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Below are current issues of The Weekly Dig Newsletter, from Jillian Varney, owner of the Small Family Farm. Stay up to date on what's happening on the farm!

September Eleventh

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As I write this newsletter on Monday night to the sound of rain falling on the roof, I feel soothed. We had a very long stretch of warm and dry weather this summer that has had the fall plantings of spinach, carrots, beets, fennel, kohlrabi and more very thirsty. This time the rain is welcome. This time it falls softly. This time it is calming and quenching.

For the first time, maybe ever, in the history of our farm, we are having a truly wonderful harvest season. The weather has been mild and dry (very conducive to vegetable farming), the crops have been bountiful and beautiful and the work load manageable due to our terrific crew of hardworking helpers! There is more food to stuff inside the CSA boxes than we can figure out how to fit in! The melons have been terrific and now the sweet peppers are stunningly beautiful and plentiful!

I do my best in these newsletters to talk about the beautiful parts of running a farm like this. I want you to think that we’ve got it all together and the farm runs smoothly and effortlessly like a well-oiled machine. You are the audience watching the performance in your seats while munching on popcorn and sipping on your sodas. We are behind the curtains changing costumes, putting on our make-up and hustling around and practicing our lines with sweat on our brow. But there is no foolery here, you know what we’re up to.

Internally I feel like the grumpy ol farmer who is never quite happy with the weather. If you could ask my inner self that was incapable of masking the truth, I would almost always say that it was either too wet or too dry or too hot or too cold or too late or too early. Conditions are constantly changing and we continually have to adapt. Sometimes it feels too hard and like too much.

But in this home stretch of the growing season, these last 5 weeks of Summer Shares, I can honestly say that we are pleased…for now. There is still time for a natural disaster to take it all away. But the tomatoes have been bountiful, the peppers are gorgeous, the melons were abundant, the broccoli is stunning and huge. The piles of green beans this summer were record breaking! We were successfully able to keep the raccoons out of the sweet corn! Our packing shed and facilities function well and are sized to our operation. Satisfaction is fleeting, so let’s all revel in this moment.

It feels so good to lay all of the items that go into a CSA box out on the wagon each week and to take a photo of them for the newsletter or to share on social media somewhere. It is the moment when I can put myself in your shoes and imagine how it must look and feel to you when you get your box each week. It’s like one of those moments when you look into the eyes of someone you love and you’re not thinking about what they just said or where they’re going or what they need to be doing right then, you’re just thinking about far you’ve come, how happy they make you feel and how wonderful life is.

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

Tomatoes-  Another week with a whopping 8lbs per member!  Tomato production is waning fast now.  We will have tomatoes in the next few weeks, but with much smaller givings.  Enjoy the tomatoes in your life while they are abundant!  Remember to unpack your tomatoes from the plastic bag and leave them on your counter to ripen.  They will spoil much more quickly if left in the plastic bag.  You may put tomatoes in the fridge if they are too ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get a chance to use them up.  

Napa (Chinese) Cabbage-  These are the large heads of leafy green cabbage type in your box.  Napa cabbage are a true gem of the Fall Season.  They are an asian type cabbage that makes a lovely asian slaw.  Many people like to make kim chi out of this type of cabbage.  It is tender enough to eat raw but also holds up very nicely when cooked.  If you don't know what to do with your napa cabbage, I highly recommned making the recipe that I have listed below!  It will make you a believer!  Don't skip any of the ingredients on the list, and you'll fall in love with this salad for the rest of your life like I have!  

Red Potatoes-  2 # per member.  Finally potatoes!  The potatoes did not love the long stretch of dry weather this summer and it's looking like our yeields will be modest.  But we are planning to give potatoes and then sweet potatoes every week now for the remainder of the delivery season.  We do not wash our potatoes because they hold up very nicely when unwashed and keep terrifically well in a paper bag.  We left a little washing to you this week!  

Honeydew Melon-  We're getting down to the last of our melons this summer.  We are hoping for one more giving of melons again next week as long as they hold up one more week.  These honeydews have a green flesh with a white rind.  Melons don't keep well and take up a lot of space in the fridge, so we recommend eating them up!  

