CSA Newsletter: Volume 4, Issue 6

Flying Tomato Farms News

A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.

Vol. 4, Issue 6

Reusable delivery bags are coming next week! I have entered into a barter arrangement with local artist, Susan Heggestad, to sew delivery bags and screenprint them with my logo (which she also designed, a few years ago). To see the project in progress, visit her website at suegnu.blogspot.com.

How I’d like to work this bag arrangement is to pick up the previous week’s (empty) bag when I deliver the following week’s produce. I have enough extra bags to do this, provided I can pick up the previous week’s bags on a weekly basis. If you are not planning on being home on Tuesday afternoon, you can leave your bag hanging from your doorknob for me to take when I deliver. If you forget to return your bag (and end up with two bags), I’ll simply deliver your produce in a plastic bag until I can collect the reusable ones.

If you are leaving town and have asked me to deliver to another address, I will simply use a regular plastic grocery bag that week, so you don’t have to go looking for your bag. I don’t object to your using the bags for other shopping (hint: farmers market?), just try to get them back to me the following week and not to be too hard on them—I’m hoping they’ll last several seasons without needing major repairs.

If this arrangement sounds too problematic for your lifestyle, feel free to contact me prior to next week’s delivery, and let me know you’d prefer to continue receiving your delivery in re-used plastic grocery bags. No problem!

The mosquitoes are terrible in the gardens—a side effect, I’m sure, of all that rain a couple week’s ago. I have been going out in the mornings and evenings and working under cover of long pants and sleeves and bug repellent, but they always manage to find a little niche to bite!

I have been following the news on the salmonella outbreak with fresh tomatoes fairly closely, and wrote an article about it on my blog this past week. This sort of thing always seems to bring out conspiracy theorists in droves—ranting about terrorist plots and making racist comments about immigrant farm workers. But, outbreaks of this scale are simply one of the unfortunate side-effects of our massive industrial food system. Still, it bears reminding to always wash your produce, and to wash all surfaces with hot soapy water that have come into contact with raw animal foods.

Sugar snap peas, romaine lettuce, buttercrunch lettuce, dillweed, and baby turnips with greens.

Last week I thought it’d be two weeks before the peas were ready—but some things come faster than expected (and some things slower). To me, sugar snaps are the best of both pea worlds—you can eat the pod, unlike shell peas, and they are sweeter than any snow peas I’ve tasted. These are the heirloom variety simply called “Sugar Snap.” Their vines will grow about 6-8 feet tall over their brief life span before they succumb to the heat of July and powdery mildew, dropping their production and finally killing them. Their brief season causes me to take very seriously the direction to “plant as soon as the ground can be worked”—these seeds were sown in late March.

You do not need to shell sugar snaps (you wouldn’t find much inside)—you can eat them raw or saute them briefly with butter/oil and sesame seeds for a real treat. Or maybe you prefer butter/oil and dillweed shippings? Either way, they are one of my favorite spring treats, and hopefully they will be coming on for three or four more weeks.

This is the last delivery of lettuce for awhile—the buttercrunch is getting a slight hint of bitterness that says it’s at the end of its lifecycle. There are more romaines in the garden from a second planting—but they are still too small to harvest. This week’s romaines are all “Winter Density.”

Dillweed is an annual herb that is often used in Eastern European and Scandanavian cooking. It brightens potato salads as well as fish or chicken dinners, and it is indispensable in chilled savory soups. Dillweed loses much of its flavor when dried, but you can save its freshness for the fall and winter months by pureeing it with vegetable oil and storing it in your refrigerator or freezer—scooping out a little when you want it (or freeze the puree in a metal ice cube tray).

This technique works well for other herbs as well—fresh basil, cilantro, parsley. You can also make a pesto with dill (or any other herb either singly or in combination) using your choice of cheese, oil, and nuts, plus garlic. Dill puree also makes a great dip or dressing mixed with plain yogurt and a few snipped chives.

The best way to store your dill bunch is to fill a glass with a couple inches of cold water, snip off the bottom of the stalks, and put the bunch in the water like a little bouquet—then place in the fridge. Still—it will only remain at its peak freshness for a couple of days—so use or freeze quickly.

This will be the last delivery of turnips this year—these are mostly “Purple Top White Globe” with some “Scarlet Queen Red Stems” as well. The first year I did the Community Supported Agriculture shares, I delivered turnips for six weeks straight. I have since curbed my enthusiasm for these spicy spring roots, and I don’t plant nearly so many. But their close relative, Rutabaga (or Swede Turnip) will make its appearance in fall deliveries.

Coming soon: carrots and baby beets with tender greens!

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