Tuesday, September 1, 2020

BGF NEWS - September 1 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 14

In this week’s box:

Basil: sweet
Edamame: Midori Giant
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Kale: asst.
Peppers: asst. (see 8/11 newsletter for details)
Shallots: Ambition (tan) and/or Camelot (red)
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)

and at least one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Beans: Mix
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cantaloupe: Minnesota Midget
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, mountain mint & lemon balm 

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: trace (x2)

Well, technically it did rain on the farm this week, though it was just a couple of brief showers that didn't even show up in the rain gauge. So irrigating is still the name of the game. The new crops are germinating and the transplants are settling in fairly well, but we are seeing "end of the season fatigue" in many of our mid-season crops. The squashes (summer and winter both) are mostly gone, fallen to the cucumber beetles and squash bugs. The beetles then moved over to the beans and are ravaging that crop as well. We were able to get a bit harvested, but they aren't perfect. It was likely the final harvest for the beans, but we are foliar feeding and watering them to give them the opportunity for another flowering if they are willing. 
Tomato Blight
The tomatoes are still putting on a productive show (notice the quart of cherry tomatoes this week!) but most of the plants are slowly succumbing to blight. This is a normal occurrence here, but a little earlier than we would prefer to see it. We're not at the end of tomato season yet, but it is coming sooner than later so celebrate those tomatoes now! 
The peppers could care less about blight and are producing just fine. We lost a sowing of head lettuce during the heat last week, it all bolted before it was harvestable size, but we hope to be back in lettuce from other plantings in a couple of weeks. The new greens crops are also on their way, so not all is lost! 
The bright spot this week are the shallots and edamame! This was the best looking edamame we've ever grown are we are excited to send it out this week. We hope you enjoy it! The shallots are another favorite crop. They are like the grown-up cousin of onions and garlic, with a rich, refined taste. They are best used in recipes that show off their qualities, like vinaigrettes or cooked with vegetables or eggs.

Meet the Crew: Luci
This week we are moving on to the four-legged crew members. Luci is a Jack Russell Terrier and at 11 years old is the oldest of our pack. She loves all things on the farm, except Sky who is an ever-present pesky little sister. Her favorite activities are supervising harvests, riding in the Ranger and when the crew clocks out for the day (the time sheets are kept within reach of the treat bucket, and Luci is VERY convincing). Her least favorite things are thunderstorms and fireworks.

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 & 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.

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.

Edamame (vegetable or green soy beans): Store beans on or off the branches in a bag in the crisper drawer and use within 1 week.  To use, separate beans from branches and cook in salted, boiling water in the pods or shelled, depending on how you plan to use them. In case this is a new vegetable for you, the pods of edamame are not edible, so be sure to shell them before eating.

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.

Shallots: the "fancy" cousins of onions, shallots have a rich flavor that really shines in soups, sauces, salad dressings and egg dishes.  Store like onions, in a cool, dark place with good air circulation. 

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

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