CSA Newsletter: Volume 4, Issue 10


Flying Tomato Farms News
A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.
Vol. 4, Issue 10

GARDEN NEWS:
Close, but no…cucumbers. I was a couple short of a full load for deliveries this week, but it looks like they will be a sure thing for next week, barring unforeseen disaster. I will have to bring the cukes I do have this week to the farmers market (well, we’ll eat a couple here at home), and then start picking Friday for next week’s Tuesday delivery (there are some things that must get picked as they come—cukes are one of them).

It’s dry! A slight chance of rain is forecast for tonight (though the forecast keeps changing), but veggies don’t thrive on slight chances—so I have been out watering every day—a combination of soaker hoses and direct watering with a wand. I try to water only in the mornings—the best time to give plants what they need to make it through the day. Occasionally I’ll also water at night if I need to, but still, warm, humid nights are good conditions for diseases to grow, so I avoid that as much as possible. Because the garden is in a warmer microclimate (southwest-facing slope), I try to do a three-day watering rotation when it’s dry like it is now.

Last week I harvested my elephant garlic, and the heads are good-sized (most of them). It will be a few weeks before they’re in deliveries, though—garlic needs to “dry down” for a couple of weeks to a month (depending on humidity levels) before it will be shelf-stable. I will likely deliver one of my own heads to CSA members, keep the rest of the big heads for seed stock, and eat the smaller ones myself. But this doesn’t mean you won’t get more than one head of locally-grown garlic—I’ll be sourcing a couple more heads for each member from Mike Gaidelis of Red Rooster Farms in Wakonda (same producer as supplied the garlic greens earlier in the season).

Today, I found one tomato turning red in the gardens. It wasn’t even a cherry or a bush variety—it was “Stupice”—an heirloom new to my garden that is renowned for early bearing. Guess I know what my new favorite early red variety is going to be next year!

THIS WEEK’S DELIVERY:
Sugar snap peas, broccoli, carrots, sweet peppers, a summer squash and a hot pepper.

This may well be the last week for peas. The harvest for this week was about half of what I had last week, and the powdery mildew is showing on the bottoms of the vines.

The broccoli was kind of a surprise—I was down in the garden on Monday morning and thought I’d better just harvest what was there on the second row, plus the side-shoots on the first row. It ended up being enough for everyone—some of you will get a couple small heads, some a big head, and some a medium head with a few side-shoots thrown in. This is not as good quality as the first delivery of broccoli, but I ate some and found it good. It might be a little stronger-flavored from the heat and dry conditions—maybe better for cooking than eating raw. This was hydrocooled (soaked in cold water) as I harvested it to remove critters and the organic insect-control dust I’ve been using on the plants.

This will be the last delivery of Kinko carrots from the row I planted in spring. I have a row of purple “Dragon” carrots coming along, but last I checked a couple days ago, it looks like another three weeks to a month before they’ll be a suitable size for harvest.

Garlicky Carrot and Broccoli Saute
¾ cup cups carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch thick pieces 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets
1 tablespoons pine nuts 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

Bring pot of salted water to boil. Add carrots; cook 2 minutes. Add broccoli; cook 1 minute. Drain; reserve. In skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add pine nuts, garlic, & pepper flakes; cook, stir occasionally, until garlic softens & browns slightly. Add lemon juice & salt & reserved carrots & broccoli; cook, stir occasionally, until vegetables are just tender. Stir in Parmesan. Serves 2-3.
Adapted from Capay Organic’s website: http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com

Pepper season has begun! I am only growing two sweet pepper varieties this year—“Ace” bell (a hybrid), and “Italian Sweet”—an heirloom “frying” pepper. Both these varieties are prolific, and you’ll likely be getting a few peppers in your deliveries each week from now until frost. Peppers are very high in vitamin C when eaten raw, and they make a great accompaniment to roasted or grilled dishes. Another nice thing about peppers is that they can be frozen without any serious preparation. Just wash, chop or slice if you like, and throw in a freezer bag. I like to chop peppers for freezing into small pieces because they lose their crunch (but not their flavor) when frozen. I will also occasionally throw a few whole peppers on the grill and then freeze the roasted fruits.

The summer squash/zucchini is from the gardens of Drs. Amy & Will Schweinle, who do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers. I am incredibly jealous of their summer squash patch—they haven’t had much problem with the squash bugs or cucumber beetles. Maybe I should try growing squashes in my front yard in town? I do have a couple of volunteer pumpkin vines curling around my front step….

The hot pepper is the yellow one—it is called Hungarian Hot Wax. I grow this heirloom variety every year for its flavorful heat. Lip Smakin’ Jellies out of Yankton (regular vendors at our farmers market) bought 5 gallons of these peppers from me last year and made a great spicy-sweet jelly from them that was a best-seller at holiday fairs. The other hot pepper variety I am growing this year is “Bulgarian Carrot”—an orange one—but those are still in their green stage.

A note on storage: summer squashes and peppers do not need to be refrigerated. You can leave them in a bowl on your counter (covered if fruit flies are a problem) or in a paper bag.

Did you remember to leave out your reusable bag for me?

Remember to
WASH YOUR VEGGIES!

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