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August 11, 2019

This Week's Share

There it is. Do you feel it? The first chilly morning today, the scent of seasonal change, maybe a bout of ragweed allergies, the slight shift towards fall. The crops in the field are shifting from needing constant tending and maybe a little worrying to moving to beyond the point of no return. The winter squash field is full of fully formed squashes and the potatoes are just about ready to start harvesting. The fall brassicas could stand a weeding but are standing tall and healthy.

 

Still the summer crops are going strong. I am so pleased that we have the best August squash and cukes we have ever seen. We changed the bed orientation in the field they are in to better follow the contour of the field, and it has paid off. There has been way less erosion and better water retention. We have successfully kept the weeds down in this years crop and the results are fantastic. We also found a new late season pickler variety resistant to diseases that are around at this time of year, and we are very happy with it. Lots of variables, maybe we can attribute success to or maybe its completely unrelated. Regardless, we have a great crop still coming in, so hurray for that! Eat those cukes up like there's no tomorrow, revel in the squash till you can't stand it anymore.

 

Our field tomatoes kicked in this week and now there are so.many.tomatoes!!!! I should mention the high tunnel tomatoes also kicked in last week and that was another record harvest for us. We were overfilling buckets and just not picking them all since we lacked the containers to hold them. The heirlooms come in all sorts of sizes and shapes from the medium sized rose ones to the large green Cherokees the jumbo yellow and red striped Germans. Give 'em all try, they are all subtly different and delicious. Yellow, purple with green shoulders, gold, these are how they look when they are ripe, you can check with Marycia and Hannah if you are confused by them but don't hold them expecting they will ripen to red.

 

We'll also have tomatillos and all sorts of cherries. Tomatillos are typically used in green salsa recipes and can be cooked into stews and casseroles.

 

Will the melons be ready? Only time will tell...

Recipe of the Week: 

Zucchini Dessert Square

Ingredients: 
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups cold butter

FILLING:

  • 8 to 10 cups cubed seeded peeled zucchini (4 to 5 pounds)
  • 2/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Directions: 

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly; reserve 3 cups. Pat remaining crumb mixture into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 375° for 12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, for filling, place zucchini and lemon juice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 6-8 minutes or until zucchini is crisp-tender. Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; cover and simmer for 5 minutes (mixture will be thin).

3. Spoon over crust; sprinkle with the reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden.

Credit: 
splendid table.org

The case of the never ripening melons

Sheppy has been asking about the melons all summer. The first ones went to  the crew busy weeding the beets.
Sheppy has been asking about the melons all summer. The first ones went to the crew busy weeding the fall beets

Dear Friends,

 

August continues to roll along. We are seeing the fall crops shape up. Sweet potatoes forming tubers, winter squash turning from green to shades of yellow, orange and even blue, potato vines dying and roots bursting from the ground. It is an important time of the season for us to focus. We can’t take our eye off the ball now. We’ve come so far and done so much but we still have a long way to go. This can be the time of year when people start to get a bit tired. Crew burnout can be a real thing. We try to counteract this with the occasional donut break and a constant stream of silly conversations. But as they say, it is a long row to hoe. 

 

If you have been a share holder with us for awhile you may have noticed something a little different about this August. If you said ‘celery’ you are correct, but that was not what i was referring to. No, I was speaking to the absence of watermelons and cantaloupes. Typically we start to see the first ripe melons in the field by the third week of July and we start to pick melons at the end of July. Usually by August 10th we are in full blown melon season. This year however, that has not been the case. 

 

Before you panic, let me assure you that we do indeed have melons coming. They actually look great. The plants look great, they have just been taking their time. To begin with, just about everything is about a week or two late this season. On top of that, they ended up in a somewhat shady field and got off to a bit of a slow start. They were a bit late to vine out, a bit late to flower and bit late to form fruit. It follows logically that they would be late to ripen as well. There was a brief moment where I did panic that we were not going to see melons form in the field but these days the vines are absolutely loaded. They are still just taking their sweet sweet time. 

 

In order to ensure that our melons are ripe we tend to utilize the ‘dead tendril’ method of picking. This involves checking the tendril immediately across from where the melon is attached to the vine. When the tendril is dead, it’s time to pick. For the past few weeks we have been walking through, looking at gorgeous melon after gorgeous melon, checking for dead tendrils only to find tendrils that are very much alive. Even on Friday morning we only found robust live tendrils. However, Friday afternoon Shep really wanted to see the melons so we ventured out to the field. Much to his delight and ours we discovered the first few ripe melons of the season!

 

A truly joyous occasion! We are hoping to be picking melons in earnest this week. They do tend to trickle in at first so we are not going to guarantee anything but we have our fingers crossed. It was unseasonably cold this weekend but we are hopeful nonetheless that their will be enough ripe and ready to go. As it stands right now we are gong to be picking winter squash, sweet potatoes and potatoes while there are still melons to harvest which would be a most unusual occurence, but isn't farming always full of surprises?

 

Your farmers, 

 

Bill, Bonnie, Erica, Hannah, Kerry, Larry and Max

 

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