We always get excited when the first tomatoes are ripe & ready for harvest.
The cherry tomatoes lead the way – orange, yellow, pink & red – along with some grape & smaller salad sized fruit. So far there have been just enough to tease our customers at market & prove the old adage – the early bird gets the worm (or tomato in this case). This week we are picking a few more, enough to also tease our CSA members & provide a small taste.
But this week is really a good news/bad news scenario.
Bad news first …
The lack of rainfall or drought as it’s being rightly called, is beginning to have a more noticeable effect on our CSA boxes. We could entitle it “what’s not in the box?
Raspberries are the biggest disappointment. They have come, and almost gone in a hurry. What began as a promising crop has been reduced by 90% – we’re only picking about 10% of an average crop. The rest have dried up. Other crops that have been lost or reduced include fava beans, the first plantings of broccoli & cauliflower, green beans, sweet onions, edamame. Peas – snow, shell & sugar snap – and spinach were good while they lasted, which was about half as long as usual. The losses will be felt right through the season since we have not been able to seed as many vegetables lately as planned. Everything has to be watered now in order to get it to germinate, & water is in short supply! Crops that have been transplanted are faring poorly. About 1/3 of our winter squash didn’t make it along with fennel, some lettuce …
The result is a CSA box that may be getting smaller instead of larger, and a table at the farmers’ market with less instead of more.
But there is good news!
As already noted, the tomato harvest has begun & they are looking good. We are watering them as much as we can & so far it’s paying off. The plants are outdoing themselves.
Peppers, eggplant & even artichokes have established themselves & are growing – albeit slowly. The winter squash that survived are beginning to runner & spread and have blossoms & small squash. Zucchini, the next plantings of broccoli, kale, collards, beets … are doing well.
Blackberries – one of our biggest crops – are looking good. We remain hopeful but know they require a lot of water as they ripen, more than we can give them.
So now that you know what’s happening on the farm…
What’s in the box?
Raspberries, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, collard greens, lettuce, zucchini, beets, green onions & garlic scapes.
- We picked raspberries today & were pleasantly surprised to find some nice ones. So there will be a small box in your share this week (Tues pick-up for sure, Friday is uncertain).
- Since there are only a few cherry tomatoes & a few broccoli, everyone will get one or the other.
- Collard greens – a delicious green but not as common or well-known as kale or chard or spinach. Collards are a nutritional goldmine, similar to kale & broccoli. They are low in calories, high in fibre, & rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium & B vitamins. They are rarely eaten raw, but are best prepared by boiling rapidly for 5-10 minutes which preserves nutrients, colour & taste. Then the collards are drained, dried & sautéed in a little oil with other vegetables or herbs & flavourings. Sauteeing collards without boiling first is another cooking method. It results in slightly stronger flavoured greens with a chewier texture.
- Lettuce makes a return appearance in the box this week – probably small heads rather than the mix we’ve had most weeks.
- Zucchini, beets, green onions & garlic scapes are all around for another week.
Here are 2 recipes – a simple collard green recipe & one for beet burgers that a CSA member passed on to us (thanks Cory!).
Sautéed Collard Greens
- collard greens
- several garlic scapes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Remove and discard stems and center ribs of collard greens. Cut leaves into 1-inch pieces. In a kettle of boiling water cook collards 5-10 minutes – until tender, but still bright green – and drain in a colander.
Mince garlic. In a heavy skillet heat butter and oil over moderately high heat until foam subsides and stir in garlic, collards, and salt and pepper to taste. Sauté collard mixture, stirring, until heated through, about 5 minutes.
Drizzle collards with lemon juice and toss well.
Quarter Pound Beet Burgers
Last week’s CSA box (half share)
Oliver & one of the Flynns – always reminding us to make time to relax & just chill!
July 13, 2016 at 7:50 am
Hooray for tomatoes! They look tasty, especially the ones that I think are sungolds? I have good memories of this variety, so I planted a couple in my community garden plot here in Kitchener. They’re not nearly as far along as yours, but I’m enjoying tending them and watching them grow.
Following your blog is a pleasure too. Thanks for all the pictures and posts.
July 16, 2016 at 7:49 pm
You’re right Dylan. They are Sungolds – good memory. Enjoy your tomatoes!