The early summer lull, so rejuvenating after the frantic labors of Spring, is no more – the garden has caught up to us, and is firing vegetables at us faster than we can catch them or take cover. In Spring, we harvested everything available to fill your boxes – now, we have to be choosy, and not harvest all kinds of perfectly delicious veggies. (And even then we’ll harvest more than can be fit inside, and you’ll get a cabbage and a bag of edamame on the side …)
The weeds are getting uppity, and going into seed production mode – no more mulching the field with their corpses, we must remove their millions of future weedlings, to appease the future-us. We’ve pulled out many cubic yards of ragweed, pigweed, smart weed, lambs quarter, bindweed, foxtail, quack and crab grass, hell, every kind of grass that exists in this region. If we consider it entertainment and not just work, we’re really getting one heck of a good deal with it all.
The tomatoes of the field are being slowly consumed by early blight – soon, they will be Charlie Brown Xmas trees. Heirloom tomatoes are sadly prone to disease, and once blight is introduced it spreads inexorably. We trim off spotted leaves daily to slow the advance, and will be fortifying them as we can with the stuff tomatoes thrive upon. Inside the high tunnel, the plants are looking much better – the biggest problem has been trellising failure due to the weight of them.
The cucumber beetles that pillaged the garden this spring have subsided – although their larvae remain in the soil feeding on the roots, the adults are scarce enough that we have good hope for the second planting coming up now; when we remove the covering fabric so they can be pollinated, the plants will be large enough to better withstand a beetling, which should be mild at worst at this time of year.
The mosquitoes are another story … they’re active all day many days, and there is no shortage of them. However, we floated down the Saint Croix for a couple hours on Sunday, and oh my god the skeeter gauntlet we had to run to get into and out of that river gave us both PTSD and the perspective needed to never complain about the relatively benign suckers on the Farm again.
Finally, this was the week that canning began! We pickled some okra, 14 pints of beets, and put up some cabbage/pepper relish too. Let us know if you’re looking to buy extras of anything for your own preservation projects – if we can, we’d be happy to hook it up!
Box #10: a fine box, indeed.
Carrots – 4 varieties, 2 colors this week … a quirk of planting led to an abundance of fascinating forked shapes for your entertainment.
Edamame – Snack on it! Boil in salted water until the pods turn bright green (~4 min), toss with more salt if you like salty, toss and serve hot, warm, or chilled. Practice this week – more are coming!
Cabbage – Savoy or Red varieties. If it’s not red, it’s the Savoy. Savoy is a more tender leafed cabbage, while the Reds are sturdier. We often like eating cabbage fresh – it’s crunchy and sweet. Perhaps try a with vinegar-based coleslaw? I recommend sauteeing it in a a pan with some onions, salt and pepper. Serve over egg noodles and invite us to dinner.
Tomatoes – an heirloom medley, yo.
Eggplants – Asian and Italian – See the newsletter title! Eggplant is a seriously undervalued veggie in this culture … get on board the eggplant train. Or be pushed in front of it.
Sweet Corn – Eat it now! Or soon anyway. The longer you wait, the more sweet sweet sugar is converted to less sweet sweet starch. I like it raw, but many people boil it first, or nuke it. The primary advantage is making it hot enough to melt delicious butter all over.
Herbs: Basil, Fennel, & Savory – wash your basil before you use, because we didn’t get to it this week!