Thank you to everyone who provided feedback regarding interest in pasture raised meat products. There seems to be an interest in these products so we will do some planning and let share members know availability and pricing.
The tasks around here have shifted focus as we prepare for cooler weather and frost. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we can squeak out another 4 weeks frost free, but that might not be possible. Last year, our first frost was on September 11th, but that was a littler earlier than usual. Many of the fall crops you will receive in your shares in late September and October are either frost tolerant (leeks, kale, parsnips, carrots, spinach) or harvested and stored before the heavy freezes (onions, potatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, beets).
I know many share members (and me too!) are anxious for farm fresh tomatoes. We will have small quantities available in this week's share. Most likely it will be a choice between cherry tomatoes or slicing tomatoes. Last year we had a bumper crop of tomatoes that ripened in mid-August and continued producing until mid-October in our greenhouse. This year it looks like the crop will be much smaller, despite planting more tomatoes. The primary issue seems to be the weather. We didn't receive that week or two of hot weather typical of July, which gets all the heat loving crops a kick start. This combined with high levels of rain and cloud cover, have slowed ripening. Although I'm disappointed the tomato harvest won't be fantastic, I am feeling very grateful that we will be getting some tomatoes to enjoy. In conversation with area farmers, I have discovered that both our neighbours and another area market gardener have lost ALL their tomatoes due to blight. Blight is a fungal disease which tomatoes are extremely prone to and kills the vines and rots the tomatoes. It is a soil borne disease that is worsened by cool, wet weather. I see some small amounts of blight in our plants, but so far, the majority have been spared. This is one of the hardest parts of market gardening: spending time, energy, and money nurturing a crop to fruition only to have it die before you eyes. When the area market gardener was telling me about the loss of her tomatoes, she was close to tears and expressed how these kind of losses make her want to give up. I can completely empathize. A mixed vegetable gardener has other crops to fall back on: if one fails, another is there waiting to fill the gap. But can you imagine the heartbreak (and financial calamity) experienced by a farmer that specializes in one crop or product?! With the increased pressure from climate change, new pressures from imported pests, and the destructive effects of pesticides, crop and animal loss is becoming more worrisome. Nothing highlights the importance of being able to grow your own food, than when you aren't able to grow it.
Before I lose you all to sadness and worry, let me say that farming is not all loss and heartbreak! When I walk outside, I see animals peacefully grazing and bees busily collecting pollen from our beautiful blooming flowers. Our potatoes have grown to monster size and the lettuces are lush. The onions look and smell fantastic and our fall beets are sizing up nicely. Perhaps it's foolish optimism, but when I look around outside, I don't see weeds, disease, and destruction (well, OK, I do see these things); instead I see potential and the beauty and complexity of nature. I am humbled by my small role in the otherwise perfect symphony of plants, animals, insects, soil, sunshine, and rain.
Weekly Share Contents:
Swiss Chard OR Beans
Basil Zucchini Frittata
1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
6 large organic eggs, beaten
Sea salt and black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter or oil a 9-inch pie plate.
Place the zucchini slices on the bottom of the pie plate, sprinkle with the basil. Then add the beaten eggs, Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the grated Parmesan cheese, if using.
Bake for about 25 minutes. Slice and serve.
Taken from: Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten Free Recipes for the Whole Family by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre.