Sitting here in my cloudy kitchen, it is hard to believe it was so hot this weekend. However when I think of the sheer enormity (both in size and volume) of the zucchinis and cucumbers we harvested, it seems real enough. We picked the cukes, zukes, and beans extra hard on Friday in anticipation of the heat. However, when we went out Monday and Tuesday to harvest said crops, they were HUGE and plentiful. It was pretty ridiculous, really. I bet we picked over 1600 lbs of pickling cucumbers and over 300 lbs of squash. You see the restraint we showed today while backing boxes?
The timing of the heat was perfect. Our crew doesn’t work on weekends (except market folks) so no one was out baking in the heat. There is only so much we can reasonably ask of people. It is stretches like these that we are thankful for our heavier clay soil. We didn’t have to change our irrigation schedule too much to deal with the heat. Now we are back to our typical, pleasant, warm-yet bearable-PNW weather. It is a perfect day to weed, move pipe, harvest, etc.
As I was driving the tractor through all the fields Monday, seeding the last of the fall turnips, carrots, herbs, etc, I was marveling (and yes, drooling a little) over all the veggies that are oh-so-close to being ready. The tomato plants are just dripping with fruits and the corn tassels are starting to dry up. I’ll have to open up an ear later and see how close it is. The other varieties of cucumbers we planted are just coming on. Onions are FINALLY sizing up and the broccoli is ready as well.
August is when I wish my stomach could double its capacity and I could take more advantage of all the amazing food that passes through my kitchen each day. This is the time of year where we all should remember that food; the preparing, the sharing, the eating, the talking over, is a joyful thing. I think today’s society sends us the message that food prep is drudgery, a hassle, an inconvenience. Let’s try to shift that paradigm a bit. I know we are all tired at the end of the day and may feel unmotivated to cook. But let’s try to re-prioritize food. Get the family to help cook or at least hang out in the kitchen to chat or snap beans or whatever. Conversely, you can claim dinner prep time as your “personal space time” (i.e. no interrupting the cook!) I did that when my kids were little and I wanted a break. Put on some good music, sip a glass of whatever, and be proud of what you are creating. I find one thing that helps is to create a dinner plan for the whole week. That way you always know what’s for dinner, everyone is on board, and you’ll shop so that you have all the ingredients on hand. Sometimes thinking about what to make is the biggest challenge.
What’s in the Box
Beets or chard
Pickling cukes-great for fresh eating
Fingerling potatoes-Russian Banana
Garlic-California Late White
Onion-Either Walla Walla Sweet, Sierra Blanco white, or Cabernet red-all are sweet
Sungold or red slicing tomatoes
Dill & Cilantro/ or basil
Tomatoes, cucumber, and cottage cheese. This would have been perfect for the weekend. Chop up equal parts tomato and cucumber (you may want to peel the cucumber is the skin is bitter) and serve over cottage cheese.
Tabouli-Remember you don’t have to follow this recipe to a “T”. Add or subtract veggies according to your mood and /or CSA box content.
slow cooked zucchini coins with chopped herbs and feta
rosemary onion green beans
broccoli salad with lemon yogurt dressing
tomato cucumber salad with mint
yogurt dill sauce for cucumbers and falafel