Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wed/Thurs - Week 8


I hope you are doing well. This week, our small shares have red beets with their greens, green tomatoes, string beans, gold new potatoes, a lettuce, and green bell peppers. Our full shares have all of that except the beets and lettuce, and in addition have cantaloupe, basil or parsley, white chard, and eggplant.

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 some of our first new new potatoes of the season. When potatoes are harvested early in the season, before the plant has fully matured and died, they are called new potatoes. Because they are harvested early, they have a softer skin and a shorter shelf-life and should be kept in the refrigerator and eaten within a week or two. You will notice when cutting and eating them that they are a lot less starchy and a little sweeter than potatoes you usually get. You can prepare them any way you would a normal potato, the texture and taste will just be a little different (a little sweeter and crisper). Our many varieties of peppers are starting to come in strong, and this week we have included the first of our bell peppers. I trust you already know what to do with them. You should expect to receive various kinds of peppers almost every week now through the end of the season.

We have also included some of our first field-started tomatoes of the season; which I'm sure you will notice are still green. This is just a special thing we will do once at the begginning of tomato season and again when the first frost comes. Many of you might be thinking that we have included tomatoes for some time; so why are these just coming in. 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--some of the larger ones are easily $10 each). 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. Our tomatoes started in the fields are just coming into season now, and as they do, we will have lots more varieties and volume to include in the shares for you--so you should expect to receive more tomatoes almost every week from now through the middle of October as well. Green tomatoes have a crisply tart flavor and a firm texture--they should be pan fried (with bread crumbs), grilled, or broiled to soften up. Add a little salt and pepper and/or vinegar, and you've got yourself some delicious fried green tomatoes.

New this week in our full shares are our first cantaloupe and eggplant of the season. The cantaloupe has come in about a month early--consider it a Christmas in July miracle! If you've never had cantaloupe with prosciutto; I highly recommend running to the store--it is a summer treat that is not to be missed. Just slice the cantaloupe, wrap in prosciutto, and eat. Though melons are commonly served cold, and they are more refreshing that way, they have a stronger flavor when kept at room temperature. The same is true for tomatoes, they will lose their flavor if kept below 55 degrees, so they should only be put in the refrigerator if they are becoming too ripe and you have to put them there. I hope you are all familiar with eggplant, it has a light flavor and a spongy texture that makes it great in saucy foods. Popular preparations include eggplant parmesan, ratatouille, baba ghanoush, and moussaka.

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, peppers, tomatoes, beets, potatoes, onions, summer squash and melons from now through almost the end of the season. 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.

Please remember to return your bags.

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




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