Tuesday, October 13, 2020

BGF NEWS - October 13 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 20

In this week’s box:


Baby Choi: Yukina Savoy and/or Tatsoi
Beets: Ace, Chioggia and/or Golden
Garlic: Northern White
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Kale Bouquet: Mix
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Tapestry Salad Mix
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)
Turnips: Hakurei

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Mini Bell Peppers: bite-sized, sweet red, yellow & orange peppers
Summer Squash: see descriptions in "A little detail"

For those with the Egg option [Full Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: Cardinal basil, Chinese Pink celery & nasturtiums

What’s up on the farm?

 

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00" 
Harvesting beautiful Hakurei turnips for today's delivery

Well, here it is, the final delivery of the 2020 CSA season. It's amazing to me that 20 weeks have gone by, and what a season it has been! Who would have guessed what this year had in store for us all back when we were sowing the first seeds in February? And now, here we are.

Final sowing of baby kale
The small high tunnel is now fully planted, with the final sown crops of salad mix, baby kale and tatsoi going in this past weekend. We still have a couple seedings of greens to go into the big tunnel plus one more transplanted flat of  Purple Peacock broccoli and that will be it for 2020 crops. 
Never fear, we aren't just sitting around with nothing to do now. There is still plenty to keep us entertained like clearing all of the spent beds, clearing and storing the irrigation system (though we're still using it) and installing all the row cover over the new fall crops. Plus the work for 2021 is already beginning, beginning with a "post mortem" of the growing season to decide what crops and varieties stay or should be replaced. The crop mapping for next season is the following big step. This is an important and time sensitive one, because we will plant garlic in the next couple of weeks and we have to know where it fits into the rotation. Then we need to prep those beds and the 5,400 cloves of that go into them. So no dilly dallying going on here!

Final Delivery Note: In case you missed it above, today is the final delivery of the 2020 CSA season. Thank you for joining us on this Veggie Adventure. We hope you have enjoyed the journey! Starting in November, we will publish a monthly newsletter updating you on the current goings-on around the farm. We will start sign-ups for the 2021 CSA season in early January. Special thanks to our delivery hosts, Peace Tree Brewing Co. and the Grand Theater for giving us a home away from home.

VegEmail Sales:  Don't worry that with the end of the CSA season you'll be stuck with grocery store eggs and produce, we continue to do weekly Saturday VegEmail sales until the end of October. Starting the first week of November we will move to bi-weekly Tuesday evening sales. You should continue to get the VegEmail announcements. If you see things you would like to purchase, just fill out the order form and then meet us that following Tuesday at Peace Tree in DM or the Grand Theater in Knox. 

Upcoming dates of note:
Tuesday, Oct 13th: final CSA delivery of the 2020 season
Saturday, Oct 31: final weekly VegEmail delivery
Tuesday, Nov 10: bi-weekly VegEmail deliveries begin. We plan to  continue these deliveries on Tuesdays, every 2 weeks until the end of April.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Eggplant: 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 (not in plastic) 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.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

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.

Root crops: Remove leafy tops and store them like other greens. The roots should be placed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and used within a few weeks.

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. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)


Tomatoes: always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


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 & Sky)


Indigo, Luci & Sky


Tuesday, October 6, 2020

BGF NEWS - October 6 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 19

In this week’s box:


Head Lettuce: asst.
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Kale Bouquet: Mix
Leeks: Bandit
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Potatoes: Mix
Sorrel
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)
Winter Density Squash

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Mini Bell Peppers: bite-sized, sweet red, yellow & orange peppers
Summer Squash: see descriptions in "A little detail"

For those with the Egg option [Full & Half Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: lemon basil, orange thyme & chocolate mint

What’s up on the farm?

 

