Summer CSA: Week 7

Pick, pick, pick.  We spend a lot of time picking vegetables right now!  Our friend, Bob Durling, got some nice shots of the Friday crew harvesting for the Ashland Market (and a rather humorous shot of the large share last week.  I can see at least 4 faces in the vegetable shot – can you?)

After so much rain in the past week, we are feeling pretty good about our crops for the rest of the summer season.  The only thing we need to hope for now is that it doesn’t stay too moist and muggy.  Organic farming does not allow for the use of fungicides, and wet, warm leaves are a paradise breeding ground for so many different fungal diseases.  Downy mildew in basil, powdery mildew in summer squash and zucchini, cucumber mosaic virus, late blight in tomatoes . . . the list goes on.

We use many strategies to help us prevent or deal with these diseases, including multiple plantings of cucumber, zucchini and squash, so if we notice disease we can mow the older plants and start picking from the younger healthier ones, multiple plantings of tomatoes, some with blight resistance, and pruning and trellising tomatoes to keep them off the ground and to increase airflow, keeping the leaves as dry as possible.  For basil, we plant varieties that are somewhat resistant to downy milder (although non are fully resistant).  We are giving everyone a bunch of basil this week because there have been reports of downy mildew in Western Mass, which means the spores are traveling in these thunderstorms out here – it will be upon us soon.  Make some pesto and freeze it to keep the fresh basil flavor available throughout tomato season.

We are doing our office work this morning so we can give the plants in the field a moment to dry out.  This afternoon we are picking our first peppers, more eggplants, cucumber and zucchini as well as some tomatoes.  It’s best not to touch these plants when they are wet, as you can carry the spores of any fungus (or other disease) along the bed to the rest of the plants.  But when it stays wet like this, sometimes you have to go in there in pick, regardless.

We are excited to be into the heavier shares of summer.  There will be tomatoes from now until there are no tomatoes (although it probably won’t be such an epically long season as last year, since the deer jumped the fence and ate a lot of our last planting of tomatoes – it should still be about an 8 week season).  We are excited to be giving everyone some of our early tomatoes.  After this week we will be into multiple pounds of tomatoes for a while!

We also have our first green beans of the season.  They will be in a mix and match with the tomatoes.  These are very sweet, very crips and great raw or lightly cooked.

Our first peppers are in.  We grow bright lime-green peppers, purple peppers and green peppers for our early peppers.  Yes, I know everyone prefers the sweet reds, yellows and oranges, but they take about 20 more days to mature, so try some of these neat varieties we grow while we wait for the sweets to ripen.

The onions and carrots will keep coming and our lettuce is ready and much better than the heat-wave lettuce. The basil is awesome right now.

I was going to do a video of Harvey saying all the vegetable names instead of a share email this week, but I guess we can save that for next week since he is sleeping now!

What’s in the Share:

Carrots, Kale, Swiss Chard: Choice (1 bunch small, 2 bunches large)

Onions, Cucumber, Zucchini, Red Cabbage, Kohlrabi: Mix and Match (3-4lbs small, 5-6lbs large)

Tomatoes, Beans: Mix and Match (1lb small, 2lbs large)

Peppers, Eggplant, Broccoli: Mix and Match (1 lb small, 2lbs large)

Head Lettuce: 1 head small, 1-2 heads large

Basil: 1 bunch small, 1 bunch large

What to do with the share:

Fresh Green Beans in the Skillet

Easy French Ratatouille

Traditional Greek Salad

Basil Pesto

Remember you can still grill . . . .

Great mixes of vegetables for salads this week.

You could make a nice Crudite plater like one of our CSA members did last week:

vast crudite

Enjoy!

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