Tuesday, August 14, 2018

BGF News - August 14, 2018-Vol. XL, No.11

In this week’s box:

Beans: Mix: Carson (yellow) & Empress (green)
Cherry Tomato Mix
Cucumber: Diva/Marketmore  (green, English), Suyo Long (long green, Asian)
                     or Lemon (round, yellow)
Eggplant: Orient Express (dk purple), Orient Charm (lavender) or Listada (striped)
Garlic: Northern White
Head Lettuce: Concept (dk green), Magenta (red) or Nevada (bright green)
Peppers: Ace or Revolution (red bells), Islander (purple to orange bell), Quadrato D'Asti Giallo
                 (yellow bell), Golden Marconi (long, pointed yellow) or PASS (small, yellow)
Summer Squash: Slik Pik (yellow), Zephyr (yellow & green), Golden Glory (yellow zucchini), 
                                Patty Pan (saucer-shaped, green/yellow/white) or 8 Ball (round, green)
Tomatoes: asst varieties, see descriptions on the 7/24 post

 and perhaps one of the following:
Broccoli: side shoots
Cantaloupe: Minnesota Midget (mini)
Cauliflower: Sicilian Purple (purple) or Goodman (white)
Okra: Burgundy & Candle Fire
Watermelon: Sugar Baby (dk green stripe w/ red interior) or Cream of Saskatchewan (lt green,
                         striped with white interior)
Cream of Saskatchewan melons
For those with the Egg option [full and half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: sweet basil, garlic chives, fennel

Featured Recipes:  ** indicates a BGF favorite 
Crispy Baked Eggplant

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00"

Wow, here we are at week #11 already! It's the start of the second half of the CSA season and I  I don't know what you are doing at your house today to celebrate, but we are washing all the cars and leaving their windows open, opening the house windows and leaving laundry on the clothesline, all in the desperate hope that we can tempt it to rain (and rain well!) Maybe we should plan a picnic for lunch today? Honestly, we are up for trying just about anything, rain dances, prayers, bribery, and double dog dares...whatever it takes!

This week we continued clearing spent crops and cleaning up beds for their fall crops. The crew also  got the high tunnel peppers and eggplant trellised and we mowed down some fallow beds. We've started clearing the cucumber plants that gave up to the annual onslaught of insects/disease. This is probably the best cuke year we've had, so we appreciate the plants efforts but that time is just about at its end. I think we might get one more week's deliveries in, but that's probably it. The summer squash are soon to follow the same fate. Luckily there are new crops coming along to take their place including chard, acorn and spaghetti squashes and more.

A little detail on your produce this week:

Cantaloupe:  If your cantaloupe seems a bit short of ripe, keep it at room temperature for a few days or until there is a sweet smell coming from the stem end. Once the melon ripens, store it in the refrigerator. 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.

Cucumber: Store unwashed cucumbers 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, but 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.

Garlic is now cured and can be stored at room temperature with good air circulation for several months. For best storage keep at cooler temps (think basement), in the dark with good air flow.

Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel, then place in a plastic bag to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild. Many people like to peel, salt, and drain their eggplant to draw out any bitter flavor; however, bitterness develops only in eggplant that has been stored for a while, so with farm-fresh specimens this is generally not necessary. Many recipes call for salting in order to make the vegetable less watery and more absorbent—much like draining tofu. Salting is not an essential step, but it can greatly enhance the taste and texture of your dish and is well worth the extra effort.

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.

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.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.  

Tomatoes: prefer to reside on your counter and not in the refrigerator unless they have been sliced. A light "squeeze" is the best test for ripeness. 

Watermelon: Handle watermelons carefully. When harvested at their peak ripeness, they can crack or split easily if bumped or roughly handled. Refrigerate watermelons right away. (Watermelons do not ripen off the vine and do not emanate a ripe smell.) Cut melon should be covered in plastic wrap, chunks or slices should be kept in an airtight container, and both should be refrigerated. Eat all melons within a week. 

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 Luci & Indigo)

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