In case you missed it, we have some good news we wanted to share...
This is certainly the brightest spot for us in the toughest year. Unfortunately it's come with some physical restrictions for me - like no lifting - which has changed my job role significantly over the past month. I'm still packing shares, but the crew has been super helpful in moving around tons of crates, boxes, and trays for me. Thank you for all of the well wishes!
The crew also helped Randy catch up on most of the essential tasks that we fell behind on last week. This is 1,200 cabbages for the fall. The two rows of kale that we planted late last week all got fried because - surprise, surprise - the irrigation broke and we needed to wait for a delivery of a new piece. Luckily we had enough extra kale to replace it.
Here's Randy fixing more irrigation in the greenhouse.
Other tasks that we caught up on: tipping the canes of the blackberries and black raspberries, which means that the branches that are going to bear fruit next year will be bigger and stronger (the same concept as snipping off garlic scapes); weeding the berry field; harvesting more onions, especially the red ones which weren't previously ready; overhauling the greenhouse by weeding the beds and prepping for more fall planting; seeding cauliflower, broccoli, and kohlrabi for the fall; and redoing the irrigation on the fruit field to be more compatible with the changes we made to the well pressure last week. Phew! Randy feels significantly better about his to-do list this week.
These are raspberries and golden raspberries that we should harvest in the coming years around this time in the season. They're looking good!
Here's a quick peek on the butternut squash. It's fully grown but not yet the golden color that signifies ripeness. Since our Main Season was shifted back 2 weeks this season, this means there will be some fall squash for everyone in the final weeks of the program.
Here's a peek on the tomatoes. You can't tell from this photo, but the plants are loaded with ripe fruit now, so much so that we can barely keep up with the harvest.
Can you guess what these are?
Brussels sprouts! They'll still grow taller and then the little sprouts at the base of each of those leaves will form. Brussels sprouts are usually ready in November here.
Here's a shot of the farm - nothing really in particular to talk about, except that summer squash is to the left, kale is to the right. In the distance, those two rows of plastic mulch are ready for spinach to be planted this coming week.
Eggplant is fruiting but not as quickly as we'd like, so we're going to give it another week in the hopes that there is enough for shares.
We also polled you all in the Facebook group about whether or not you wanted green/wax beans this week. The result was that about 90% of you wanted beans. The bad news is that, as it turns out, there unfortunately won't be enough this week. The good news is that we will have more in the future (hopefully!) though they didn't germinate well due to the drought. The silver lining is that we've got a new item for you instead... potatoes!
This week you get to "Pick a Pint" - choose from grape tomatoes, husk cherries, or shishitos!
This is Emily, modeling our prized cabbage, Big Bertha. We decided to harvest her and let her live out her true purpose of being eaten. What should we make with her? How much do you think she weighs?
The correct answer is...
I previously noted Sunday, October 2nd as the date to save for 2023 subscription enrollment, but I forgot that we shifted it to Sunday, October 16th this year. There will be much more information to share in September, but we want to make sure you remember the correct date.
Do you have a clean out the fridge night? This was my go-to on Friday night when I had a bunch of miscellaneous veggies to take home: stir fry with broccoli, peppers, Asian eggplant, a red pepper, green beans, garlic, and zucchini noodles. It's amazing how just a little bit of each goes a long way. What are some of your favorite clean out the fridge meals? We'd love to see some of your clean out the fridge meals in our Facebook group!
In Your Share (Listed approximately from shortest shelf life to longest)
1 Pick-a-Pint (tomatoes, shishitos, or husk cherries)
2 lbs. of tomatoes
1 pint of tomatillos
2 lbs. of beets (no greens)
2 lbs. of potatoes
1 dried onion
1 Pick-a-Pint (tomatoes, shishitos, or husk cherries)
1 lb. of tomatoes
1 pint of tomatillos
1 lb. of beets (no greens)
1 lb. of potatoes
1 dried onion
Caring For Your Share (All of this information, plus long-term storage info, can also be found in our Vegetable Library of Resources)
Store shishito peppers in a plastic bag in the fridge. Wash when ready to use.
Store grape or cherry tomatoes in a bowl with lots of airflow on your counter. If stems are still attached, don't pull them off until you're ready to eat the tomatoes. Wash before using and enjoy within a few days.
Keep tomatoes out on the counter and out of direct sunlight, where they will get plenty of air flow. Do not put them in the fridge; it will dry out the tomatoes and change their consistency. Tomatoes continue to ripen after harvested, so use within a few days. To ripen a tomato quickly, put it in a paper bag in a dark place, like a cabinet.
Keep husk cherries in a bowl on your counter, where they will get plenty of air flow. Husk cherries will last for weeks and will continue to ripen; the husk will turn brown and dry out while the cherry will turn a deeper golden yellow. Peel the husk and wash when ready to eat.
Store beets in a plastic bag in the fridge. Beets can last up to a month when stored this way. Wash when ready to use.
Store potatoes in a mesh bag in a cool, dark place such as a cabinet or pantry, and ensure that they get plenty of air flow. Do not wash until ready to use, but wipe away dense soil, if any. Keep away from onions.
Store dry onions in a cool, dark, dry place, such as a pantry, cabinet, or cellar. Ensure that they have plenty of airflow; you can store them in a mesh bag. Keep them away from potatoes.
Keep tomatillos in a paper bag in the fridge. Peel the husk, wash, and use when ready to eat. Can be stored for a few weeks.
The LGF Cooking Club
30 Minutes or Less:
Large Share Additional Ingredients:
Biweekly Catch-Up (A copy of last week's updates)
It's been a really interesting week.
On Sunday night, we watched and waited to see if these gray skies would have mercy on us.