Precipitation in the past week: 0.25" 
First frost of the season

Last week's frost plus the chilly, drizzly weather on
Saturday really put me in the soup zone. It was all I wanted to eat. So that was my mindset when I started looking for recipes for this week's newsletter, can you tell? Then this week rolls in with 70°-80° temps forecast for every day! What?? Alright, so I added in a kale salad recipe that would be great for warmer weather OR for serving alongside a hearty bowl of soup. 
We did have our first frost of the season Thursday night and then patchy frost again on Saturday night, but no one told the crops that it had frosted, so mostly they didn't seem to notice. That was a pleasant surprise and we plan to take full advantage of it. So be sure to enjoy those peppers and tomatoes because they are definitely on borrowed time at this point. We did clear most of the field sweet basil last week as it really was done, but we still have some in the big high tunnel so Herb Share members get one last taste of summer there as well. 
Now that we've had a bit of rain, the cool weather weeds are feeling spunky and germinating like crazy, so we spent quite a bit of time in the past week cultivating the fall crops and trying to stay ahead of the weed game. So far, things are looking pretty good on that front. 
Beautiful and tasty Winter Density Squash
Since we are now in October, we decided to help you celebrate in style so we are sending out the last of your winter squash in this week's boxes. The Winter Density Squash is one of our favorites as it is a delicious heirloom variety for making pies and baked goods, but is also tasty as a vegetable squash in any recipe AND it can be used as a decorative pumpkin if eating squash isn't your thing. Do note though, that with our vines dying prematurely this year, I am afraid that these squash won't have the storage capacity that they normally do. I would plan to use them in the next couple of weeks if possible. We hope you enjoy them, they really are very tasty!

Finally, we had posted earlier about the amphibian "supervisor" who had taken up residence in our packing barn. Well, a couple days ago he acquired an "assistant" who seemed quite content with his new position hanging out between our sink and our storage rack. And today, we found a similar "squatter" living under our sink. That's it! I've reached my "Frog Capacity" in the packing barn. So we organized a rescue party and returned them outside where they can eat up and then tuck up someplace safe and warm (and not the packing barn) for the winter.

Upcoming dates of note:
Tuesday, Oct 13th: final CSA delivery of the 2020 season
Saturday, Oct 31: final weekly VegEmail delivery
Tuesday, Nov 10: bi-weekly VegEmail deliveries begin. We plan to  continue these deliveries on Tuesdays, every 2 weeks until the end of April.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Eggplant: 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 (not in plastic) 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.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

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. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)


Tomatoes: always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


 Winter Squash:  Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation for up to a month, depending on the variety. Once squash has been cut, you can wrap the pieces in plastic and refrigerate them for five to seven days. To make it easier to prep winter squash for your recipe, try the prebaking method: pierce the squash to allow heat to escape while it is in the oven, then bake the squash whole at 350° F until it is just barely tender to the poke of the finger, 20 to 30 minutes. This softens the shell and makes cutting and peeling much easier. 


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 & Sky)


Indigo, Luci & Sky

Sorrel Soup

2 C. Chopped Sorrel Leaves
3 Tbs. Butter
1 Med. Onion (or leek) -chopped
1 Qt. Chicken Stock
½ lb Potatoes-peeled and cubed
1 Tsp. Salt
1 C. Milk
2 Tbs. Flour
1 Egg Yolk
1/8 Tsp. Nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add chicken stock and sorrel and cook, stirring for 10 min.  Add potatoes and salt. Bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer for 30 min. Combine egg yolk and flour, then add to milk and mix well. Add egg mixture and nutmeg to soup, stirring to combine. Heat through, do not boil.  Delicious served with French bread.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

BGF NEWS - September 29 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 18

In this week’s box:


Arugula (in the plastic bag)
Baby Choi: Shanghai Green and/or Koji
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Lettuce: Magenta or Muir
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Spaghetti Squash
Sweet Onions: Candy or Cipollini
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Mini Bell Peppers: bite-sized, sweet red, yellow & orange peppers
Summer Squash: see descriptions in "A little detail"

For those with the Egg option [Full Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: purple basil, rosemary & garlic chives

What’s up on the farm?

 

Precipitation in the past week: 0.45" 

Aahhhhh, rain sweet rain! And cooler temperatures to boot. We are starting to see a real change in the scenery as well, more colors in the trees, lower angle of the sunlight, almost a burnished edge to the hills every evening.

This past week we cleared the tomatoes from both high tunnels and the eggplant went along for the ride. Currently the only warm weather crops left in the tunnels are peppers and basil, and we are loath to say farewell to those for the season, though the forecast for later this week might just say it for us. Into the cleared beds we transplanted chard and kale and sowed arugula, turnips, salad mix and spinach. We are now down to the very end of the sowing and transplanting for the season.
 
In the coming days we will transplant the last two beds of head lettuce in the field and sow a couple of final beds of greens in the high tunnels and that will be it for the 2020 crops. The biggest tasks to follow will be prep and planting the garlic for next season, clearing all the spent field beds and installing all the row cover in the fields and high tunnels for the late fall crops.