Yellow or White Onion-  To keep your dishes in full flavor!

Broccoli-  Gorgeous broccoli for all!  Broccoli likes to be kept cold, so get it home and into the fridge as soon as possilbe, especially with the warm weather this week!  

Sweet Peppers- 4 amazing sweet peppers for you!  We try to pick peppers with 80% color.  They will ripen just slightly off the vine.  All peppers start out green and 'ripen' to either red, yellow or orange depending on the variety grown.  We grow a very wide selection of sweet peppers ranging from the pointed tip carmen types to the blocky red, orange and yellow bells to the rounded three-lobers of all colors as well.  We hope you enjoy the sweet, crispy flavors of summer!  We're hoping for another generous giving next week of sweet peppers!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomato Pints-  Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes in pint containers this week.  Sun gold ripen orange and are probably the worlds best flavored tomato!  The seem to be waning in production now, enjoy them while they last!

Brussels Sprouts Tops- 3-5 tops per member.  Brussels Sprouts plants need to be "topped" which is where we actually snap off the top of the plant to tell the plant to stop growing upwards and to start putting more of it's energy into bulking out all of those brussels Sprouts that are on the stalks.  The plants look good, but usually the sprouts are still a little small at this stage, so "topping" the plants 3 weeks before harvest tells them that's it's time to fatten up those sprouts;)  Lucky for us all, the brussels sprouts tops are perfectly edible and can be enjoyed just like collards, kale or any other 'brassica' green like cabbage or so on.  They are lovely and the most tender part of the plant!  Enjoy experimenting with this new food!  Just a green that can be added to any dish!

Recipes

Crunchy Napa Cabbage Salad with Ramen Noodles (hands down the best Napa Cabbage Recipe ever!)

Collard Greens with Tomatoes and Asagio (use your brussels sprouts tops for this one)

Seared Broccoli and Potato Soup

Chinese Egg Rolls

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September Fourth

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There is a component to being a to being a lover of food that I feel is relevant to cover. Without this important aspect, one cannot truly enjoy the experience of being a CSA member, a locavore or an eater, I feel. Food is consumable and perishable and an expense in our lives. It is exploited and conveniently available everywhere and in so many different forms, from varying distances and in varying qualities. But without gratitude for our food, it is merely fuel rather than something that nourishes our souls as well as our bodies.

We have had a long standing tradition in our home to hold hands and say at least one thing we are thankful for before we share a meal. This moment of pause allows us all convene at the table and begin eating after prayer at the same time and together. Even when we’re in a bit of a rush at the lunch hour, we still manage to make it happen. I always enjoy hearing the different things that people are thankful for. It can be something as common as family and the food before us, or something immediate as the beautiful weather we’ve been having or for the morning activity.

What comes to mind most often for me is all of the people who have come together to make this farm possible. I feel thankful for our health and that we are strong and capable. I feel thankful for the helpers on the farm who drive out here every day and share in the vision of this landscape and community. I feel thankful for the hardworking hands and bodies that value this work and the community behind it.

A favorite author of mine, Wendel Berry says that “ A significant part of the pleasure of eating is in one’s accurate consciousness of the lives and the world from which food comes.” Berry was a whole-hearted believer in the neighborliness, the small-ness, the low-tech, and community-minded farm. He saw farming as a folk-art form with virtues like respect (for the land and for the people) and gratitude (for the land, the people and the harvest) foundational.

Life has become too fast, too hurried, too spread out. We no longer live in villages and farming communities and in homes with large families with grandparents and nieces and nephues coming and going and helping with dinner and sitting with us at our tables regularly. It might be easy to forget to share gratitude. It might feel awkward at first. It might be an expression of empathy and spirituality that is uncustomary in our quickening culture. But I encourage you, no matter how strange it may feel, to express your gratitude. Be thankful for your home, your car that starts, your bike with tires that hold air, your health, my goodness, be thankful for your health.

And on a day when you’re feeling especially open and when you might want to honor someone like Wendel Berry, feel thankful for the hands that picked your beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Be thankful that there are people out there that still value this kind of work enough that they are willing to put their back into it. Be thankful that small farming communities still exist. And while you’re holding hands with your family being thankful for us, know I will be holding hands with my family being thankful for you at the very same time.

