Fresh Earth Farms - CSA

Transfarming

Okra flower

This week we transition the farm from the cool Spring to the hot Summer. What does that mean? Maybe this newsletter will tell us. But first the announcements.

Since I don’t know what else to announce, I will reannounce last week’s announcement. Then on to this week’s “news”.

We grow a variety of hot peppers each year. For delivery folks we like to keep a list of people who want them and how hot you want them. On farm people can choose their own from the hot pepper bin. So, for you delivery members, if you would like us to include hot peppers please let me know and how hot — from one to five — you’d like them. For those who have been with us awhile you’ll have to resubmit your request since last year’s list is not to be found.

Also, the hot peppers aren’t ready yet. We are just getting ready for them to be ready.

What will we have this week?

More green onions (I included recipes that use a bunch of these below), more garlic (at this stage it isn’t really green garlic anymore. You can use it now or let it dry to use it later), some kale, some broccoli, some kohlrabi, zucchini, a few cucumbers, a few pickling cukes, some broccoli, some basil, some chard, a couple of eggplants, some snap peas, some snow peas, and some things I forget. By the way, garlic scapes last a long time in the fridge so don’t feel like you have to eat all the scapes you got last week in one meal. Spread out the joy over many weeks!

It is an EggShare, FruitShare and FlowerShare week. The fruits this week are cherries, blueberries, plums, nectarines and strawberries. The eggs this week are chicken eggs.

Farm News

It looks like we are finally transitioning into the warm season crops. That isn’t to say that we are done with the cool season crops, just that we are finally getting some of the warm season crops as well. What is a warm season crop? I guess the best way to describe them is that they would rather live just about anywhere else but Minnesota. Let’s take a quick tour of these delicious crops.

First cherry tomatoes!

The cherry tomatoes are starting to mature. The sun golds are the first to ripen and in my opinion the sweetest cherry tomatoes. It will be a couple of week before we have enough to give out. The large tomatoes are still a ways away from maturing. I don’t have an ETA for them yet.

I saw a few of the Japanese eggplants. I’m surprised their aren’t more. The plants have been flowering for the last several weeks and the flowers are self-pollinating. They’ve also received plenty of moisture and look healthy except for the potato beetle damage, which isn’t greater than other seasons. It could be the rains have washed away the pollen before the flower pollinated but that seems a stretch to me. Maybe I’m just impatient.

We picked the first cucumbers! This first planting of cukes had a rough start with the high winds. We lost more than we typically do so the cukes may be in short supply until the second planting starts producing. Plus this is a new variety for us so we have no idea how productive it will be. We couldn’t get our standard cucumber variety in untreated seeds this year so we had to switch. Hopefully, we should start seeing a few more in the next week or two. Oh, and the pickling cukes seem to be doing well so we have those to look forward to.

Eggplant

Our first planting of sweet corn is tasseling and silking. But it was also planted in a low lying area that saw a lot of flooding. I am still hopeful we’ll get something out of them but the ears may be small. The second and third planting are looking better.

Zucchini are start to come on strong. This would be a good time to find the zucchini cookbook you put away last fall. I need the bees to find them though since I noticed a fair number of female fruits that abort due to insufficient pollination. Maybe a week of dry weather will get them flourishing.

The tomatillo plants are looking healthy! It could be a good tomatillo year (or not — there is plenty of time for something to go wrong still).

Tomatillo

The fennel is looking good. Maybe a week or two before we hand out fennel.

The okra aren’t as deer eaten as previous seasons. We harvested a few this week. Hopefully we’ll see a lot more in the coming weeks (is that a good thing?)

Other warm season crops are still a ways away. Melons and watermelons are doing ok. Not great. The wet weather seems to have allowed for diseases to get a foothold. I hope we can keep the deer and crows off them so that we get some for ourselves.

Our first planting of beans has been eaten by the deer. Very frustrating. We tried using the “grow in the weeds like the peas” technique (which by the way worked fairly well) in hopes the deer wouldn’t find them. Didn’t seem to work. Time for some other idea.

