Tuesday, August 1, 2017

BGF News - August 1, 2017-Vol. XXXIII, No.8

In this week’s box:

Cabbage: Golden Acre (round) or Early Jersey Wakefield (cone-shaped)
Head Lettuce: Magenta or Muir
Beans: Mix or Romano
Cucumbers: Diva/Marketmore (green Euro.), Suyo Long (long, green Asian) or Lemon (round, yellow)
Cipollini Onions
Garlic: Northern White
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)
Tomatoes: assorted varieties (see details below)
And perhaps one of the following:
Broccoli: Belstar
Cantaloupe: Minnesota Midget (orange interior) or Rocky Ford (green interior)
Cherry Tomato Mix
Eggplant: Orient Express (Asian-type, purple), Orient Charm (Asian-type, lavender) or
    Listada de Gandia (Italian, striped)
Okra: Bowling Red 
For those with the Egg option [full shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: sweet basil, anise hyssop & garlic chives

Featured Recipes:  ** indicates a BGF favorite 
Sausage Egg Roll in a Bowl
Roasted Fennel and Green Beans
Sauteed Cabbage with Fennel** (see recipe below)

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00"

Want to know how to make a farmer really grouchy?  Stick them in drought conditions for a couple of months, then predict a significant rain event for about a week, as the day gets closer, continue to increase the chances for precipitation (up to 90%) and then add flash flood warnings. And then...nothing. Our big rainy day totaled up to a brief sprinkle that wasn't even enough to show up in the rain gauge. Sigh. Ah well, at least the temperatures have been pleasant and we've gotten some good work done in the fields. We spent a fair amount of time clearing spent beds and getting the first of the direct-sown fall crops in, including daikon, carrots, beets and turnips. We're laying irrigation lines directly on top of the seeded rows in hopes of getting them to germinate, but the soil is so dry it is a bit of an uphill battle. The fall transplants are looking good and we are working on getting more beds ready for them to move into in the next week or so. The last of the cucumber plants are succumbing to the pressure of the cucumber beetles, so this will likely be our final delivery of cukes, but the peppers are starting to color and will soon be taking their place in your boxes. We are pleased to be sending out the first of the cantaloupes today. We raise miniature varieties of melons (so they will fit in your box) but what they lack in size, they make up for in taste! If you don't see them in your box this week, never fear, there are more to come!

Last week we sent out the very first of the cherry/mini Roma tomatoes and this week we are seeing the first of the slicers start to ripen. We won't have enough of any one variety for everyone today but don't worry, they are coming! Some of the fruits we are sending out are just shy of fully ripe, while others will still have green shoulders but be ready-to-eat-ripe. So how to tell if a tomato is perfectly ripe?  Give it a gentle squeeze; no matter the color, a ripe tomato will yield to the pressure.  If one doesn't feel quite ripe, just leave it on your counter top for a day or so.  Here's a quick description of the varieties that we are growing and that you can look forward to seeing in your box in the coming weeks:
Tomato varieties for 2017:
Amish Paste: meaty, red roma-type with delicious flavor for fresh use or canning. Great salsa tomato!
Azoycha: Lemon-yellow medium-sized fruits with sweet, yet rich flavor.
Berkley Pink Tye-Dye: large pink tomato with yellow/green stripes, excellent rich flavor
Black Cherry: Beautiful black cherry tomato with rich flavor.
Black Krim: purple/red slicing tomato with excellent full flavor
Black Vernissage: 2" brick red with green stripes, pleasant, rich flavor
Blondkopfchen: Small yellow 1” cherry tomato with excellent sweet taste.
Cosmonaut Volkov: medium-large red slicer with a full-rich flavor
Dr. Wychee Yellow: Large orange tomato with meaty, rich tasting flavor.
Golden Rave: Small 1–2 oz yellow, plum shaped tomatoes with good tomato flavor. Perfect snacking tomato.
Green Zebra: Small, 2 1/2" olive yellow with green stripes and a sweet zingy flavor
Jasper: Small red, 1/2" cherry tomato with chewy flesh and full tomato flavor
John Baer: meaty red heirloom slicer
Juliet: Small 1 – 2 oz red fruits that are the perfect flavor and shape for slicing onto pizza or salad.
Paul Robeson: Large, brick-red fruits with dark green shoulders.  Has a sweet, rich, smoky flavor.
Pantano Romanesco: A large, deep red Roman heirloom. The flesh is very rich, flavorful & juicy.
Redfield Beauty: 3”– 4” flat pink fruits with excellent, full flavor.
Rutgers: large, red with excellent flavor for fresh eating or canning
Sweetie: 1" round, red cherry with firm texture and sweet flavor
White Queen: Medium-sized, smooth white-skinned tomato with sweet, juicy flesh, low acid.
White Cherry: small, 1" creamy-white to light pink tomato with sweet flavor

A little detail on your produce this week:

Cantaloupe: Refrigerate ripe melons, but do not freeze. It is best not to cut a cantaloupe until you are ready to eat it. If you need to return cut melon to the refrigerator, do not remove the seeds from the remaining sections as they keep the flesh from drying out. Use within 3-5 days.

Fennel: Cut off the stalks where they emerge from the bulb. To use the feathery foliage as an herb, place the dry stalks upright in a glass filled with two inches of water, cover the glass loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. The unwashed bulb will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least a week. To use: Remove any damaged spots or layers. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and check the inner core. If it’s tough, remove it with a paring knife. Fennel should be washed carefully, because dirt can lodge between the layers of the bulb. Chop or mince the leaves.
Green top onions: not the pencil-thin scallions, but nearly grown (though not-yet-cured) onions are an early summer treat. Keep sweet mild onions in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or two, but beware the fatal moisture accumulation that causes them to spoil. To prolong their storage, wrap in a paper or cloth towel before storing in plastic. 

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."

Tomatoes: Tomatoes keep best at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. We prefer to only refrigerate tomatoes once they have been cut. Once tomato season is on, we try to include fruits that are a range of ripeness, so they will last longer for you. As we raise tomatoes of every color, the best ripeness test is a gentle squeeze. A ripe tomato will "yield" to gentle pressure.

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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