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
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

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