Tuesday, July 14, 2020

BGF NEWS - JULY 14, 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 7

In this week’s box:

Beans: Empress, Fortex and Golden Goal
Cucumbers: Suyo Long & Marketmore
Green-top Carrots: Rainbow Mix
Chard: Bright Lights mix
Green Garlic: hardneck
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 at least one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Okra: Bowling Red & Candle Fire
Snap or Snow Peas
Mini Tomatoes: Golden Rave, Blush &/or Juliet

For those with the Egg option [Full and Half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: Large Leaf basil, lemon thyme, garlic chives

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.00"

Freshly dug garlic in the field
The Garlic-mobile is on the move!
The big news of the week is that the 2020 Garlic harvest is complete! We  were forecast to get rain towards the end of last week so in Wednesday's 95° heat, we pushed and got the remaining garlic out of the field and hung to dry. It was a tough day. Even under the mulch, the ground had gotten dry and hard enough that most of the garlic had to be dug rather than pulled. This takes twice as long and twice as much effort, but our crew is amazing and they always rise to whatever task we give them, even in 95°! So the crew survived, the garlic is in and we are very pleased with the crop. You get to enjoy the fresh harvest this week and you will find the garlic especially juicy and easy to peel. We love it at this stage!  Actually we love it at all stages, but this one is particularly good.

The rain was SO close!
The only bad part of pushing to get the garlic in before the rain was that it didn't ever rain. <sigh> We didn't even get close until Saturday evening at which point we weren't even forecast to get any. Then suddenly the weather alert radio started going off and there was a cell headed straight for us. Quick, close all the windows, close up the barn, roll down the high tunnel sides just as the wind picked up and the temperatures dropped about 10°. I could see the rain getting closer and now the weather radio chatter included warnings about large hail. <yikes!> The storm reached the road north of us, I could see the rain falling, and then it parted and went around. We got about 12 drops of rain, and then a lovely rainbow. But no help for the crops. It was very disappointing, but another vegetable farm we know farther north got hit with 2" hail that decimated their crops and damaged their tunnels so we try to remember to count our blessings. I spent all day Sunday cycling the irrigation systems around the farm and thanking my lucky stars that we have the ability to do so.

Golden Rave Tomatoes
Most of the rest of the week has been focused on weeding and adding more trellis lines to keep up with the growing tomatoes. Speaking of tomatoes, we are starting to see some color in the smaller varieties like Juliet, Golden Rave and Blush (a new one for us). So we will be sending out the first "taste teasers" in a lucky few boxes this week. Never fear, there are lots to come!

The tomatoes aren't the only new things headed out in some boxes this week. We are getting in the first of the eggplant and a few more okra. We are also starting to see some better development on the cucumbers, so more of those going out this week. The Broccoli and cauliflower are not at all amused by the hot temperatures so they are slowing down, even with the irrigation. So we are still harvesting them, but smaller heads and in decreasing amounts. We will likely see them continue on this way for some time. The peas are feeling about the same. All this is to say there are some crops dwindling and others coming into season and we will continue to send them out as long as we have them. If you see things on the list that you haven't gotten yet, don't worry, we do keep track of who gets what each week and it should eventually all find it's way into your box.

Finally a little smile for your day. Several weeks ago we noticed that a small sparrow had built a nest among the trailing vines of a flat of left-over cucumber transplants in the high tunnel. Since then, we've been carefully watering around the nest and trying not to bother mama sparrow unduly. About a week ago 3 of the 4 eggs hatched and we are enjoying watching the little birds develop. Grow strong, little ones and eat lots of bugs! Just one more reason why we choose to farm chemical-free.
We have an egg! 
Three hungry mouths to feed!

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.


 Fresh beans are an easy "store."  Just leave them in their plastic bag and keep them in the produce drawer.  Can last up to 2 weeks.

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. Remove the leafy green tops (and store separately), leaving about an inch of stems. 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. Greens can be added to soup stock for flavor or made into a tasty pesto!

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.

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.

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.

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."

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