Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Crispy footing from the house to the greenhouse after 4 weeks without rain.
Water from the farm's pond is being pumped out to irrigate. It's helping but has its limitations.
Winter squash in a back field suffers from lack of rain. This field, which contains our sweet corn and a number of other crops, is not within reach of the farm's irrigation system.

Note to Cooperstown members: the distribution will be at 54 Elm Street again. 

When you hike around the farm these days from task the task, the ground audibly crunches underfoot. We are now in our 4th week here without rain.
Plants naturally struggle without water, and this is visible around the farm. Though conditions here are mild in comparison to the drought conditions in the Midwest where farmers are simply ploughing under shriveling corn crops, the drought is compromising our yields and challenging our ability to get certain crops started from seed (seeds need moisture to germinate).
Two years ago the farm received a grant through the USDA National Resources Conservation Service, which assisted us in the building of a million gallon pond and installation of an irrigation system with underground water lines running to the edges of our primary fields. Last year there was no shortage of rain, so we did not get the chance to put the system to work. Now, it’s running.
It is a drip system (perforated plastic lines are run down a bed of plants and slowly drip water out through the night). It is an amazing thing to have. Because of this system, we were able to run drip line through a mature broccoli crop all of this past week so that it would hold up for this week’s harvest. At the same time, because it is such a gentle watering system and the conditions are so dry, it’s not completely effective. It’s more like a band aid. And we do have crops in our back fields that this system can’t reach.
So, needless to say, we could use a good, soaking rain.


1 head fresh garlic
1 bunch broccoli
1 bunch basil
2 cucumbers
2 to 3 zucchini or patty pan squash
1 head of red leaf lettuce
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch beets

 (zucchini and squash types and amounts vary depending on what you've received in past weeks)


Sweet Yellow Plums
Yellow Peaches*

(peaches only for those CSA groups that did not receive them last week because of the holiday: at-farm and Cooperstown members)

Sweet yellow plums are ripe when they turn a "canary yellow" color and are soft to touch. "They're wonderful," says grower Tom Maynard. 

The plums and peaches were just picked and need time to ripen off the tree. 
To ripen, leave out in the counter in a bowl or on a plate. Transfer into the refrigerator once ripe. 

For those members with a chicken share, this is a chicken distribution week.

Cooking tips and recipe ideas:

Fresh ideas for this week’s squash

Zucchini is so incredibly versatile (green or golden). Great on the stovetop or in the oven—whether you’re roasting for dinner or making Maryellen's chocolate nut zucchini bread for a snack:
(we ate 2 loaves in 24 hours--okay, our young dog got a hold of half of one)

An outdoor grill or electric griddle or stovetop grill plan can be used for this recipe for grilled zucchini with chive oil-- 
Maybe skip the chive oil and use this week's basil to make a basil oil instead (use leftovers for a homemade vinaigrette):

The Cousa-style squash can be treated like a zucchini (the only thing we haven’t tried with it is making zucchini bread), but it is popular with some Middle-Eastern cuisines for stuffing with ground lamb or beef and rice. Variations on this abound: with or without meat or with a different kind of grain—may be with some minced sautéed beet greens and a cheese…. Let us know if you have a recipe for this specialty squash.

Spare your carrots!!! No need to bother peeling the carrots in your share. Just scrub to get any residual dirt off of them and enjoy.

Beet conundrum: Are beets a hard sell in your household? Or maybe you haven’t learned to love them? Sneak them into a chocolate cake:

Or maybe you do love beets (especially great roasted) but hate the idea of turning on the oven in this summer heat. Here are two no-cook beet salads to consider:


Granted, beets aren’t as sweet when served raw. If you like the idea of a cooling beet salad but are willing to turn on the oven for a sweeter-tasting beet, the yogurt dressing is a nice, fresh counterpart to the earthy beet. Don’t hesitate to use minced basil (from this week’s share) instead of the dill called for in this recipe:

Storing fresh garlic. The garlic is now at the stage where you can simply leave it out on the counter. The papery layers around the cloves will dry back some and be easier to peel off. 

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