Sogn Valley Farm CSA Newsletter Week 6 | July 10-11, 2018
What's In The Box
Sugar snap peas: These are probably best enjoyed simply - raw as a snack or topping for a salad. But if you want to get a bit more involved in your preparation, they can also be lightly sauteed in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
Zucchini/summer sqaush: We finally found the upper end of that exponential growth curve we've been on. With this week's more sizable quantity, these are featured in this week's recipe. You might also consider just coating these with some oil, salt, and pepper and throwing them on the grill. Cucumbers: This time of year, we're eating a lot of these straight up, perhaps with a basil leaf, slice of mozzerella, or hunk of summer sausage. We've also included dill in this box, which is a natural pair for cukes.
English cucumbers: English cukes are thin-skinned and seedless with great favor. They're more probe to drying out and becomming rubbery, so keep them in a plastic bag.
Dill: This fragrent herb gets along nicely with cucumbers in a salad or tzatziki sauce.
Salad mix: Our standard mix of baby-leaf lettuce; top this with cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and dill for tasty salad.
Celery: Varieties of celery grown in the Midwest tend to be smaller, more intense in flavor, less watery, and a bit stringier than the California celery most of us are probably familiar with. This makes our celery well suited to soups and sautees; finely chopped in pasta, tuna, or egg salads; or juiced. We don't find it quite as good for ants-on-a-log or other raw snacking, since it's a littler more fibrous than what you're used to. Make sure to save the leaves and unused stalks to make stock. It will also freeze well to keep for later. Store in a plastic bag to keep it from getting rubbery.
Cilantro: We use a lot of cilantro in our household, adding it to eggs, salads, and bean dishes. Use in this week's recipe.
Cherry tomatoes: A mix of red and two types of orange cherry tomatoes from our high tunnel. I rarely think beyond snacks and salads for these things, especially with relatively small quantities like this early in the season.
Green oakleaf head lettuce (full shares only): A beautiful, tender head lettuce. This variety is a recent winner of the All-America Selections (AAS) award, a prestigious horticultural award for vegetable and flower varieties.
Asian eggplant (Rotational -- half shares this week): These long, slender eggplant are the earliest maturing eggplant, and great for grilling, stir-frying, or making baba ghanoush.
Microgreens (half shares only): You are receiving either our Mild Mix or Arugula microgreens. The arugula are all green in color, while the Mild Mix has some pink stems and variation in leaf types. Both are delicious atop a salad, sandwich, omelet, or a meat entree.
Kohlrabi (full shares only)
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.
BLUEBERRIES (from Little Hill Berry Farm) – Beets – Hot peppers – Swiss chard – Tomatoes
This past week was the turning point in the season where two noteworthy crop developments occured. First, the warm- season crops started really producing: zucchini and cucumbers are in full swing; cherry tomatoes went from a few pints per pick to a few flats; and we picked out first few heirloom and slicer tomatoes of the season. Tomatoes are still ramping up towards full production, but they'll be on the harvest list at least twice a week until October. I'm guessing full-sized tomatoes will be rotational next week, and hopefully in all boxes the week after that.
This happened to also be the week where we did our first large plantings of crops that will be harvested in the fall and stored into the winter. We transplanted out cabbage, cauliflower, and more broccoli, and direct seeded storage carrots. It always feels strange to me when temps are blistering hot and warm-season crops are growing like mad, but my focus is on establishing crops that will be harvested after frost in the fall.
One of my occupations this past week has been irrigating the carrot planting. Carrot seeds take about a week (sometimes more) to germinate, and require constant moisture during that time to sprout uniformly. As most of you know, it's been pretty darn hot over the last 10 days or so, and we haven't seen a meaningful rain in about two weeks. So most of our irrigation resources have been going towards the carrots.
Meanwhile, almost every crop on the farm needs water. This brings me to a realization that I've been pondering for the last week: we don't have enough water on this farm.
See, the farm currently has just one well, which we rely on to supply water to our house, along with the greenhouses, packing shed, and all 12 acres of crops we have planted in the field. Our well, which puts out 16 gallons per minute, is just not cutting it anymore. We've already invested in above-ground storage tanks to hold about 5,000 gallons of water, a reservoir out of which we can pump around 25 GPM with a secondary pump. This allows us to put out a slightly higher rate of water for irrigation while our well slowly refills the tanks, but we are still limited to use of low-flow irrigation systems like drip irrigation. (If you're unfamiliar with this, think of it as a soaker hose like one may use in the garden, but made of lightweight plastic tubing. See photo at below.)
Drip irrigation, while often revered for its efficient water use, has a number of drawbacks, too. First, there's the annual expense of purchasing drip tape, itself, plus the waste of disposing of it at the end of the season. Furthermore, the physical presence of these plastic hoses throughout our fields is an obstacle to many field operations, such as soil preparation, tractor cultivation, and handweeding.
This brings me to consideration of something I knew would someday be required on this farm: drilling a new, deeper well. It may not be financially feasible for us this year, but I know it we'll need it in the next year or two if we are to keep up our current level of production and be able to deal with long bouts of hot, dry weather. In the meantime, fingers crossed for rain this Thursday! We'll, that wraps up my musings for the week!
Sauteed Cilantro-Lime Zucchini (Serves 4-6)
This recipe uses two items from this week's box and two items from last week's, if you have any left over. A nice summery side dish. This tastes great warm or cold. Half share members will need to scale this receipe back a bit proportionate to the quantity of zucchini in the box.
1 Tbsp oil (grapeseed, olive, coconut)
3-4 large zucchini and/or summer squash
1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
3-4 garlic scapes, minced
juice of one lime
1/4 C chopped cilantro
Coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic scapes and cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
2. Add sliced zucchini/squash and gently toss. Let cook for about 3-5 minutes, tossing every now and then to ensure even cooking.
3. Once vegetables are lightly browned and softened, turn off heat. Toss vegetables with lime juice and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper.