Tuesday, July 31, 2012

CSA Week 6

In your share this week:
1 lb green and purple beans
assortment of pattypan, zucchini, yellow crookneck summer squash
lots of pickling cukes
lots of slicing cukes
bunch swiss chard
bunch beets
bunch radish
1.5 lbs yukon gold potatoes
1 head garlic
3 shallots
1 bunch scallion
1 bunch each: thyme, cilantro, parsley, dill umbels (flowers)
 Some notes on your produce this week: No greens again this week, though they will be back for week 7 (lettuce, mustard greens, and bok choy.)

Purple beans will turn green when cooking, unfortunately the color doesn't hold when heated!

Parsley is here and will replace cilantro until the cooler weather brings more hospitable conditions for cilantro.

Potatoes are Yukon Golds and unfortunately, due to the early, dry spell, yields are lower than I'd have liked. I'll keep digging away, and we'll see how long they last.

Sadly, my first broccoli crop failed.  The plants, along with cabbage and cauliflower, had been under reemay since getting transplanted out.  From a few tears in the reemay, all seemed to be going as planned with the cauliflower and cabbage.  However, today when I went to harvest the broccoli, usually first from that set, the plants looked unhealthy, unhappy, and stricken with some type of disease.  The next succession is on its way, but it won't be ready for a few weeks, at least.

In other news, our vacation to the Adirondacks was incredible-- two days of beautiful weather, and morning of DUMPING rain to keep us honest and happy to be warm and dry in Old Forge!
 We paddled in Gus's grandpa's old wooden canoe from Blue Mountain Lake through Eagle Lake and Utonawa Lake to the Marion River, about a thirty-five mile trip.
 Burt was, for the most part, an excellent boatmate, though he definitely did not do his fair share of paddling...  After the portage from Utonawa to the head of the Marion.
 Raquette Lake is huge!  Looking north.
 Gus with the boat, what a beaut!
 We also got in a visit to the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, where there is a resident boatbuilder whose studio is open to public view.  She wasn't there when we visited, but the museum volunteer told us it took somewhere around 600 hours to complete a hand-built guide boat.  Amazing!  The museum also had incredible collections of antique horse-drawn farming and driving implements-- snow rollers, snowplows, cutters, surries-- and even a train!
The museum's collection of antique guide boats built in the Adirondacks.  We ended up the trip with an incredible performance by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet at View Arts Center in Old Forge, NY.  It was such a joy to get to check out the resources-- natural, human, and community- that are available in the Adirondacks.

Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoy your produce!

Monday, July 23, 2012

CSA Week 5 and some notes

New in your share this week: green and purple beans, slicing and pickling cukes, pattypan, zukes, and yellow crookneck summer squash.  Tis the season of the cucurbitae (squash/cucumber family)!

Slicing cukes have smooth skins, and are generally longer and straighter.  Despite what they say about picking favorites (teachers, farmers, parents??) these are probably my favorite crop of the season.  I grow a variety that is distinct for their crispness, sweetness, and non-bitter, spineless skins.  

Pickling cukes are heavier duty guys that, when allowed to get large, have meatier flesh that can stand up to cooking.  At the younger stage at which they're harvested from GPF, you can treat them like any other regular cucumber.  You can tell these two apart mainly by the nature of the skins, and pickling cukes will tend to be shorter and with more girth, while the slicers are longer, sleeker, skinnier.

Here's a recipe for a cold cucumber soup adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook, my recommendation would be to put the food processor to work chopping (and don't bother skinning the slicing cucumbers as the skins are sweet and will add nice color and a vitamin boost.)

