Each year at this time we celebrate the transition to fall with our annual Labor on Labor Day Potato Harvest Party. This coming Monday, September 3rd, from 10am to 1pm in the fields along Pleasant Hill Road we will harvest our potato crop. This has come to be a favorite event for CSA members of all ages. Join us in picking up spuds that our harvesting machine has already dug from the soil. Last year was a bumper crop and we were able to bring in over 14,000 pounds in a little over 2 hours with the help of about fifty folks! If you’re looking for something fun to do before the barbecues and picnics get rolling in the afternoon come out and jump in with us. Look for us (and the tractors and trucks) along the south side of Pleasant Hill Road and park where you can. Or ride your bike if you can!
You’ll find the first of the year’s spuds in your share this week. These Rose Golds are my favorite potato hands down. Yellow fleshed and buttery they do well roasted or boiled. We’ll dig three more varieties next week and should have a steady supply in your shares from here through October.
The Pig Scramble
Wonderful children’s book by local author and CSA member Jessica Kinney – available for sale now!
What’s in the share this week…
Rose Gold Potatoes
Watermelon is in the share this week and by the skin of our teeth. This heat loving crop is always a waiting game. We wait until the first warm week of June to set these plants out and then they start the process of gathering the long daylight hours and July heat to coalesce water and soil into this sweet goodness. Knowing when the growing process has finished and the sugars are right is a bit of trial and error, and for the past couple weeks we have been looking and sampling to find that right time. Everyone has there own ways of knowing when a melon is ready but we look for two signs. First is the spot on the underside of the fruit where the melon has been resting on the ground. For the past month this spot has been light yellow and when its ready to go the yellow turns slightly orange. The second sign is the bonk. Taking your thumb and striking with the bony side of of the joint the melon should feel almost like a drum. The rap on its side resonates in the fruit and makes the whole thing vibrate in your hand (this takes a bit of practice).
When we harvest watermelon we harvest is all at once. This is unlike most of our other fruiting crops (tomatoes included) that are picked one by one over weeks and weeks. When this crop is ready, it is all ready at the same time. When this day arrives we head down to the field with huge 20 bushel wooden bins that fit on the tractor’s pallet forks and we clear the beds. When we come away with a good looking crop it is always a glorious thing to see a four foot by four foot crate of melon coming up the road. This year this triumph was all the more sweet as all of us were not the only ones waiting for the watermelon. The crows that live well on this farm have also been waiting and testing this crop over the past weeks, pecking holes in countless numbers of these fruits trying to find just the right one (I should teach them the bonk technique as it might help save more melons). In years past we have lost all of our melons to these birds that are too smart for their small heads. This year the contest goes to the farmers. Next year, your guess is as good as mine.
We still have a couple pigs left to preorder for your freezer. There’s nothing like chops, hams and bacon, glorious bacon to brave the cold winter months. Talk to us a pick-up for all the details.
What’s in the share this week…
It’s a busy harvest week for us, with plenty of new and exciting produce to enjoy as we move into the bounty of mid-August. The crew has been racing to keep up with all of the harvesting demands. We used to be able to set aside half-days for transplanting or weeding but in this busy time we are struggling to fit in these other tasks as well. In August we harvest many of our crops every other day to keep up with their growth. Summer squash and cukes explode so quickly that we pick them almost too small to keep them from turning into baseball bats 48 hours later. This year with the unusually hot days and absurdly warm nights have made keeping us fast growing crops a tough row to hoe
Tomatoes make their first appearance this week and the one or two in your share is just a teaser. The plants are just getting going and there is quite a bit of green fruit for the month ahead. The basil in your shares for a second week will go well any way you can imagine combining it with the tomatoes.
Beans Gone Wild
Speaking of harvesting madness…the next planting of snap beans is cranking in the UPIC field. Come ready to pick this week.
