Summer 2014 Weekly Farm Updates - July 9th
It was good to be back on the farm yesterday, after 10 days away in vacation. And it was great to be get my hands back on all our marvelous produce — CSA packing days are my favorite!
This week our members are enjoying the following fruits & veg:
- Northeaster green beans
- Summer squash & Zucchini
- Summer Crisp lettuce
- Tusacano, Red Russian & Ripbor kale
- Carrots (Purple Haze & Cordoba)
- Eggplant (Orient Express or Calliope or Barbarella)
- Jefe Jalapeños
We’re moving onto some new items that we here at Lost Corner Farm are super excited about. Namely, our pole beans! Steven swears by pole beans, while other farmers take a less labor intensive approach and tend to grow bush beans. Pole beans need to be trained up a trellis, and hand harvested, while bush beans grow into little, well, bushes and can be mechanically harvested, making them a much easier crop to grow. We don’t go for easy, we prefer tasty and authentic, so our members will be enjoying a plethora of pole beans in the weeks to come.
We started our beans in the greenhouse this year, and while our seed company recommends we plant these little guys almost right on top of one another for the best yield, we learned the hard way last season that our fields just won’t support that spacing. Turns out, our soil is so ridiculously fertile that planting them that close resulted in basically a bean hedge that produced very few beans, but a whole lot of hedge. So Steven decided to give them lots of space so they wouldn’t fight amongst themselves all summer by basically becoming their own weed, and the results have been tremendous. The funny thing is, at first they were drowned out by the early rains, and now they dealing with parched soil, yet they are doing remarkably well. This is one of the many reasons we love heirloom varieties — they are tenacious!
This week our members are getting a taste of our first harvest, and first variety — the Northeaster green bean. Northeasters are a flat bean that stays tender. And while we all grew up with over cooked green beans and tend to want to leave some crispness in them when we cook them, Steven HIGHLY recommends steaming them just until the crispness is gone. Toss them with a little butter and salt, and he swears they are heavenly — I for one trust this man when it comes to beans, so I plan to follow his advice.
After a lengthy & high anticipated wait, our blackberries are finally ripening to perfection. They have given us some trouble this year, as we are tending to a mix of brand new baby plants, and some elderly ones as well. The plants are stressed from the rain patterns and the Japanese beetles have been doing a number on them as well. We would consider this a transitional year for our blackberries, but we do hope to get a decent crop this summer. Our members are getting a taste this week, and we hope to continue providing them with berries for a few more weeks. We just have to make sure we keep enough for pies!
The eggplants are starting to come in a bit. We’re growing a mix of Orient Express, Calliope & Barbarella. They are all so beautiful, especially the Calliope. They are like brilliant jewels out in the field.
The squash is still super prolific and will be for a time yet, as is the kale, which we watered for the first time this week. It’s still happy, so we’re hoping to keep it that way. we're growing a mix of Red Russian, Tuscano & Ripbor kale. I love to sauté kale with a little onion, garlic and salt in some olive oil until it gets crispy, but still has a bit of chewiness. It’s great in smoothies and juice as well. Super dark greens like kale are EXTREMELY good for you, so don’t shy away from them.
Our cucumbers are growing like crazy, so our members are getting quite a few this week. While they are not pickling cuc's per say, they can be turned into refrigerator pickles with the right recipe.
I keep telling our members that they are getting the last of the lettuce and that that should enjoy it, and then it never fails that the following week Ryan comes strolling into the barn with 60 more heads, so I’m going to stop telling them this is the last of the lettuce. But I still think they should enjoy this week's Summer Crisp while they can, because, well, I think this might be the last of the lettuce.
We have lots of fragrant basil as well. It's my favorite thing to pack up. Whenever we're divvying up the harvest, the whole barn fills with the scent for fresh basil, and I cannot help but smile.