In your share week 7:
Cauliflower (most shares)
Basil (Bulk for half shares)
Peas (most shares)
Cilantro (Half shares only)
Full shares only:
Cucumber or Zucchini
It’s August, harvests are on, and this is a big share! The huge harvest of the week is green beans. We started picking them last week and went from 7# last Monday to 80# today! These are the most beautiful bean plants we’ve ever grown and they are loaded. And these are just the first rotation… You’ve all got a big bag of green beans today and there will be lots more coming in the next several weeks.
We grow 2 types, a French filet variety called Maxibel (these are long, round, and slender) and a Romano type (these are large and flat and often called Italian green beans). The Maxibels are more sweet and tender and are especially good raw, while the Romanos have a wonderful, robust beany flavor that holds up well to grilling and cooking. You can use both in just about any recipe calling for green beans. I love to grill beans whole, especially the Romanos. Toss them in olive oil and cook them over medium low heat for a few minutes a side: yum! You can also eat them raw, slice them into salads, steam them with butter, use them in stir fries, pickle them, or whatever you like. We are careful in our picking, so all the beans you get from me should be at prime eating stage without lots of starchiness or bitterness.
We also have another beautiful head of cauliflower as we wrap up the harvest on the first planting. We’ve harvested over 300 pounds of cauliflower in the past week, which is definitely a record for the farm. We have lots more plantings out there, but none of them are looking to be quite so perfect and abundant as this one has been. We may not have quite enough for everybody, so folks later in the week may get a cauliflower alternative. The same goes for peas, we had a good pick today but I’m not certain I’ll have them for everybody and may swap them for something else later in the week.
Full shares get the first beets today. Beets have been a perpetually challenging crop for us, and we get lots of beautiful ones but also not so much. We now have 3 rotations that are sized up enough to pick from, and we can start to include them for you! Our beets don’t need peeling as the skins are very tender. You can eat them raw, roasted, boiled, or grilled. Beet greens are a real winner, too; they are extra nutritious with a fruity, earthy flavor. I’m honestly not a huge beet fan, but I love the greens. Cook them like kale or spinach, sauteed, steamed, or in soup. Store beets in a bag in the fridge, if you won’t use them right away remove the tops and store them separately.
We finally have zucchini for full shares. We have beautiful plants out there but we haven’t gotten much to harvest. We’re seeing a lot of blossom end rot, indicative of a lack of calcium, which can be caused by a lot of factors. I tried a calcium foliar feed (leaf spray) last week that didn’t seem to do the trick, and then read that they more readily take up calcium through the roots. So I bought a bottle of Bimart brand Tums and one of our crewmembers “planted” the tablets under the drip line. Today we have a beautiful harvest of perfect zucchini! I don’t know if they responded to the Tums treatment that quickly, or if it was a delayed response to the foliar feed, or if they just liked last week’s heat and finally took off, but something worked and I’m hoping we’ll get into more abundant summer zucchini harvests from now on.
One of the challenges of farming is that there are so many factors affecting your plants, and it’s difficult to diagnose what is causing a problem. Many of those factors are outside your control, and it isn’t easy to set up and monitor a controlled experiment in the midst of the harvest season. There’s always a delay between treatments and results, and often, by the time you figure out what’s wrong, it’s too late to fix it. For example, we were having trouble with poor germination in our carrot seed this spring. I thought it might be watering, then thought it might be cold wet soils. And carrot seed takes at least 10 days to germinate that early in the season, so it was several weeks before I finally diagnosed the problem and adjusted my sowing density to accommodate the poor germination. We just started to harvest the first well germinated bed on Friday, 6 months after I seeded the first carrots of the year.
Haricots Verts, Corn, and Carrot Salad
From The New York Times Cooking. The beans today are mostly haricots verts, or French filet, type, though we pick them a little larger than is traditional because it makes them soooo much easier to harvest. We don’t grow corn, but it is in season now and you can get it at any of the local farmers markets!
½ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup minced fresh chives
Black pepper, as needed
1 pound haricots verts, trimmed
2 ⅔ cups cooked fresh corn kernels (from about 4 corn cobs)
½ pound carrot, peeled and coarsely grated (2 cups)
In a small bowl, whisk together salt, vinegar, garlic and mustard. Whisking constantly, slowly whisk in oil until incorporated. Whisk in chives and pepper.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in haricots verts and cook until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, cool and chop into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl, toss together haricots verts, corn and carrot. Toss in dressing and season with salt and pepper.
Pan Roasted Spiced Cauliflower with Peas
From David Tanis at The New York Times Cooking. He says: This dish is inspired by a trip to Curry Hill, a neighborhood in New York dotted with stores selling saris, Indian restaurants, Pakistani cafes and hole-in-the-wall spice shops. When I got home from my shopping spree, a cauliflower was screaming for Indian spices, garlic and ginger. Better still, I knew I could knock together a pan-roasted meal in about 20 minutes.
3 tablespoons ghee, clarified butter or vegetable oil
1 small cauliflower about 1 1/2 pounds, cored, in 1/2-inch slices
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons grated fresh turmeric or 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 to 3 kaffir lime leaves, optional
1 inch long piece of ginger, peeled and slivered or finely grated
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 serrano chilies, finely chopped, or to taste
1 pound fresh English peas, shucked about 1 cup or frozen peas, or 1/2 pound snow peas or sugar snap peas, trimmed
2 to 3 scallions, slivered
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
Lime wedges, for serving
Heat a large sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ghee or oil, and when it is hot, add the cauliflower. Stir until the cauliflower begins to color, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Continue stirring until the cauliflower is half-cooked, about 5 minutes, lowering the heat if necessary to keep it from browning too quickly.
Add the cumin, mustard seeds, turmeric and kaffir lime leaves, if using. When they begin to sizzle, add the ginger, garlic and chilies. Stir well and add the peas, along with a sprinkle of salt. Cover to let the peas steam until tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the slivered scallions and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.