CSA Newsletter: Volume 4, Issue 7


Flying Tomato Farms News

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

Vol. 4, Issue 7

GARDEN NEWS:

The reusable bags are here—aren’t they fun! I will be picking up this bag next week when I drop off that delivery in a second bag. I’ll wash them as needed as they come back to me—no need for you to do this. If you ask me to deliver to a secondary address (if you’re out of town), I’ll go back to using a plastic grocery bag for that week. If you’re not home during delivery time on a Tuesday, you can leave your bag hanging from your doorknob (or in the place I usually leave your produce).

Broccoli will be coming next week, but it looks like I’m going to have to split deliveries because the maturity rates are very staggered. What this means is that some of you will be getting broccoli next week, while others will get it the week after. I’m hoping I can get broccoli to each of you at least twice, and maybe more, depending on the plants’ side-shoot production.

Otherwise, I’ve just been watering, fertilizing with fish/seaweed emulsions, and weeding. The eggplant were looking a little ravaged by the emergence of the flea beetles, so I concentrated my effort on weeding them out well, dusting them with organic pesticide, and giving them all a healthy shot of fish emulsion to help them “grow past” the damage. Potato beetle larva are also out—I’ve been squishing most by hand except in concentrated clusters of them, where I dust. There’s only so much hands-on bug squishing I can stomach! But, they are not too bad this year, despite the three long rows of potatoes I’ve planted.

Mulberry season is upon us! I had hoped to deliver some little packages of them this week, but despite all my tree-shaking, I only ended up with about enough to do a small crisp for myself (oh, drat!) plus purple stains all over my hands and arms. Serious mulberry harvesting, to my mind, requires a couple people to hold a sheet, plus a designated “tree shaker.” It was just me this morning, so many of the mulberries missed my big bucket and rained on my head instead! Mulberries grow just about everywhere around here, but they are not particularly flavorful. Collecting them is more about fun than food, and they are nice and juicy this year from all that rain. They do make a nice purple dye, as you’ll notice from your hands after eating them.

THIS WEEK’S DELIVERY:

Beet greens with the baby roots attached, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, and summer onions.

These beets can be considered two separate vegetables, and I’ll give you a recipe for each. Beet greens are incredibly nutritious (they are technically the same vegetable as chard) and good as a cooking green, so here is a recipe for a simple ham and greens dinner. Heat some oil in a large skillet, and add two ham steaks (I buy a Cedar Hollow ham from Jones’ and cut ¼” steaks off it—it lasts us quite a few meals). Grind black pepper all over the “upside” while they are browning, then flip and grind more pepper over the browned side. While the ham is browning, wash beet greens (with stems) in a couple rinses of cold water, then chop the stems and leaves into separate piles. You might like a little minced onion or clove of garlic as well, to go in with the stems. When the ham is done browning, remove to plates and add beet stems and garlic or onion, if desired. Sautee for a minute or so, then start adding handsful of beet greens, stirring until wilted. When all the greens have been added and wilted down, serve them alongside the ham with a good brown mustard and bread to soak up the drippings. This recipe is “farmer-tested”—I am just finishing the leftovers from last night’s trial recipe run as I type this newsletter.

For the little beets and carrots, try balsamic-roasted root veggies: Cut them (if needed) into bite-size pieces (no need to peel either one, and you can leave a nubbin of the stems attached too) and spread them in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a grind or two of black pepper, then roast at 325 degrees, stirring to baste occasionally, until they are tender (pierce easily with the tip of a sharp knife). You can add any leftover turnips you might have to this dish as well. If your balsamic vinegar is on the tangy side (instead of very sweet), you can add just a little brown sugar as well. This recipe has “cured” many a beet-hater (and yes, I consider hatred of beets a condition that should be cured)!

These carrots are true babies—that is, they are a variety bred to be harvested at small tender size (rather than the so-called baby carrots in supermarkets, which are big carrots turned on a sort of lathe). The variety is called Kinko, and they are very sweet and nice for snacking. You do not need to peel these—I would urge you not to. Just give them a good scrub with a veggie brush and save the skin, where many of the nutrients reside. Carrot greens are edible, and sometimes used as a parsley substitute, as they are from the same family. I usually don’t use a lot of them though, as their flavor is a bit stronger and greener than parsley.

The sugar snap peas are really coming on now—some of the vines have reached seven feet in height. I had pulled out some pint-sized bags to deliver them in, and realized quickly that quart bags were needed. Once again, no need to shell—just pop off the “cap” and pop in your mouth (wash first, please). You could also try adding them to some version of the ham and greens dinner above—after adding the stems and garlic but before adding the greens. Heck, you could even make a beet stem, summer onion, and sugar snap stir fry and save the beet leaves for yet another dish (and the stems would stain the onions such a pretty pink color)!

The summer onions are simply thinnings from the onion patch—to give some of the other bulbs room to expand. At this size, you can chop and use the whole thing—bulb and leaves.

Remember to

WASH YOUR VEGGIES!

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