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

Melons x 3-  You may have received a Yellow Watermelon, Canteolope, Honeydew or Canary Melon.  Watermelons are the most obvious to decipher.  The cantelops are probably the second easiest to decipher looking and smelling like a cantelope should;)  The honeydew melons have a more white rind with a green flesh.  The Canary Melons are yellow on the outside (not to be confused with a spaghetti Squash;) and they have a crispy white flesh.  All melons are very ripe at this stage and we encourage you to keep them refrigerated until you get them eaten up!  

Tomatoes- 8lbs-  Anothee hefty bag of tomatoes again this week!  A reminder that we pick tomatoes with a "blush".  A blush is anything with any early signs of color.  We need to pick tomatoes this way because the plants need to be picked every two days to keep the fruits from ripening too quickly on the vine.  If the fruits become too ripe, we won't be able to ship them without them turning into tomato sauce in your box!  Leave your tomatoes sitting on your counter outside of the plastic bag we ship them in to ripen.  When tomatoes are put into the fridge the ripening process stops.  Refrigerators (and I don't understand the science behind this completely) deminish the flavor out of tomatoes.  Your tomatoes will be more flavorful if left on the counter to ripen.  We only recommend putting tomatoes in the fridge this summer if you need to buy yourself some time and you have too many tomatoes getting too ripe on you.  Use these guys up!  Likely another generous giving coming up next week!

Cherry Tomato Pints-  Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes in pint containers this week.  Sun gold ripen orange and are probably the worlds best flavored tomato!  The seem to be waning in production now, enjoy them while they last!

Sweet Bell Peppers-  2-3 Sweet bell peppers per member this week.  We try to pick peppers with 80% color.  They will ripen just slightly off the vine.  All peppers start out green and 'ripen' to either red, yellow or orange depending on the variety grown.  We grow a very wide selection of sweet peppers ranging from the pointed tip carmen types to the blocky red, orange and yellow bells to the rounded three-lobers of all colors as well.  We hope you enjoy the sweet, crispy flavors of summer!  

White Onion x 2-  Two smaller/medium sized onions this week.  The white onions don't keep as well as the yellows and reds so we wanted to ship the last of these.  Yellow and red onions coming up!  

Garlic-  One bulb for keeping you healthy as the seasons change!  

Broccoli-  Our late summer/early Fall broccoli is looking very nice!  We're very happy with this broccoli harvest.  Get your broccoli home and into the fridge as soon as possible.  Broccoli likes to stay cold until it is eaten up or it can yellow if it gets warm for too long.  Store it in a plast bag in the fridge.  

Eggplant-  Either a standard eggplant or two of the longer and skinnier Asian Eggplants.

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These peppers are one of the most mild on the spectrum of hot tomatoes.  Technically, they are a hot pepper.  I have cut into many hungarian hot wax peppers and some have been surprisingly spicy, and some have been hardly spicy at all.  They are usualy a lime green color and are also called 'bananna peppers'.  But these peppers 'ripen' orange to red, so you may have received one that was orange or red as well.  They would be in your bag with your tomatoes.  

Curly Green Kale-  Because we wanted to give something green to go with all of these fruiting crops.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Mini Sweet Pepper Pints-  These little peppers in the pint clamshell are sweet!  These are great for snacking.  They are also called 'lunchbox peppers'.  Keep them in the fridge until you get them eaten up!  

Curly Green Parsley-  Very healthy and delicious bunches of parsley this week that will make a great addition to your fresh salsas, sauces or salads!  Parsley is one of the healthiest foods to eat, did you know?  It is loaded with vitamin C, regulates blood pressure, and soothes the nervous system.  In addition, it improves circulation, relieves problems with the bladder and urethra, cleanses the body from toxins, improves blood flow, removes fever and inflammation of the eyes, heals the kidneys, skin and liver, prevents irritation as a consequence of insect stings (https://www.myhappyandhealthyliving.com/health/why-is-parsley-so-healthy/)

Next Week's Best Guess-  Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, napa cabbage, honeydew melon, broccoli, onion, kohlrabi, brussels spout tops, spaghetti squash, fennel?

