What’s in the Box: Heirloom tomato, slicing tomato, leek, onion, summer squash, zucchini, english slicing cucumber, onion, eggplant, fennel, cherry tomatoes, swiss chard, (bi-weekly only), green beans, kale, and sage.
What’s going on at the farm: Mother nature is just bringing the rain this last week. The week begin with tornado warnings and a huge storm system which delivered over 6″ of rain and now our back field is literally starting to turn into a pond on one side. We received over 10″ of rain over the last 7 days. Our garlic crop got out just in time before all this rain came in but now our onions are the target of our concern as they are trying to dry down for harvest but cannot with all the rain. We are all ready seeing a lot of problems with the sweet onion crop as the necks fold over and cannot expel the excess water they are absorbing anymore. Our goals right now include seeding fall crops and we can’t do that until the ground dries back out so its very critical we get a decent dry period over the next two weeks. Despite the bugs and increased disease pressure that we also usually expect and are seeing with this rain, we have a lot of crops that are doing very well yet and we have a large variety of crops for you to enjoy this week including some new items!
Green beans: These first beans for us are fat crisp and juicy. The variety is provider and they always seem to taste best after a good rain. So many ways to prepare these weather its in a three bean salad chilled with vinegar and herbs, or roasted in a pan with other veggies, or maybe sautéed or steamed plain with a little butter.
Zucchini and summer squash are back again. Yes these staples of summer cooking go well with anything but we are excited to try using some of them to make veggie lasagna noodles. I try to cut large slices the length of the fruit and then cook them lightly in a pan to take some of the water out. Then you can build your veggie lasagna using them as noodles and take out all the extra carbs, and grains.
Cucumbers are back and beyond the lbs of cucumber and sweet onion salad in vinegar and sugar we are eating here at home there are many ways to use these crisp refreshing fruits. We had them in a cold salad this week (prepared by a local chef) That included raw sweet corn, coconut milk, red onion, cucumber, squash, chile, and lime to make a crispy, creamy, crunchy, yet spicy salad.
Eggplant is in folks, and these Italian types are soft and ready to pan fry or grill with a little olive oil and spices. I like that eggplant will absorb whatever you would like to season it with. A very simple way I enjoy eating them is by pan frying slices in olive oil and then putting them on a toasted bun with some mayo, basil or other herb, and some cheese and tomato. You can bread them too if you want but thats extra work I usually skip. Eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, or stir fries are other dishes we commonly use these in at home.
Leeks are ready and these mellow and creamy members of the onion family are my favorite for leek and potato soup. The best part of it is that you can eat it cold or warm. They are also great sautéed in butter for creamed leeks.
Tomatoes! We take a lot of pride in growing tomatoes and we have a lot of different varieties coming in now. We will be distributing them randomly in order to give everyone as much variety as we can. BLT’s, sandwiches, gazpacho, fresh pico, and of course caprese with some olive oil, salt, or fresh mozzarella. Our selection includes a variety of cherry tomatoes this week too, generally they are a great snack but they make great additions to any salad or dish as well and I like them better for kabobs or grilling then the large tomatoes.
Fennel is back. This is one of my favorite vegetable to grow and eat. The crisp texture is refreshing and the fronds are beautiful to see in the field. They commonly attract yellow swallowtail butterflies for some reason or another. The black licorice flavor is not admired by all but it lessens in strength with cooking. Fennel lends itself well to Italian dishes and you can use the whole plant if you like. Fronds would make a great addition to a pasta sauce. The bulb is great with cabbage or cucumber for a fresh slaw or salad. Another good use for it is to roast it to bring out the sweetness but you can cook with the bulb any way you like. Simply remove the tap root and clean out the layers a bit if need before cooking with them as its’ hard to get all the layers clean without chopping the bulb up.
Swiss chard is for bi-weekly folks this week and our crop is just amazing us this year. We like it sautéed and used anywhere you like to use spinach. The stems are tasty too and can be used like celery.
Kale is coming at you again this week so we can make sure everyone has a little sautee greens available this week. We have three types including curly, red russian, and lacinato. our plan this week is to leave it open as to which variety is coming so you will get one of these three types but it will be a random selection this week. Kale is packed with vitamins and nutrients and if you juice its easy to grind a bunch into a power packed shot of green food. Kale chips are also very popular and can be seasoned any way you like, and it lends a rich flavor to other dishes.
Sage is our herb this week. It is a savory herb that goes good with beans, pork, chicken, or roasted vegetables, etc… You can dry these leaves in a warm well circulated area and save them for later but will last several weeks in the fridge if you intend to use it fresh.
Onions are nearing their harvest time and bulbing rapidly now. We are expecting to distribute more sweet onions this week as we are worried about them holding with all this rain. It is possible we could switch to green top yellow or red onions but that call will likely be made in the field as we watch the conditions closely on our onion crop.
We hope you all have fun and make some delicious food with your veggies this week, thanks for being part of the harvest and we hope you enjoy!