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Monday, August 25, 2014

Week 12




With the warm days and cool night we’ve been experiencing for the last few weeks it is beginning to feel a great deal like fall.  Of course it is still too early to be thinking this way but I am really looking forward to winter squash and root crops and crisp clear autumn mornings.  It is still dark when we arrive for work now, a clear sign that the changing season is approaching.

By and large the fields look great for the approaching late season crops.  Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and even sprouts are looking large, healthy and almost entirely free of weeds.  This winter squash, which once spread like a carpet across field 2, has begun to wilt from powdery mildew.  This is a sign that we will need to harvest soon.  Huge yellow onions and their slightly smaller cousins the shallots sit fat and happy in the field waiting for us to collect them.  I have justifiably high hopes for an outstanding fall.

My hopes are a little less high for an outstanding tomato season.  Our crop is suffering from the fungal infection Early Blight!  Although early blight isn’t as virulent as late blight, it is still fairly crippling to tomato plants.  We are hoping to get a couple more good weeks out of the tomatoes before they succumb.  This is sad for all of us but such is life on a farm without toxic fungicidal sprays.

You may have noticed that my updates have lacked a little color lately.  If you have some good pictures of the farm and you’d like to share, please email them to me at rwood@ttor.org.  I’d love to publish your submissions on this blog and bring back the color.  Thanks in advance!  

What’s in the share:  Lettuce, escarole, beets, carrots, summer squash, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon,
What’s new: Leeks, celery

Monday, August 18, 2014

Eat Like a farmer



One of the questions I most dread to hear from our CSA members is “What do you do with this vegetable?”  It is an innocuous enough inquiry and yet it always makes me cringe.  One of the dirty secrets of non conventional farming is that it doesn’t leave the farmer much time to be creative in the kitchen.  I’m ashamed to admit that I probably eat Ants on a log for dinner 2 or 3 times a week, without the ants...or the log.  So you can see how, coming from a culinary background that celebrates eating peanut butter off of a spoon or canned tuna with hot sauce (served in the can naturally), I feel a bit under qualified to offer any gourmet tips for preparing the veggies that we grow.  Luckily for me so many of our vegetables recommend themselves for eating raw.  I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 favorite underrated vegetable for raw snacking. 
1)      Pickling Cucumbers- Not just great pickled these guys make a great snack for fresh eating.  Few foods can match the pickling cuke for refreshment or crunch.  Although a bit insipid pickling cukes have a great mild “green” flavor that I can’t get enough.
2)      Kohlrabi- Young red kohlrabi are an especially delicious raw treat.  I like to think of these sweet and slightly spicy goodies as “cabbage apples”.  When picked at an early stage kohlrabi is tender enough to eat skin and all.
3)      Broccoli Stalk- Although literally as well as figuratively overshadowed by the tightly packed crown of buds it supports, broccoli stalk is actually superior in flavor.  The tough outer skin easily peals back from the tender, sweet, and juicy stalk.  Once you try it you may never go back to eating the crown again.
4)      Garlic Scapes- Definitely a taste that requires acquiring, garlic scapes are well worth the effort.  Slightly sweet and deeply savory, scapes have a certain addictive quality once you begin eating them raw.
5)      “Bulls horn” type peppers such as Carmen, Oranos or Jimmy Nardello- Although not technically considered snack peppers, these varieties have fantastic raw eating qualities.  Medium thick fleshed, crunchy and exceptionally sweet, these colored peppers make for very satisfying snacking            
In other CSA news, we will be offering pickling cucumbers for whole sale in bulk to our members this week so if you have any great pickling recipes please bring em’ in for our recipe board.  Thanks and have a great week.
What’s in the share: Lettuce, escarole, Alisa Craig onions, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash and zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, Chieftain Potatoes, chard, beets, carrots, greens PYO herbs, beans, flowers, cherry tomatoes
What’s new: PYO hot peppers and husk cherries

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Sturgeon Moon



What’s in the share?: Lettuce, chard, beets, Alisa Craig onions, cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini, peppers, potatoes, watermelon PYO beans, flowers, herbs and cherry tomatoes

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week 9



July has come and gone with unusual temperance this year and we have been enjoying the warm days and cool nights.  Although many of our summer crops would prefer a little more heat the first blush of tomato season has begun.  It is still too early to get much of a harvest out of our first tomato planting but the handful of reddening fruits give us hope that it will be a good tomato year.  For weeks we have been eyeing the dense and nearly waist high carpet of green that is our watermelon patch.  The canopy is so thick that we haven’t been able to see much of the fruit hidden beneath.  To harvest these summer time treasures we must move through the crisscrossing vines with slow and ginger steps so as not to damage any still ripening melons.  We cultivated our fall cole crops last week and they look to be off to a fantastic start.  With a little extra TLC it just might be a banner year for cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.  I am particularly eager to grow some exceptional brussel sprouts this season! 

Some of our youthful volunteers.  Thanks guys!
July and August are frantic months for us on the farm.  Harvest takes up fully half the day while all other planting, cultivating, weeding, seeding, and maintenance tasks get crammed into the afternoons.  Even working extra hours and weekends we can’t get to every task at once and we are forced to prioritize.  July and August can also be very satisfying months as each task we cross off our “To Do” list brings us a little closer to being back in control.  We have had some really fantastic, motivated and friendly volunteers who have helped us over the last few weeks when we really needed it most.  I would like to thank these deputy growers again for their incredible efforts.  Russ, Ross, Sam, Rob, Mark, Stella and everyone else who has pitched in, you guys have been invaluable not only as great workers but also as great motivators for our crew.  Your spirit and enthusiasm has invigorated all of us.   Sandy you have been a lifesaver.  And to all of our members, it is a pleasure to be growing for you.  Enjoy the week! 

What’s in the share?  Lettuce, escarole, Alisa Craig onions, cucumbers, cabbage, zucchini and summer squash, potatoes, Marini’s sweet corn, P
YO flowers and sunflowers, beans and herbs

What’s new? Green peppers and aquamelon