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Recipes

Watermelon Salsa

Honeydew Melon Sorbet

Chicken Fajita Quesadilla

Kale Olive and Chickpea Salad

August Twenty-Eighth

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The day length is becoming noticeably shorter now.   Misty mornings with the sounds of crickets singing in the haze set a reflective and contemplative tone. A general feeling of awareness around us as we pick tomatoes and realize that summer is finite, school is starting and the seasons are shifting. The walnuts are dropping, the apples are ripening and the air feels warm but thin and dry. I am drawn to observe the horizon as if I’ll find some kind of wisdom there.

This time of year feels both sad and happy to me. I feel sad because I sense my own mortality and that there is no way to make the summer come back or last any longer. Like the feeling you get at the end of your favorite song when it plays on the radio or at the end of a movie you so thoroughly enjoyed. A feeling of revelry and calmness sweeps the landscape. By now the fledglings have all flown from their nests. The butterflies have emerged from their chrysalises. The farmers have given their best efforts and now we wait for nature to play her cards while we finish out the season.

I also said that I feel happy this time of year. I feel happy because now is when we harvest our richest foods. There is something of a celebratory feeling that will arise in the coming weeks. Our work will shift to mostly harvesting the warmer, the heartier and the heavier of our crops. Soon our homes will be filled with the warmth of simmering soups, apple pies and roasting roots. We will accept the determinate season and our own limitations and succumb to the absolute with a rosy-cheeked cheerfulness.

The once overwhelmingly prolific landscape will shift to a scarcer scene. Only on a very well prepared farms like these will there be fresh greens, florettes, fruits and crispy roots that will take us into late fall where we will enjoy the luxury of eating locally and seasonally to the highest standards.

As there is a young season and a late season, there is are also young and aged structures on a farm. I have become aware of the wearing that a farm takes after so many seasons. Ever so slowly the stairs to the barn have rotted out. Trees are reforesting the north slope of the farm that is no longer grazed. Once functioning sliding doors on the machine shed are rusty, rickety and in need of repair. The spade shovels on the digging machine get rusty and wear quite quickly over the seasons. The farm itself is a timeline that shows age.

Farms and their buildings are another measurement of the passage of time as is the season. I observe the busted fense posts and the flat tire on the movable chicken tractor behind the scene of solar panels and a reconstructed Packing Shed. We give our best human efforts at preservation, maintenance, health and estetics within a season, within a farm, and within ourselves. Yet time continues to pass to the sounds of crickets singing people laughing and carrots hitting the bottom of a harvest bin.

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

Tomatoes- 8lbs  We pick tomatoes with a "blush".  A blush is anything with any early signs of color.  We need to pick tomatoes this way because the plants need to be picked every two days to keep the fruits from ripening too quickly on the vine.  If the fruits become too ripe, we won't be able to ship them without them turning into tomato sauce in your box!  Leave your tomatoes sitting on your counter outside of the plastic bag we ship them in to ripen.  When tomatoes are put into the fridge the ripening process stops.  Refrigerators (and I don't understand the science behind this completely) deminish the flavor out of tomatoes.  Your tomatoes will be more flavorful if left on the counter to ripen.  We only recommend putting tomatoes in the fridge this summer if you need to buy yourself some time and you have too many tomatoes getting too ripe on you.  Use these guys up!  Another generous giving coming up next week!

Melons x 2-  Either Cantelope and Honedew or two Cantelope.  The cantelope varieties will usally look and smell ripe when they are ripe.  We're having a great melon year!  You may have received a honedew type which has a white rind on the ouside and a green flesh on the inside.  

Sweet Corn- 3 ears per member this week.  Some of the ears did not fill out all the way, so some ears may look a little funny if they are not a fullly filled out ear, but this is what the harvest looked like this week!  Sweet corn needs to be refrigerated unti you are ready to use it.  Sweet corn is best eaten as soon after harvest as you can.  We recommned using it up right away for best flavor!  This was the final giving of sweet corn for the season.  

Cucumbers-  2 per member this week.  We expect that we may have one more week of cucubers before the cucumber season is over.  Enjoy them while they last!

