Tuesday, June 23, 2020

BGF NEWS - JUNE 23, 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 4

In this week’s box:

Basil Tips: assorted varieties
Celery: Chinese Pink
Chard: Bright Lights Mix
Garlic Scapes (the curly green things)
Head Lettuce: assorted varieties
Napa Cabbage
Scallions (green onions)
Summer Squash: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)
Strawberries: one last taste!

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Snap or Snow Peas

For those with the Egg option [Full shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: Herb share will begin in a couple of weeks as herbs mature

Featured Recipes:  
Celery Leaf Pesto and other celery leaf recipes
Parmesan Summer Squash saute ** see recipe below

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.60"

Happy Summer to you! As we pass into the official start of summer it always makes me wonder what this growing season will bring us. So far, it has been a pretty decent stretch, since those late spring freezes. We've had fairly moderate temps and somewhat normal rainfall. Crops have been sown or transplanted mostly on schedule and we're trying (as always) to stay ahead of the weeds. That has been more successful with some crops than others. Today we did "rescue weeding" of the beans, which means hand weeding because the weeds had gotten ahead of us and were too big to cultivate out. This is our least favorite kind of weeding, as it is the most time consuming and means that we've gotten behind on a crop. That said, it does happen every year to one crop or another. Besides lots of weeding and cultivating, this past week we cleared the last of the high tunnel lettuce crops and transplanted in the final crop of peppers. While cleaning up the perimeter of the big high tunnel we ran into this little guy (seriously, he was only about 12" long). I know not everyone gets as excited about snakes as I do but they play such an important role in pest control that even if one startles me, I am always happy to see them. Protecting species like this is yet another reason why it is important to us to be a chemical-free farm.
This week we also sowed the next succession of carrots, beets and beans and resowed a poorly germinated bed of butternut squash. Did I mention we also spent some time weeding and cultivating? That is the trade off to getting regular rains, it also waters the weeds! Luckily our crops too, have been enjoying those rains. The summer squashes are really putting on some nice growth and blooming like crazy! We should be be right at the edge of a bountiful squash season. The basil is finally starting to look like a solid crop and needs pinching back to encourage better growth, so you are getting the benefit of that practice. You aren't getting a lot of basil with today's delivery, really just a teaser to whet your herbal appetite, but that is all that the plants are up for right now. In a couple of weeks we expect to be sending out a bounty of basil bouquets. 
Pink celery
Another crop that has come along nicely is our Chinese pink celery. It is such a beautiful crop and tasty too! It isn't really the kind of celery that you stuff with peanut butter, as the ribs are so fine, but it is lovely sliced on a salad or sauteed in butter and cooked with eggs or other vegetables. It would also go nicely in the in the Egg Roll in a Bowl recipe. Regardless of how you use it, we hope that you enjoy it. 

A crop that hasn't been so excited about the recent weather is the Napa Cabbage. It is a challenging crop in the spring as it prefers decreasing temperatures rather than the increasing heat of summer. It was starting to look a little "peaked" so even though you just had it 2 weeks ago, we decided to send it out while it is still a quality crop rather than lose it in the field. 
European cabbage
Don't worry, our European cabbages are looking really good, so this isn't the end of cabbage season. Our main season broccoli crop is also looking great and just starting to form heads, even as the early broccoli has moved on to producing mainly side shoots. So if you get broccoli this week and wonder why you are getting a bag of florets, that's why. They are the side shoots after the main head of broccoli has been harvested. We think they are easily as desirable as the main heads as they tend to be tender and "pre-trimmed" to a smaller size.

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 or clamshell, 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.

Broccoli: Wrap broccoli loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak broccoli, 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 in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and
wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Celery: Store upright in a glass of water, loosely covered with a plastic bag, in the refrigerator.

Garlic Scapes: One of our favorite crops of the year. These curly green "springs" are the emerging flower stalk from a hardneck garlic plant. We remove them to redirect more of the plant's energy into the bulb, but it also provides us with a delightful fresh garlic treat. These keep very well in a plastic bag in your produce drawer and can be used in any recipe calling for garlic. They make a great pesto and can be minced and added to room-temperature butter, which is then stored in log shape, in the freezer for a last minute dollop of goodness for vegetables, breads or meat.

Napa Cabbage: Store Napa cabbage whole in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or more. 

Peas: best kept in a plastic bag or glass container in your refrigerator. Use within a week.

Scallions (green onions): are best kept upright in a glass with about 1" of water in it. 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.

Strawberries keep best in your refrigerator in a vented container. Use within 3-4 days.

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!

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

Parmesan Summer Squash Saute

2 tbs butter or olive oil
2-3 cups sliced summer squash (1/4” slices)
1 medium onion or several green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3-4 tbs grated Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in sauté pan. Add onion, garlic and summer squash. Brown quickly. Sprinkle parmesan over squash slices and cover until melted. Slide cooked squash out of pan onto a serving plate.

Note: Don’t overcook squash, flavor and texture are best if squash is slightly firm.

Recipe source: Gloria Beebout (Blue Gate Farm mom)

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