As I type this, I am instructing my son how to make quiche. This is week 3 of him cooking dinner Wednesday nights. What a luxury to just sit back and bark instructions while I simultaneously get other stuff done. Like write this newsletter! I dread the return of school, the return of homework, the probable loss of my Wednesday night dinner cooker. In case you are wondering, he is utilizing onion, garlic, carrot, tomato, and summer squash from today’s CSA share.
What’s In the Box:
beets or chard
parsley and basil, or dill and cilantro
slicing cucumber (large shares only)
sungold cherry tomatoes
red slicing tomatoes
patty pan squash (large shares only)
yellow, kind of sweet onion
red onion (large shares only)
broccoli to those who didn’t get it last week
yellow flesh watermelon to those who didn’t get it last week, with the exception of a few small shares at a few sites (we know who you are and will hook you up next week!)
Today’s box is pretty jam packed. We were unsure if we were going to be able to close it. Good thing we are between lettuce plantings and didn’t have any to hand out. There are several new and exciting items to point out.
Golden beets: I forgot to mention them last week. They taste just like red beets, only more subtle. And they won’t turn everything purple! If you want to add beets to a dish and not have it become discolored, this is the go-to beet. We usually cube them up, toss with olive oil and bake in the oven at 400-ish degrees, stirring occasionally, until they are fork tender. A little salt, pepper, and fresh herbs add a nice touch.
Watermelon: We managed to get them before the crows and yellow jackets. Whoo-hoo! Some of you got them last week, and most of the rest of you get them this week. We ran out of appropriate sized melons for small shares at a few sites. We’ll get you some next week. This is a variety called “yellow doll” and, as you will discover, the flesh is yellow. The taste is sweet and refreshing. This is an old-school melon and you will have to contend with seeds, but it is worth it. (You know you secretly enjoy spitting seeds across the kitchen when no one is looking.)
Kale: We usually don’t offer kale this early in the season, but our new field (more on that in a minute) allowed us to get some in a little earlier. Red Russain is the variety. Today would be the perfect day to make kale quesadillas (see cookbook or follow this link). You could whip up a small batch of salsa with the mother-load of tomatoes you got in your box.
Potatoes: Yukon Gem is the name. It is a lot like Yukon gold or Yellow Finn. They are pretty all -purpose. Mash, steam, pan fry, roast. You really can’t go wrong. They are quite good. They are also quite large, as some of you will witness. Several weighed in at over 1.5 lbs. Now if only we could get our russets to do that.
Corn: This is a bi-color variety called “Charisma.” Oh, the names of sweet corn. (Shaking head in exasperation.) The names remind me of when you go to certain restaurants and rather than asking for a “cheeseburger” you must say “I’d like the Wild West cheese melt extravaganza.”
Onions: The yellow ones are a sweet called “Alpine.” They are not quite as sweet as a Walla Walla, but still pretty sweet. They are a little more pungent. The reds are an equal balance of sweet and pungent.
Garlic: This week you get a variety called Metechi. It is a little hotter than the stuff you have been getting. Last fall we hosted some friends of a friend from Twisp, WA. They vending at the Chehalis Garlic Festival that occurs each September. We bought some Metechi and Pinasco Blue from them. They both performed quite well, though I am personally partial to the huge cloves of Music garlic.
Tomatoes: As you can see, both the cherry tomatoes and slicers are cranking! Enjoy the gluttony because the season for tomatoes is tragically short around here. We have a lot available for canning. Let me know if you want to get some. I just put up 36 quarts yesterday. That was a bit of an undertaking. I have a hard time doing anything small scale.
Everything else should be pretty self explanatory.
COOKBOOKS: I finally had the time (just barely) to send along cookbooks to all the new CSA members today. These are long overdue, my apologies. Hopefully you saw the note at your drop site and found the book with your name on it. Each new member gets a farm cookbook. We only hand out one per share. Additional copies can be purchased for $6. So, if you are sharing a share or want additional copies for gifts, let me know and I can send one or more along with your share next week. (This is the same cookbook we have been handing out for years, only with a new cover.) If there was not a book for you and you are a new member, please let me know. By now all of your names sound so familiar, that I was having trouble remembering who is new and who is not. We switched CSA database programs this year, so I didn’t have a quick way to cross-reference the old and the new. I have come along way in the world of computers, but I am not yet quite that savvy. In short, let me know if you need a book!
The New Field: As I mentioned above, we acquired access to 2.5-ish acres of very different soil type this spring. It is at the home and farm of Lee and Ora of Happy Hen fame (they have a booth at the Olympia Farmers Market where they sell hand woven tea towels and gourd bird houses, among other crafts.) They used to also raise veggies to sell at the market for years and years, but decided to get out of the veggies end of things about 5 years ago. This spring we entered into a mutually beneficial arrangement with Lee and Ora. We get access to 2+ very dry, out-of-the-flood-plain acres, and they have someone taking care of that part of the land. Their soil is so different from ours. It is incredibly fluffy and well drained, where as our soil is heavier and more substantial. Out intention is to use the Happy Hen field for late fall through late spring crops, and use our place for everything else. This will allow us to fallow a little more and to not feel so pressured to work our heavy soil in marginal spring conditions.
The field is only 12 minutes from the home farm, though some days it feels like a world away. Out of site out of mind. We have been spoiled all these years to be able to walk to all of our fields. It takes a whole new level of planning and organization to have a field away from the main hub. We have to remember to bring all the appropriate tools, boxes, ties, etc. I appreciate cell phones a lot more now. Our intention was to just just use this first year to get the fields back in shape and get some quack grass under control, but we ended up planting some early spring and late summer crops. Long story short, that is why you have kale today!
Well, the quiche is almost done. Time for dinner.