Broccoli-  Big and beautiful heads of broccoli for all this week!  We were very pleased with this late summer broccoli harvest.  Remember that broccoli really needs to be kept cold.  Shortly after you pick up your veggies from your dropsite, be sure to get your broccoli home and into your fridge to keep it looking green and fresh!  

Beans-  A whopping 2 lbs per member this week!  I believe this sets a new record!  I'm not sure that we have ever shared a green bean harvest quite like this before!  Green beans are surely a classic summer favorite!  Enjoy them while they goodies last!  

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes-  1 Quart per member again this week!  

Sweet Peppers-  2 Colored sweet peppers per member.  We pick our sweet peppers when they are about 80% or more turned in color.  We are growing sweet red bell peppers, long and skinney red and yellow carmen type sweet peppers, and also yellow and orange bells.  You will likely receive a mix of varieties througout the season.  Sweet peppers are just getting started.  We're hoping for a nice harvest this Fall!  

Lacinato Kale-  Because we wanted to include something green in the boxes this week we are sharing wtih you this lovely lacinato kale.  The bunches aren't huge, but greens are always welcome!  

White Onion-  One onion for everyday use!

Garlic-  The garlic is a little more well cured now.  We have been taking our time with the garlic and really making it look nice for you!  Garlic will keep just fine on our counter for another month or two.  But it also stores nice in the fridge, especially for long term storage.  But my guess is that you'll have this garlic eaten up in no time!

Jalapeno-  The Jalapenos are the smaller, green pepper in your tomato bag.  Jalapenos will 'ripen' red, so a lucky few may have received a red Jalapeno.  Red ones can be a bit sweeter.

Hungarian Hot Wax-  These peppers are one of the most mild on the spectrum of hot tomatoes.  Technically, they are a hot pepper.  I have cut into many hungarian hot wax peppers and some have been surprisingly spicy, and some have been hardly spicy at all.  They are usualy a lime green color and are also called 'bananna peppers'.  But these peppers 'ripen' orange to red, so you may have received one that was orange or red as well.  They would be in your bag with your tomatoes.  

Next Week's Best Guess-  Melons x 2, tomatoes, broccoli, onion, garlic, beans, brussels sprouts tops, sweet peppers, eggplant?  hungarian hot wax peppers, cherry tomatoes, cuumber, 

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Recipes

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

Roasted Cherry Tomato Salsa

Gazpacho

Parmesan Roasted Broccoli 

August Twenty-First

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The farm is dry. The dryness is something we openly asked for earlier in the season. This lovely, sunny, dry weather has been wonderful for drying down our garlic and onions in the greenhouse and dry storage room. We are now beginning to harvest and dry down the first of our winter squash harvest. It is wonderful for getting work done in the fields for either harvesting or weeding. But we’re starting to get a little nervous now as we’ve had such a long stretch of dry weather and many of our late summer and Fall crops are beginning to get thirsty!

I will now ask for a long, slow, soft rain (as if you can deliver that for us;). Just one for now would be great! About an inch. Maybe 1.5 inches;) Two inches max! Our potatoes and sweet potatoes will need a litle rain in order to size up, fall seedings of carrots, beets, radish spinach and recently transplated lettuce would also like a drink in order to thrive. We are beginning to talk about irrigation and running new drip irrigation lines to the crops that need it the most. No real chance of rain lies in the forecast.

While we wait for rain, we are harvesting many of our favorite summer vegetables like sweet corn, melons, green beans, tomatoes, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, and carrots! The boxes this time of year are probably my favorite boxes of the season. Folks, these are the boxes we live for. We spend all winter dreaming of vine ripened tomatoes, fresh picked sweet corn and juicy, local melons and there is no time like the present to fall in love with them all over again!

I find it interesting how nature and the seasons give us all that we need in the season that we are in. We are offered juicy, crispy, sweet and colorful foods in this warm season when our bodies know that it’s time to load up on sugars to keep our energy strong for the harvest, stay hydrated and eating healthy! I also love how summer foods are convenient and quick to prepare.  BLT’s are a favorite quick summer meal. I also love sweet corn, steamed green beans, fresh salsa and chips, and snacking on raw carrots, cucumbers, celery, cherry tomatoes, and sweet peppers! A little hummus with a pile of raw veggies goes a long way.

