Tuesday, September 12, 2017

BGF News - September 12, 2017-Vol. XXXIII, No.14

In this week’s box:

Beans: Mix or Maxibel (filet-style)
Baby 'Shanghai Green' choi
Cabbage: Super Red
Carrots: Mix
Baby Choi: Shanghai Green or Joi
Head Lettuce: asst
Shallots: Ambition (tan) and/or Prisma (purple)
Sweet Peppers: asst
Summer Squash: asst
Tomatoes: see descriptions in 8/1 newsletter
And at least one of the following:    
Broccoli: Belstar
Cucumber: Lemon
Eggplant: Orient Express or Orient Charm
Okra: Bowling Red

Spinach Mix
Squash Blossoms

Tapestry Salad Mix  
For those with the Egg option [full shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: sweet basil, par-cel, sorrel

Featured Recipes:  ** indicates a BGF favorite 
Choi with Shallots and Mushrooms
Sesame, Carrot and red Cabbage Stir Fry
Sweet Pepper Pasta with Sausage

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00"

Last week I commented on the changing color of our landscape, this week the difference is even more marked, with about half the trees starting to change color. There aren't many reds in our area so we are about to be surrounded in glowing golds and yellows from the trees as well as the flowers. The photo below is the other thing we've started seeing recently New England Aster. In fact, I saw the first one blooming on August 27th. Why is that significant? Because my grandpa always called these frost flowers and he said that four weeks after you see the first one blooming will be the first frost. YIKES! If that little bit of lore holds true, our first frost would be around the 24th of September...2 weeks from now! Just for reference, our first average frost date for this area is around October 10th. We're really hoping that specific specimen was just a little precocious, though we have seen others blooming since then. Surely it is just the lack of rain that is pushing them earlier???
New England Aster or frost flower
Regardless, the season is definitely progressing and so are we. I had predicted that the summer squash were about finished a couple of weeks ago...and yet, there are still squash in your boxes. Crazy plants just refuse to die, so we hope you aren't completely over them by this point, they will end soon enough. If you can't bear any more meals with them, try the chocolate cake recipe from 7/23 it uses up a fair amount of grated summer squash and is a favorite that freezes well. Or just grate it up (the squash, not the cake) and freeze it for later additions to cakes, breads or soups. The beans are finally starting to slow down and will probably be pulled out in the next week or so. They've had a good run as well. I wish the tomatoes were having as good a season. This is the least impressive tomato year we've ever had. The vines aren't dying (yet) but production, which was never great, is slowing. We'll continue to send tomatoes out in boxes, but it will probably be just a couple tomatoes in each. The crew is doing their darndest to keep the tomatoes producing, including lots of scouting for pests such as tomato fruitworm and our main nemesis, the tomato hornworm. Just today they found 120 of the hornworms, from tiny latchlings to giant tomato-eating monstrosities!

BGF Team Hornworm (I wish I had made a video instead!)
In the past week we cleared the early kale and broccoli crops but the later plantings are doing quite nicely and we expect kale to return to the boxes next week. Fall greens are doing quite well and you will start seeing those appearing in today's delivery. We had a final clearing of the high tunnel cantaloupe yesterday. Those crazy little melons, while small, certainly exceeded our expectations this year and deserve a return for next year. We've still got a bit of fall planting to do in the field, but we did get some more radishes sown this week and LOTS of weeding.


Upcoming events:

Farm Crawl is Sunday, October 1st from 11am-5pm.  Details can be found at www.farmcrawl.com.  Every year we invite CSA members not only to come out and tour the farms, but also to be part of the BGF team. So here is your chance for 2017. In the past, individuals/families have helped out with greeting visitors, sharing information, helping out at the chickens, parking and other various tasks. And, even better, you can still "Do the Crawl"! We are asking for volunteers to come for a 2 hour shift, so there is still time to visit the other farms. If you (and/or your family) would be interested in helping out at the farm please let us know. If you join us, we will set you up with some very fine BGF gear.

Final Summer CSA delivery: Our final delivery of the 2017 summer season will be Tuesday, October 24th

VegEmail sales begin: Tuesday, November 7th

A little detail on your produce this week:

Choi (a.k.a. - pac choi, bok choy or pok choy) is the large, structural-looking vegetable.  It is a member of the cabbage family and is a traditional Asian stir-fry vegetable.  Both the stems and leaves of choi can be used and are especially tasty in cooked recipes.  If cooking them, separate the leaves and stems, and begin cooking stems first to avoid overcooking the more tender greens. You can also use the leaves like any green-leafy vegetable and the stems like celery.  We tend to use choi leaves as a sandwich wrap, or just roughly chop the whole thing and sauté with garlic and/or onion.  Cook until stems are tender and dress with a little seasoned rice vinegar. Store choi loosely wrapped in a plastic bag in your produce drawer. 

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."

Peppers: Place whole, unwashed peppers in a plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for a week or more. Rinse peppers just before use. For sweet peppers, cut around the stem with a small knife and lift out the core. Slice down the side to open it up and then cut out the inner membranes. Store unused portions in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator.

Squash Blossoms: Squash blossoms are very perishable.  Arrange them on paper towel lined tray, cover with another cloth and then lightly wrap with plastic, refrigerate and use very soon.  Blossoms will keep for 1 week at 50ºF.  Open and inspect squash blossoms for insects before using them.  Pull off and discard the green calyxes surrounding the bottom of the blossom.  Clean blossoms by gently swishing them in a bowl of cold water.  Shake them dry.  Trim or snip out the anthers or style.  A few suggested uses for the squash blossoms:  as a garnish raw on crêpes, green salads, fruit salads, soups, and quesadillas; stuff blossoms with rice or minced meat and fry in batter; stuff blossoms with soft cheese, cooked and crumbled sausage, then bread and fry or bake; dip blossoms in a flour and cornstarch batter and fry until brown and crunchy; chop them up and add to quiche.

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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