Ah, cooler nights and mornings. I love them because I prefer not being super sweaty and gross first thing in the morning when I get to work, and I like that the weeds stop growing so rapidly. But, I don’t love the onset of fungal diseases in our fields, the slowed fruit production for our summer crops, or the reduced sunlight of the shorter days.
What I really love, though, is the end of what I have come to think of as the ‘exponential season’. It’s the time when everything is growing so fast (weeds included) and there is so much planting, weeding, seeding, pruning, trelling and harvesting to do that it is almost impossible to get to the end of a weekly to do list. But worse than not finishing the list, projects that go unfinished become bigger projects, on occasion snowballing into big disasters.
Imagine this: you’ve got to write a report for work. It’s due Monday at 10am. You should finish Friday but you really want to duck out early, so you decide to come in a little early on Monday to do it. No big deal, right?
Well, imagine that if you don’t do your report on Friday, it will multiply into ten reports that are still due at 10am Monday. And if you can’t finish the reports yourself, you have to pay other people with your own money to help you finish them on time. Or, just forfeit your pay if you don’t get them all done. It’s pretty strong incentive to just write the report Friday, even if it means getting home late.
That’s what its like when we don’t get to a cultivation on time. There are little windows of time where we can do things just right, like kill tiny weeds just as they germinate with a tractor. It takes less than a minute to run the cultivators down a bed. That’s just one farmer and a tractor. Miss the cultivation and it will take 10 times as long to hoe that same bed in a few days because the weeds will be bigger, and worst of all, because the weeds are bigger you most likely won’t kill them all with a hoe so you’ll have hand weed (or pay someone else to) which can take 100 times as long.
It’s stressful. The more organized, well staffed and efficient/smart you are, the less stressful it can be, but timing is everything and the weather makes a huge impact on what and when your timing is. We still will have weather related rushes this year, like trying to get the winter squash harvested before it gets rained on, but its nothing like May, June, July and August.
Everyone knows farmers work hard and are at the mercy of the weather, but I still think a lot of people don’t quite get it, so this was my attempt to help you understand. I’m not complaining . . . just trying to help you understand the deep breath I can take at the end of August. Wow, August is almost over.
Saw my first praying mantis this week. Usually I see one a few weeks before this, maybe I’m just not paying attention. I was harvesting budding golden rod for bouquet filler at the field edges when I saw her/him. Have you ever seen one fly? They look like fairies. A great benefit of having wild field edges is all the beneficials that thrive there.
Kevin saw a little tree frog in the peppers. Can you see him/her? We love all the wildlife we get to encounter, it brings such a surprising amount of joy to encounter these creatures as we go about our work.
And this guy? Not sure what he is, but what an example of ‘you are what you eat.’ This flower is called Dara, its related to wild carrot and comes in shades of pinks, maroons and whites. We love it in the bouquets, and apparently it makes cute, pink worms!
And what about this little guy? Harvey thinks we did a good job laying out the onions to cure. Lets hope its a success, because this was our best onion harvest yet.
Got a lot of tomatoes? Harvey and I had loads of fun making home-made pasta this past week. He helped the whole time, and yes, I basically had to sweep and scrub my kitchen from floor to ceiling afterwards, but it was so worth it. And the pasta was great. I totally botched the recipe by adding way too many eggs (I’m a total space cadet when it comes to recipes), but 3 cups flour (2 all purpose, 1 whole wheat), a dribble of olive oil, a pinch of salt and 6 eggs made some great pasta!
What’s in the Share?
TOMATOES (A little less, the heavy first yields are winding down, but the next plantings are just starting to mature, we’ll be looking at a few pounds/week, hopefully until October or later!
CORN – a really good batch of Montauk
SCALLIONS (we need to get these out of the field – please enjoy them!)
PINTS (2 per small share, 3 per large share – lots of choice, please take cherries!)
CHOICE: Eggplant, peppers, beets, carrots, red onions, yellow onions, kale, chard, radish, arugula, cilantro, melons and SPAGHETTI SQUASH!!
Have you been loving the Shishito peppers as much as I have this summer? They won’t be around much longer so I’ve got THREE recipes this week that make the most of these amazing little peppers.
SHISHITO PEPPER AND HEIRLOOM TOMATO GAZPACHO
Ahhh – the perfect summer pairing: Shishito peppers and heirloom tomatoes. This tangy gazpacho can be on your table in minutes.
Have you tried grilling your shishitos yet? If not, this is the recipe to try.
MANGO-SHISHITO PEPPER CHILLED SOUP SHOTS
The hardest thing about this recipe is waiting long enough for it to chill before you can eat it!
If you’re having a hard time using up your scallions, don’t miss this article. It’s one mouth-watering recipe after another that feature scallions. Soup, pizza, stir-fry, grilled, sautéed, you name it – there’s something for everyone in here.
Roasting your tomatoes is a great way to get some more life out of them. If I don’t think I’m going to use all of mine up quickly, I roast them and throw them in the freezer to use during the long “no garden fresh tomato” season. Here’s a few suggestions on ways to use them.
Did you know that a tablespoon sized serving of Heinz ketchup has more sugar than your typical chocolate chip cookie? When I realized that, I started looking for low-sugar ketchups but was never able to find one we enjoyed. A few years ago, I decided to try making my own and, while it is a bit of a time commitment (especially if you’re going to can it so it’s shelf-stable), it is soooooo worth it. This is not your typical bottled ketchup.
FAIRYTALE EGGPLANT WITH CASHEW BUTTER AND PICKLED PEPPERS
The pickled peppers and cashew butter are both amazing on their own but when you combine them with the Fairytale Eggplant it’s like a perfectly orchestrated summer harvest symphony.