This week we will stay busy harvesting more green beans, catching up on some much needed weeding projects, laying irrigation lines and harvesting more melons for next week’s CSA boxes. We are excited to start giving cantelopes and honeydew melons next week. The CSA boxes are getting very heavy now! We recommned not using the handles on the sides of your box to carry them, but to carry them from the bottom of the box as the handles can rip very easily when the boxes are this heavy. Very bountiful, full and HEAVY boxes this time of year! We’re so happy to be sharing all of this lovely, seasonal, organic fresh food with you! Thank you for valuing fresh, local and organic vegetables in your lives!

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

Yellow Watermelon-  One beautiful, juicy and sweet watermelon for all this week!  We love these because they fit in a CSA box so nicely.  Watermelons keep best in the fridge until you get a chance to use them up.  

Canary Melon (or Cantelope)-  The Canary melons are a yellow melon with a harder rind.  We love these melons because when they're fully ripe they have such a sweet flavor.  Do not mistake your Canary Melon for a spaghetti squash.  Keep your melon in the fridge until you get a chance to use it up.  We ran a little short on Canary Melons and supplemented cantelopes for those who did not get a Canary Melon.  Cantelopes can sit on your counter until you get a chance to use them up.  A cantelope will smell ripe when it is ready to eat.  

Sweet Corn-  5 ears per member this week.  Sweet corn needs to be refrigerated unti you are ready to use it.  Sweet corn is best eaten as soon after harvest as you can.  We recommned using it up right away for best flavor!  We will have one more week of Sweet Corn Harvest to share with you next week.  We were hoping for larger givings of sweet corn this year, but the yields weren't as expected this year.  

Cuccumbers-  4 Cukes per member this week.  Cucumbers are waning in production now.  The cucumbers we are picking are the last flush and aren't as perfect looking as the early season cucumbers.  We anticipate anohter week or two of cucumbers left in the season.  

Tomatoes-  5.24 lbs of tomatoes per member this week.  We pick tomatoes with a "blush".  A blush is anything with any early signs of color.  We need to pick tomatoes this way because the plants need to be picked every two days to keep the fruits from ripening too quickly on the vine.  If the fruits become too ripe, we won't be able to ship them without them turning into tomato sauce in your box!  Leave your tomatoes sitting on your counter outside of the plastic bag we ship them in to ripen.  When tomatoes are put into the fridge the ripening process stops.  Refrigerators (and I don't understand the science behind this completely) suck the flavor out of tomatoes.  Your tomatoes will be more flavorful if left on the counter to ripen.  We only recommend putting tomatoes in the fridge this summer if you need to buy yourself some time and you have too many tomatoes getting too ripe on you.  Use these guys up!  Another generous giving coming up next week!

Cherry Tomatoes-  1 Quart per member.  We have never given such large quantities of cherry tomatoes before, but there is a first time for everything!  Probably the best tasting tomato in the whold world are these tomatoes!  Remember that these ripen orange and are fully ripe when they are a nice and bright orange.  

Carrots-  1 lb per member this week.  Carrots are always welcome as a healthy snack, with dip, in a stir fry or any way that you fancy!

Green Beans- 1.24 lbs per member this week.  The bean bags this week had a mix of green beans and also 'Dragon Tongue' beans.  Dragon Tongues are a Dutch Heirloom variety that is a yellowish bean with purple streaking.  Unfortunately, the purple streaking in these dragon tongue beans goes away once the beans are cooked.  It's sort of like magic!  

Eggplant-  Either a standard eggplant or a long and thin Asian eggplant.  Eggplants can be a tricky vegetable to become acquainted with if you don't already love them, but if you find the dish that makes you a believer, I know you can learn to love eggplants!  They do prefer a 50 degree storage temp zone.  So you'll have to use them up quick before they begin to go bad on either your counter or in your fridge.  They're so much better fresh!  

White Onions-  2 white onions per member this week.  Onions should keep on your counter at room temperature until you get to using them up!

Sweet Peppers or Broccoli-  We had equal amounts of broccoli and sweet peppers this week, but no enough to give everyone both.  You may have received either broccoli or sweet peppers.  We're hoping the sweet peppers will start to come on soon here.  

