Week of July 31st – CSA Newsletter

The greenhouse tomatoes

Well, another week has gone by and we saw more rain on the farm. It was so wet that I thought that we weren’t going to be able to get any transplanting done last week but we were able to sneak in a few beds on Friday. The talk among my farmer friends is whether or not we’d prefer conditions like this year or last year’s drought. Neither are ideal but the consensus among my colleagues is that we’d take the dry over wet. Some of the reasons behind that are because we can water if we need to in dry conditions. In dry years the weeds don’t grow at the same rate and disease pressure is usually much lower. When plants are wet, they are more susceptible to certain diseases. I haven’t seen too much out in the field that is causing much concern yet, but that is definitely a big yet! It’s kind of funny that the year we have a well installed in our fields to help with irrigation, we’ve only come close to using it once.

We continued liberating crops from weeds last week. The peppers are definitely enjoying their new-found freedom from weed competition. In today’s farm walk, there was a noticeable difference in their growth. We have a “crop liberation” party in the works, so keep your eyes peeled for that announcement. The other big job that we accomplished last week was harvesting all the garlic. We got all the plants out of the ground and hanging upstairs in the barn to cure. We hang the garlic for a few weeks to let it dry out so it will store better.

Garlic crop is in and hanging in the barn!

It wasn’t our best yield in terms of the size of the garlic but we have a good amount. I think a lot of it has to do with how wet it was and the weed pressure. We usually save our largest heads to break up and replant for next year. We’ll have to wait and see how much we have that’s a decent size.

The crops in the field and hoophouses/greenhouse keep trudging along. In addition to all the wet weather we’ve had, it’s been unseasonably cool and cloudy. And we all know that plants need the sun to help with photosynthesis. The tomatoes in the tunnels have definitely been affected by the weather. I’ve picked almost a pint of cherries and even tasted the first heirloom over the weekend. It shouldn’t be too long but we need some sun and warmer weather (which I’m hopeful that we’ll get this week).

This week’s CSA share is going to feature one new item and it’s baby fennel. If you’re not familiar with fennel, it has a distinct licorice flavor. It can be added to salads, roasted or sautéed. But it’s summer and that means grill season. I like to slice the fennel lengthwise, brush both sides with some olive oil and some salt and pepper and toss on the grill. I keep it on there for 7 or so minutes on each side. Basically until it’s nice and tender and slightly charred. After I pull it off, I sprinkle it with a nice parmesan cheese. The tops of the fennel can be used as a herb addition to salads or fish. The other items that will be in the CSA share are the last of the carrots (just until the next round is ready), cucumbers, summer squash, eggplant, kohlrabi, lettuce mix, dandelion greens, sorrel, garlic scapes, kale and garlic.

Coming soon are green peppers, tomatoes, basil and more cabbage.

Have a great week!

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