Week 9

This week is a great time to appreciate the bounty of the season as we continue to harvest summer favorites like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash and red potatoes while also beginning to harvest watermelon and celebrating the return of beets! As we appreciate the delicious veggies, we should also appreciate the many helping hands who helped bring them to your table. Our rock star student volunteers Nina, Emily and Charlotte have probably weeded every type of crop that we grow, but they have particularly put their stamp on next year's strawberries (which have needed to be weeded at least three times so far this season!). Melissa's brother Eric has taken time from his busy work schedule to help us out on a number of occasions, most recently last Friday when he helped us to get the nutsedge in our peppers under control (among many other things). Those of you who visit the store and CSA on Thursdays have met Jane and Lise's mom Kathy, who help keep the shop in order so that we can work on projects in the field. Lise's dad David has taken on a series of construction projects to ensure that our store and greenhouse are functional. Many other individuals and school groups (including from Willow Hill and Salem Community Charter School) have lent a helping hand this summer as well. We feel so lucky to have such a great community of volunteers providing help at just the right moment!

Two helpers deserve particular mention this week, as we will no longer be enjoying their company out in the fields this season. Becky, who provided an enormous amount of help harvesting, washing, planting, seeding and weeding with us four days a week completed her planned move to Chicago last week to be close to family and begin her studies in Early Childhood Education. We are going to miss her, but we're hoping to lure her back next summer! Also, our friend Christine has steadfastly showed up all season, sometimes with a whole crew in tow, to help plant and weed a number of crops. She took farm volunteering to the next level two weeks ago when she showed up to weed carrots while in the early stages of labor! You may see her sometime in the store in the coming weeks with (hopefully) our newest farmhand: daughter Josie!

It's great to look back on all that has been accomplished so far this season with the help of our friends, but of course, the hard work isn't over yet. We continue to work on controlling weeds in many of our fall crops (as well as occasionally in the crops we're harvesting now!). We still have a few crops like lettuce, bok choi, napa cabbage, radishes and greens to seed and transplant for late fall harvest. We're also working on building our soils for a strong season next year by seeding cover crops. You may notice this week that the beautiful field of flowering buckwheat in our western field was tilled under. We seeded the buckwheat earlier in the summer to smother weeds and build organic matter. After 10 days of flowering, we tilled in the buckwheat and are now preparing to seed some winter peas and triticale. As we till in more and more spring crops, we'll be making space for more soil-building cover crops in the next month.

Buckwheat pre-flowering

In the CSA:
  • Watermelon - this week we're featuring Starlight, which is a variety of red watermelon. These are not the seedless watermelons you might be used to seeing in the grocery store. Time to plan some old-fashioned watermelon seed spitting contests!
  • Red Ace Beets - germination on our fall plantings was much better than in the spring, so we should be enjoying beets more regularly in the coming weeks.
  • Escarole - not to be confused with lettuce, this green should be cooked, as it is bitter when raw. This is particularly tasty in soup or cooked with white beans.
  • Peppers- green, purple, flamingo
  • Heirloom Tomatoes - these tomatoes are what tomatoes are all about! They are sweeter, more colorful and possess more intense flavor than red slicers. Make a colorful tomato salad out of Pruden's Purple (actually pink), Striped German (yellow with pink streaks), Valencia (orange), Cherokee Purple (brownish purple with green shoulders) and Cherokee Green (yellowish green).
  • Slicing Tomatoes - the standard red tomatoes are still pretty tasty, but once heirloom tomato season begins I tend to use these for cooking and save the heirlooms for raw eating.
  • Red Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Lettuce
  • Nelson Carrots
  • Arugula
  • Red Russian Kale
  • Mustard Greens
  • Cucumbers- pickling and slicers
  • Summer Squash
  • Zucchini
CSA pick-your-own:
  • Husk Cherries or Tomatillos
  • Cherry Tomatoes - Jasper, Sungold, Black Cherry, Matt's Wild and Mountain Magic
  • Hot Peppers - Jalapeno, Serrano and Capperino
  • Sunflowers
  • Dill and Cilantro - there's a newer planting that is looking pretty good this week!
  • Lemon and Thai Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
In the store:
In the store this week we will have most of the items that are available in the CSA. In addition, we will continue to carry corn from Verrill Farm.