Tuesday, June 30, 2020

BGF NEWS - JUNE 30, 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 5

In this week’s box:

Beets: Ace (red) and/or Chioggia (red/white striped)
Cabbage: Golden Acre
Green Garlic
Head Lettuce: assorted varieties
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)

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

For those with the Egg option [Full & Half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: Sweet basil, chives & parsley

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.70"

In the world of vegetable farming, the gold standard is 1" of rain a week. These past few weeks we have been hitting pretty close to that and the growth in the fields shows it! Plants can double in size in a week and it seems like some are doing that very thing right now. The early crops are finishing up but the mid-season crops are really coming into their own, both in size and in flowering/fruiting.  
First cauliflower of the season
We harvested the very first of the beans this week and the cabbage and cauliflower suddenly put on so much growth that we needed to start harvesting them. So, lucky you, cabbage again this week, though European this time. The basil finally got big enough that we are starting weekly deliveries of Herb Share to those who signed up for it. Those folks will get basil every week (different varieties) and next week everyone else will start getting basil every other week.
We are seeing nice fruit set on the peppers and tomatoes as well as on the melons and winter squash. We were pretty aggressive with the summer squash last week so this week it took a bit of a break. We anticipate it being back in fine form next week.
Juliet tomatoes setting nice fruits
Baby watermelons are ridiculously cute

Our focus this week included more cultivating (surprise!), installing our pole bean trellis, hilling potatoes and chasing deer out of the high tunnel! But our biggest task was getting all the posts in place for our tomato trellising. The process includes placing and pounding in about 300 posts.  Then each of the 500+ tomato plants are pruned and afterwards, twine is woven through the plants and around the posts. Additional lines are added as the tomatoes grow. It isn't anyone's favorite job, but luckily it only happens once a year. As of Monday, all of the posts are in and half of the tomatoes are pruned and trellised with 2 lines. We hope to have it all completed by this Friday.

We do try to have a little fun with this annual chore!

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.

Beets- Cut off greens, leaving an inch of stem. Refrigerate the unwashed greens in a closed plastic bag and use with your chard mix as beets and chard are closely related. Store the beet roots, unwashed, with the rootlets (or “tails”) attached, in a plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks, but their sweetness diminishes with time. Just before cooking, scrub beets well and remove any scraggly leaves and rootlets. If your recipe calls for raw beets, peel them with a knife or vegetable peeler, then grate or cut according to your needs baby/young beets usually don't need to be peeled.

Broccoli & Cauliflower: 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.

Cabbage: Store dry, unwashed cabbage in the refrigerator, preferably in the vegetable bin. The outer leaves may eventually get floppy or yellowish, but you can remove and discard them to reveal fresh inner leaves. Cabbage can keep for more than a month. Once it’s cut, seal it in a plastic bag and continue to refrigerate for several weeks. Rinse the cabbage under cold running water just before use. Peel away a few of the outer leaves, then cut the cabbage according to your needs with a big, sharp knife, and then chop, sliver, or grate. Our favorite way to eat raw cabbage is as a "walking salad" which is to simply spread peanut butter over a leaf of cabbage, sprinkle with your favorite dried fruit, roll it up into a tube and enjoy. This is a kid-pleaser for sure!

Green Garlic: This is freshly harvested garlic that hasn't had time to cure yet. You will notice that the wrappers are soft and the garlic itself is very juicy. You can use it in any recipe calling for garlic. The flavor is so fresh and green that we like to use them in recipes that really highlight the flavor, like pesto or garlic butter.Store loosely wrapped in the refrigerator for best keeping quality.

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

Purslane: This succulent plant is a valued green in many parts of the world, though here in the US, it is mostly known as an invasive weed. It is rich in vitamin E, vitamin C and beta carotene, and quite high in protein.  Most noteworthy of all, it is considered a better source of essential omega-3 fatty acids than any other leafy plant.  Enjoy raw or cooked in any recipe calling for greens, it is also ideal for juicing and green smoothies. Makes a terrific replacement for lettuce on tacos and tastes great cooked with eggs. Store in a paper towel (or cloth)-lined plastic bag in your crisper drawer and use within a week.

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

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