Wednesday, August 22, 2012

CSA Share Week 11

Friday night fun: Ken uncovers "artesian well" near a newly tilled field with fall crops.

excerpt from a recent note from a CSA member:
I want to remind you that even in challenged year, what you have sent to our table is wonderful. Last week, David and I sat down to a dinner at which nearly everything came from the farm. Our gazpacho had peppers, tomatoes, onions, thai basil and garlic from you. We had homemade babaganoush made with your eggplant and garlic and ate it with your carrots. We had your beets, roasted, atop your greens in a dressing that included your leeks. We sautéed your zucchini in garlic and thai basil. It was one of our best meals of the summer. We thought of you at dinner that night, as we do often throughout the season. We marveled, just as we did last year, at what you manage to accomplish. We thank you for everything you do. 
-Rachel Levin, 2nd year CSA member

FARM LETTER, 8.21.12

We've received a number of supportive letters from CSA members in the last week. We really appreciate these kinds of communications.

The crops we’ve been irrigating for most of this summer have nearly been picked out. The tomatoes are the one crop coming in strong. So we humbly offer you what we’ve dubbed a tomato share for the week. Combine with last week’s onions and garlic and some extra-virgin olive oil, and you’ve got yourself the fixings for one heck of a fresh, homemade tomato sauce.
When stress creeps up on us—because the week’s share isn’t what we want it to be—we have to remind ourselves that we’ve done the best we can do with what we have, and in better weather circumstances we would have had more crop than we could move through the CSA without overwhelming members.
So, we practice acceptance—reluctantly.

As I’m writing this week’s letter, our home office is filled with the smell of fresh basil that the guys just harvested in a nearby field—heaven—AND we are getting a “scattered shower” that should last about 5 minutes. That seems to be the pattern of precipation here—short, sporadic showers. On Sunday, a Hudson Valley farm friend showed us his pocket notebook where he has been recording the nearly daily rainfall his farm has been getting. He’s bent out of shape—too much rain. It was hard to feel sorry for him.
As naive as it sounds, it’s so hard to fathom how we can be so dry here while just an hour south of us they’re on the verge of too wet.
These scattered showers do help get seed to germinate. That’s key. But they aren’t penetrating the soil deep enough to satisfy the roots of more established plants. So tricky.
We plowed a new field in the middle of the farm. The soil is beautiful, and the gently undulating rows are an inspiring site. There is arugula just popping up, peas too. Yet nothing is near to size for picking.
So, we practice patience.

When we purchased our farm, the previous owner told us about an “artesian well” located near the newly planted field we’ve just described. The well had been covered up with plywood and many feet of dirt, but there was a pipe sticking up to mark its location. We’d never bothered to investigate closely because we’ve never needed the water.
On Friday evening, Ken headed out with a shovel to see if it held promise. He dug until he was neck deep and at the bottom of a cement-lined hole, water seemed to freely replenish itself every time he scooped up and tossed out a bucket of mud.
We are not sure if this is really an artesian well or a spring. The next step is to consult with our local USDA Conservation Corps engineer to determine if it holds potential.
As Ken pitched buckets of mud from the hole, we all watched with shared excitement. After 13 years on 134 acres, there is still much to explore, discover and celebrate.

 This week’s share:4 large slicing tomatoes
3 pounds Mountain Magic salad tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil
¾ pounds green beans
3 red bell peppers

The round, golf-ball sized tomatoes are the Mountain Magic tomato. They are sweet, crack-resistant with sweet, bright flavor. They are great for making a tomato salad with this week’s basil and some fresh mozzarella, chopped kalamata olives and extra-virgin olive oil. They also make a flavorful fresh tomato sauce.
Most of the larger, crack-prone slicing tomatoes are Pink Beauties. These have a sweet, not-so-acidic flavor profile and meaty texture that tastes great sliced thick with a sprinkling of Kosher or a specialty salt--simple as that—or added to a sandwich. When ripe, use promptly, as they do not hold well.

Tip: Avoid refrigerating your tomatoes! They’ll turn mushy.

About 2# white donut peaches
1 pint blueberries  (if your group did not receive them last week)

Peach tip: Leave these squat peaches out on the counter to ripen. The peaches are considered ready when the greenish part of the flesh turns to a cream color and the peach is slightly soft to the touch.

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