Thursday, August 14, 2008

Newsletter #12

Red Springs Family Farm
August 14, 2008, Week #12

This week:
Cantaloupe or Watermelon
Cucumbers Summer Squashes
Tomatoes Lettuce
Beets Green Beans
Corn Sorrel
Parsley Basil
Little bits of Tomatillos and Cilantro

Sometimes life is more exciting than we’d like it to be.
I was tooling along, on my way to teach Tuesday afternoon yoga class, about half way out our rough gravel road, when around a blind curve comes our neighbor in her truck and boom, we are in the worn out world of fender-benders. So, if you notice our dusty little Kia looking more bent and misshapen than it oughta, there’s the story. Everyone’s ok, a little sore, but nothing unusual all things considered. Lulah was not with me, and we did our very best to not hit each other, making damages relatively minimal.

This weather is so beautiful – so unpredictable – so uncomplain-able!

Allow me to admit that I’m being a nervous-nelly about the watermelons. Having cracked a couple that acted ripe and then were not, I’m terrified to give them to you. The ripe ones are delicious, of course, but please accept our apologies in advance if you receive one that has not reached its apex of sweetness. We’ll have our thumping down to a science very soon. Note as well that we also grow a yellow watermelon, so if you slice into a color surprise, it’s name is Petite Yellow and we’ve found it to be one of the most delicious watermelons.

This corn, mmmm-mmmm, is called Ambrosia. Indeed. Enjoy. Toss some corn with the tomatillos and summer squash for a summery sauté. I haven’t tried it yet, but I suspect that these jumbo sized patty pans would be suitable substitutes for zucchini in sweet bread recipes. Sometimes the white patty pans hide from us, emerging later as flying saucers in the squash patch! To give you an idea of the harvest intensity here – we pick squashes every day, cucumbers every other day, and tomatoes, green beans, and melons every third day at the most. The gardens are so alive, we run to keep up with them!

If you’re wondering what on earth to do with all these cucumbers, please don’t. There’s only more to come. Our first planting of cukes this year was attacked with great speed and efficiency by vine borers and squash bugs. Obviously, we’ve still had a pretty good harvest, despite the losses. However, we still thought it best to make a second planting, not knowing how many plants would succumb in the battle for survival. The second planting is no less than perfect. They are just beginning to bear and the vines have overtaken their fence and are climbing over towards the first planting’s fence for more room. It will be a prickly, but productive, walk through the cucumber patch very soon. So I’ll toss in a couple recipes/inspirations for you.
These are mostly from The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson.

Cucumber salads have a cooling effect, so they are frequently served as a side salad with spicy dishes. Cucumbers make a good base for seafood salads. You can scoop them out and fill them, or slice them and use them like crackers!

Marinated Cucumber Salad in Honey-Cider Vinegar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar 2 Tbsp. water
1-3 Tbsp. Honey 4 medium cucumbers, peeled, thinly sliced
¼ tsp. Prepared Dijon mustard OR 1 ½ tsp. Caraway seeds OR 1 tsp. Celery seeds
OR 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill 6 thin slices of onion

1. Mix the vinegar, water, honey to taste, and mustard (or other seasoning) in a glass mixing bowl. Add the cucumber and onion; toss until well combined.
2. Marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate overnight. Serve cold or room temp.

Something different:
Curried Rice and Cucumber Salad with Walnuts and Raisins, serves 6
3 cups cooked basmati or jasmine rice 1/3 cup sliced scallions
1/3 cup golden raisins 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (about one lemon)
Salt to taste ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tbsp. ghee (or butter) 1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved length wise, seeds scooped out, thinly sliced

1. Combine the cooked rice, scallions, raisins, salt, and lemon juice in a large bowl and stir.
2. Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over high heat until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
3. Quickly wipe the surface of the skillet with a clean towel; melt the ghee in the skillet over medium heat and stir in the curry powder; stir for 30 seconds.
4. Add the cucumber slices. Cook, stirring constantly, until cucumber is tender, 3-4 minutes. Remove the skillet from heat.
5. Add the cucumber to the rice mixture and toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
6. Toss the toasted walnuts with the salad, then sprinkle a generous amount of paprika over the top. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

And one more, a delicious classic, from the Seyer Family:
2 lbs tomatoes(seeded and halved)1 cucumbers (sliced)5 cloves of garlic(peeled, more/less depending on preference)1 green pepper(chopped)1 loaf of French Bread (torn into small pieces)(or similar bread)3 T. Extra Virgin Olive OilSalt/Pepper to Taste Blend all ingredients together in food processor or blender. Chill for at least two hours. Serve with bread and enjoy this refreshing cold, healthy soup. :) You can also add hot pepper if you want to spice it up.

Have a great weekend everyone! Thanks for sharing the harvest.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle
“… coral in its many fantastic colors and shapes and textures, the appearance of different kinds of fish at different times of the day, the colors changing rapturously with the passage of the sun from morning to night. It must be like that in our soils… if we could just see it – vibrant, ever changing, a great dancing picture of harmony and life.”
~Farmer John Peterson

Red Springs Family Farm, PO Box 351 Red Boiling Springs TN 37150 ~ ~

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