Thursday, July 8, 2010

oops - newsletter week 6

I completely forgot to post this last week - here you go!

Red Springs Family Farm
July 1, 2010 week 6

Lettuces Swiss Chard Cucumbers
Fresh Garlic Carrots Tomatillos
Tomatoes Summer Squash Red Onion
Herb bag: Basil Parsley

What great cold snap! We were ready for this weather. The heat takes a toll on the garden, and though we’re really glad to see everything standing well so far, we may see some disruption in the lettuce schedule on down the road.

Summer crops like okra, tomatoes, and peppers love the dry heat, and we’re very near to seeing the first “real” tomatoes coming in. These little early tomatoes are nice and all, but they have only served to prime our palates for the big juicy red ones that are growing into a veritable jungle up in the hill garden. Sweet Corn is tassling, and bell peppers will be swelling to a harvest size soon too. The melons patch is full of miniature melons – fuzzy little cantaloupes and baseball sized watermelons, vining their way into the tomatoes and over the potato bed more quickly by the day.

We grew more tomatillos this year than ever before. We think they’re great fun, and hope you will enjoy them too. Here’s a wonderful use for yours this week:

Tomatillo Guacamole
3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed 3 tomatillos, husked and chopped
1 red onion, finely chopped 3 small tomatoes, seeded, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
3 drops hot pepper sauce salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mix avocados, tomatillos, red onion, tomatoes, and lime juice. Season with red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce, and salt and pepper. Cover, and refrigerate at least 45 minutes before serving. (Cilantro would be good in this too, if you like cilantro.)

Those of you partaking in cheese this month – we hope you enjoy your selection. Kenny told us at pick up that the Barren County Blue is his personal favorite. For August, we’d like to offer Farmhouse Jack and Colby Chipotle. Both are only $8/lb ($4/ ½ lb). In order to better work with Kenny’s farm schedule, we need to collect the orders a little earlier – no later than July 22.

Brinna’s bountiful blueberries begin! Here we go! Blueberries are $6 per lb. It looks like we will be able to establish standing orders pretty fast. Let us know what you want.

We are nearing the time of season in which we wonder exactly how many cucumbers a person CAN eat in one week. It’s a great time of year. Living in the summer without air conditioning has given us a hearty appreciation of the class of foods known as “refrigerants”. Cucumbers are among them. They are cooling to the body. The ones you are receiving now are Suhyo Long cukes – some of our very favorites. We’ll have some more common varieties later. Paul was not a cucumber fan until we began to grown these loooong, sometimes curly, spiny, burpless fruit.

Unwashed cucumbers can be kept in a sealed plastic bag in the vegetable crisper bin for about a week. Keep cucumbers tucked far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus—these give off ethylene gas that accelerates cucumber deterioration. You can do a lot of fancy things to the skin of a cucumber, and when it is young, fresh, and unwaxed, it really only needs to be thoroughly washed. However, if the skin seems tough or bitter you can remove it; if the seeds are bulky, slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop them out.

Chilled Cucumber-Mint Soup with Yogurt or Sour Cream
Angelic Organics Kitchen (adapted from The New Moosewood Cookbook).

4 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and chopped (about 4 cups) 1 to 2 cups water
2 cups plain yogurt (or 1 cup yogurt with 1 cup sour cream) 1 clve garlic, peeled, smashed
2 tablespoons fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill several fresh mint leaves
1 tablespoon honey 1 to 2 teaspoons salt
2 scallions, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

1. Combine the chopped cucumber, 1 cup water, yogurt, garlic, mint, dill, honey, and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender or food processor. Purée the ingredients, adding more of the water until the soup is a consistency you like. Season with more salt to taste.
2. Transfer the soup to a large bowl and chill for several hours. Garnish each serving with chopped scallions.

Easy Greens with Peanuts
½ lb Chard or other greens, stems and ribs removed ½ cup peanuts (toasted if you like)
3 Tbsp. olive oil or butter salt and pepper to taste

1. Steam the greens until tender, 5-10 min. for chard, depending on the thickness of the leaves.
2. Transfer the greens to a colander and run cold water over them to stop them from cooking. When cool enough to handle, gently squeeze out the excess water from the greens and chop.
3. Place the peanuts in a plastic zip-top bag and crush them with a rolling pin or heavy skillet.
4. Heat the olive oil or butter in a large skillet over medium hat. Add the greens; sauté, stirring constantly until thoroughly coated and glossy, about 2 minutes.
5. Remove the skillet from heat; sprinkle the peanuts over the greens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

As prickly as summer squashes and cucumber plants can be, it is still a pleasure to wander in the early morning green shade of the patch, hearing the bee-song as the busy bugs make their way from flower to flower, keeping the fruit coming on. In the morning, the bees are too intent on their work to both with a stray hand reaching into the plant interior to find squashes. They’re songs get worried, then they forget about us and carry on with the pollination frenzy. It’s great.

Everyone have a happy and safe Fourth of July weekend.

We’ll see you next week…

Paul, Coree, and Lulah

A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate. -Thomas Jefferson

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