Greetings from Dancing Hen Farm! Welcome to CSA Week 7. This is an egg week.
I hope everyone is surviving the heat and everyone survived today's storms. Here on farm we received 1.75 inches, some wind and a bit of hail, but nothing too extreme. Again, we are happy to get this much needed rain, although a steady gentle rain is really what our plants need right now.
On farm, Farmer Don is "pushing a lot of water", as he says. This has been a hot, dry growing season. A growing season which makes us so happy we invested in an irrigation system. "Pushing water" means. he is running our irrigation system each and every night to keep plants watered and roots cool. Our soil is very well drained, which is good when we get 1.75 inches of rain in less than 2 hours! But during these dry growing years, our fields dry out very quickly and our plants begin to show signs of stress, making irrigation a must.
Not only do our plants need extra water during dry summers, but so do our animals. Chickens are checked 3 to 4 times a day to assure they always have fresh water. Our pigs not only need water to drink, but they also need water in their wallow, or pool, as we call it. Pigs need this wallow, or mud hole, to help regulate their body temperature and keep cool. Our pigs really love the mud and water. As soon as they hear the hose start to run they coming charging. It is so much fun to watch them come sprinting across the field and literally jump into the fresh mud and splash and roll around. They are so happy!
In the fields, our peas are most definitely done for the season. We are continuing to harvest zucchini and cucumbers, as well as cooking and salad greens. Green beans are continuing to size up and should appear in boxes soon. Field grown tomatoes are looking really good, flowering and setting fruit. Likewise with our eggplant. Farmer Don is trying to keep the lettuce going through the heat. As mentioned above he is keeping the lettuce roots cool with irrigation water. As a result, our salad mix is really beautiful (and tasty!) right now. For all the okra fans, we spent some time weeding the okra last week, so hopefully this will allow it to continue to grow and soon we will be harvesting okra.
We also have a bumper crop of purslane this year. We do not plant purslane, but instead forage for it. It is collected from our organically managed fields. Purslane is an interesting plants, almost a succulent (think jade plants) and has a slightly sour taste. Purslane is extremely nutritious. It is high in Vitamin A and C and is one of the few plant sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. Saute purslane, add it to scrambled eggs or add it raw to salads. Here is a nice article about purslane. http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/recipes/sns-food-recipes-sides-purslane-story.html
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who braved the heat this weekend to come out to farmers markets. The heat had our veggies wilting on the table and ourselves wilting behind the table. But, you our supporters, insured we still had a great market weekend. Speaking of markets. We are continuing to attend the Pittston market on Tuesdays, the Back Mountain Library Market on Saturdays and the Mountain Top Market Sundays. Please if you attend market, stop by and say hello!
Over the weekend, I spotted a huge head of bibb lettuce in one of our fields. So, yesterday, armed with a sharp knife, I harvested it for dinner. I used the tender leaves to make lettuce wraps. Rather than going the traditional Asian route for the filling, I used cumin and chili powder to spice up some sausage and veggies. I then topped the lettuce tacos with some grated cheese and chopped tomatoes. I must say they were beautiful! But, they were next to impossible to eat. We ended up eating them with a fork and knife. So, basically my beautiful lettuce wraps became a taco salad! Still very tasty, but not quite what I was going for!
Well, it is Monday night again and Farmer Don is busy packing tomorrow's CSA boxes. I need to, once again, head down to the pack line and see if my help is needed. So, until next week. "be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies" And stay cool!