May 30 2012, Week 7

Recipes, Produce and Storage Information:

Marinated Zucchini Salad

Everyday Food:  From the Kitchens of Martha Stewart Living

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/3 cup red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
Salt and pepper
6 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
 
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high.  Add onion and sauté until translucent, 3 minutes.  Add vinegar and sugar and season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a non-reactive bowl.  Add zucchini and toss.  Let marinate at room temperature 30 minutes.  (To store, cover and refrigerate, up to 8 hours).

What's growing on???

The seasons are changing, as reflected in your box this week.  My first farming job, right out of college almost 15 years ago now, was on a farm in upstate New York.  We grew lettuce all summer long and the first tomatoes didn’t ripen until late August.  It was an adjustment to move down to North Carolina shortly after that for another farming position.  Here, we have cool season crops and warm season crops.  The cool season crops we can grow in the spring AND fall.  And the warm season crops have a nice long summer AND can stick around sometimes even into October and our first frost.

 Here are some of the changes we are seeing….

Lettuce and Greens:  Lettuce starts to turn bitter in temperatures above 85 degrees.  Unfortunately this last streak of 90 degree days affected our lettuce in this manner.  We were hoping we could make it a couple more weeks, but were not so lucky here.  We were able to salvage a few beauties for the full shares this week though.  Tender greens like kale, boc choi and swiss chard can start to toughen and turn bitter also.  An exception for us, Cabbage always likes to form its head around this time and last through June.  We will be enjoying this “green” next week, and on and off for a few more after that.  

Radishes:  Turn super HOT! It is interesting that the weather can control the flavor of so many crops.  The hot weather turns the radishes very hot, the cool weather keeps them mild.  Say bye bye!

Carrots and Beets:  Again, heat turns these beauties bitter.  We will see carrots for one more week perhaps, but this will be your last week of beets for the season.  We have removed the greens as they are the first to suffer in the heat.  The beet root will store in the plastic bag in the refrigerator for a month or more though, so you can enjoy some spring bounty in the summer.  

Broccoli and Cauliflower:  Oh what a good season we have had with these little friends!  We planted three plantings of each this spring, instead of two as we usually do.  The only hiccup was that one of our plantings of broccoli ‘bolted’ in late March.  This is a premature heading at a very young age resulting in a very small inedible head.  This is due to high heat, and designates the broccoli and cauliflower as cool season crops.  All in all though, we have been pleased with their abundance this year and sad to say goodbye to both at this point.  

And as we see some of the spring crops phase out, we see some of the summer crops start to phase in…..
 
Cucumbers and Squash:  Since they love the warm weather, we plant cucumbers and squash in succession all summer for continual harvest.  We will skip a week if one or the other, here or there, so you won’t get overwhelmed by them, but get ready to enjoy lots of cucumber salads and grilled zucchini.  If you have any unique or interesting recipes for either, send them to me and maybe I can share in a newsletter with everyone.

Onions:  The onions are transplanted the first of March and begin to form their heads depending on day length and heat.  As you can see in your box this week, they have indeed started forming their heads.  We love to harvest fresh onions at this time because you can eat the green stalk just as though it were a scallion.  I love the green part raw in my cucumber salads!  Keep these onions in the refrigerator, and there they will last for some time.  Soon, our onions will start to mature with the greens dying down and flopping over in the field.  We pull them and dry them at this time so they will last us all summer.  That is the point at which they look more like the onions you are familiar with seeing at the grocery store (papery outside skin).  

Potatoes:  Many of you who pick up at market have asked about our annual potato harvest, where we invite the CSA members and their families out for a tour and a couple hours of sifting through the dirt to find potatoes.  It seems to be a hit among the little ones, as it is a job suitable for all ages!  Think of a huge sand box with buried treasures to uncover!  This day will come most likely around the end of June or beginning of July.  I will keep you informed.

We have been busy this past week with more planting.  Sweet potatoes and our second planting of tomatoes, both with an August harvest in mind to see the CSA through that month.  That with a mad race to control the crab grass weed infestation in the winter squash and second planting of cucurbits’, we have been busy as usually!  

We look ahead to pulling up irrigation and working in the spring beds in order to plant a summer cover crop in its place.  Soon the transition will be complete, but in the meantime, we have three full acres in production with both spring and summer crops still in the ground.  I have to admit it will be nice to mow down some of the areas we are just now finishing up with, and focus in more on the acre and a half to two acres of summer crops we will be tending for the next few months.  Think melons….peppers….eggplant!!!  Yippie!  Again, I love to hear from you so please email if you have any comments, thoughts or concerns.  Elise.

 

What's in the box?

Full Share
Crop Amount  
 

Carrots (one bunch orange

Summer squash and zucchini (2.5 lb.)

Lettuce (one head)

Cucumbers (2.5 lb.)

Loose Beets (2 lb. regular and chioggia)

Onions (three)

Half Share
Crop Amount  
 

Carrots (one bunch orange)

Summer squash and zucchini (1.5 lb.)

Cucumbers (1.5 lb.)

Onions (two)

Loose Beets (2 lb. mixed regular and chioggia)