One more note: I am taking a brief vacation to the Adirondacks, and my friends Liz and Wil will be harvesting in my stead.  Thank you, Liz and Wil!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CSA Week 4

In your share this week:
Zuchinni and Pattypan summer squash
Slicing cucumbers
Swiss chard
Bunch baby shallots (red)
Bunch scallions
Garlic head
1 lb sugar snap peas
1 lb snow peas
1 bag mixed lettuce, arugula, mustard greens
1 Bunch each: dill, cilantro, thyme
 Pattypan are just like any other yellow summer squash, and are versatile-- raw, sauteed, fried, grated and baked, etc.  This variety of zucchini is my favorite, Costata Romanesca.  I find it stays extra firm and silky in texture even when it gets a little bigger.

Snow peas and sugar snap peas are tapering off as the weather stays hot and the powdery mildew moves in on the wind.  You may find they are stringier and slightly less sweet-- I'm hoping they'll make it into next week, though if they do it will be in limited quantities.

On storing summer squash-- these really store best if they are unwashed and in an open bag in the fridge.
 Sunflowers, fractals...
Buen provecho!

Monday, July 9, 2012

They just don't get better

(the days, that is) than today.  Gorgeous blue skies laced with crayon-worthy cumulus, 78 degrees and low humidity, and sun.  Wowza.
It was a great afternoon for the first big flower deadheading session, the great sacrifice/gamble for more, better, longer, later.  I hope the hummingbirds and bees will forgive me for the evening!  Monarda, rudbeckia, white sage, hydrangea, carrot flower, and lysimachia make up this bouquet.  What a nose on this grouping, and such a surprisingly austere and somewhat awkward (but beautiful) color scheme-- like something from a coat of arms or a high school mascot.
 I just adore these tightly wound rudbeckias, streaked with burgundy and potential.  They've got so much more to offer texture-wise than their less nubile selves in another day...

Burt was remarkably game for the photo shoot today...  Austerity and sophistication, indeed.
Another, this time with lavender to brighten it up.  The bouquet just made itself 25 years younger.

And, on this day of savoring sunshine, who better to turn to than Maurice Manning?  So fun to read aloud.  From Bucolics.


my hay day Boss is every day
the wonder of it never ends
never goes away I never fail
to breathe the sun the summer season
even in the winter even
if the horse's breath is blowing blue
as smoke each time I turn the fork
each time I hear the ring of tines
each time they turn more silver Boss
I taste a long day on my tongue
it's always sweet it's always more
than just a chore I've learned a thing
or two from pitching hay one thing
about the hay it's more than kindling
in the belly of the horse's stove
the second thing beyond the hay
this time about the fork I've made
its handle shiny from my hands
around its throat so shiny now
it's like a mirror Boss it's like 
a glass in which I see your face
your burning eye about to wink

the Prince of Ham!

Friday, July 6, 2012

CSA Week 3

And the heat wave rolls on...  The summer crops (summer squash, cukes, beans) are just on the brink of harvest, but for now we've got more spring-type CSA offerings.
 Lettuce mix with mustard greens
 LOTS of peas, please!
 From top to bottom: Arugula, mizuna, mustard greens
Lettuces love the moisture and shade of dense plantings

In your share this week:
head of fresh garlic
bunch arugula
bag lettuce mix with mustard greens
2 lbs sugar snap peas
1+ lbs snow peas
herbs: large bunch cilantro, sage, chamomile, dill
flowers: bee balm, rudebeckia, hydrangea, onion flowers
A hoophouse shot, with sides up for ventilation.

Next on my list: cuke trellising, transplanting out more summer flowers, hilling potatoes, lots of weeding and succession planting along the way.  The neighbors came and cut the hayfield over the weekend, and our lush little microclimate of head high orchardgrass, timothy, alfalfa and clover is no longer.  Hope everyone had a happy Fourth!

CSA Week 2

Belatedly, here's a list of your produce for the week:

Radish bunch (end of the radishes for a few weeks)
Turnips (end of the turnips for a bit)
Beet greens
Sugar snap peas
Snow peas
Bunch arugula
Bag of mixed salad greens (lettuce and 2 kinds mustard greens)
Herbs: thyme, sage, cilantro
Flowers: Bee Balm, Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susans), Hydrangea, onion flowers