CSA Newsletter Box 8-August 11

by jennifer on August 7, 2010

Greetings. This morning the crew scurries about in the cool misty almost-drizzle to harvest the last things for your CSA box. If the weather forecast is correct, we should shift from fall to summer in a matter of hours and enjoy a bit of heat and sun today. I just looked at the week’s weather forecast and am more than a little excited about the prospect of 90 degrees. I am almost giddy. Now where did I put those shorts?NEW CROPS!!!!!! There are several new crops to tell you about. You may not see all of them today, but they are starting the rotation, so keep an eye out.French Fingerling is the potato of the day. We LOVE these potatoes. They have a tender, almost crunchy skin and smooth velvety flesh. They are best enjoyed roasted in the oven with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and perhaps some of last week’s leftover rosemary.Cucumbers: We grow 4 types. You have seen the pickling cukes already, but we also grow a standard slicer called Marketmore 76, Lemon (round and yellow), and Diva a smaller lighter green slicer that blows any other cucumber out of the water in terms of taste and texture. If I had had enough ground open and ready in mid May, I would have planted a whole 300 foot row of these babies. As it is, there is only a mere 100 feet planted, so you may see them only a few times. Their skin is delicate, the insides sweet, not many seeds, etc. Don’t even trouble yourself to peel them. It is not necessary. I have already made notes for next year to put in a whole row of these.Tomato varieties: We got a wild hair and decided to jump on the heirloom tomato bandwagon. Not a good year to do that, so it seems. Oh we still have tons of the tried and true Early Girls out there, but we also planted Brandywine, Black Prince, and I think a few Green Zebra. We’ll be lucky to see any Brandywines and you’ll know them when you see them. The Black Prince is a small to medium slicer that is red with purple/black undertones. The insides are mottled and the taste is pretty darn amazing. On the cherry tomato front we planted Sungolds, of course, which are a deep orange and very sweet. We also tried Peacevine-a de-hybridized version of sweet 100’s. They are small and red. We also tried a variety called Black Cherry which we will definitely grow again. They are a bigger cherry with a reddish/blackish coloring. The taste is great.  Jim even likes them better than Sungold. I am still a Sungold fan, however. The tomatoes in general are taking an annoyingly long time to ripen, but there is a lot of potential fruit out there, so I am not too worried.Eggplant: We are growing 2 types this year. Nadia is the standard blocky Italian type we have grown for years and years. Orient Express is the new one, which is ready sooner it turns out. These are long and cylindrical and are great for stir-fry and shish kabobs on the grill. How I wish I’d had a crystal ball back in the spring. I would have planted more!Red cabbage. We will start passing these little ones around. Add to your salads, make slaw, use in stir fry.Basil: We try to give you at least one decent pesto quantity of basil during the season, and then just smaller bits to use in cooking the rest of the time. Today regular shares get their Pesto blast. Small shares will get theirs next week or the week after.Onions verses scallions. Like many other crops the onions are a few weeks behind. We don’t want to scallion you to death, but that is what we have. I use scallions instead of onions all the time. I actually haven’t used a “real” onion since the last of my storage onions went all soft and sprouty this spring. Sometimes you just have to improvise. I am hoping the sweet onions will be ready in 2 weeks.Golden beets: We grew a small amount of golden beets. The seed was insanely expensive, so there is not much. We will rotate one sample beet around-just to try. They taste like regular beets, but they won’t bleed all over whatever you are making.Artichokes: We gave up growing artichokes a year or two ago, because they always became infested with aphids. Like many bad memories, that one faded and we decided to try again. Guess what? Aphids!!!!!!! Some of you get pretty freaked out by the thought of little bugs in your food, so we are not giving them out in the boxes. We will however leave a box at each pick-up site over the next few weeks (we’ll rotate locations) and those of you who can turn a blind eye, help yourselves. The aphids rarely make it all the way down to the heart, so that part is just fine. You can try soaking them in salted water first to draw them out. If a few still remain after cooking, they will just look like little black dots that you can brush away with your finger and pretend that they were never there. It is all in the mind….Lettuce: We are in a lettuce lull. One head only today, and it is petite!

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