The sweet potatoes did not fair well when we transplanted them. Sweet potatoes arrive as “slips”, small cuttings of a mother plant. The preference is to plant these slips as soon as they arrive. We had about a week of wet weather when they arrived preventing us from getting them in in a timely manner. They had started to rot before we could get them planted. I’d estimate only about half of them survived. Farming in wet weather is a new experience for us. We have much to (re)learn.

Some of the winter squash plants

The winter squash and pumpkins are doing reasonably well. We have a lot of cucumber beetles this season which can spread diseases that kill the plants. There isn’t a great organic pesticide to kill cucumber beetles so I’m doing a lot of finger crossing to see if that helps get rid of them. So far it isn’t working.

The potatoes are looking good! I dug up a couple of plants this week. The potatoes were still a bit smaller than we’d like when harvesting them. Maybe next week or the week after at the latest.

I guess that is about all for the warm season crops.

Recipes

I’ve been remiss in not including recipes in the recent newsletters. No reason other than not enough time and I suppose most of our members are already familiar with the newfangled, electronic recipe box called the world wide web and how to access the many recipes stored within it. But, maybe it is time for me to saddle up and give you a few suggestions. So here are a couple of recipes you may want to consider!

For some of the garlic scapes you got last week I highly recommend putting a couple in a food processor, grinding them up, then throw in a block of cream cheese and mix it all together. It makes a delicious garlic cream cheese spread!

With all the green onions we’ve been giving out I figured you could use a few recipes. Green onions soup seems to be quite popular. I tried this recipe and it was fairly good though it seemed like it was missing something. This recipe includes soy sauce which might be the thing missing from the first recipe. Finally, this recipe broils (or I suppose you could grill them too) the onions before making the soup. I think this would be the tastiest but I haven’t tried it yet. It also includes kale, which could use another of the items we are giving out these days. I wonder if using zucchini instead of potatoes in these recipes would work?

The following recipe is one of my favorite ways to use kale. It is delicious. It is nutritious. And after I eat it I feel healthier. How is that even possible? Give it a try!

Kale Feta Cranberry Salad

A delicious way to use a bunch of kale.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Salad
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch kale chopped/shredded
  • 8 oz feta cheese crumbled
  • ½ c dried cranberries
  • ½ c sliced almonds
  • 1 medium apple sliced into bite-size pieces

Dressing

  • ½ c olive oil
  • ¼ c lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced or crushed
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Instructions
 

  • Wash, stem and chop kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. Add to large bowl.
  • Add feta, cranberries, sliced almonds and apple slices to kale.
  • Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, salt and pepper.
  • Pour dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Notes

We’ve substituted blue cheese for the feta and pears for the apples.  Both worked quite nicely!
Keyword Kale

Here is a recipe for the zucchini using garlic scapes!

Parmesan Zucchini with Garlic Scapes

A delicious way to use a lot of zucchini
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 people

Equipment

  • 1 Food processor optional

Ingredients
  

  • 4 zucchini sliced into 1/4" thick disks
  • 4 garlic scapes or green garlic finely chopped or processed in food processor
  • 4 T butter or olive oil
  • ½ c Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions
 

  • Slice zucchini into 1/4" disks
  • Finely chop garlic scapes or process in a food processor
  • Melt butter in pan over medium heat
  • Add zucchini in single layer
  • Cook until bottom is lightly browned
  • Flip over zucchini and add garlic to pan
  • Cook until bottom of zucchini is lightly browned
  • Remove from heat and add parmesan cheese
  • Serve warm

Notes

Adding garlic early gives you a more crispy garlic.
Keyword Garlic, Zucchini

This newsletter has a recipe for Lemon Parmesan Chard.

That’s enough recipes for this newsletter. Makes up for the missing recipes from the past.

Joke of the Week

What did one blueberry say to the other blueberry?

If you weren’t so sweet, we wouldn’t be in this jam.

As always, do not hesitate to send in questions, comments, jokes, etc. I have plenty of room in my inbox!

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