Thursday, August 27, 2009

Newsletter Week #14

Red Springs Family Farm
August 27, 2009, Week #14

Vegetable medley:
Tomatoes Lettuce Corn
Summer squash Sweet Peppers Garlic
Eggplants Beets Cucumbers
Potatoes Hot Peppers (choice)
Herb bag: Basil Parsley Sorrel

What a week! We’re grateful for the approach of rain clouds again. There are not enough hours in a day, or night, this month to accomplish the busy farm to-do list.

Where to begin – we’re glad to still have a few tomatoes to give. The blight seems to be loosening it’s grip, and the plants that are still alive show signs of successful blooming again. We hope to supply a trickle of tomatoes, maybe supplemented by the row of cherry tomatoes that have been sorely neglected this season. A garden/farm magazine we receive carried on its front page this month a story about blight and how rampant it has been this year. It was good to hear that we’ve not been alone. The blight that killed the tomato harvest is the same kind that brought on the Irish Potato Famine. It’s airborne, and even conventional farms have suffered, as fungicides suppress but don’t completely destroy the disease. You might stock up on your store bought canned tomatoes now – prices may go up as the repercussions of the blight hit the markets.

Cherry tomatoes remind me of the parsley. Those of you who have been with us awhile know that we usually treat parsley as a vegetable, not a garnish. It’s a wonderful “superfood”, especially consumed raw. We have scarcely given any parsley this season because we underestimated the vining potential of our cherry tomatoes, next row over from the parsley. They grew so big so fast, and then the catnip and mint on the other side of the row bushed out, and the parsley barely stood a chance. It’s still in there, and we’re hoping to cut it back hard and get some nice leaves out of there yet, as the tomatoes wilt back abit and we clean up the herbs for the Fall.

On the other side of the cherry tomatoes is a row of OKRA. If you like okra, please just let us know. We don’t have a long enough row to supply everyone with okra every week, but can arrange to send a bag here and there upon request.

Eggplants are slowing down, we’re sad to say. The flea beetles that we worked so diligently to protect the baby plants from are doing their worst now. I’ve honestly never seen such an infestation of them. Bit by bit they skeletonize the leaves, leaving the eggplant fruits with no protection from the sun. It’s very sad. I’m hoping a rain might knock them back a little. We’ll see.

The basil isn’t slowing down one bit. In fact, it may be speeding up. It’s definitely time to put up your pesto, if you’re a pesto fan. We’re happy to supply your basil needs. If you don’t so much love pesto and are swimming this sea of basil you can try drying it (single layer in a warm oven, or tied in a shady place in a paper bag), or freezing it – chopped, maybe doused in some olive oil. We like to put our pesto or basil into an ice cube tray. After it’s frozen, pop out the cubes and store them in a bag. This way the serving size is easy to control. If all else fails, scroll back through the archives of the newsletters, there is a recipe for basil cheesecake from last year about this time.

We were glad to clear out a part of the field of acorn squashes and baby pumpkins this week. The winter squashes look great. It won’t be long until we start sending them to you. In the meantime, we’re parsing out the melons to you in alphabetical order. Your turn will come.

Brinna, the bringer of blueberries, gave us the head’s up that September 10 is our last blueberry delivery. We’re so glad to have worked with Hidden Springs to bring this excellent crop to you.

Fall crops are growing in the fields. We keep clearing more space, making room for more and more. It’s exciting to see the season begin to change. Walnut trees are yellowing their leaves already and the hillsides have lost the verdant feel of summer. It will be great to have arugula and kale again.

We enjoyed a visit with shareholder John and his companion Pat this week. It’s a great exercise for us to see the gardens through someone else’s eyes. It is often difficult for us to slow down these days, but we really enjoy company and love to give a little tour of the gardens.

This is the last of our garden’s sweet corn. The variety is Candy Corn – all yellow. Eat up.

The cucumber harvest has slowed this week – but if you’re still storing waaaaay too many cucumbers in your fridge, this recipe, via Turtle, looks like a winning way to use them:

Easy Refrigerator Pickles
6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (about 2 pounds)
2 cups thinly sliced onion 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Place 3 cups cucumber in a medium glass bowl; top with 1 cup onion. Repeat procedure with the remaining 3 cups cucumber and remaining 1 cup onion.
Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in a small saucepan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Pour over cucumber mixture; let cool. Cover and chill at least 4 days.
Note: Pickles may be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

6 beets (each 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter), scrubbed and trimmed, leaving about 1 inch of the stems 3/4 cup water 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled1 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. minced fresh coriander1 1/2 tsp. red-wine vinegar, or to taste 1 tsp. minced white part of scallion5 walnut halves, toasted and chopped (about 2 teaspoons)

In a 2-quart microwave-safe round glass casserole with a lid, microwave the beets with the water and the garlic, covered, on high power(100%), stirring every 2 minutes, for 6-9 minutes, or until they are tender when pierced with a fork, transferring them to a cutting board as they are cooked and reserving the garlic, and let them cool. Peel the beets, halve them, and slice them 1/4 inch thick. Peel the reserved garlic, mash it to a paste with the flat side of a heavy knife, and in a serving bowl stir it together with the oil, the coriander, the vinegar, the scallion, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the sliced beets and sprinkle the mixture with the walnuts.
Gourmet, February 1993

Next week – more green beans!

Thanks for sharing the harvest. Have a lovely weekend.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“Below what we think we are we are something else, we are almost anything.”
~ D.H. Lawrence

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