Heading into July
A busy week on the farm, as the sun burns away the last of June and drives us on into July. The farm work is changing, too, as the heat of summer comes on. We just finished transplanting leeks, and winter squash are already in the ground and vining out. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are still awaiting their turn, and after that the big transplanter will sit idle for long months, unless we pull it out to help plant a couple hundred lettuce here and there – almost too few plants to make it worthwhile hooking up a machine. And there are still fall roots to sow – carrots and beets, turnips and rutabagas – but all in all the season of sowing is almost done and year is turning towards daily harvesting. But first, year after year, comes July, a season of soaring highs and crushing lows, as evident by the two main tasks marked for it by a long-ago apprentice in our CSA Manager’s Guidebook: Weed everything, it says, and Eat berries. Most of July is busy with these two tasks (although I think it’s just supposed to say “pick” for that second verb). On Wednesday we all picked berries an hour past our quitting time – we didn’t even realize the day had flown on by. Trust me that this doesn’t happen when the crew is knee-deep in weeds. And so it is with July – the heat can be unbearable, but the cantaloupe are about to come in; the tomatoes need constant attention, but they’re getting riper every day. One big month-long push on weeds, that’s what we need – and then (let’s hope) we’ll just harvest, harvest, harvest, until the snow flies. - Dave
Produce and Cooking Notes
Lettuce – Lettuce production may start to get iffy if July gets hot and dry, but we’ll keep it coming as long as we can.
Chard – Some rainbow chard for full shareholders, who love to eat their greens.
Basil – Basil is possibly the very smell of summer, right up there with grilled meat and fireworks.
New Potatoes – We had a row of fingerling potatoes that we must have missed harvesting last fall, on a dreary rainy day in September. They all sprang up again this spring and we got them up out of the ground on Friday so they wouldn’t pass any diseases on to nearby tomato plants.
Cucumbers – Cucumbers make a great and easy addition to salads and sandwiches, or don’t be afraid to quick-pickle small batches.
Zucchini – The zucchini planting seems to have hit a lull, so hopefully they pick up soon or their backups will have to take over.
Hot Peppers – Our greenhouse plantings of hot peppers seem to be doing well, and you might get one of three types today– the cute purplish Czech Blacks, the small green jalapenos, and the long yellow-green Hungarian Hot Waxes. The first two are comparable in strength; the latter are our mildest hot pepper and are similar to a spicy banana pepper – too hot to eat out of hand, but good for slicing into sandwiches or salads.
Sungolds – Sungold production keeps picking up, but for today we only have enough for full shares.
Eggplant – Still coming in just enough for full shareholders, but more are on the way.
Berries – Today members will be getting either blackberries or blueberries, both picked here on the farm for a taste of July.
Rhubarb – It’s been a good year for late rhubarb, and the 4th is a good day for a rhubarb pie too.
Eggs – We have been trying since April to keep up with our overly productive chickens, but with little luck! – so everyone gets a free egg share today. Let us know if you’re a vegan, or if you have a bunch of egg shares already and can’t keep up – we have a few other options for folks that can’t eat more eggs.
Fingerling Potato Salad with Sherry-Mustard Vinaigrette
from Bon Appetit (Sept ’06)
•1 tbsp Dijon mustard
•1 tbsp sherry vinegar
•¼ cup canola oil
•1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
•½ tsp chopped fresh tarragon
•Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
•2 cups coarse sea salt
•2 pounds fingerling potatoes
•2 ¼-inch thick slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into ¼” thick strips
2 small shallots, thinly sliced
•2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled & chopped
•2 green onions, thinly sliced
For vinaigrette, combine mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in oil, then herbs. Season with salt and pepper.
For potatoes, preheat oven to 400 F. Spread sea salt in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet; arrange potatoes over salt, spacing slightly apart. Cover sheet with foil and bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Remove from oven, uncover, and cool to lukewarm.
Meanwhile, cook bacon in a medium skillet over medium heat until brown and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Peel potatoes, cut in half lengthwise. Place warm potatoes in a medium bowl. Add bacon, shallots, eggs, onions, and vinaigrette. Toss well and serve warm.
Salad Greens with Chinese-style dressing
From Asparagus to Zucchini
• 1/3 cup sesame oil
• 1 tsp minced garlic
• 1-2 tsp grated fresh ginger
• dash of cayenne
• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp sesame seeds
• 1 tbsp chopped green onion
• Salad greens
Mix all ingredients and toss with greens. Peas and cucumbers also make good additions.
Baked Summer Squash
From Asparagus to Zucchini
• 1 ½ lbs summer squash
• salt and pepper
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1-2 tsp thyme
• ½ tsp curry powder
• 1/8 tsp oregano
• ½ tsp salt
• ½ cup safflower oil
• scant 1 cup tomato juice
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a large baking dish. Slice squash lengthwise or diagonally 1/8 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a baking dish to make overlapping layers. Combine remaining ingredients and spread on top of squash. Bake until lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Serve hot.
Cinammon Zucchini Cake
From Asparagus to Zucchini
• 2 ½ cups flour
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp salt
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 4 eggs
• 2 cups shredded zucchini
• ½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
• 4 oz cream cheese, softened
• 4 tbsp butter, softened
• 1 tbsp milk
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 cups powdered sugar
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a bowl. Mix oil and eggs in another bowl until smooth; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Add zucchini, stir until thoroughly combined. Fold in walnuts if desired. Spread mixture in prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean, 35-45 minutes. Cool thoroughly. To make frosting, beat cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix well. Frost cake.