Welcome to Week 8! and August!
We continue with our weather saga. Last week we talked about a perfect storm for plant disease. This storm continues with cooler temperatures, daily rain storms and heavy morning fog and dew. The forecast is for a break in the pattern this week as a drier weather pattern is to move in by the end of this week. Unfortunately this drier pattern is arriving a bit late for our tomatoes. We have been desperately applying organically approved fungicides to our plants, be we see the disease getting the upper hand. What this means to our farm and our CSA is a diminished tomato harvest. We will do our best to harvest what we can from the field. The good news is our high tunnel. At this time, the tomatoes in our greenhouse are not showing disease symptoms, so we will have a small harvest available from this location. We will also start putting green tomatoes on choice next week. Try these as traditional fried green tomatoes (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/fried-green-tomatoes-10000000461220/) or maybe curried? (http://www.thekitchn.com/green-tomato-fi-35986). After some farm lunches of fried green tomatoes, here on farm, we may try pickling some or turning them into chutney.
On a very positive note, our plantings of salad and cooking greens are looking good, so watch for these items to appear on choice soon. We have a nice planting of chard which will be available soon and our newest planting of Asian greens are also looking good. Our latest lettuce planting is sizing up nicely and we will hopefully have some heads of leaf lettuce for boxes soon. Green beans and yellow beans are being harvested now and this harvest should continue for the next few weeks. We have a planting of yellow and purple Dragon Beans coming on as well. These beans take a bit longer to reach maturity, but should appear in boxes in two or three weeks.
Around the farm we are back in planting mode as we push to get our fall plantings in. With day length shortening, plant growth slows and plants take longer to reach maturity. This means our window for getting plants started and planted is quickly closing. We will spend the next week getting our final plantings started in the seed house and then our seed house will be closed down until next spring. Our fields are and will continue to fill up with fall crops of greens and root crops. Hard to believe we are not even half way through our CSA deliveries and we are already talking about final plantings for the season!
Basil if the herb of choice this week. Why not try some pesto? A simple ratio of approximately one cup of basil, one quarter cup of olive oil and a scant quarter cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese works well. A couple of tablespoons of pine nuts, a dash of salt and some garlic completes the recipe. A food processor works well for mixing, but you can also use a blender or even a mortar and pestle. Pesto freezes well, but best to omit the cheese if you plan to freeze it. Try freezing your excess in ice cube trays.
As long as we are on the subject of herbs, this is a good time to talk about storage. Most herbs and especially basil, will store best in a glass of water on your kitchen counter. Trim the end of the stems a bit before you place them in the water. Excess herbs can be dried for later use this winter. You can dry herbs in the oven at a low temperature (175 F or lower). Spread them on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven with the door ajar. Check them after 15 mins and then every 15 mins until they are dry. Drying time can vary from 15 or 20 mins to several hours. Herbs can also be frozen. The best method for freezing is again ice cube trays. Roughly chop the herbs and add them to either olive oil or water filled trays. Once frozen, pop the cubes out of the tray and store in the freezer in a zip lock bag.
We really want to put a shout out and thank you to our farm volunteers. Thanks to CSA members Jason and Amanda who volunteer their time every week to help our on farm. Also thanks to farm friend Noah who has recently helped us with our garlic harvest and our weekly CSA harvest. These volunteers bring a wonderful upbeat energy and enthusiasm to the farm. We cannot thank you enough!!!!
We will be at two markets this Saturday. Farmer Don and Lydia will again be at the Back Mountain Market in Dallas from 9 am to 2 pm. Joan will be at Forks Farm Market from 10 am to 2 pm. If you stop by Forks Farm, don't forget that this Saturday they will be hosting a Yoga festival in their campground across from the farm. And as always, if you come to either market, please stop by our table and say hello!
Market announcements means the wrap up of this week's newsletter! So, be safe, be well and enjoy the veggies.