Also new this week is green garlic. These heads are uncured and are meant to be used right away. Green garlic has a bright sweet flavor compared with the cured or dried heads you find in in the grocery store or locally later in the fall. Try adding some to salad dressings or sautéing a minced clove along with eggplant or summer squash. This garlic comes from Little Ridge Farm in Sabattus by way of a produce “swap” we are doing with them this season. We will offer them some of our potatoes and winter squash this fall in trade. Hope you enjoy.
Hot Weather and Hot Crops
Look for cantaloupe and jalapeños in your share this week. Both of these crops are heat lovers but generally do well in our normally less than hot environs. The jalapeños are very good this year so use them cautiously but please try them. Food that makes you sweat a bit is good in this weather. While the jalapeños are hot this year the melon is not. We usually grow sweet cantaloupe, but this crop we’re not so sure. The fragrance and flavor is good but it lacks sweetness. We questioned whether to share the melons with you at all and decided you can be the judge of its value in your menu. We recommend refrigerating them and trying to eat them earlier as opposed to later.
More Eggplant and Zucchini?
Here’s a couple of recipes shared from a CSA member to get you inspired again. Zucchini Fritters and Eggplant Fritters Delicious!
One more week to order Blueberries
Next week will be our last for blueberry deliveries so reserve your quarts this week for delivery next Tuesday (the 21st) and Friday (the 24th). Talk to us at pick-up for details.
What’s in UPIC
What’s in the share?
Onions or Leeks
Another beautiful week ahead for all of us.
In need of some fresh ideas for the kitchen once you bring the harvest home?
- Think Pizza! Saute any variety of your fennel (!), onions, peppers, eggplant, chard, leeks and top your pizza. One member raves about pizza on the grill topped with fresh veggies. http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/grilled-pizza-recipe.html
- Cold Noodle Salads (like sesame or peanut noodles) tossed with cucumbers, shredded carrots, shredded kohlrabi, onions, leeks, chard
- Egg dishes like quiches – great with onions, leeks, chard.
- Stir fries. Great for this week’s share. If you’ve been making a lot of stir fry dishes, try some new sauces. Mix and match some of the veggies as needed with the recipes found here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/letting-vegetables-inspire-a-stir-fry/
- KOHLRABI! You’ll see kohlrabi again as a mix and match with the fennel. Check out this article on kohlrabi from the New York Times: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/09/discovering-kohlrabi-its-a-vegetable/
- Speaking of fennel. Try it shaved on your salad. Or sliced thin & grilled.
- Ask us! If you are struggling with something in particular once you get home, please let us know; we are more than happy to share more specific ideas.
Pork for your freezer.
We are taking orders starting this week for custom pork . This is a great way to put quality local meat in your freezer. These are our own pigs raised here at the farm and processed however you like at a USDA inspected butcher. This is a great deal for high quality pork for your freezer this winter. Bacon, ham, sausage and ribs all processed and packed as you like. Neighbors and families can split halves or quarters. Whole pigs are $3.50/lb. hanging weight and halves are $3.75. Talk to us at pick-up for more details.
Blueberries Are Good.
Organic Maine blueberries arrive this week. If you pre ordered for Tuesday or Friday we will have your quarts waiting when you come for your produce baring bad weather for the raking crews. If you would like to order for next Tuesday (14th) or Friday (17th) please sign up this week at pickup or email us by Saturday at noon for pickup Tuesday or Wednesday noon for pickup Friday. These are certified organic, raked in Oxford County and quarts are 1.7 pounds each (3 qts.=5lbs.) for $9.
Weeding is Wonderful
The need for weeding is not wonderful, but it can be quite mindful, relaxing, and gratifying. The farm continues to have an abundance of weeds. We appreciate any amount of help. Wednesday mornings is a great time to join the crew but if you’d like to come another time please send us an email and we’ll see what we can coordinate. Many thanks!
What’s Coming Around the Bend…
We’re looking at a few exciting crops that should be arriving in the next couple weeks. We have seen our first few ripe tomatoes; broccoli is just aroung the bend as are red peppers, melons, and our first potaoes varieties.
What’s in Upic:
What’s in the share with week: