This past week we ended up with an unexpected 4-figure plumbing issue that at least didn't do any long-term damage, though it certainly wiped out any profit we might have made lately. August is always a bit of a slog, as we start to get tired and look forward to fall, but it's been especially frustrating this year. On the good side, the weather has been gorgeous lately and our latest plantings of squash and cucumbers are performing wonderfully at the moment. We've also had good yields on small plantings of watermelons and cantaloupe, which are grown only for us but have been delightful additions to our summer diet.
I'd like to be writing more for the blog; there are no end of both on-farm and larger policy issues to discuss and document. But it's just too busy, I'm too tired, and have wanted to spend that precious sitting-down time on other things like good books or napping. Apologies for a less regular blog lately, but it's free, so that's life.
MARKET THIS WEEK
Photos below are from this time, 2010, but are a good representation of some market items available this weekend, though the variety ratios may be a bit different. Just a reminder, everything we sell at market is only a few days old* and should have a shelf life throughout the week or longer; save yourself mid-week shopping by picking up a good supply of produce.
*Exceptions being cured and shelf-stable items like garlic and onions.
Cucumbers: A mix of standard greens, sweet heirloom yellow/whites, and picklers. The whites and yellows are extra-sweet but seedier, while the greens are pretty standard. Pickles, cucumber salads, gazpacho, fresh snacks...there are many ways to use lots of fresh cucumbers.
Hot peppers: Green anaheim & jalapeno hot peppers. Stuff anaheims with chevre and roast for a tasty meal or snack; roast with tomatoes and/or tomatillos for excellent salsa; include in any sauce or stew for good flavor and a light heat. Jalapenos make great salsa and more.
Sweet peppers: Red and yellow sweet peppers are starting to yield well, though slowly. We don't grow full sized bell peppers, but we've found several varieties of open-pollinated/heirloom sweet peppers that we think have amazing flavor and can be used just like bell peppers. These include: Doe Hill Golden Bell, a sweet, roundish, yellow-orange pepper that is Joanna's favorite; Sheepnose Pimento, a sweet red pepper shaped similarly to the Doe Hill; Chervena Chushka, a pointy sweet red pepper with nice thick walls (& very slow to ripen this year); and Jimmy Nardello's Italian Frying Pepper, an all-purpose narrow pointy pepper that is Eric's favorite.
Salad/sauce tomatoes: Golf-ball-sized tomatoes with firm, meaty flesh and good flavor. Great for roasted salsas or sauces; also for salads because they hold together and don't splort everywhere.
Edamame: This should be the largest amount we'll have at once this year. We're in the heart of the last good plantings; those after this were devastated by voles and rabbits and will be producing little to nothing. These may last more than 15 minutes for once!
Okra: Two varieties, really producing well right now. Fry it in salted cornmeal, add to soups/stews/beans, use in Indian cooking...Okra also freezes very easily; just pop it in a freezer bag (no blanching) for easy use in winter stews. We freeze it by the gallon this way.
Garlic: All varieties available this week. Roast it, grill it, make salsa, make pesto...what meal doesn't use garlic this time of year?
Herbs: Parsley, sage, thyme, mint, tarragon, oregano, green coriander, and possibly more depending on what looks good at harvest time.
NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Cherry & slicer tomatoes are done; disease is rapidly taking hold and reducing both yields and quality below what we're willing to take to market. Another, later planting of regular tomatoes is also going downhill fast and may not yield much fruit. Other folks we know have also struggled with tomatoes this year, which is really frustrating given that we expected the dry weather to reduce problems compared to the wetness of the last few years. Such is farming.
Tomatillos are done, too, for similar reasons. These always start to tail off about this time, and we want to hold back the remaining harvests for our own preservation, as we haven't put many up yet.