Sogn Valley Farm CSA Newsletter Week 10 | Aug 7-8, 2018
What's In The Box
Strawberries: Woohoo! Thanks to Aaron and Molly from Little Hill for getting us some delicious strawberries in a year when our own planting fizzled out early.
Garlic: This is 'Majestic' hardneck garlic. It was harvested two weeks ago, dried in the greenhouse, and trimmed and cleaned on Monday. It's not quite as cured as it'll be in another week or two, so the inner layers of the peel may be a bit thick yet.
Colored sweet peppers and green bell peppers: Peppers get a lot sweeter when they ripen from green to red/orange/yellow. You are receiving some type of colored pepper, either bell pepper, 'Carmen' Italian pepper, or mini-bell “snacking” peppers.
Dill: This is a key flavor component to this week's cucumber soup recipe. We also include dill as a standard component of our green salads.
Tomatoes: This week, half shares are receiving heirlooms and full shares are receiving red slicers, with quantities up from prior weeks.
Green leaf lettuce: Happy to still be going strong with this summer lettuce. Use it in salads, sandwiches, or wraps.
Cucumbers: This week's receipe provides a new (to me) way to enjoy your abundant supply of cucumbers this season: Tarator, or cold cucumber/yogurt soup. See the end of the narrative on the back page for Liz's introduction to the recipe.
Microgreens: Full shares are receiving pea shoots, while half shares are getting either pea shoots or a blend of arugula and our spicy mustard mix.
Zucchini/summer squash: We usually see our first planting fizzle out by this time, but it's still going strong even while our second crop moves towards full production. Given our abundance of summer squash, we may eventually just abandon one of the plantings, but for now we're just sharing the wealth with our CSA members. Grillin' time!!
'Toronjina' (half shares) or red cherry tomatoes (full shares): Important note for half shares: 'Toronjina' is a new trial variety, and while it's delicious right off the plant, they've proven to not have the shelf life of our other cherries. They tend to get soft after 3-4 days, at which point their texture and flavor decline. Liz says they tasted great halved and lightly sauteed, as well. The tomatoes you are receiving were harvested Monday afternoon.
Broccoli (full shares only): The current broccoli planting kicked out some nice big heads. Enjoy these, as the next planting isn't ready yet, so it'll probably be a few weeks before you'll see it in boxes again.
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.
Onions ‒ Tomatillos ‒ Cilantro ‒ Jalapeños ‒ Watermelon or cantaloupe
Before getting into this week's farm update, I want to point out that we again have fruit from Little Hill Berry Farm in the box, this time strawberries. And below is a picture of 8-month-old Anneli eating some :)
It has been a busy week on the farm. We got the rest of the onion crop ‒ red and sweet onions ‒ harvested; fall radishes and turnips seeded; a couple acres of crops handweeded; and high tunnel tomatoes pruned and trellised.
We were bummed to see the early arrival of basil downy mildew disease this year. Within a week or two's time, all our successions in the field, plus our transplants in the greenhouse, succumbed to this now-inevitable disease. And just like that, basil is done for the season. I even saw this post from UMN's Michelle Grabowski come through on social media announcing the extent of downy mildew's damage on Minnesota basil this season. All varieties we grew are supposedly resistant to the disease ‒ clearly they have more work to do on the breeding front.
One other thing occupying my time and mental energy is this tomato experement we are doing ‒ I can't recall whether I've mentioned this to you all. Essentially, we are trying to learn from the Dutch, who are the most advanced tomato producers in the world. We are sending biweekly tissue samples from our planting to the Netherlands, where they are analyzing them for a wide range of nutrients. The results from those tests indicate whether each nutrient is in the sufficiency range, and whether corrective action is needed.
US-based partner companies supply organic-approved liquid fertilizers for each nutrient, which we can apply through drip irrigation in attempts to correct deficienies or imbalances. This is a far more refined view of nutrient management than I have ever taken as a farmer. Last week, we applied nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, cobalt, and molybdenum
The last micronutrient, molybdenum, is one I remember from chemistry class but had never considered in crop management. I learned that “moly” is a component of nitrate reductase, the enzyme that breaks down nitrate (the main plant-available form of nitrogen) so that plants can actally use the nitrogen in that compound to synthesize proteins, amino acids, etc (i.e. plant tissue). With deficiency of moly, like we have, nitrate accumulates in sap even while “total nitrogen” may be deficient in the plant.
This is a one-two punch: the plant isn't getting the nitrogen it needs for optimal growth, but additionally, high nitrate levels in plants have been shown to increases susceptibility of plants to disease. Last week, we did our first weekly application of molybdenum, and I'll be curious to see our next set of tissue analysis results next week!
I hope that didn't bore you. It's fascinating to me... Either way, let's get back to food. Liz wanted to pass along a few notes pertaining to this week's recipe:
“This week’s box brings me back to this time last year when I was farming in Bulgaria. Summertime there is very hot and Bulgarians know how to thrive in those conditions. You wake up early, work for a couple of hours, and then take a break for lunch once the heat sets in. To cool down, you have a bowl of cucumber yogurt soup (Tarator), a chat and a nap before returning to work as the sun starts to set towards the horizon. Tarator is as much a part of Bulgarian life as a cup of coffee or Turkish tea.
This soup also has utility for Minnesotans this time of year. Not only is it a great way to cool down on these muggy, hot days, but it’s quick and easy to make. Walnuts are the traditional choice but you can substitute other nuts and seeds if that’s what you have on hand. Any plain yogurt will do, but if you’re able to find some with the strain lactobacillus bulgaricus you’ll get the most authentic texture.“
TARATOR - BULGARIAN COLD CUCUMBER SOUP (Serves 4)
2 cucumbers ( about 500 g or 1 lb)
500 g plain yogurt ( 1 lb)
3 -4 garlic cloves
2 -3 tablespoons of crushed walnuts (optional)
1 bunch fresh dill (probably less, as this week's bunches are pretty large)
Cut the cucumbers into cubes and put them in a bowl. You may aslo grate them but it changes the look and the consistency.
Beat the yogurt with a fork until it gets liquid and pour it over the cucumbers.
Add the crushed garlic, the walnuts and the minced dill as well as salt and oil to taste.
If needed add some water to make the soup as liquid as you like but take care not to make it too "thin".
Put into the refrigerator to cool or add ice cubes. Serve cold.
Recipe source: http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipeprint.do?rid=62181