August Twenty-Sixth

It’s funny how as we get older time seems to speed up. I watch our children pass the days away on the farm laying in the grass, picking flowers, building forts, climbing trees and just dreaming up projects and play for themselves. They graze the vegetable field harvesting only what looks tasty to pop into their mouths at that very moment. No care for tomorrow or next week or next year. They live fully in the now. In contrast their parents are buzzing around in circles running crews, managing the farm and putting out fires in every direction. I wish for them to revel in their childhood state as long as they are able.

The time of the day when we do finally slow down is at meal time. We all sit together over lovingly prepared meals, many times prepared by Momma Jane, and we are all still and calm together for a short moment a few times each day. In these moments of stillness and calm I never cease to be thankful for all that we have. The bounty is high, the meals are rich but boy, the days sure are short! We express our gratitude and thankfulness at each meal and appreciate all that goes into the beets or the corn or the tomatoes on our plates.

The harvesting demands on the farm are constant now! We are done planting crops for fall. Now is the time when we simply must harvest, harvest and more harvesting for much of the remainder of the season.   We are still trying to catch up on weeding, mowing and the irrigation is a constant job at the moment for Farmer Adam. Nearly EVERY crop has drip line irrigation on it right now. I’m not sure we’ve ever had a drought like this where every crop had to be drip taped because we had such a long stretch with no rain. Six weeks with no rain over 1/10th inch. I would say that his efforts are paying off though, the crops are growing and looking good. Tomato production is strong, peppers are still producing well despite the pepper disease we have going on this summer, and things are looking good for many of our Fall Crops such as parsnips, sweet potatoes, potatoes, broccoli, leeks, Brussels sprouts and so much more, thanks to well water and Farmer Adam’s sweat.

The farm needs tending to much like an infant. It needs careful watch and attention at all times. Our small family rarely takes a vacation in the summer months. We watch our friends go on camping trips and week-long get-aways as a healthy family should. I feel a yearning for these kinds of adventures and get-aways too, but our smallest child, the farm, requires us to be home watching and caring for her. I tell myself that in the Fall and Winter we will have our rest and adventure. We make our hay when the sun shines. It is also not as relaxing for us to leave the farm when know that twice the work will be waiting for us when we get back.

This isn’t our first trip around the sun! We know what we’re getting ourselves into each year that we operate a CSA farm. It’s a life that is hard work, but the rewards are rich to us. But the part I can’t seem to understand is how the time seems to be speeding up. How is this week 13 already? How did my babies get so big? Has it really been 15 years? Wait, it’s September already? I will slice into my tomatoes and enjoy every juicy cell of them. I savor the melon and suckle the cherry tomatoes. Slowly, slowly, slow.

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

Tomatoes-  6lbs of tomatoes per member.  Tomato production is in full swing!  We pick tomatoes with a 'blush'.  This means that we pick any tomato that is showing any signs of color since tomatoes ripen so quickly off of the vine.  If your tomatoes need more ripening, we recommend letting them sit out on your counterop or windowsil.  Only put tomatoes in the refrigerator if they are fully ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get to using it up.  Refrigerators suck flavor out of tomatoes.  The more you can leave them to ripen on the counter, the better their flavor will be.  We grow all kinds of tomatoes in all different shapes and colors.  Some of them are heirloom tomatoes (but the herilooms ripen a little later still mostly), the oval shaped romas that are more of a paste tomato and less juicy like a slicer.  We also grow all kinds of slicers that range from yellow to red to purplish-black to orange.  You'll know if your tomato is ripe if it feels slightly soft to the touch.  Even though your tomatoes were bagged in a plastic bag, they much prefer to not be in their little plastic bags.  Remove them from their plastic bag and allow them to 'breathe' on the countertop.  

Peppers-4-6  We are still getting peppers this year despite our pepper disease we have.  We expect that sooner than in previous years our peppers will decline in production.  We're also culling a higher percentage of peppers than normal.  Still a good couple weeks of peppers to come though!  

Red Cabbage-  One head of Cairo Red Cabbage per member this week.  Very dense heads that will keep.  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Melon x 2-  You may have received any combination of melons this week. So far this season we have shared the yellow watermelons, the cantelope, honeydew and also the canary melons (the ones with the yellow rind).  This is the final melon giving of the season and this week's offering is what we had left in the fields and in the cooelr to share.  

Onion-  One white onion per member.  

Garlic-  One Asian Tempest Garlic per member this week.  Asian Tempest is a red skinned hardneck variety with a spiicy flavor.  They hae 4-7 cloves per bulb.  This variety has been cultivated and in the care of the Varney family long before Adam and I started to grow it.  Will have longest shelf life in the fridge, but will keep terrifically well on your counter for a few months too!  

Cherry Tomatoes and MiniSweet Peppers-  .7 lbs total.  We gave a combination of cherry tomatoes and minisweet peppers in one brown paper bag this week.  This little goody bag is excellet for snacking!  

Green Beans  mixed with Dragon Tongue Beans-  .72lbs of green beans.  We had more beans out there to pick this week but we were a little short handed with our crew size this week.  We were also picking younger, more tender beans so the overall weight is just slightly less than last week.  More beans to come next week!  The Dragon Tongue Beans are an heirloom variety of beans that is cream colored, wider and thicker than a green bean.  Don't feel discouraged, the fun purple stripes on the 'dragon tongues' magically disappear when cooked!  

Carrots-  1 pound of carrots per member.  

Broccoli- 1-2 depending on size!  Broccoli keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Swiss Chard-  I was so happy that we had the time to pick swiss chard for you all this week!  Chard is a time-consuming harvest.  The plants need to be cleaned as they are picked and there are not a lot of good leaves per plant at this stage in the season.  But it sure is fun to have some diversity in our cooking greens this time of year!

Next Week's Best Guess:  Napa Cabbage?, tomatoes, pepeprs, hot peppers, green beans/dragon tongue beans, kale, onion, garlic, spaghetti squash, parsley?

Recipes

Chicken Fajita Quesadilla with Peppers and Onions

Stuffed Peppers

Sauteed Garden Fresh Green Beans

Warm Red Cabbage Salad

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