Sogn Valley Farm CSA Newsletter Week 14 | Sept 4-5 2018
What's In The Box
Paste tomatoes: We have a really nice crop of paste ('roma') tomatoes in our caterpillar tunnel this year. This variety has thick walls and low moisture, making it the ideal variety to cook down for salsa, tomato sauce, etc.
Green bell peppers: Use these peppers in this week's salsa recipe. If you have extra, consider stuffing them.
Serrano peppers: A little kick for your salsa this week. If you make the full recipe, these shouldn't be too spicy, even if you include all the seeds and membrane. But remember you can tame them by scraping these parts out before use.
Cucumbers or zucchini: We are close to the end of the cucumber and summer squash season. We have one more cucumber succession coming on, but we often find that cukes wane in September, maybe in response to cooler nights or shorter daylength.
Cherry tomatoes: Try making a small batch of roasted cherry tomato pasta with this week's cherries.
Yellow onions: Use this all-around cooking onion in this week's salsa recipe. These should store for a while in the cupboard if you don't use them all this week.
Cilantro: In my mind, this is a must-have herbal companion in salsas and Mexican dishes. These were rinsed before bagging, but should be rinsed again once unbunched as they were pretty muddy (harvested during a downpour).
Collard greens: A relative of cabbage and Brussels sprouts, collards are a staple in southern cuisine, often slowly cooked with bacon or ham until nice and soft. You can also just use it like kale, although it requires a little more cooking to become as tender. Collard greens are a favorite of our most abundant insect pests on the farm (caterpillars and flea beetles) so expect a few holes in the leaves.
Garlic: This week is 'Majestic' hardneck garlic, known for fairly mild flavor and not a ton of “heat.” Due to high humidity over the past month, much of our stored garlic has developed little superficial mold on the outer peel of the bulb. Once you peel the cloves, you'll find the garlic is totally fine.
Microgreens: This week's microgreens will be a surprise - mild mix, spicy mix, or arugula. Stealing a term used by a neighboring microgreens grower, these are like vegetable confetti. Put a pinch on your entree for a crispy, nutrient-packed, and flavorful upgrade.
Each week, we’ll give some hints about what new items may show up CSA shares in the next 1 -2 weeks. Please note, this is not a guarantee, but our attempt to give you an idea of what’s coming up.
Beets — Savoy cabbage — Arugula or Salad mix — Red potatoes
Holy cow, it's September already. This season has flown by. This month is, at once, both the busiest harvest month and the month that begins the slow ramp- down towards winter.
It's an intense harvest month because it hosts both summer and fall crops. Tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, and other summery crops are still being harvested (even if they are slowing down a bit), yet we're also about to harvest fall- specific crops like arugula, spinach, and radishes.
Then there's the storage crop harvest on the horizon. Acorn, delicata, and, really, pretty much all the winter squash varieties are ready for harvest; turnips, watermelon, radishes, and storage carrots and cabbage are mid-sized and will be harvested in a few weeks.
So, you see, there is this full overlap between warm- and cool-season crops in September, leading to busy farmers scurrying around on harvest days. It's all good, though — this is a month of abundance!
Crop-wise, we're glad to have gotten some rain this last week. Last Monday's storm left its mark on some select hot peppers, as mentioned in last week's newsletter, but that's really about it. The weather has been cool and cloudier than usual, so the moisture has stayed in the ground rather than quickly evaporating in summer sun. We got another inch this past Monday, and are anticipating another 1-2 inches on Tuesday as I write this newsletter. That'll be plenty, thanks :) Good to get caught up on rain after that drought.
The damp weather of late has, unfortunately, encouraged some plant diseases, particular black rot on cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, along with some foliar diseases on cucurbits (zucchini, melons, and watermelons). In fact, we just saw some cantaloupe and watermelon beds go from green and leafy to brown and descicated in about a week's time. There are still some harvestable fruits to salvage, but the smaller, less developed fruits won't make it to harvest stage.
I'm hoping to get a little more sophisticated in my management of diseases in the future. There are some university weather stations that measure temperature, humidity, wind direction, etc., that can help forecast possible onset of crop diseases. By paying attention to the arrival of “conditions favorable to disease development,” I can potentially mitigate the impacts by applying beneficial sprays to the crops.
Some of the products I could apply have been shown to activate innate plant defense mechanisms, enabling them to better resist pathogen infection. Others would simply cover the plants with beneficial microorganisms (compost tea or other commercially available microbial inonoculants) that would colonize the leaf surfaces. The idea is that, even if a “bad” disease-causing organism were to land on a leaf, it would be outcompeted by benign “good” bacteria and fungi dwelling on the crop leaves. If all else fails, the third strategy would be to apply an organically accepatble fungicide like copper or potassium bicarbonate. I've almost never applied these —one time in 2017, I believe, to some tomatoes during an exceptionally wet stretch. But I want to avoid being “organic by neglect,” doing nothing while crops succomb to preventable crop ailments.
That about wraps up my early-morning stream-of-consciousness for this week :)
In case you were wondering, this is week 14 out of 18. Four more Summer Share boxes after this week. Fall shares begin the week after that, October 9-10.
Have a great week,
Salsa (Yields about 6 pints)
This recipe is about the right scale for the amount of tomatoes full shares are receving this week. Half share members should convert this to about a 3/5ths recipe.
8 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained, about 5 lbs
2 1⁄2 cups onions, chopped
1 1⁄2 cups green peppers
5-7 serrano peppers, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons pepper
1 bunch cilantro, rinsed and chopped
1⁄8 cup canning salt
1⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup vinegar
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 ounce) can tomato paste
1. Peel tomatoes by submerging first in boiling water for 30 seconds (or when the skin begins to peel) and then in a bowl of ice water.
2. Mix all ingredients together and bring to a slow boil for 10 minutes.
3. If you want to can them, seal in jars and cook in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes
This is a medium salsa. This is also a chunky salsa, so if you want a smoother salsa, cut your veggies into smaller pieces.
Modified from: https://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/wonderful-salsa-9272