Upcoming dates of note:
Tuesday, Oct 13th: final CSA delivery of the 2020 season
Saturday, Oct 31: final weekly VegEmail delivery
Tuesday, Nov 10: bi-weekly VegEmail deliveries begin. We plan to  continue these deliveries on Tuesdays, every 2 weeks until the end of April.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Choi (a.k.a. - pac choi, bok choy or pok choy) is a structural-looking leafy-green 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.

Eggplant: 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 (not in plastic) 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.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

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.

Spaghetti Squash: A true winter squash, store spaghetti squash like you would an acorn or butternut squash, at room temperature or a bit cooler (basement) with good air circulation. To prepare, bake in the oven or the quicker version is to microwave 5mins/1lb until fork goes through. Cut squash in half and scope out the seeds.  Scoop out seeds, then scoop out the flesh of the squash and flake off “spaghetti” into strands and use as a pasta replacement or as a vegetable side dish.

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. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)


Tomatoes:

 always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


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 & Sky)


Indigo, Luci & Sky

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

BGF NEWS - September 22 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 17

In this week’s box:


Baby Turnips: Hakurei
Celery: Chinese Pink
Garlic
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Kale: asst bouquets
Lettuce: Magenta or Muir
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)
Winter Squash: Acorn (Thelma Sanders) or Delicata

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Mini Bell Peppers: bite-sized, sweet red, yellow & orange peppers
Okra: Bowling Red and Candle Fire (final harvest)
Summer Squash: see descriptions in "A little detail"

For those with the Egg option [Full & Half Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: sweet basil, sorrel, savory

Featured Recipes:  
BGF New Favorite Kale Salad (recipe at the end of the 7/7/20 blog post)
Skillet Greens with Cumin and Tomatoes (use cherry tomatoes for this one)
Turnip and Cherry Tomato Salad 

What’s up on the farm?

 

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00" 

Happy Autumnal Equinox to you all! This is one of my favorite days of the year. I've always felt like it's the tipping point towards the "backside" backside of the calendar, a time of slower pace, hearty foods and crisp, clean air. It's a time of reflection on the farm, as we start looking back over the growing season to access our successes and our failures and to decide what crops, products and processes to keep or to retire. It quickly morphs into looking forward as we make our plans for next season and start placing seed and supply orders. It's also our wedding anniversary and this year marks 24 years of marriage for us. It's hard now to imagine what those crazy kids were thinking all those years ago, but it sure wasn't, "hey, let's move back to Iowa and become vegetable farmers!" And yet, here we are. No regrets, well, not many.

This past week we returned to our irrigating rotation. Our fall crops loved the nearly 3 inches of rain a couple weeks ago and are continuing to enjoy the cooler temperatures, but we are already dry on the soil surface with little to no rain in the forecast, so a-watering we will go! Last week we cleared more spent crops and transplanted chard and a couple beds of head lettuce, so the irrigation is particularly important for these new crops We also sowed some additional Asian greens and another planting of arugula.

In preparation for this week's delivery, we finally went out and harvested all the winter squash beds. I had been avoiding this task because we had a pretty disappointing squash year (after last year's bumper crop) with most of the plants dying off from insect pressure long before they could set a good crop. Once it was clear that those plots weren't going to produce much, we quit paying attention to them, so the weeds took over and served to hide the frustrating lack of squash. Well today was the day of truth, we waded into the tall grass to see what we could find. On some varieties, it was exactly what we expected, almost nothing. On a couple of others, it was an "ok" harvest.
 The crew did manage to get in one good round of their favorite annual farm game, Squash Your Boss!
"Squash the Boss"
So we are sending out some squash in today's boxes. They are good squash, but given their short plant life, I am not expecting them to store very long, so please plan to use then in the next couple of weeks.

We plan to spend the rest of the week clearing the high tunnel eggplant and tomatoes and getting those beds replanted with the final fall crops.
And speaking of "final" we've had some questions about the end of the CSA season, so here's the answer. The last CSA delivery of the season is scheduled to be on October 13th, so we have three more weeks after today. After that, you can order our produce and products via our weekly VegEmail deliveries through the end of October. Starting in November, we will move to bi-weekly deliveries that will continue throughout the winter until the start of the farmers market season.

And a final note, while we're on the subject of "the end." About two weeks ago we started seeing the first glimpses of purple flowers amongst all the fall yellows.
Frost flowers
Uh oh, those are New England asters, the plants my grandpa always called "frost flowers". He believed they were the indicators of frost and when you saw them blooming it meant the first frost would follow in two weeks. We've not found the "2 week" measurement to be particularly accurate, but they are indeed the harbingers of the end of the growing season.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Carrots: These "mid-season" carrots are a little different than the candy-sweet gems of cool weather carrots. They are a little more strongly flavored, a little earthy. This makes them perfect for cooking and more complicated recipes, as some might not love them for fresh eating. Refrigerate dry, unwashed carrots in a plastic bag for two weeks or longer. Peel carrots or scrub carrots well 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. 

