Wednesday, August 1, 2012

CSA Share Week 8
Rain, glorious rain! It started with a dramatic thunder and lightning storm last Monday night (7/23) and it continued off and on until this past weekend. In total, we have probably had about 1 ½ inches total rainfall this past week.
All vegetation—vegetables, weeds, grass—seem to be on heaving a sigh of relief. Outside it even has a hint of that Upstate “green” smell in the air again. Heavenly.
That’s the good news.
Six weeks without rain and with temperatures consistently up in the mid-90s has had its consequences on our farm—some lost crops, some stunted crops.
As for the latter, Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension specialist Chuck Bornt recently explained in a newsletter what happens in temps 90° F and up: “the plant is working so hard staying cool that it is expending all of its energy moving water from the roots through the plant. Photosynthesis may cease all together and that, in turn, stops the production that you plan on selling.”
He also discussed how air pollution damage or “ozone damage” is common on hot days and how this can be damaging to plants. We have noticed this to some extent as well.
So, what’s next? We ask that our CSA members hang in there while the shares are less abundant or diverse than we had planted for. Ken is waking extra early and often working until dark to plant new beds while there’s enough moisture to get seeds to germinate. We absolutely need additional rainfall.
Meantime, we still have a couple of items we’re introducing this week: Yukon Gold potatoes and aromatic Thai basil!

Ken & Maryellen

TIP of the week: Bag It Up.

Most (or all) of your produce is distributed in bulk, not bagged. Most of what you receive, however, should be stored in the refrigerator in some kind of plastic bag (such as a produce bag) or a bio bag designed for produce storage. This helps hold in the moisture so that your vegetables stay fresh longer and things like carrots stay crisp and crunchy.  Lettuces store especially well in a salad spinner (in the fridge). This week’s garlic and potatoes should be stores in a dark, cool spot in your kitchen (not in the fridge, not in the sunlight).

In This Week's Share:

1 bunch red onion

1 Italian eggplant

2 garlic heads

1 bunch beets with green tops

1 bunch carrots

1 bunch Thai basil

1 ½ pounds Yukon Gold potatoes

 Fruit Share:

John Boy yellow peaches

1 pint Adirondack blueberries


Eat your beet greens!

Beet greens are incredibly nutritious for you. At the farm, we like to sauté them in olive oil until wilted and then stir in some minced garlic, much like this Food Network recipe. A squirt of lemon juice or splash of balsamic vinegar is a nice finishing touch, as is blue cheese or goat cheese. You could add them to a pasta or an egg dish, or just serve as a side. You can also add beet greens to a green smoothie (just don’t overdo it or their earthy flavor will come through).

THAI BASIL. Thai basil is commonly used in Asian cuisines and has a subtle licorice flavor. It smells heavenly and immediately reminds me (Maryellen) of curries and coconut milk. It is also commonly served as a condiment to phŏ (Vietnamese noodles soup).

Here are a slew of recipes we hope will inspire you to try it out. Let us know what you did with it!

Squash and Corn in CoconutMilk with Thai Basil (this recommends Magda squash—the light green zucchini-like squash you’ve been seeing in your shares.

Peaches have arrived!

 This week’s variety is a yellow peach called “John Boy” and, according to farmer Tom Maynard, they’re the “peach of the season” as far as flavor goes. These are an eating-out-of-hand peach. Expect pie peaches to arrive later in the season.
Peaches do not ripen on the tree, and these were just picked. To ripen, leave out on your countertop in a bowl. Once it feels ripe (the peach gives slightly when you press with your thumb, and it smells sweet), refrigerate to slow the ripening process.

Can’t eat all of your peaches in one week? Freeze the peaches for making smoothies! The blueberries freeze equally well, and are just as tasty a snack eaten frozen.

Haven’t finished all of your plums from last week? At the farm we simmered them with sugar and rum to make a sauce for ice cream and yogurt (we then froze the sauce in batches). Sorry, no recipe. We winged it—but start with less sugar and  not too much rum (or no rum at all), bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and taste after cooking for about 15 minutes. You can always add more. We added a cornstarch slurry to thicken it slightly.

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