I am keeping this short this week since I now have the cold that Peter came down with last week!
Starting off with some very beautiful photos of the farm since it's such a beautiful time of year:
In front of this photo is a row of beets for the fall. We're still harvesting from our summer planting, but these will carry us into December.
This week, we're finishing up our planting for the season. Randy's deadline is always September 15th. Let's see if you can identify these crops by the remaining seedlings in the greenhouse.
And Swiss chard. The Swiss chard will be the last to go into the field, and then the lettuce will be used for hanging pots in the greenhouse to carry us into December.
Here are a few shots of the crew from the week.
They were getting ready to plant on Thursday.
Here's Eric among the mums, which will be out for sale next Saturday, September 17th, when we change over our store for the fall. This photo proves that the color green isn't just for spring!
Here are Emily, Felicia, and Laina planting cabbage crops.
And when I asked Carly to send me photos from the week, she sent me this funny one from Tuesday!
Tuesday's rain helped the crops a bit, but caused a ton of our tomatoes and peppers to split. We lost a lot of tomatoes from the sudden intake of water. The plums are still doing pretty well, and you'll see those in your share this week.
Here's an article that explains the difference between plum tomatoes and regular slicing tomatoes. The gist is that plum tomatoes are less juicy and better suited to cooking, which is what we recommend this week. The recipes we provided below are specific to plum tomatoes.
Generally speaking about tomatoes, our second planting is starting to produce now, and we anticipate having tomatoes until the first frost. The weather will determine the quantities we harvest.
We've been thinking a lot about next year's program, and you can expect to see the details released in about two weeks. Truth be told, we do expect to make some changes to the program. We're thinking ahead to what next year will look like with a new baby, and how much we can realistically take on. Most of the changes will involve simplification to the program, though most aspects and the core values will stay exactly the same! We love our subscription program and, along with our store, it's the most important thing to us.
The custom, commemorative prize has arrived in the mail, which means...
We're ready to award our 2022 LGF Spud Specialist!
Tomorrow we're kicking off our 2022 LGF Spud Specialist competition - a cooking contest with potatoes! Here's how it'll work. Cook an appetizing and totally unique recipe using potatoes, then send us a photo and description of what you made. Think outside the box beyond basic mashed potatoes and fries. What we're out to do is show the world how much fun and how creative cooking can be. Just saying, I saw a recipe for chocolate mashed potato cake!
The contest will close on September 25th, and we'll pick a winner the next day. The winner will receive a custom, commemorative prize for being the Spud Specialist! Check our social media accounts @laurelglenfarmllc to see the submissions. Good luck!
In Your Share (Listed approximately from shortest shelf life to longest)
1 bunch of Tokyo bekana
1 bunch of parsley
2 lbs. of plum tomatoes
1 bunch of collard greens
1 lb. of colored peppers
A few hot peppers
2 lbs. of beets
1 bunch of Tokyo bekana
1 bunch of parsley
1 lb. of plum tomatoes
1 lb. of colored peppers
A few hot peppers
1 lb. of beets
Caring For Your Share (All of this information, plus long-term storage info, can also be found in our Vegetable Library of Resources)
Store peppers in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Set the crisper drawer to low humidity to allow some of the ethylene gas that results from decomposition to escape. Ethylene gas will cause the peppers to rot sooner.
Store garlic in a cool, dark place out of the refrigerator, like a cabinet or pantry. Ensure that it has air flow. We leave the neck on the garlic to prevent it from rotting at the base of the bulb.
Store parsley stems in a glass of water in the fridge, like a bouquet. Cover the leaves with a plastic bag. Or, put the parsley in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Store beets in a plastic bag in the fridge, where they can last up to a month. Wash when ready to use.
Store Tokyo bekana in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Wash when ready to use.
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.
Store collard greens in a plastic bag in the fridge and use within the week. Wash when ready to use.
The LGF Cooking Club
Roast Beef with Spicy Parsley Tomato Sauce (Use a hot pepper instead of the chili flakes)
27 Hot Pepper Recipes (Cooking your peppers drastically reduces the heat)
30 Minutes or Less:
Shrimp Stir-Fry with Chinese Greens (Use your Tokyo bekana instead of bok choy)
Grilled Salmon with Asian Greens (Use the Tokyo bekana)
Beet Reuben (Please, please someone try this and share with the Facebook group!)
Large Share Additional Ingredients:
Biweekly Catch-Up (A copy of last week's updates)
On Thursday we planted 844 heads of lettuce. Randy plowed and harrowed an old cabbage planting and Eric helped him lay down the plastic mulch for the raised beds. When we do that, the irrigation is installed at the same time.
When we turn over beds this fast, it means that we're planting into dry beds, so it's a race against time to get the seedlings in the holes and let the drip irrigation keep them alive. We can always expect some transplant loss and always have some backup.
We still need to finish planting romaine and escarole for the fall here. Randy projects that these greens will be ready at the end of the month, which is awesome because I've been missing a good salad! Anyone else?
Randy and I were discussing the importance of showing the reality of farming. As we all know, social media is a highlight reel, and we show as many beautiful photos of the farm as we can. It is, of course, truly a blessing to be on this farm and to be among nature.
But, we also think it's important to discuss the struggles, too. We never have it all together here, especially at this busy time of year. We forget items in shares, we fail to check on a crop, we often don't have enough hands, and our farming practices are far from perfect.
I snapped this photo of Carly earlier this week to show her harvesting some tomatoes and I noticed that the weeds were pretty much as tall as her. At first I felt a little embarassed about it, but needed to remind myself that it would be physically impossble to have everything under control here at all times.
Here's another shot of greenhouse #2. The white strings are where the tomato plants used to be. And you can clearly see pots of greens that we abandoned in probably June and never dealt with. As with anything in life, deciding upon priorities is a major part of how our work load is completed. There will always be limitations to what we can accomplish here.
Fall mums look great and are projected to be ready later this month! We believe we chose varieties that flower around the end of September - the first official start to fall. Do you start decorating early in the month or wait for fall to begin?
Fall squashes are coming along really well too. The plants start to die off when the fruit ripens, so although this photo looks like it's of a bunch of unhealthy plants, they're doing their jobs of creating delicious fruit. Can you spy a few different kinds of squash in this photo?
Check out some of the submissions for our googly eyed pepper contest! Members, this has been SO much fun. I am a member of a large community of national CSA farmers and I shared this contest with them - they were over the moon about trying the idea (thank you, Terry!). However, you have all surpassed our expectations with your participation. We are SO grateful to have a community of such fun-loving people! Don't forget you have until this Tuesday to submit your photo. There is a pepper-themed prize for one submission!
And speaking of fun, we had a blast at our Pick-Your-Own grape tomato gathering on Saturday morning! Unfortunately Peter woke up with a cold, but Randy and my aunt Lorraine reported having a fantastic time. We even ran out of grape tomatoes at the end due to the turnout, but everyone seemed to have left happy! Thank you for coming out. Here are some photos of members: