Whooooaaaa, we’re halfway there…week ten is here! This more or less marks the midpoint of the CSA season as we always shoot for twenty weeks as a distribution goal, though circumstances often nudge the number of actual weeks up or down (and having a shorter season doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a bad season…we ended on Week 18 last season with folks having received nearly $200 more in veggie value than they paid for!)
In farming as in life, one has to be ready for change, and changes are happening as we speak. Last week marked the end of the line for Christina here on the farm. She has relocated to Amesbury, Mass. to begin the school year, teaching music at the Sparhawk School. She’s planning to come up on most weekends to see her fella and perhaps help out at the Portland Farmers’ Market, too. She joined us full time in June and worked awfully hard this summer, and we are very grateful for her efforts. Thanks, Christina! Andrew is still here, thank God, and will soldier on with us full time until October. And, we’d like to give a hearty welcome to Claire Ardito, who arrived here on Sunday and will be apprenticing with us from now until the end of the season. Claire is a native of NYC (lower Manhattan) but comes to us from a summer camp over in New Hampshire where she lived and worked for most of the first half of the summer. We’re happy to have you here, Claire, and look forward to getting you up to speed! All this at the peak of the harvest AND as the arrival of our new baby gets closer and closer. The little guy is coming soon folks, probably within the next week or two. Yikes! Sonya and I are anxious and excited and trying to be patient, and Lydia is pretty excited to meet her “baby brother” soon, too.
The tenth CSA share of the 2011 season includes the following:
2 lb bag of potatoes
2 lbs of zucchini and/or summer squash
1.75 lb bag of green beans (green, wax or purple beans)
1 sweet onion
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1.5 lbs of beefsteak and heirloom tomatoes
1 bulb of garlic
1/2 lb bag of green bell peppers
1 Hungarian hot wax pepper -OR- 2 Jalapeno peppers
CHOOSE ONE: bag of artichokes -OR- 2 kohlrabi -OR- bag of broccoli -OR- bag of cauliflower (Friday CSAers: farmer’s choice)
CHOOSE ONE herb: basil, dill, sage, or thyme
1 pint of husk cherries (1st come, 1st serve…those who don’t get a pint this week will get one next week!)
The potato varieties again this week are Sangre (red skin, white flesh) and Chieftan (yellow skin, yellow flesh). The sweet onion should be kept in the fridge, but the garlic is considered fully cured at this point and does not need to be refridgerated. We keep ours in a little hanging basket near the fridge; you can keep yours any place where it will stay dry and out of direct sunlight.
Our various bean plantings are still going strong, and we’re taking ridiculous amounts of green, Golden Rocky wax, and Royal Burgundy purple beans out of the field each week. They are delicious fresh, of course, and great for pickling and canning. If you’re feeeling overwhelmed and are pressed for time, however, you can simply wash them, trim off the stems, stuff them in freezer bags, and throw them in the freezer. Sonya feels blanching is unnecessary for beans (her exact words in the field this morning: “Blanching is bullshit!”) If you want to blanch the beans, just boil them for a mere minute or two, plunge them in ice water to stop the cooking, bag them, and freeze them. Now your beans can be enjoyed over the winter!
Our heirloom tomatoes out in Field 4 are finally beginning to ripen in earnest, and we’re thrilled to pass them on to you all. They may look funny…irregular shapes, splits, various sizes and colors…but the flavor of these tomatoes tells the real story. Much more will be coming in the next few weeks, so get those canning, sauce, and salsa recipes ready!
We’re having an amazing basil season and are excited to share even more of it with the CSA this week. If you’re stumped on what to do with it, remember the pesto option. It’s quick, easy, and the results can be frozen for future use. You should try to use your basil as soon as possible, but if you need to hold onto it for a few days, treat it just as you would a flower bouquet and put the bunch in a glass of water on the kitchen counter. This is our go-to method for keeping most fresh, bunched herbs, actually…the herbs hold up much better this way than if they were refridgerated.
A few people asked me last week at the Portland share pick-up about the next farm potluck. It’s happening on Saturday, Sept. 17th from 6-9 PM, so mark your calendars! I’ll mention it again a little closer to that date. Be well, and enjoy the veggies!
And, just for fun, here’s a short video of happy piggies. My, how they’ve grown!