Collards or Kale-  The Collards didn't really look all that great this week.  We gave small bunches and the leaves really weren't looking the best, but we really wanted to go through and clean the plants up in hopes that the plants make a rebound for a nice Fall harvest.  Collards are another one that can be really lovely if prepared right!  If you did not receive Collards, you did receive a small bunch of Curly Red Kale.  We wanted to get something leafy and green in the boxes this week.  

Jalapeno-  The Jalapenos are the smaller, green pepper in your tomato bag.  Jalapenos will 'ripen' red, so a lucky few may have received a red Jalapeno.  Red ones can be a bit sweeter.  

Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers-  These peppers are one of the most mild on the spectrum of hot tomatoes.  Technically, they are a hot pepper.  I have cut into many hungarian hot wax peppers and some have been surprisingly spicy, and some have been hardly spicy at all.  They are usualy a lime green color and are also called 'bananna peppers'.  But these peppers 'ripen' orange to red, so you may have received one that was orange or red as well.  They would be in your bag with your tomatoes.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  cantelope, watermelon, tomatoes, sweet peppers, broccoli?, hot peppers, beets, sweet corn, cucumber, green beans, onion, garlic, eggplant, cherry tomatoes

Recipes-

Crisp Cucumber Salsa (Yum!)

Tomato, Onion and Cucumber Salad with Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Pico De Gallo (Fresh Salsa)

Fresh Green Bean Casserole

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August Fourteenth, 2019

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Growing sweet corn on the scale that our farm grows sweet corn is no simple task.  We're not big time sweet corn growers, but we are certainly growing it on a scale that is larger than most.  That sweet smelling corn travlels through the night breeze and draws in the racoons like they're hypnotized.  They are crafy and quick and entire families of them can destroy a sweet corn harvest for a farm like ours in just one night.  
 
Sweet corn is tranplanted on our farm.  We start sweet corn in trays in the geenhouse in May and water care for them while they germinate.  Birds, mice and chipmunks seem to know there is sweet corn growing beneat the soil in our trays in the greenhouse in the Spring and we need to keep the trays covered with a floating row cover just to keep the seeds protected until they have germinated.  Once the sweet corn transplants are a couple weeks old, we transplant them out in the fields at 6 inch spacing.  Transplanting sweet corn is not something many farms do unless they have the time, labor and are serious about growing sweet corn!  We know how much you love it, we value our field space and if we're going to put all the effort into growing sweet corn, we want it to turn our right!  We want the plants to be at the correct spacing (not too crowded and not too far apart either!  
 
Once the sweet corn patch begins to tassel out in July, we set up an electric fense around the patch to keep the racoons from sampeling and scampering through the field.  We use electric wire that goes around the entire patch four times.  We electrify the wire using a deep marine battery that needs to be hooked up every night to the wire to keep it hot.  In the mornings, farmer Adam goes out to un-hook the battery from the fense as to not drain the battery too quickly by running it 24 hours out of the day.  Every few days he brings the battery down to the shed to trickle charge the batter back up during the day time to make sure the battery has plenty of juice for the night time protection.  
 
We have had several years of good success using this method.  It does require keeping the sweet corn fense trimmed so that any weeds or grass growing up under the wire wont short out the wire.  We have had years where racoons have cunningly found their way in in some un-even ground or who have bravely charged through the fense (who knows how they get in!) but so far this season we are having good luck with our efforts!  We hope to have a hefty giving of sweet corn to share again next week that will likely be even bigger than this week's offerings.  It seems like some corn is maturing a little earlier than we thought it might, so we might have a big week next week, and then a lighter giving of corn the following week.  
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Soooo....What's in the Box?

Yellow Watermelon-  Wowzers!  What a melon!  We like these melons because they fit inside a CSA box and they don't take up the entire CSA box either!  They have everything a melon should have: seeds, crispyness, juicyness, and flavor!  

