July 7, 2009

CSA News for the Week of July 6th

This Week's Vegetable Share:
  • Cilantro
  • Zucchini and/or Summer Squash
  • Curly Parsley
  • Green and Purple Basil
  • Fennel Bulbs
  • Rainbow Swiss Chard
  • Purple and/or Green Kohlrabi
  • Popping Corn
  • Arugula
  • Newly-Dug Garlic Bulbs
  • Cucumbers (not all cukes from our farm. See Notes from the Farm Kitchen for more info.)

This Week's Fruit Share:

  • Blueberries
  • Sweet Cherries
  • Black Raspberries
Farm Journal
Tuesday morning and I am in the greenhouse planting seeds for our fall broccoli crop. Once we finish the broccoli and the fall head lettuce, there will be no more greenhouse seedlings to plant for the rest of the season. This fact represents the beginning of a real shift in the nature of our work here on the farm. The bulk of the planting work is now behind us as we turn our attention almost exclusively to the tasks of weeding and harvesting. Much of yesterday was devoted to the job of harvesting the garlic crop, and this afternoon will be more of the same. Every year we harvest the entire crop all at once and then store the bulbs in our greenhouse to cure. The crop looks pretty good this year; slightly smaller than we had hoped, but pretty good over all.

I hunch over my tray of broccoli seeds, attempting to concentrate on the task at hand, but I am distracted by the pungent aroma of fresh garlic emanating from the piles of bulbs behind me. It is just shy of 10 o'clock and already my thoughts turn toward lunch. I consider various options before settling on the idea of a frittata of garlic, fennel and Italian sausage. I would love nothing more than to wander into the kitchen to experiment with this week's harvest, but I've got almost 30 trays of broccoli left to go. Such is life; the work never seems to end, but nature's bounty keeps us happy and well-fed along the way.

Have a great week! --Peg

Catherine harvests garlic with the crew on Tuesday.

Notes from the Farm Kitchen

Most garlic that you are accustomed to using has been cured in a warm, dry place for some period of time to ensure that it stores well. Since we just harvested this garlic yesterday, it has not had time to cure. That is why it is called fresh garlic. Also, you'll notice that the layers of tissue between the cloves hasn't yet turned papery. We hope you enjoy the extra-pungent, delicious flavor of fresh garlic. As the season progresses you will receive garlic that has been
cured and will store well for several months. Use fresh garlic within a couple of weeks. Your best bet for storage is to keep it in a cool, dry, dark, well-ventilated place.

This is the last fennel until the fall crop is ready. If you haven't done so already, try grilling or roasting it with other early summer vegetables such as zucchini and garlic scapes. For a wonderful side dish to serve with fish or chicken, slice the bulb and sauté it in a pan with a
little butter or olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Fresh basil does not store particularly well, so be sure to use it up as soon as you can. I place a little basil bouquet in a short glass of water and keep it on the counter for a couple of days. Storing basil in the refrigerator will cause it to turn black because it can’t tolerate cold temperatures.

No longer considered strictly a garnish, parsley is gaining in popularity due to its outstanding nutritional value. By weight, it is higher in vitamin A than carrots and higher in vitamin C than oranges. It can be added to just about any vegetable salad, bean salad or egg salad. Try combining it with olive oil, basil and other fresh herbs and served over pasta.

We have two different kinds of cucumbers for you this week. The long, skinny ones (called English cucumbers) were grown by Kay and Paul Jensen of JenEhr Family Farm. These cukes were grown on plants that they trellis up on long strings inside their hoophouses. The
others are regular field cucumbers grown on plants that spread out along the ground here at our farm.

The popping corn was harvested late last fall. Use your thumb to remove the kernels from the cob. (When I'm doing this, I lay a dish towel on the counter so the kernels don't bounce all over the place.) Coat the bottom of a medium sized pot with vegetable oil. Add a single layer of kernels to the bottom of the pot. Pop over medium heat on the stovetop.
A note about peas... You may be wondering what happened to the peas this year. I'm sorry to report that there won't be any this year. All three of our pea plantings got off to a rocky start due to the cool, wet conditions early in the spring. Just when we thought they might pull through, that stretch of 90-degree weather really fried the plants. Other growers we know have had the exact same problems. I assure you that I'm just as disappointed as you all, but it's helpful to keep in mind that no two years are alike. When one crop disappoints, another crop is sure to exceed expectations.

This Week's Recipes:
You might also like these recipes from last year's newsletters:
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... cucumbers, basil, gold or red beets, cippollini onions, lettuce, cabbage, Tuscan kale, maybe beans, sour cherries, apricots and more!