August 8 2012, Week 17

Recipes, Produce and Storage Information:

How fast the season goes by! We have three more deliveries left after today, bringing us to the last Wednesday in August.
Wow, what a great pepper year we are having! I am enjoying harvesting them so much because they are all so pretty and colorful. The last couple of years we have had some difficulty with our pepper plants being killed by a soil born fungal disease that can reside in the soil for up to a decade or more, Southern Stem Blight. Wet conditions activate the otherwise dormant fungus which then proceeds to kill the plant at the soil line overnight. We have gone to great lengths to have ultimate control over the peppers soil moisture this year, and it has paid off. Yippie!
Seeing as all the peppers have done so well, we have found ourselves with an excess of the hotter peppers this year. I wanted to let folks know that if they would like to receive more Poblano, Green Chile or Jalapeño peppers, to reply to this and let me know. I am hesitant to hand out too many in the boxes as I know a lot of members have young children and may not be able to use them.
Thank you so much for sending in feedback about your experience with our watermelons this season! It was really very helpful to hear all you had to say. We want our produce to taste good and store well, so it is crucial to know if that is not happening. We do our best to taste and test a sample of everything prior to sending it off to its new home. For example, with watermelons, we crack open about five or six prior to harvest to test for their ripeness “tell” sign. We may find one or two during that cracking fest that tastes slightly bland or may be overripe. We try to identify what sign those particular fruit may have been giving off that was different from the others we had deduced were ripe and delicious. Then, we proceed to harvest, hoping our Sherlock Holmes like skills of observation have lead us to the perfect watermelon over and over again. Sometimes though, it seems we miss a crucial sign of under or overripe fruit. Sometimes it also seems we may have missed a very small soft spot on the rind of one of the Red Delicious watermelons that lead to its early demise once at its new home.
We heard from 27 out of 118 members (thank you!) about their watermelon experience. Ten of the 27 members said that at least one of their Red Delicious melons was mushy, overripe or rotten. Four said that at least one of their Yellow Doll’s was tasteless. The rest, 13 members, expressed fine or wonderful experiences with all of their melons this year. What we have deduced from our findings: We are going to stop growing the Red Delicious melon and find another red to fill its place that has a thicker rind and longer storage life. We think that since the Red Delicious has such a thin rind that it may be extra prone to developing a small bad spot from sitting on a damp ground in wet conditions. We are going to keep growing Yellow Doll and try to hone in better on what its ripeness “tell” sign is. If a watermelon’s is ripe and bland though, this is usually due to excessive water (which dilutes the sugars, similar to what we experience with the strawberries in the spring). Dry, hot conditions are best for the melons. I think the five inches of rain we received in that one week not too long ago was hard on these guys, even if we harvested them a week or two after we received all the rain.

What's growing on???

Butternut Squash: Winter squash in the summer? Yep! It’s called winter squash not because it grows in the winter but because the fruit stores for so long you can eat it in the winter months. So, set this pretty baby on the counter (not refrigerator) and consider it counter art until you feel like eating it…..now or in November!! They say that the longer you wait, the sweeter the flesh. Cooking butternut is actually pretty simple. I like to cut it in half lengthwise, take the seeds out, rub the flesh side with olive oil and place it face down on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the flesh is totally soft. You can add butter and garlic or brown sugar.
Peppers: We packaged your peppers in a paper bag this week. We have noticed that condensation forms during transport, as the peppers adjust from the temperature we store them in the walk in cooler to that outside. We think packaging them this will prolong their storage life. Store them in the refrigerator in the paper bag.
What to look forward to….
The next three weeks will be fairly straight forward, as our summer crops dwindle under the heat and pest pressure of August. We will have more winter squash, onions, and potatoes for you. The tomatoes and peppers are still kicking it and we hope to have those for at least the next two weeks. The sweet potatoes are still on the small side since our slips were shipped late to us this year. I am hopefully though that we will get you some in at least the last week’s share if not last two. We may also have one more week of eggplant towards the end.
Thanks! Elise.

 

What's in the box?

Full Share
Crop Amount  
 

Tomatoes (3 lb.)

Mixed Cherry Tomatoes (1 pint)

Sweet Colored peppers (2 lb.)

Butternut squash (larger size)

Summer squash or cucumbers (1 lb.)

Half Share
Crop Amount  
 

Tomatoes (2 lb.)

Sweet colored peppers (1 lb.)

Sungolds (one pint)

Butternut squash (medium size)