Sweet Corn-  6-7 ears of sweet corn per member this week.  We're hoping for an even more generous giving next week!  We're doing a good job of keeping the raccoons out of the sweet corn fense with our 4 strands of electric wire surrounding the fense.  Sweet corn is best eating within hours of harvest.  It should be kept in the fridge until you get to eating it up!  For best flavor and texture, we recommend eating it up as soon as possible!  Enjoy!

Zucchini and Summer Squash-  Yes, the Zucchini and Summer squash harvest is waning.  Can you tell since you're only getting a couple now!  We may only have a week or two of squash to share.  They come on strong, and it gets a little intense there for a bit, but we'll miss them when they're gone, I know I will!  

Tomatoes-  While summer squash may be phasing out of season, tomatoes are phasing in!  1.65 lbs per member this week which is a modest first giving.  We pick tomatoes with a "blush".  A blush is anything with any early signs of color.  We need to pick tomatoes this way because the plants need to be picked every two days to keep the fruits from ripening too quickly on the vine.  If the fruits become too ripe, we won't be able to ship them without them turning into tomato sauce in your box!  Leave your tomatoes sitting on your counter outside of the plastic bag we ship them in to ripen.  When tomatoes are put into the fridge the ripening process stops.  Refrigerators (and I don't understand the science behind this completely) suck the flavor out of tomatoes.  Your tomatoes will be more flavorful if left on the counter to ripen.  We only recommend putting tomatoes in the fridge this summer if you need to buy yourself some time and you have too many tomatoes getting too ripe on you.  

Cherry Tomatoes-  1 pint of Sun Gold cherry tomtoes for everyone this week!  Sun Golds are my personal favorite tomato of all time!  They are so sweet and delicious!  These tomatoes ripen orange, so allow them to sit on your counter until they are a bright and shiny orange color and enjoy any way that you wish!  Check out my favorite cherry tomato tart recipe below that is AMAZING!  I highly recommed making this recipe at least once this season with your cherry tomatoes that you receive in your box!

Green Beans-  A generous 1.1 lbs of green beans this week.  We had a nice crew to pick beans with us this week!  We are so very thankful for all of those loving pairs of hand that so tediously worked with us to get all of these beans picked for us all to share!  That's a lot of hours picking beans!

Cucumbers-  4-5 cukes per member this week.  Cucumbers are beginning to wane in production as well.  They're looking a little less perfect as the season goes on, but we're so thankful that we all still get to eat this lovely seasonal treat!  

Carrots-  1 lb per member.  We topped them this week to save time.  Carrots are alwasy welcome in many dishes on the dinner table!  I trust you won't have issues using these up!

Celery-  The final giving of celery for the season!  Celery was lovely while it lasted, but all good things come to an end!  Remember that you can use your celery leaves in making stock with your veggie scraps.  I recently learned about how healing celery juice is.  If you're not sure what to do with your celery, juice it!  Anthony Williams write The Medical Medium which is all about the healing effects of driking celery juice daily.  Check out this website:  https://www.medicalmedium.com/medical-medium-celery-juice-movement.htm

Lettuce-  1 head green leaf lettuce per member.  Some of the heads were nice and big, but many of these heads of lettuce were quite small.  As I have mentioned before, growing lettuce in the heat of the summer like this is tricky!  We're thankful for even a smaller head this week!  

Onion-  1 white onion per member this week.  Onions are welcome in almost any dish!  

Eggplant-  1 Standard or asian eggplant per member this week.  Eggplants are so versatile and such a fun seasonal treat that doesn't last long!  

Jalapeno-  Yes, these are hot!  1 per member this week.  Jalapenos are spicy and you may be able to recognize them as the smaller green pepper floating in your bag with your tomatoes.  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  These peppers are one of the most mild on the spectrum of hot tomatoes.  Technically, they are a hot pepper.  I have cut into many hungarian hot wax peppers and some have been surprisingly spicy, and some have been hardly spicy at all.  They are usualy a lime green color and are also called 'bananna peppers'.  But these peppers 'ripen' orange to red, so you may have received one that was orange or red as well.  They would be in your bag with your tomatoes.  

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Recipes-

Cherry Tomato Tart

Eggplant Curry

Grilled Eggplant Ratatouille Muffaletta (grilled eggplant and veggies served on bread)

Teriyaki Green Beans with Cashews