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CSA 2016 – week 12

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The calendar says it’s nearly the end of August – but we have been planting like it’s spring!

The ground is moist from the recent rains (finally), so we are taking advantage of it.

Today we seeded lettuce mix, radishes, Asian greens, salad turnips & kale, and transplanted Chinese cabbage & kale. Tomorrow we’ll seed some more …

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Late summer can be a time of good growth for vegetables. The heat & humidity is usually easing, precipitation is more reliable and bugs & disease pressures are often less. All good things – for vegetables (as well as humans!). And so we plant.

Late plantings can also be risky. There are no guarantees that nice, growing weather will continue. If the temperatures cool considerably, seeds may not germinate as readily or grow quick enough. An early hard frost can kill off tender vegetables, and heavy fall rains can cause them to rot or even drown. But still we plant.

Chances are that we will have both successes & failures – but CSA & our farmers’ markets continue well into October. We need to have lots of fresh produce available until the end.

What’s in the box?

Cucumbers, mini romaine lettuce, blackberries, tomatoes,

garlic, onions, beets.

  • Our 2nd planting of cucumbers appears to be more successful than the first. So far we have been able to pick a few good quality cucumbers – at least enough for CSA this week. We grew both the normal green cucumbers as well as the ghostly white ones. As growers, we like the white ones for the simple reason that they are easier to see & pick among the green vines. Some people have trouble eating white cucumbers, but the taste is the same as the green ones – both taste great!
  • Mini romaine lettuce: As the name suggests, it’s not too big. Each head is just enough for a single, delicious salad.
  • The blackberries have certainly benefited from the rain. It takes a lot of moisture to ripen those large, shiny, juicy, dark berries. I’m guessing most get eaten immediately (perhaps even before they make it home). But they are also great in jams, fruit crumbles (see our favourite recipe back in week 1 newsletter), smoothies, ice cream …
  • The rain has been good news/bad news for the tomatoes. As much as the plants needed & loved the rain, the fruit has really cracked & spoiled. The cooler temperatures this week will also slow down their ripening but there should still be plenty in your share this week.
  • The garlic is now dry & can be safely stored at room temperature, preferably in a dry & darker place. It should keep until the end of the year at least, if stored properly.
  • There are still onions in the box this week. They may be red or white – both are the sweeter, Spanish types.
  • This week finishes off the beets. Certainly we have had more beets in your share this season than usual. They have been one of our more successful crops this year. Here’s a recipe for a favourite tomato & beet salad of ours, from Martha Stewart. It’s simple & delicious!

    Tomato-Beet Salad

    http://www.marthastewart.com/907476/tomato-beet-salad

     

    INGREDIENTS
    • 1 pound scrubbed small beets
    • 2 pounds tomatoes, preferably heirloom
    • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
    • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • Salt and pepper
    DIRECTIONS
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Seal beets in a foil packet. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet until tender, 75 minutes. When cool, rub beets with a paper towel to remove skins; slice. Slice large tomatoes, and halve cherry tomatoes, then arrange with beets on a platter. Top with feta, cilantro, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper.

Some pictures of last week’s CSA pick-up.

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