We have some tomatoes this week in shares! This is an exciting addition that I know many share members have been anticipating! As the tomatoes are just starting to ripen we will just have a taste of the first tomatoes this week with greater quantities following in future weeks. We have had some slug damage to the tomatoes and I will sort out the worst. However, if I have to bring some damaged tomatoes (they have 1 - 2 small holes eaten in the side) I ask that each share member takes at least one tomato with some damage so that everyone gets a mix of both lovely and unlovely tomatoes. These damaged tomatoes should then be used first.
And the carrots are back again! I know carrots are also a sought after item for a lot of share members. You can expect carrots in most shares (but not every share) between now and the end of the season. And those with a carrot add-on will start receiving it this week. The zucchini and cucumber are starting to slow down a bit as the plants get older and disease moves into the patch. I am experimenting with a small second planting of cucumbers in one of our caterpillar tunnels so I'm hoping we can add some more cucumbers to shares in early September before our first frost hits. Our peppers are still looking pretty green but I see a hint of colour starting here and there so we may have the first sweet peppers in two weeks.
The garlic has all been harvested: special thanks to share member Ali for helping get the harvest finished! It will cure for another couple weeks and then we will have garlic in the shares off and on for the rest of the season.
Rob has been busy digging loads of burdock out of the pasture in an attempt to keep the alpaca from getting burrs in their fleece. Earlier in the summer we had the alpaca sheared and took the fleece to a local processor to have it cleaned, sorted, and made into both socks and yarn. If we're lucky, we should have some back before the end of the CSA season and available for share members to purchase. Alpaca fleece is warmer than sheep's wool and has the added benefit of being super soft without any of the scratchiness of sheep's wool.
A big task on the agenda this week is to do some of the last plantings of crops for the end of the season. We will be transplanting or seeding the following crops this week: broccoli, kale, winter kohlrabi, winter radishes, spinach, beets, lettuce, and arugula. These crops will provide a nice complement to the storage crops that are already in the field waiting for the fall shares. These storage crops include: potatoes, carrots, onions, leeks, garlic, winter squash, Brussel sprouts, and cabbage. It's pretty amazing how many different crops we can pack into a 20-week season!
After a few weeks of green and yellow beans, I thought share members would be interested in some new recipes and ideas for using up the beans. After this week we will take a week or two break from beans but then we will return with some green beans for a couple more weeks, once our second planting starts producing. I see beans as the classic sign that summer vegetables are on the horizon and grocery store beans in the mid-winter do not even compare to freshly picked beans. Here are some recipes to try:
Green and Yellow Beans with Wild Mushrooms
Lacto-Fermented Dilly Beans
Green Bean Casserole