And then we watched as the rain clouds in the distance dumped measurable rain on another part of Shelton, passing over us yet again. This is the second time in the past couple of weeks that other locations within a couple of miles of us got measurable rain and we did not.
I never thought I would be the kind of person who cared about the weather forecast, but by mid-week our stress levels were through the roof as we had a big problem on our hands.
At our Booth Hill Rd. location, we water everything on a well. And as it stood mid-week, we started panicking because the well just wasn't able to keep up. This was the state of our pepper plants.
If you follow us on Instagram and Facebook, you got the long version of the story. I highly encourage you to follow us @laurelglenfarmllc for real-time stories and farm updates. Since we only post on the blog once a week, social media is the best way to see what's going on the rest of the time.
In a nutshell, we water all of our plants with drip irrigation. At the bottom of that pepper photo you can see a hole in the plastic mulch and catch a glimpse of a black tube. Those tubes are underneath our compostable plastic mulch on every raised bed on the farm. We turn them on and they live up to their name by dripping out water directly on the base of the plants.
Because we water on a well, we have to play the game of deciding which plants to prioritize watering and water them just enough to keep them alive before switching to the next crop. And because we use drip irrigation, it literally drips out to avoid water waste and takes essentially the entire night to soak the bed thoroughly. And because we aren't getting any significant rainfall, we need to rely entirely on the well.
So while Carly, Felicia, and I pulled peppers off of plants, Randy was meeting with a well company to figure out how we could increase the water pressure of the irrigation. After quite a few hours, they figured it out, which will allow us to ultimately water faster and more efficiently. The only drawback is ensuring that you don't use more water than the well is taking in. The well takes in 18 gallons per minute, so as long as we don't surpass that, we should be okay. We currently use 16.5 gallons per minute.
Here's a photo of the state of those peppers we were pulling off of plants.
When the plants shrivel up, the fruit does, too, and there's no getting these to revive. If you leave them on the plant, they're going to use up what little energy the plant has at this point to continue to try to keep that shriveled up pepper alive. It's a fruitless effort - pun intended. So, sadly, we needed to take every last shriveled up pepper off of the plants. (In case you're wondering, the food safety of these peppers is not good for consumption.)
What this unfortunately means in the long run is that the peppers have to start over from scratch. They'll start at the flower stage, make a green pepper, and then we have to wait a few weeks for them to turn red, orange, or yellow. Yes, another heartbreak right after the news of the yellow watermelon loss. Hopefully there were enough salvageable peppers on the plants that we'll have a trickle of colored peppers, but most likely, we are not going to have a substantial crop until maybe late September at this point. This is another big loss that only time will tell how it will result. We're also questioning whether or not we'll have pumpkins since they're in a spot without irrigation. This year has been really tough.
We really hate to let the negativity keep coming, but the dry conditions have also set us back in our goals. The excess work and headaches the weather has created mean that we are over a week late in our cabbage crop planting. It's Sunday and we still haven't even finished. Here we are, hustling on Friday at 5:00 to get an hour of planting in. We got 2 beds of kale planted, but there is still broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and collard greens to go.
One of our beloved past crew members Rory will be filling in this week before she heads back to UConn, and it's a blessing to be able to call on additional experienced farm hands.
We are almost caught up on our seeding, though. This week we seeded 1,500 Swiss chard plants, and in a silly stroke of luck, I seeded 768 Napa cabbages (in 6 128-cell trays) and had EXACTLY 768 seeds in the package. What are the chances?! I'll tell ya, I'd rather have luck in other ways, but we'll take the smiles.
In all seriousness, it's not all bad here. The reality is that this has been the hardest growing season for us personally and professionally. We're all kind of dealing with some personal things here too (maybe we can share more on that soon) and the weather is just fighting us every step of the way. But, we're thrilled to see that sales are up this season, support is sky high, and our community really keeps us going. Thank you for that!
Here are some really beautiful shots from the week.
Shishito peppers are in abundance.
And we got a really nice yield of cantaloupes! This week you get to choose between another cantaloupe or a red watermelon (the watermelons do have seeds, in case you are wondering). Delivery members will receive a watermelon. This is most likely the last of the melons for your shares, though whatever is left will continue to be in the store. Hopefully that information helps you to make a decision.
The hot peppers are just stunning. I highly recommend chopping them up and throwing them into the most unlikely of dishes... mac and cheese, pulled pork, even pasta sauce while you give it a simmer. A little bit goes a long way.
We took a rest from pulling peppers off of plants in the barn at Booth Hill. What a beautiful place to rest. We hope you all are having a good summer! This week marks the halfway point in our Main Season subscription program.
This week, you're all getting half a pint of husk cherries.
This is just enough to sample these sweet little fruits and decide what you think about them. Most likely after this week, since we've now all had grape tomatoes, shishitos, and husk cherries, we'll offer our Pick-a-Pint option and let you choose one for yourself. Husk cherries are super unique, and we recommend reading about them in the Library of Resources. I would describe them as a cross between a tomato and a pineapple. You just peel back the husk and eat the little fruit inside. I won't provide any recipes for them since you won't have enough to make a whole meal, but I recommend them sprinkled on cereal, yogurt, or even on toast with ricotta and honey. Let us know what you think!
Don't forget that we're playing Subscription BINGO this month!
Here's how to play:
Complete a task to mark it off. A diagonal line, horizontal line, or vertical line qualifies as BINGO. You must send us photo proof of one completed task in your winning line (you can even share the photo before earning BINGO if you have a line in mind to complete). Send us an electronic copy or hand in a physical copy of your successful BINGO board by August 27th for a chance to win a prize! One participant will be selected at random to win a prize on August 28th. Have fun!