July Twenty-First

july-2010-017Eat within the seasons. We’ve all heard this beautiful saying that sounds so idealistic. Whether you like it or not, you’re actually eating within the seasons this year. You’re eating what nature intended for you to eat when your natural environment is ready to provide it. What is so fascinating to me is how nature will also give us warming foods in the cold month, cooling foods in the hot months, cleansing foods in the spring to clean us out after a long winter of no fresh food and also provide us with dense foods that are meant to last us thru the winter in the fall harvest season. Once we become aware of how tightly woven this web is, it becomes so much fun to climb through it.

As you open up your CSA box the next few weeks, you will find cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash and a few other popular summer items. You might find another cabbage, which you may or may not be looking forward to. You will be seeing celery and some of these favorite crops that are in their peaks season. We just watched, or tasted rather, the spring flush of the broccoli season. We had broccoli for several deliveries, and now broccoli is over until the cooler weeks and months return again. As we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the tomatoes, and the very thought of a ripe, red, juicy tomato sounds like absolute bliss to me right now, when tomato season has come and gone, I’ll be sure to have no interest in looking at any more fresh tomatoes for a good long while.

What I am getting at here, is even though we all want tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and peas every other week for the entire season, it simply does not work that way. What we need to learn to do is savor and store the seasons while we have them. If the squash is too much for you now, cut them up and freeze them. If you don’t know how you would ever use a large bag of basil in one week like you received last week, it is because you were intended to dry it or make pesto with it. And when we are sending you 5 pound bags of tomatoes, it is because you are meant to freeze, can and dry them. july-2010-015

This farm girl knows just as good as you do how busy these summer months can be with the long days, event-filled weekends and hardly enough time at the end of a long day to make dinner, but we have to squeeze food storage into our lives. If you’re not keeping up with using all of the fresh produce while it’s fresh (and bless your heart if you are), remember to take some time to freeze, dry, ferment and can what you can while you have it. It’s so easy to google “drying basil”, “freezing zucchini”, “blanching broccoli”. I may not be providing you with all the how to’s of storage tips, but that’s not to stop you from storing them!

Maybe it’s time to invite your friends, family and neighbors over for dinner to show of all of your cooking skills with seasonal produce and get your house cleaned up. If you anything like us, housecleaning a little relaxed this time of year as keeping up with mowing the lawn, freezing broccoli and attending picnics takes precedence. High tide!

Sooo, What's in the Box???

Red Cabbage- Beautiful heads of purple cabbage to shave into your salads.  Cabbage will keep for over a month in your fridge, but you'll be getting more cabbage within a month, so use it up!

Garlic-  More fresh garlic!  Garlic can be hung to dry in your kitchen to "cure" and it can also be used fresh right away.  Notice how it is always a wee bit more mild when it is fresh and it gets a wee bit spicyer as it cures.

Carrots-  Beautiful, sweet, glowing orange carrots!  Need I say more?

Tango Celery-  Celery came on over 2 months earlier this year than what we normally grow.  We tried a new variety this year and wow, it came early.  We love how much more juicier and crisp this variety is compared with the Conquistador Celery we've grown in previous years.  The leaves can be used also in soups, stock or even dried down to season with.

Cucumbers-  Umm, I think we're having a good cucumber year!  WOW!  You may have receive a lemon cucumber also which is the yellowish looking round spikey thing rolling around in the bottom of the box.  They're an heirloom variety and my absolute favorite by way of flavor!  You may also have receive a long, asian type cucumber that is a "burpless" variety.  Don't judge this cucumber by it's skin.  They're also superior in flavor to the normal cuckes you're used to seeing in the store.  Lotts more cucumbers where these came from!!!

Zucchini- More zucchini!

Summer Squash- ....and more summer squash.

Heirloom Patty Pans- .......and more patty pans galore!

Lettuce- It's amazing that we still have lettuce in this heat, I know!  There's at least three more weeks of lettuce in the fields if it holds in time for us to give it.  We're keeping our fingers crossed that it doesn't bolt in the heat.

Broccoli- The last week of broccoli until fall.  A small giving this week as it's on it's way out.

Cauliflower-  Also the last week of Cauliflower givings until the fall.

Next Week:  Zucchini, summer squash, patty pans, cucumbers, beets, kale, lettuce, celery, banna peppers, garlic, onions(?), curly leaf parsley

Recipes:  july-2010-020

Cucumber Water

Cold Cucumber Salad

Oven-Fried Zucchini Spears

Herb Roasted Chicken