>THIS WEEK’S SUBSCRIBER MENU:
• Fava Beans
• Napa Cabbage (see Winter Makeup Week 1 for recipe ideas) or Swiss Chard or Kale
• Salad Onions
• Purple Basil or Sorrel or Marjoram
Rival apricots from Rama Farms in Bridgeport
(My plan was to have apricots again this week, but Rama Farms was short and I was only able to get half of what we needed for the full week. Then I tried to get cherries to complete the other half but cherry season is nearly over and the fruits are very expensive again. Then I thought I’d be able to get blueberries to finish off, but the organic blueberry farm in Puyallup is rained out. I’m still on the hunt for blueberries for next week though. Long story short–there is only half the fruit you deserve this week, but it’s not my fault!)
U-PICK THIS WEEK:
Sorry, there is no u-pick this week.
• Stir-Fry Greens
Just as we lost a lot of crops in the heat two weeks ago, we similarly lost a lot of crops in the unseasonal rain last week. What a mess! The lettuce that didn’t bolt to seed two weeks ago rotted last week. We tried to pick some on Sunday and it was just black slime inside. Really gross. I don’t know how they grow this stuff in warm, wet climates. Probably lots of fungicides.
Last week we were ready to plant all of our winter crops, and time is getting tight. We’ve had another delay now, although we’ve had so much water they should germinate and grow quickly. And, did I mention that all the rain probably saved us nearly $1000 on our water bill? That’s a lot of zeros! The zucchini and beans are coming along quickly, blooming away, and the broccoli is rapidly forming heads. Shouldn’t be long now for all that good summer stuff. There are loads of green tomatoes, and a few red ones in the greenhouse so they need to finish getting pruned and trained. And about three weeks worth of weeding needs to get done this week. It’s amazing how much quicker the weeds grow than the rows of what we plant. Some things we can’t even find right now because the weeds are so big. And you just can’t weed in the rain, the effort is futile. So, just as with any weather extreme, some crops have thrived and some have failed. There won’t be any lettuce for a little while, until the newest patch comes of age. Luckily we have plenty of other things to eat.
July is when the winter crops need to be planted because when the days get short in fall everything stops growing. Every day that we delay now is about a week of delay into the winter. Next month it will be like two weeks later for every day we are late. Winter planting is very time sensitive. All of those winter plants–kale, broccoli, whatever–need to be nearly full size by October in order to get through the winter as a harvestable plant. With all the regular harvesting to do, plus all this planting and cultivating for winter, July and August give us no free time for anything.
And yet, this is when the farm looks its worst. Overgrown weeds everywhere, fences falling apart, etc. It bothers me that we can’t keep the farm looking tidy, but I have finally realized that in order for that to happen we need to hire a groundskeeper. Someone whose only job is to keep fences clean and spread chips around in the driveways. That isn’t going to happen any time soon because we can barely afford to pay our workers as it is. In September we’ll have a bit of time to tidy up maybe. Usually about the time we wrap up our summer season and it’s too rainy for all of you to wander around the farm. I did find someone who wants to work on our cut flower garden in exchange for a share, so we can still get some fall flowers in and tidy up that area. What a relief. We haven’t had time to get to that project. We haven’t even had time to cut the grass in our front yard. I haven’t cleaned my house in weeks, and I barely keep up with the dishes and laundry, only because if I don’t we run out of clothes and dishes! I am really looking forward to fall this year.
But summer is finally gearing up again here. With a few more days of heat the blooming zucchini and beans will be ready, and the broccoli and cabbage will head up. The tomatoes will ripen and hopefully we’ll have some salad greens again. And we’ll have more choices of what to harvest.
This is the last week for fava beans, so enjoy them or freeze them for later. I’m including a few extra beet recipes, special requests from previous years. And, don’t forget that you can use the napa cabbage as a cole slaw/salad base. You can also sauté it.
BOILED BEETS & BEET GREENS WITH HORSERADISH DRESSING
3 good-sized Beets (about 12 ounces)
8 ounces trimmed Beet Greens
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 tsp. Red Wine Vinegar
2 tsp. Prepared Horseradish
1/4 tsp. Salt, or to taste
1 very small Garlic Clove, peeled and crushed to a pulp
1. Put the beets to boil in a large pot with water to cover them by several inches. Boil until they are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Prod with the tip of a knife to test doneness. Peel, cut in half lengthwise and then crosswise into 1/3-inch-thick slices.
2. Bring 12 cups of water to a rolling boil. Drop in the beet greens and boil about 12
minutes or until they are just tender. Drain.
3. Combine the beets and greens in a shallow serving dish. Mix the remaining ingredients and pour the dressing over the beets and greens. Mix gently and serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.
2 pounds Beets, well-rinsed
1/2 cup Sugar
5 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
1/4-cup Fresh Orange Juice
2 tsp. Cornstarch
Salt and Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
Grated Zest of 2 Oranges
1. Place the beets in a medium-size saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until tender—40 to 50 minutes for large beets. Drain and rinse under cold water to cool. Slip off the skins, and cut the beets into 1/4-inch dice. You should have 4 cups. Set them aside.
2. Combine the sugar, vinegar, orange juice, cornstarch, and salt and pepper in a heavy saucepan. Whisk well and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is clear and thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the butter and zest, and cook just until the butter has melted.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce over the beets. Toss gently. Serve hot or at room temperature.
HOT OR COLD CREAMY BEET SOUP
3 medium Beets, scrubbed
5 Scallions, green and white parts finely chopped
3 Eggs, hard-cooked and diced
1 medium Cucumber, seeded and diced
4 cups Buttermilk
4 cups Whole Milk
1 tbsp. Finely Chopped Dill, plus more for garnish
Salt and Pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Place beets in a small raosting pan with 1/2 cup water. Cover with foil and bake until easily pierced with a sharp knife, 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on size. Allow beets to cool slightly, then run under cold water and slip off their skins.
3. Grate the beets into a large pot. Add the scallions, egs, cucumber, buttermilk, milk, and dill; stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepepr to taste. Serve immediately, or warm over low heat before serving. Garnish with fresh dill if desired.