So why are the farmers above smiling? Is it love? Well, sure! I’m mean, she’s real cute, right? Is it because Sonya was telling a funny story about John for the amusement of today’s harvest crew? Yes, that’s also true. Yet the main reason these farmers are happy is that the 2012 garlic harvest is DONE. Finished. Over! And quickly, too…we were done with the whole process…pulling the plants, bunching 9 or 10 of ‘em together, tying a bunch to each end of a length of twine, gathering the tied bunches and getting them to the barn (some traveled in the truck, others were just schlepped over from nearby Field 2), and hanging them from the rafters…by 11 AM. Now, the garlic will hang out (literally!) for a few weeks to dry. Our members should still treat their garlic this week as “fresh”…to be kept in the fridge and used fairly quickly…but beginning next week, the garlic is considered to be “cured” and should be fine at room temperature (though out of direct sunlight) for months.
And who was in this crew? Our usual Tuesday suspects were present: Donna, Glen, Brittany, and Anna. Sigrid was here, keeping an eye on little Ezra and helping us out in the field while he napped. CSA member and friend, Tonya Watson, also helped out. And we’re pleased to welcome a couple of new WWOOFers to the farm this week. Colin and Jess are musicians from Wisconsin, touring and WWOOFing their way around the northeast and upper midwest this summer. Their band is called The Cost of Living. They had a gig scheduled for this Thursday in Brunswick that has now been cancelled, so we’re poking around and trying to get something else set up for them sometime this week. They have to leave by Saturday to get to a gig down in Lowell, Mass. If anyone has any suggestions or ideas, please let us know. The fellas have been a big help so far this week, lending a hand with the big harvest today and helping Sonya dig a load of potatoes yesterday.
CSA share #9 for the 2012 season includes the following veggies:
Choice: 2 lbs of potatoes -or- 2 lbs of beets
1 lb of eggplant
Choice: 1 lb of green, purple, or wax beans -or- .8 lbs of tomatoes (Juliettes and/or beefsteaks) (Friday CSAers: Farmers’ choice)
Choice: Red Russian kale -or- Swiss chard -or- Lettuce (Friday CSAers: Farmers’ choice)
2 green bell peppers
1 hot pepper (jalapeno or Hungarian hot wax)
1 sweet onion
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
1 fresh garlic bulb
1 enormous bunch of basil
Cucumbers, oh my! It’s time to dust off those pickle recipes. We’ve been enjoying those summertime cucumber salads (just slice the cukes and toss them with olive oil, a splash of Balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper) and also juicing the cukes. Sonya’s been juicing cukes and beets together lately, with excellent results. And with another massive bouquet of basil coming your way, you might be wondering how to keep it all as fresh as possible. First off, use it soon. Even under the best of circumstances, that basil will start to wilt unless it’s used within 2 or 3 days. We treat it (and most other herbs, too) as we would treat a flower bouquet. When you get your basil home, trim off the stem ends, strip away any low leaves, and put the basil in a glass of water. Keep the glass right on the kitchen counter…never refrigerate basil, for it turns black in the cold! If you won’t use the basil for a few days, try to remember to dump the water and replace it with a fresh supply. Enjoy!
Finally, another animal update. Those of you who follow this blog regularly know that we have not had very good luck with critters this season, and that bad luck continues. Our guinea hens have flown the coop. We were told that we needed to keep them in a cage in the same spot for a couple of weeks so that their strong homing instinct would “lock in” and then gradually allow them more and more freedom to roam. We dutifully kept them caged, inside a large dog crate inside the winter sheep shed, for a little over two weeks and then opened the door of the cage and shut the doors of the shed so they would have a little more space to explore. After a day or so of freedom in the shed, we left the shed door open, thinking they would gradually pop out and explore the fenced sheep area before venturing further out. For most of that first day with the shed open, the 4 hens were sitting on top of or right next to their cage when I would walk past. When I peeked in on them in the evening after locking the laying hens in for the night, however, there was only one hen in there on top of the cage. Hmmm… In the morning, there were none. Later, as I was cleaning up for the potluck that evening, I took some boards over to our scrap pile and a guinea flew up out of the brush near the firepit. Later, I spotted all four keeping to the brush near our woodpile behind the driveway. Then we had the potluck, and I wonder if all the kids running around and general hub-bub scared them off. I haven’t seen or heard from them since. They are likely still on the farm somewhere, though I wonder if they are old enough and smart enough to find all the food and water they need on their own. Hopefully, they’ll make it and stick around, but we really have no idea. In any case, we will probably try again with guineas very soon. I suspect we’ll find more keets on Craigslist, and we hope that if we get them at a younger age, rear them under a heat lamp, and keep them in the same space for much longer than the original quartet that we’ll have better luck. Live and learn… Have a great week, everyone, and enjoy the veggies!