This week finishes off the month of July, and begins August. That means summer is about half done.
A lot of our crops are done as well, and we are beginning some new vegetables & fruit.
Raspberries, broccoli, snow peas & lettuce – all finished!
Peaches, tomatoes, beans, eggplant & peppers are beginning – it’s a very good time of the summer!
Here are a few random & educational peach facts …
This is mostly a rerun of a blogpost I wrote last summer, but I will repeat it especially for our new CSA members.
- Peach season here in Niagara begins at the end of July or in early August, and finishes around the middle of September – depending on the weather.
- On our farm we grow 25 varieties of peaches. Each variety ripens at a different time, making for a longer peach season.
- We pick a peach tree 3-5 times, usually every 2 or 3 days, choosing only the ripe, mature fruit each time. A ripe peach will have a yellow background, not green. It will still be firm but not hard. While a soft peach will be the ripest & sweetest, it will not stand up to picking, packing & shipping to market.
- A peach will continue to ripen & will soften if left at room temperature. It should only take a day or 2.
- Ripe peaches can be stored in the fridge without affecting the flavour.
- Each variety of peach has a name. It comes with this name – we don’t name it! The name often indicates the origin of that variety. Peaches that were bred at the government-run agricultural research station at Vineland have names beginning with “V” such as Vivid, VeeBlush, Vinegold. (Now called The Vineland Research & Innovation Centre, it is again breeding peaches which is very exciting). Names beginning with “H” were developed at the Harrow Research Station (Harrow Diamond, Harrow Dawn, Harbrite… ). New Haven, Michigan is the home of Redhaven, Sunhaven & all the other “haven” peaches. Lately, new peach varieties come from private breeding programs in Michigan including the “star” series of peaches (Starfire, Blushingstar, Coralstar …).
- Redhaven is the most widely known variety of peach. This does not mean it is the best, or tastes the best, or even looks the best. To reject a peach simply because it is not a Redhaven means you are missing out on an abundance of good peaches.
- “Freestone” is not a variety of peach. Freestone means that the flesh of the peach is not tightly attached to the pit or stone. “Clingstone” means that the flesh is tight to the pit. To reject a peach because it is not freestone means that you are missing out on an abundance of good peaches. Sure it is a bit more work to cut or chew around the pit – but it’s worth it! Most of the earlier peaches are clingstone. Peaches ripening from mid-August on are mostly freestone.
- Most peaches grown in Ontario are for eating fresh, not for canning or processing. Except for a few small peach processors, there is no canning industry left in the province. The last canner shut it’s doors in 2008 sending production overseas. Any canned peaches on our supermarket shelves now come from other countries. Babygolds & other similar clingstone varieties that were grown for the canning market have now been mostly removed and replaced with other kinds of peaches (or grapes).
- Our peaches are sprayed with pesticides – fungicides for rot & disease, and insecticides for insects & bugs. We use both organic & chemical sprays. The weather is the main determining factor in how often & what kinds of pesticides we use. Orchards are monitored for insects & diseases and sprayed only as necessary. (Organic fruit is also sprayed – but with only organic pesticides). Growing peaches without any pesticides in our humid climate is not possible!
- Peaches can be canned, frozen, made into jam, grilled on the BBQ, used in baking (think peach pie, peach tarts, peach cake…), smoothies & milkshakes, ice cream and of course eaten fresh. No matter how you eat them, peaches taste great!
What’s in the box?
Peaches, tomatoes, green beans, zucchini, onions.
- It is exciting to have peaches for the first time this season. The variety is Harrow Diamond, an early, colourful, & delicious peach. Our peach packing line also washes them & brushes much of the fuzz off, leaving a smooth, ready to eat peach. Storage tip – peaches that will be eaten within a day or 2 can be left at room temperature to finish ripening & soften. The others should be stored in the fridge & brought out a day before eating.
- Their are enough tomatoes ripe now that we can begin to offer them in your CSA box. There will be a combination of large & cherry size, and possibly many colours.
- The 3rd new item in the share this week is green beans. The hot weather is bringing them on quickly.
- Zucchini & onions continue …
Here are 2 recipes that CSA members shared with us this week that feature zucchini. Thank you Taryn & Tamara!
1 large Zucchini
2 cloves of Garlic grated
¼ cup of onion grated
1 large Egg
¼ cup of Parmesan grated
¼ cup of flour
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Grate the zucchini, salt and place in colander or cheese cloth to drain as much as the liquid as possible, you want dry zucchini
- In a large bowl combine zucchini, flour, parmesan, garlic, egg, salt and pepper
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Scoop tablespoons of batter for each fritter and flatter with a spatula for even cooking, until golden brown – about two minutes. Flip and cook the other side – about 1-2 minutes.
- I’ve used green, yellow, and red onions, I tend to use whatever I have lying around but they are both tasty
- I’ve completely omitted the cheese and they still taste delicious (if I do use the cheese, I generally need to add less salt)
- You can swap out regular garlic for garlic scapes, just chop them up finely
- I’ve used white flour, whole wheat flour, rice flour, and also Italian breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs instead of flour and they all work, you may just have to adjust the amount you add, you want to make sure the batter will stick together in the pan and not fall apart on you (or alternatively be really too wet and fall apart on you)
- Feel free to add anything else you may think taste delicious! I tend to use these “fritters” as a base to help use leftover CSA basket items!
Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Bundt Cake
The link to the recipe is – http://cake-decorating.wonderhowto.com/how-to/make-vegan-chocolate-zucchini-bundt-cake-344598
Everyone was warm & weary today due to the hot, humid temperatures.
Keeping hydrated was important!
Some of us had to work regardless of the heat while others were able to take it easier!
July 28, 2015 at 12:43 pm
Thanks. Another great blog. Had no idea that you grew that many varieties of peaches!! Hedy