the Hot Hot Hot Week 8 CSA Newsletter

this week:

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It’s hot! Summer!! It’s amazing that we get to experience such tropical conditions – we (mostly) found it possible to enjoy the novelty of the triple digit heat indexes, working and laughing through the sticky airspace and solar blasting. Except for Thursday. That was ridiculous. So before the sun got busy, we did some morning weeding of the onions, and harvested a round of zucchini.  (Actually, Kristin and the WWOOFers did – I drove to Hudson to pick up free and incredibly heavy components of a wood-fired solar water heater.)

When afternoon hit, we packed up the dogs and the WWOOFers, fled to the river where we’d married, and got ourselves waterfalled.

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We were joined in our quests this week by three wonderful WWOOFers – David PhDsson, Kingsbury’s Sarah, and Graaaaace! – as well as harvest help from the Senior Sehrs, Neighbor Marcia, and Steffan. Although the urgency and intensity of Spring is past, there is still a lot to keep busy with, and the extra hands and minds made for lighter work and hearts.

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The pea rows were dismantled; cut off at their bases, trellising twine extricated and wound for reuse, heavy steel t-posts pulled up and piled for their next incarnation. The plants themselves were sent to provide a tasty snack for The Neighbors’ cows.

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Fall crops like radishes, carrots, and lettuce got their roots into the soil.  The thick, wide weed canopy was yanked out in thousands of handfuls from among the sprawling watermelon vines.

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The late-season cukes we planted last week are coming up now, to supplement the rather sorry early crop of cucumber beetle survivors – which are still being attacked beneath the soil by the larvae.

In a similar manner, we have been incredibly grateful for the screen porch, as the mosquitoes have finally gotten around to attain intense levels of obnoxious ravenous blood buzzing, even out in the field in the daylight,  where and when they are normally not found. Fortunately, one of WWOOFer Sarah’s talents is luring most skeeters to herself,  sparing her companions. Quite a skill indeed!

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The coyotes, conspicuously absent from the night noises all spring, have returned with a yipping, yowling, caterwauling cacaphony, which we actually rather enjoy – plus, it reminds us to close up the chicken coops at night.

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All the heat has the tomatoes ripening, the sweet corn silks drying … looking promising for next week’s box. Not this this week’s box is any slouch …

Week #8 Box

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  • Tomatoes – We grow most heirloom tomatoes – older lineages that have been selected for a long period of time, but not for traits like high production, long shelf lives, safe shipping, or uniform appearance. This means these tomatoes commonly feature what are seen as flaws to the modern grocery store shopper, such as cat-facing and green shoulders … but also tend to be far more interesting to look at and delicious to eat! Only a small amount are ready ripe now, so some of those we sent out are ripe – if you have any that are on the softer side or even starting to split under their own weight, eat them first! If you got a green tomato, it’s actually not unripe – it’s a variety … striped smaller ones are Green Zebra, and the larger solid-hued ones are “Grub’s Mystery Green.” The Yellow Ruffled tomatoes are low acid, as are the light orange “Kellogg’s Breakfast” tomatoes.
  • Sweet Basil
  • Tomatillos – It’s salsa verde season!!! Also great chopped up in tacos, roasted, sliced and eaten raw, or some other things that you invent. Crunch, tangy. If you don’t like them you’re wrong and it’s really too bad. Husk and wash first.
  • Peppers – This week’s medley is similar to last week, but with the larger green bell peppers joining in the festivities.
  • Eggplant – You might get a standard plump Italian, a slender Thai, a Chinese “White Sword,” or an Anaconda. (Actually we can’t recall what the long green ones are called, but know that that’s what they’re supposed to look like.)
the Cabbage Patch Kid Gang
the Cabbage Patch Kid Gang
  • Cabbage – The harvestable cabbages are more numerous and more reasonably sized this week, so you get a whole one. I never cared about cabbages but I’ve been coming to like them quite a bit lately – hope you find some delicious uses for yours!
  • Broccoli – After being almost murdered by that mid-May freeze, the broccoli army is making up for lost time, and not seeming phased at all by this intense heat. A pleasant surprise! There are two varieties producing now – our usual tender side shoots, plus the reinforcements we brought in after the freeze – a somewhat more branched, dense-headed variety.
  • Zucchini – These have been put on an every-other day harvest schedule – with the big rains we’ve been getting, any longer a wait and they’d be the size of your thigh.
that's not a rotten cucumber - it's a tender, tasty variety called "Poona Kheera"
that’s not a rotten cucumber – it’s a tender, tasty variety called “Poona Kheera”
  • Cucumbers – A handful of tattered survivors soldiers onward, against all odds. The cucumber beetle onslaught was brutal this year, and the cukes, of course, bore the brunt of the assault. (Hopefully the second-crop experiment we’re trying in the high tunnel will work out – we’re starting them under row cover fabric to keep out the dastardly buggers this time.) We’ve been drinking a lot of cucumbers on the Farm, blended with various herbs and fruity goodness. Store yours in the fridge if you’re not going to eat/drink em in a couple of days.
  • Onions
  • Beans – This week it’s 3 colors and 8 varieties! The larger, somewhat flattened greens are a typo of pole bean called “Grandma Mary’s Tricot”-something, which re currently twining their way to the heights of the high tunnel. Most other beans become quite tough at a size that these seem to remain tender and juicy.

 

spying on Kristin making fermented crock cucumbers
spying on Kristin making fermented crock cucumbers

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storm brewing over the Saint Croix Falls Farmers Market
storm brewing over the Saint Croix Falls Farmers Market

 

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