my favorite melon this year, such a great texture, intoxicating scent, and pleasing soft texture…Mmmmm….The little Sakata Sweet is an Asian melon known as a Conomon, I don’t think I’ve harvested a single one that hasn’t already cracked at the top, but a great little early producer and oh so delicious.  I could go on and on, but will restrain myself, you’ll have to phone me or do a little research on your own if your further interested.  Remember though, there will be a vote.

Having salad greens and tomatoes together makes great potential for salads and sandwiches.  One of my favorite salads is a hybrid and a must with this combo: Bread Salad.  First, chop up your tomatoes, and put in a bowl with juices.  Second, spark that grill and toast up that bread and any other vegetables of your choosing (onions, zucchini, corn, etc).  Break toasted bread into bite size chunks, put in tomato bowl with oil and a little vinegar and a little salt.  Let the bread soak up the juices for a few minutes, then mix with grilled veggies and add to salad greens.  Add some fresh mozzarella and basil if you have some around still, delicious!  I can’t get enough of this salad lately. Another great salad we’ve been enjoying is a mint-melon-small grain combo.  We had muskmelon with mint and black quinoa for a refreshing side.  I’ve heard rumors that some some people like to toss tomatoes in when they have watermelons in this salad, can’t say I’ve tried it, yet, you’ll have to let us know how it goes.

That’s it, enjoy!