Overall we've received a decent amount of rain in the past week, and it looks like we are about to get some more in the near future! After the recent dry spell, it has been a relief to take a break from irrigation, but excessive rain also poses its own set of challenges. Many of the rain events we've had this summer have been torrential downpours. While the 2 1/2" of rain we received last Tuesday helped to make up for the week of hot dry conditions prior to that, it can also wash out new seedings, which can negatively impact germination. Stormy conditions also tend to bring plant diseases with them on the wind, and lingering wet conditions can help those diseases to spread around the farm. We've begun to take precautionary measures on our tomatoes by spraying copper, an organically approved fungicide, on a few beds of heirloom and slicing tomatoes (we do not spray cherry tomatoes, greenhouse tomatoes, or any of the late blight-resistant varieties we grow in the field). Some of our PYO fields are closer to the the regular fields than they have been in the past, and the spraying of copper is an important reason to pay attention to roped off areas and signage (the farm equipment in operation in the regular fields is another good reason not to wander outside of PYO areas!). As always, if you are bringing children with you to the farm, they need to be supervised at all times, especially when out in the PYO fields.
The rain we've been getting is also often accompanied by thunderstorms. Lightning makes field work unsafe for our workers, and as you might imagine, we don't have nearly as many pressing indoor projects in July as we do outdoors! These storms also make field conditions unsafe for CSA members, and force us to close pick-your-own fields. Though we usually strongly encourage members to do their picking on the same day they pick up their CSA, in this instance we make an exception! When we've closed the PYO fields this year on Tuesdays or Thursdays due to the weather, we have given members the option to do the PYO portion on a non-CSA day like Wednesday or Friday. This is often preferable to coming back on a Saturday, which tends to be our busiest day with the most limited parking.
This week in the CSA:
- Fresh garlic - while we cure most of our garlic to improve its storage quality and intensify the garlicky flavor, we are setting aside some of the freshly harvested garlic for everyone to enjoy this week!
- Celery - Our celery usually has an intense flavor and is best used for cooking. Transitional.
- Peppers - The green and purple peppers are just starting, so there's limited quantities. You'll have a choice between peppers or eggplant.
- Eggplant - Usually we harvest Asian eggplant and Beatrice eggplant first, but because we covered some of the larger Italian eggplant rows this year to protect from potato beetles, they are the first ones producing! Because it's still early in the season and quantities are limited, you'll have a choice between eggplant or peppers.
- Fresh Onions - Red Long of Tropea or Ailsa Craigs. Transitional.
- Potatoes - We will be harvesting Chieftain, a red potato with white flesh. Transitional.
- Cucumbers- Transitional.
- Zucchini - Transitional
- Summer Squash - Transitional.
- Greens - chard, kale or cabbage.
- Cherry tomatoes! - Sungolds are the main variety that is ripening. Look low on the plants and pick bright orange
- Green and purple snap beans
- Herbs - basil, cilantro, sage, and thyme.
This week in the Farm Store:
We will have most of the veggies listed in the CSA available, as well as corn from Verrill Farm. We're also excited to now carry Double B Honey! Beekeeper Ken Anderson has several hives in the area, but this batch we're getting is all honey produced by the hives on Barrett's Mill Farm! We have eggs from Pete and Jen's and may also have more mushrooms from Fat Moon later this week.
PYO Flower CSA:
Flowers ready this week include zinnias, snapdragons bachelors button, celosia, statice, scabiosa, verbena, cosmos, strawflower, craspedia, gomphrena, and more. If you are not a PYO Flower CSA member and would like to pick a bouquet, you can purchase a jar for picking in the store!
It's a nice week to make pesto - below is a pesto recipe and 2 more recipes that incorporate pesto in them!
Bright Green Pesto
by Martha Rose Schulman, NY Times Cooking
- 2 cups tightly packed, fresh basil leaves
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts or untoasted chopped walnuts
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, halved, green shoots removed
- ⅓ to ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Bring a medium-size saucepan full of water to a boil while you rinse basil leaves. Fill a bowl with ice water and place it next to the saucepan with a skimmer close by (a Chinese skimmer is good for this). When water comes to a boil, salt generously and add basil leaves. Push them down into the water with the back of a skimmer to submerge, count to five, then remove immediately with skimmer and transfer to ice water. Drain and squeeze out excess water.
Place pine nuts or walnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add blanched basil and kosher salt to taste (I use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) and process until finely chopped. With machine running, slowly add olive oil and continue to process for a full minute, or until the mix is reduced to a fine purée. Transfer to a bowl. You should have about 1/2 cup of purée .
When you are ready to use the pesto, purée garlic in a mortar and pestle, or put through a garlic press, and stir into the pesto (or if using a mortar and pestle, add the puréed basil to the mashed garlic in mortar and work garlic and pesto together with pestle). Add Parmesan and stir in. The pesto will condense when you add the cheese, so even though you’ve added a half-cup of cheese to the purée, you will end up with about 2/3 cup of pesto. Follow the instructions in recipes for thinning out with water.
Orzo with Summer Squash and Pesto
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 ½ pounds summer squash or zucchini, cut in 1/4-inch dice (about 4 cups)
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram or mint
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 10 ounces (1 1/3 cups) orzo
- ⅓ cup basil pesto (1/2 batch see recipe above)
- Additional grated Parmesan or pecorino for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the orzo and salt generously. Meanwhile, heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat and add olive oil and garlic. Cook, stirring, until garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds, and add summer squash. Turn heat up to medium high and cook, stirring often, until squash is tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in marjoram or mint and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off heat.
When water in pot comes to a boil, salt generously and add orzo. Cook 9 minutes, until al dente. Stir 3 to 4 tablespoons of the cooking water into the pesto, then drain orzo and toss with squash. Heat through, add pesto, toss again and serve, passing more Parmesan or pecorino in a bowl.
Pesto-Filled Deviled Eggs
by Martha Rose Shulman, NY Times Cooking
- 6 eggs
- ⅓ cup pesto (1/2 recipe - see above)
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (optional)
To hard-cook eggs, place in a saucepan, fill with water and bring to a rolling boil over high heat. As soon as water is at a roll, cover tightly and turn off heat. Let stand for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with ice water. Transfer hard-cooked eggs to ice water and leave until completely cooled. Peel off shells and cut eggs in half lengthwise.
Remove yolks from eggs. Set aside 3 of them for another use (or discard) and mash the other 3 together with the pesto, either in a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. Pipe, scoop or spoon into the egg whites.
If desired, season exposed egg whites with salt and pepper. Arrange on a plate or small platter and serve.