Eggplant: 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 (not in plastic) 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.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

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.

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. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)


Tomatoes:

 always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Turnips: keep best if separated from their greens.  Greens are stored in a plastic bag and can be cooked like mustard or collard greens (you can add them in with your Braising Greens Mix).  Trimmed roots can go into a lidded container or zip-close bag. These aren't your grandma's turnips. These are a sweet, Japanese salad variety that is particularly tasty for fresh eating. They will still work great in cooked dishes, but we love to eat them raw, often right out of hand, like an apple. One of the farm crew's favorite mid-field snacks.

 Winter Squash:  Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation for up to a month, depending on the variety. Once squash has been cut, you can wrap the pieces in plastic and refrigerate them for five to seven days. To make it easier to prep winter squash for your recipe, try the prebaking method: pierce the squash to allow heat to escape while it is in the oven, then bake the squash whole at 350° F until it is just barely tender to the poke of the finger, 20 to 30 minutes. This softens the shell and makes cutting and peeling much easier. 


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 & Sky)


Indigo, Luci & Sky

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

BGF NEWS - September 15 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 16


In this week’s box:


Basil: Thai Magic
Carrots: Asst
Chard: Rainbow mix (swiss cheese chard)
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Lettuce: Magenta or Muir
Scallions
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Mini Bell Peppers: bite-sized, sweet red, yellow & orange peppers
Okra: Bowling Red & Candle Fire
Summer Squash: see descriptions in "A little detail"

For those with the Egg option [Full Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: purple basil, mountain mint, par-cel

What’s up on the farm?


Precipitation in the past week: 2.2" 

What a lovely Fall preview we got last week! Rain and crazy cool temperatures made for a rather quiet week on the farm, relatively speaking. With the fields too wet to work, we got the cucumbers and melons cleared from the big high tunnel and replaced them with napa cabbage and kale transplants and direct seeded a couple varieties of choi. 



We also spent quite a bit of time trimming and cleaning garlic, onions and shallots. The dogs are very dedicated supervisors during such inclement weather activities.  The deer took advantage of the dogs hiding inside and made a buffet of our new bed of swiss chard, so we also sowed new flats of replacement chard this week and will find a less "attractive" place for this planting. 
Speaking of chard, the cucumber beetles that decimated our green beans, then moved to our older Swiss chard bed. We cleared the worst of the damage and let them regrow, but we are still seeing early damage on most of the leaves. The damage is cosmetic and the greens are still tasty and nutritious, so we decided to send them out to you anyway. Think of it as the "farmer's share" as these are the products we often eat because they aren't "pretty" enough to send out. We hope you can enjoy them anyway. 
We are also sending out bundles of our Thai Magic basil. We don't often send it out as the leaves, though tasty are pretty small. They are perfect though for sprinkling whole on pasta or pizza. If you are patient, you can certainly strip off the leaves and use it for pesto. Or if you aren't patient, just re-trim and put in a vase of water on your counter to enjoy as a fragrant bouquet.

When the weather finally cleared this weekend we got to join in the celebration for crew member, Hannah's high school graduation. What a fun gathering of family and friends to share in the joy of her accomplishments. Congratulations Hannah!!


Meet the Crew: Sky
The final crew member this season is Sky, our 2 year old mini Blue Heeler- Australian Shepherd mix. She is the clown of the team, bouncing around the farm chasing rabbits, squirrels, grasshoppers, bees and occasionally alpacas (not ok). She loves to play fetch and to hang out with the farm crew for pets. However, far and away her favorite game is stalking and pouncing on Luci. This is not Luci's favorite pastime and there is often some tussling involved.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Carrots: These "mid-season" carrots are a little different than the candy-sweet gems of cool weather carrots. They are a little more strongly flavored, a little earthy. This makes them perfect for cooking and more complicated recipes, as some might not love them for fresh eating. Refrigerate dry, unwashed carrots in a plastic bag for two weeks or longer. Peel carrots or scrub carrots well 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. 

Eggplant: 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 (not in plastic) 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.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

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.

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. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)


Tomatoes: always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

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 & Sky)


Indigo, Luci & Sky