Tuesday, July 25, 2017

BGF News - July 25, 2017-Vol. XXXIII, No.7

Rainbow Carrot Mix

In this week’s box:

Basil Tips (the new field basil needed a trim, so you get the tasty results)
Beans-Mix (yellow & green) or Romano (flat, yellow)
Carrots: Mix
Cucumbers : Diva/Marketmore (green Euro.), Suyo Long (long, green Asian), Lemon (round, yellow)
Head Lettuce: Coastal Star (green romaine), Magenta (red) or Muir (green)
Onions: Red Carpet
Summer Squash: 8 Ball( round, green), Slik Pik (long, light yellow), Patty Pan (dk green, lt. green or
    yellow "flying saucer-shaped") or Golden Glory (yellow zucchini)
...and at least one of the following:
Broccoli: Belstar
Eggplant: Orient Express (Asian-type, purple), Orient Charm (Asian-type, lavender) or
    Listada de Gandia (Italian, striped)
Okra: bowling Red
Tomatoes-Mini Roma Mix: Golden Rave & Juliet or Cherry Tomato Mix

Mini Roma & Cherry Tomato Mixes
For those with the Egg option [full & half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: thyme, mountain mint, tarragon

Featured Recipes:  ** indicates a BGF favorite 
 Purslane Basil Pesto
Carrots Moroccan Style 
Purslane Pasta With Cherry Tomatoes**  see below
BGF Chocolate Zucchini Cake** see below 

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.25"
What a difference a few days makes! After a week of suffocatingly hot temperatures, dropping back down to seasonal temps is absolutely delightful! The crew, livestock and crops are all much happier now, though we are still desperately dry. While these weren't the highest temperatures we've seen at the farm, the extended length of the heatwave and high humidity was really hard on things. We discovered just how hot it got in High Tunnel #2 when we went to harvest the first of the ripe tomatoes. Those closest to the soil were actually cooked, right on the vine. At first we thought it was only the cherry tomatoes, but we did find some of the ripening slicers in a similar condition. We've never seen this before and the tomatoes in High Tunnel #1 and the field didn't suffer the same fate so evidently the bigger tunnel trapped and held more heat. This bodes very well for our winter crops, but we'll have to look into adding some shade cloth for next summer.
Pre-cooked cooked cherry tomatoes
We did lots of field maintenance this week, cultivating, hand weeding and adding more irrigation to a wide variety of crops. A chunk of our time was also dedicated to wrangling the melons and winter squashes that are determined to take over the gardens (a good problem to have). The most fun part of our week was hosting our annual CSA Ice Cream Social on Sunday. It is always a pleasure to share the farm with our members and when you add in homemade ice cream, cute kids and water balloon volleyball, the day is sure to be a hit! Thanks to everyone who came out and shared the beautiful afternoon with us. Special thanks to the crew for all their hard work and to the Heartsill family for the water balloon volleyball fun!

Water balloon volleyball was a big hit!

You likely noticed that tomatoes are on the "possible" list today. The tomatoes are all growing and setting fruit, but we are just seeing the very first of the small tomatoes ripening. There will be many more to follow in the coming weeks. We have 18+ kinds of tomatoes growing this year, including a couple of new-to-us  varieties and we are all looking forward to a bountiful season to come. The first of the okra is also heading out today, just in one lucky box, but the plants are looking great and we anticipate many beautiful tasty, red pods to come. The peppers (sweet and hot) are coming along nicely too, the plants are loaded with immature fruits… good stuff coming, maybe even next week!

A little detail on your produce this week:

Basil hates the cold and will turn black with exposure. Keep long stemmed basil in a glass/vase of water on your counter top (out of direct sunlight). Stems that are too short (trimmings/tops) should be placed in a plastic bag, with a dry paper towel. Then put inside of a paper bag (for insulation) and put in the warmest part of your refrigerator (usually the door) or on the top shelf towards the front.

  Carrots: Remove the leafy green tops, leaving about an inch of stems. Refrigerate dry, unwashed carrots in a plastic bag for two weeks or longer. To use scrub carrots well (no need to peel) with a stiff brush just before using. Trim off any green spots, which can taste bitter. When slicing or chopping carrots for cooking, be sure to make all the pieces relatively the same size; this will ensure an evenly cooked dish.

Okra: These lovely, dark red, horn-shaped vegetables are a warm weather treat. Extremely cold sensitive, store in their plastic bag in the warmest part of your fridge, or place the plastic bag in a small paper sack and store in the crisper drawer and use within the week. Traditional southerners will cut into rounds, bread in cornmeal and fry, but our favorite version is our dear friend Annie's method, "All I do is rinse off the pods and lay them in a saucepan with a little water in the bottom. Ten to fifteen minutes is all it takes...twenty if the pods are really big and "woody" feeling. I put salt on them and eat as finger food. It reminds me of young sweet corn."

Purslane: This succulent plant is a valued green in many parts of the world, though here in the US, it is mostly known as an invasive weed. It is rich in vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene, and quite high in protein.  Most noteworthy of all, it is considered a better source of essential omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant.  Enjoy raw or cooked in any recipe calling for greens, it is also ideal for juicing and green smoothies. Makes a terrific replacement for lettuce on tacos. Store in a paper towel (or cloth)-lined plastic bag in your crisper drawer and use within a week. 
Scallions (green onions)- are best kept upright in a glass with about 1" of water in it, more like flowers than vegetables. Loosely cover the tops with plastic and you will be amazed at how long they will keep. We like to throw a handful of chopped scallions into nearly any savory dish, right near the end of the cooking time.

Summer Squash/Zucchini: Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week
and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel.

Tomatoes: prefer to reside on your counter and not in the refrigerator unless they have been sliced.
A few other details: All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.
* NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.
Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members at Blue Gate Farm Community.
That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Blue, Luci & Indigo)
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