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August 4, 2018

Save Our Melons

Still time to bring in a scare crow this week! We will get them out to the rapidly ripening field of melons by this weekend to keep those pesky crows away.

This Week's Share

The calendar page has turned, and deep summer is showing its face in the share room. We will start picking the field tomatos this week and that means you will start to see all the colors of the heirloom and specialty tomatoes in the share room. We grow varieties that are yellow and red, pink, yellow, peach, green, purple, just to name a few. We pick at peak ripeness, so they are ready to eat, even if they are yellow or green. Please ask Hannah or Holly if you are confused by the heirlooms. They sometimes look a little funny or imperfect with green shoulders or cracks, but we assure you they are incredibly delicious.

Our specialty tomatoes will also be coming in. This includes peach colored plums and yellow and red striped plums, multicolored cherries, and tomatillos.

We will start to have loads and loads of tomatoes so it is time for all things tomatoes! Putting up tomatoes can be anywhere from incredibly simple to a little more complicated with canning. The easiest thing to do is just put them in the freezer, thats right, you can freeze whole tomatoes. They take some space, so if you want to save space you can chop whole tomatoes and put them into freezer bags and lay them flat to freeze. Voila! Tomatoes all winter long! This is usually all I do and I make sauce from them when I have more time in the winter.

We will continue to sell tomatoes for freezing and canning in the share room for $1/lb. until the crop starts to die down in September.

Just in time for salsa season, we have a beautiful bed of cilantro just about ready for harvest this week. Try it in the recipe of the week! I am going to give the basil bed we've been picking hard a week to regrow. Knock on wood, I have been thrilled its been holding up well to disease pressure.

Pickling time has come to an end and our cukes are starting to slow down. We have one more planting of a slicing variety we are waiting on but bulk pickling cukes are no longer available.

The melons are on the verge of ripeness. Some of our Sun Jewels have already started to ripen. These are an Asian crisp type melon. These are oblong in shape, about the size of a football or a little smaller. They have very thin skins that turn yellow when ripe and white flesh that is crisp when ripe, sort of like an Asian pear. Terra Firma shareholders, look out for one of these in your box this week! It is not a squash! The next up will be our yelllow and early red watermelons, followed by canteloupes and later red watermelons. Personally, I could stand for them towait for next week to start to ripen so we could get some work done instead of harvesting melons, but ripe melons is not a bad problem to have!

Recipe of the Week: 

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

Ingredients: 

 

Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Asian fish sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 large clove finely chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeño, with or without seeds, depending on how spicy you like it
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh scallions
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped

Salad Ingredients

  • 8 ounces dried rice vermicelli noodles, cut in half with your hands
  • 1 small red pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 small yellow or green pepper, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1 cup fresh snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup lettuce leaves or arugula
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh shiso (or perilla*) leaves or basil
  • 1 lime, cut into 8 sections
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
Directions: 

Make the sauce: In a bowl or glass jar mix all the ingredients and taste for spice level. The sauce will keep covered and refrigerated for several days.
Make the salad: Boil water. Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl and cover with the boiling water. Let sit until softened, about 5 minutes. Drain and place under cold running water. Drain again. If you want to make the noodles ahead of time, place in a covered container with 1/4 cup cold water to keep the noodles from sticking together. Be sure to drain the noodles before putting the salad together. The noodles can be made a day ahead of time.
Place the drained cooled noodles in the center of a large serving plate or salad bowl. Arrange the red pepper, yellow pepper, carrots, peas, lettuce and herbs in small piles around the outside of the noodles. Scatter the lime sections and peanuts on top and around the salad. Just before serving, pour the sauce over the noodles and vegetables.

Credit: 
wbur.org

It was a pretty good week

Wow! So many onions! Can you guess how many?
Wow! So many onions! Can you guess how many?

Dear Friends, 

 

Well that was better! After a tough slog the week before, things got a little bit better around here. While the weather was a marked improvement, it wasn’t all sunshine. Since it wasn’t going to be all sunny skies and smooth sailing we had to may hay as the sun shines as they say. We took advantage of dry weather on Monday and Tuesday and set out to harvest our storage onions.

 

Typically the storage onion harvest happens the first or second week in August and its usually blazing hot, but with all the rain we’ve been having and more forecasted on the way we decided to get them out. The onion harvest is a big job. We grow about 3/4 of an acre of onions, which in the greater scheme of onion farming isn’t very much but for our scale it’s a solid amount. The onions have to be pulled from the ground and placed in windrows. 

 

Once all the onions are windrowed we come through and load them into bulk bins. These are the same bins that we harvest melons and winter squash into. The nice thing about using bins with the onions is that we don’t have to lift them up by hand. The Tractor can do all the heavy lifting which makes everything easier. We fill bin after bin until the field is picked up. At that point I start to bring loads back on the trailer which we unload on the farm.

 

Under normal circumstances we would never do this during CSA pick up. Since this year has been anything but normal, with more rain forecast for Wednesday we didn’t have any choice and had to do all the unloading and moving during the Tuesday share pick up. 5 loads later and all 15 bins were tucked away in the barn. This wasn’t their final resting place however. The onions can't stay in the bins and instead need to be dumped on the greenhouse tables to finish drying.

 

So in the damp, scattered showers of Wednesday we brought the bins down to the greenhouse and loaded all the onions onto the tables. It’s hard to know for sure but we probably harvested somewhere between 7,500 and 10,000 pounds of onions, which are now drying happily in the greenhouse.

 

With the onions safely stored away we were able to turn our attention back to the regularly scheduled program and plant another acre of fall brassicas. The rain never came Thursday or Friday and we were able to make good progress getting weeds killed and land prepared. We even found the first ripe Sun Jewel melons, All in All I would say it was a pretty good week!

 

Your farmers,

Anthony, Chris, Erica, Hannah, Holly, Kerry, Larry and Max

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