We loved that rain shower this week! The night before we were up late planting carrots and beets that will be storage crops throughout the winter. I can’t imagine what farming would have been like before having the weather report available at your fingertips at any moment!
Carrots are a tricky crop because they take a while to germinate which gives weeds a chance to beat them out. We take a lot of time prepping carrot beds to make sure the carrots win. First, we chisel plow and then disk the area to break down the cover crop and kill off anything else that might be growing. Then we wait a week or so to let the soil digest the green trash. We make raised beds with our bed shaper, water them and wait two weeks to allow the weed seeds to germinate. Next, we run the tine weeder over the beds, which only disturbs the very top few inches of soil to kill the baby weeds without pulling up more seeds. Finally, we are ready to plant the carrots!
Once the seeds are planted we wait anywhere from 5-13 days depending on the weather and take a flame weeder over the beds to burn up any quick germinating weeds before the carrots are up. The flame weeder is pretty slick, it has 4 torches that hover about 5 or 6 inches over the bed and rolls slowly over burning everything up. It is the only real way to get the weeds without damaging the teeny tiny carrots about to pop. Once they are up we take our cultivation tractor over the beds every week but we will still need to hand weed each bed one time.
It’s a lot of work but we are getting better and better at it each year, making the hand weed a less intense ordeal.
July 18th, Week 7
Clockwise from top: Beets, cherry tomatoes, leeks, eggplant, blueberries (thanks to Half Moon hill), peppers, head lettuce, slicing heirloom tomatoes, green bean, zucchini/summer squash, cucumbers, potatoes, flower! Please enjoy.
Thanks for the blueberries Half Moon Hill Farm! We traded vegetables for blueberries to share with you all. Small shares should get them next week.
In your box this week…
Blueberries!!!- Fulls this week
Weekly Serving Suggestions:
Head Lettuce– Fresh, crisp and refreshing. Head lettuce stores well in a bag in the fridge. And works great for wraps and sandwiches. I’d recommend a BLT.
Sage- Drier than your average fresh herb, sage works well for frying, just a quick minute will crisp them beautifully and leave the oil in the pan flavored too. Try chopping some onto roasted new potatoes. Stores well in a bag in the fridge.
New Potatoes– Not for storage. These beautiful baby red potatoes are so lovely! Pretty red skins are tender (no need to peel) and appetizing. These are young spuds that will work very well for potato salad, boiled or roasted potatoes. Not the best for baking or mashing. My favorite is to boil them until just tender, but not crumbly. Then toss them with butter, salt and pepper, then top with fresh parsley. These potatoes are not mature/cured so store them in the fridge until ready to use, will keep for several weeks in a bag or crisper. But fresher is better. Wash and dry them then coat with oil and sage. Fry or roast them until crispy outside. Season with salt, Sage and a dash of vinegar if you like!
Green Peppers– Fresh and crunchy, perfect for dipping. I love hummus and veggies this time of year. Also great diced into the Potato Salad. Or with fried new potatoes. Stores well in the fridge.
Leeks– Fresh tender leeks are a joy to work with, great for stirring into soups, but in this weather, I prefer to split them down the middle, wash and dry them, then coat with olive oil salt and pepper, before roasting them on the grill. Leeks store well in the crisper drawer.
Beets– Bold and beautiful. Roasted or grilled beet wedges are great on a salad or slice them thin for a pizza topping. Beet greens are great too, sautee them with eggs or potatoes. Remove them from the beets for the best storage. Betts will keep well in the crisper drawer, greens keep best in a bag.
Zucchini- Great on the grill, but also good in a stir fry if you don’t cook them too long. We eat them marinated in salad dressing cut into slices or spears and just raw as a side.
Green Beans – Fresh and tender. Great for raw snacking with or without dip. Also great chopped and blanched to add to your Potato Salad! Stores well in the crisper with the vent closed. These hold up well to quick high heat, perfect for grilling or roasting.
Slicing Tomatoes- Store out of the fridge for best quality, in the fridge for longest shelf-life. It’s tomato season again! These slicers are big and beautiful, but also full of flavor (because they’re picked ripe.) That also means that they are juicy (since that’s where the flavor is!) A tomato like this is a whole different food than what you typically find in a supermarket. Enjoy in thick slices with salt or pesto. Chop to pair with roasted potatoes, or salt and strain to add to potato salad, reserve the juice for your aoli (homemade mayo).
Cherry Tomatoes– Best left out of the fridge! So fresh, so good, so easy. Just one of my kids will handily eat a whole pint in a sitting if we’re not careful. Use as a ready snack or to dazzle with a few halved on a salad or the side of a plate—to really make it pop! Stores on the counter out of direct sunlight.
Eggplant– Most of us don’t get too excited about eggplant. But eggplant do an amazing job of soaking up and holding on to delicious fats and oils. Sautee them with bacon or soak them in olive oil before grilling. Either way, they’re delicious! Stores well in the crisper drawer.
Coffee Organic Mexico Coffee-
Veggie Love Pile
If you’ll pardon the salacious name, this is how we often refer to a bunch of seasonal veggies all kept as whole as possible (to still be appealing) and each roasted to perfection before being mixed together and dressed.
This can be made almost any time of year with whatever is seasonally available. I’ll describe how I’d do it with the contents of this week’s box. The key is timing and/or sizing and the result is well, delicious.
-1 lb small new potatoes left whole or halved depending on size.
-2-3 medium beets quartered
-1 green pepper, cut into 8 pieces
– 2 leeks quartered into long thin spears
-1 large handful of green beans topped
-1 medium/small zucchini, cut into ½ rounds
-1 small eggplant, chopped into ½ “ half-moons
-1/2 cup good olive oil, separated
-several leaves of fresh sage (or any other herb)
-2 splashes of good vinegar or lemon juice
-salt and pepper (to taste)
Wash and scrub potatoes, beets, and anything else you want. Then chop and dry, keeping separate. Toss each ingredient with oil, enough to coat before roasting.
Roast or grill on high heat the beets and potatoes until well browned but still slightly firm inside. Remove from heat and add to a large serving bowl. Toss with plenty of salt, black pepper, and chopped herbs.
Roast or grill eggplant, zucchini and leeks all together in a roasting pan or fine grill grate. Until lightly charred. Add to potato mixture.
Roast or grill beans and peppers until bright green and just tender, then add to mixture and toss with vinegar and any remaining oil
Garnish and serve while still warm.