July Fifteenth

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There is a buzz on the farm. A mid-July hum. The sounds of the farm include the crickets, the frogs, the lightening bugs, the farm truck, the mower, the workers chatter, the tractor , the irrigation pump, the ice machine, the cooler compressor and any day now the cicadas. The faces of the workers look red and sweaty. The farmers look tired and focused. The children look wild and free. The cooler is filled with delicious smells of green onions, fresh basil, and fennel. It looks, feels, sounds and smells very much like summer here.

Many of the summer crops are starting to come into season now to cool us during the heat of the summer. Cucumber harvest is off with a bang. We are now harvesting cucumbers every two days and they look fresh and perfect and are right on time. Zucchini harvest is another frequent every two-days harvest that is constant and heavy. The broccoli and cauliflower rows are also being harvested every two days to get the fully mature heads out the field and cooled down so they don’t get over-mature.

Farmer Adam spent part of the weekend putting up the raccoon fence around the sweet corn patch. We have had issues with raccoons getting into our sweet corn for many years.   If the fence is set up very carefully with three lines of electric fence around the bottom of the field with one high line of electric fence to keep the deer out, we could all be eating fresh sweet corn in a few weeks. We have already seen deer and raccoon tracks in the mud in the sweet corn patch. The deer are even nibbling on some of the under-mature ears. It was high time to get the fence up!

We are very thrilled about the deer fence we put up around field 10 this spring. We have never seen summer beets with such luscious looking greens. Usually the deer eat so many beets we can barely get a harvest at all. This year we should be sharing generous amounts of beets if things go well! The carrots are also inside the deer fence and the greens are free of deer nibbling, it’s so nice to see! Next week will be the first giving of carrots and we are very excited to share them!

We’ve had a little company on the farm. My sister and her husband and three small children are here at the farm visiting for a couple weeks staying with us. They drove all the way here from California to soak up some family time and a slice of a Midwestern summer. In between harvesting, weeding, washing and packing we’re squeezing in a little extra time to spend with family-which is so very precious.

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Soooo....What's in the Box????

Green Cabbage-  Nice heads of cabbage again this week.  Fantastic in egg rolls, unstuffed cabbage rolls, sauerkraut, or however you like to slice and dice it!  This is the quickstart variety of cabbage that doesn't quite have the shelflife of the storage varieties of cabbage.  The heads are little more airy and light than a very dense storage variety.  They will keep nicely, but not forever like a storage variety.  

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  4 pieces per box.  You likely received a mixture of summer squash and zucchini.  These watery summer squashes are so very versatile.  Remember that they keep best at 50 degress.  The fridge is a little too cold and the counter is a little too warm.  We recommned making zucchini fritters, cabobs, zucchini brownies, or any fun way you can get those squashes into your bellies.  They're good at soaking up the flavors of the herbs and other veggies/meats in your dish.  

Fennel-  One fennel bulb per member.  Raw fennel has a mild licorice flavor.  When cooked, fennel is resembles the texture of a carmalized onion.  It grows in layers like an onion but fennel is actually in the same family as celery, carrots, parsnips and dill, the umbellifferae family.  The parts that are most commonly used are the white bulb.  The greener stems and frawns are also edible or can be used for garnish on a dish.  Remember to cut out the woody core at the center or base of the bulb before chopping up and using.  Slice fennel bulbs very thinly with a mandolin and shave onto salads for the freshest flavor and texture!  Nearly everyone got a fennle this week.  If you did not get a fennel, you got a japanese eggplant!  

Sugar Snap Peas-  This is the final giving of sweet peas for the season.  We didn't have a fantastic pea year this year since we had a little chipmunk issue this spring.  Who knew that a little family of chipmunks could eat thousands of pea seeds right out of the ground!  After 15 years, we thought we had seen it all until this happened.  What other lessons do we have left to learn?!?!  If you don't gobble these up as snacks, they're really fun in a stir fry or on top of a 7-layer salad.  

Garlic Scapes-  This is also the final giving of garlic scapes for the year.  We will soon begin harvesting fresh garlic bulbs in a couple weeks.  Remember that the part of the scape that is most commonly eaten is from the blunt end where it was snapped off of the plant all the way up to the little nodule.  Above the nodule the texture changes a little and it's a bit more chewy

Broccoli and/or Cauliflower-  Either two broccoli per member or a broccoli and a cauliflower.  More of these goodies coming in the weeks to come.  Can you believe that we were planting fall Broccoli already this week?!  Don't forget to eat your broccoli and cauliflower leaves!  

Swiss Chard-  Another giving of swiss chard this week!  Chard is in the same family as beets and spinach.  It has the tenderness of spinach and the earthyness of beets.  The stalks of the swiss chard are edible too!  

Basil-  Fresh basil!  Basil is a little finniky to harvest for CSA boxes.  Basil prefers to be cut like fresh flowers and kept in a vase on the counter at room temperature.  It does not love to be cut and refrigerated as we have done here.  Basil can turn black and brown in refrigeration.  It's still okay to use if it gets a little discolored, which is also why we recommend using it up while it's so fresh.  Do not put it in your fridge or it will turn black.  You could try putting it in a glass with a little water to see if it perks up again.  It could also be made into a small batch of pesto right away or dried if you really wanted to put your preservation hat on.  

Lettuce-  You may have receive a new variety of lettuce we tried this year called Salanova.  Salanova is very frilly and has lots of tiny leafletts.  It is a heat tolearant variety with a little thicker of a leaf structure which does give it a better shelf life.  We think you'll find it to make a nice salad with a new, fun texture!  

Cucumbers-  5-6 pieces per member.  Cukes are still going strong.  We expect to have several more weeks of strong cucumber production.  Find your favorite cucumber recipes to try this week to stay cool in the heat!  Some people even juice their cucumbers and drink them!  Cucumber water?!  

Green Onions-  Green onions are still going strong!  One more week of green onions befor we move on to full size onions.  

Recipes

Savory Zucchini Chard Muffins

Quinoa and Chard Cakes

Cream of Broccoli and Fennel Soup (very yummy!)

Zucchini Breakfast Casserole

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