Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sunday - Week # 8




Hi,

I hope you are doing well and enjoying the cooler weather. This week, the small shares have mixed beets with their greens, cucumbers, patty pan squash, and green cabbage. The full shares have anaheim peppers, cucumber, red dazzler lettuce, okra, cauliflower, patty pan squash, and green cabbage.

We are very happy with how many members provided their feedback in the survey last week. I posted a summary of the results to our blog if you are interested in seeing what people had to say. This week, you also should have received an invitation to our Garlic Harvest event that is happening next week. I hope you will consider taking the time to visit some of our farms and get your hands dirty in what is probably the best smelling harvest of the year.

New in the small shares this week are our beets--one of my favorite items of the year. They are mostly comprised of red beets, but there is a mix of gold and chioggia (red and white striped--on the inside) beets as well. They each have different flavors, and everybody has their favorite, so I hope you will know your's soon. I enjoy them raw (though I think the red beets are better cooked), or cooked. You can prepare them pretty much any way you would a potato, but be aware the red beets will bleed their color quite a bit, and they have a tendency to dry out easily while cooking--so cook them in liquid or add a good bit of oil.

New this week in our full shares are our anaheim peppers and okra, and for many people our patty pan squash. The anaheim peppers have a 'light' pepper flavor with a wonderful medium spice to them. The okra can be stir fried, boiled, or sauteed. It is full of 'soluble fiber'; which means that when it is cut and cooked, especially for long periods of time, it develops a thick, gooey texture. Notably, okra is the traditional base/thickener of gumbo, and is a major staple food accross much of the world. If you prefer to avoid the gooey texture, simply cook it faster, and try to avoid cutting it open. We have rotated through a variety of summer squash for a few weeks now, so some of you have already received it, but the patty pan squash can be prepared any way other summer squash (zucchini, yellow squash) are prepared. Because of it's interesting shape, it's also possible to stuff, or slice and make 'pizzas' with on the grill. Just slice thin, par-grill, add sauce, toppings, cheese, and grill again until the cheese is melted and the squash is done to your preference.

There is an incredible amount of new produce coming into season right now, and you should expect a lot of new items in the weeks to come. We plan on continuing to rotate through our many varieties of beans throughout the summer, as well as peppers and tomatoes--which will start coming in earnest in the next couple of weeks. We also have eggplant, potatoes, and melons coming in, so you should expect all of those in the next couple of weeks, as well as a break from summer squash, cucumbers, and cauliflower. For our small share members, I know many of you feel we have included too many greens/lettuces so far. We are planning on continuing to include one green or lettuce in your shares each week, but not more than that throughout the summer. It's hard to believe, but it looks like we might have our first winter squash coming in toward the end of this month or the beginning of August. Once that is in, we will include a different variety (we grow 12) almost every week for the rest of the season.

We have received a number of comments on the heirloom tomatoes, all positive, but a lot of members have wondered why we haven't included more. Just so you know, the heirloom tomatoes we have included were all started very early as seedlings in our farmers' homes and greenhouses. As a result, we have been some of the first farms in Western PA to have heirloom tomatoes, by about a month, for a couple of years now. This means we are able to include them in the shares as a special treat very early sometimes, but we do not have a lot of them, and since they are so early, they command a good price and are quite expensive ($6-$7/lb at the stores we sell them to). This is why we have not included them more often, and when we have, why we tended to only include one or two in each share. It is still not even the beginning of 'normal' tomato season here though, and as our tomatoes started in the field come into season in the next couple weeks, we will be able to include them in larger quantities, and in all of the shares.

Please remember to return your bags.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.

Enjoy!

-Mark


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