This week, we're starting off with more housekeeping, but different announcements, so please be sure to read them all.
Thank you all for understanding our mistakes, as a few of you have been subjected to them so far! Perhaps a missed item in your share, or perhaps the inside of a cabbage was rotten when you cut into it, and we thank you all for notifying us of these problems. Of course, it is never our intention to miss your share or give you a rotten item, so we thank you so much for your understanding and flexbility. We are more than happy to make it up to you when a mistake arises! We want you to be happy and would much rather you say something.
If you pre-arrange for a specific occurrence with us in advance, please be sure to remind our crew in the store as miscommunication can sometimes arise, too. For example: we missed the broccoli in your share and arranged to give you some this week. Please let our crew members in the store know. We try very hard to let them know of these things, but sometimes we forget!
These are the following days that we pack shares: Monday for Tuesday pickup, Tuesday for Wednesday pickup, Friday for Saturday pickup. If you need to change your pickup for another day, those are your options, and you must let us know 48 hours in advance of the pickup day. Additionally, there is always the opportunity for us to hold your share for the next day if you need to come on one of those off days. For example, we can pack your share for Wednesday, but hold it through Thursday.
We do not provide reminders about missed pickups. So sorry! We do recommend setting a recurrent alarm on your phone for the day-of so that you never forget! Again, you can always come the next day and we will save your share for you. After the 24 hour holding period, your share will be donated to a local food pantry.
Now on to the good stuff! Two really fun announcements:
Throughout the remainder of this newsletter, there will be a hidden message. Be the first person to send us an email with the hidden message, and win a prize! We'll email you all once a member has won.
This week, the pickup day that has the best attendance (meaning least number of missed pickups) will win a prize next week! For example, Tuesday has 3 missed pickups, Wednesday has 5, and Saturday has 8, all members who are regularly scheduled on "Team Tuesday" will win a bonus item in your share next week! To clarify, a missed pickup does not refer to members who have pre-arranged a different pickup day or asked us to hold their share an additional day. The goal is to try to have as many members remember to pick up as possible! Who will it be?!
It was a pretty unseasonable week last week, but we were able to complete some big projects. One of those was tending to our fruit trees. If you're a new member, we planted raspberries, blackberries, table grapes, apples, peaches, and plums at our Booth Hill Rd. location and are tending to them for harvest in the next few years.
Here is a photo of the center of a peach tree. These are clothespins that are stretching the branches away from each other. The object is not to let them grow too densely packed.
And, it seems like a cruel job, but you also need to pull any fruit off of the tree that might be on it to encourage the tree to grow to maturity.
We are crossing our fingers and toes for a black raspberry harvest this year - a year early! What we do end up harvesting will be in the store later this season.
This week, you're all receiving garlic scapes! This might be one of my favorite things we "grow" here on the farm. I say "grow" because it's not an intentionally grown crop, but rather a beautiful side effect of growing garlic.
Garlic scapes are harvested from the top of the garlic plant. At the very tip of the scape, there's a seed pod. If you remember from last week's discussion, a plant's one and only goal is to reproduce and make seeds.
Seeing these garlic scapes means that the garlic is at the end of its life cycle, ready to reproduce and die. So, we go through the garlic field and snip off these delicious curlicues to eat. This transfers the energy from creating the seed pod back down to growing a larger head of garlic. When we harvest it on Saturday, July 16th (pssssttt: save the date to come harvest with us!) the garlic will be larger than if we had left the scape on.
Here's a photo of Carly and Felicia harvesting scapes.
We wait until they're fully curled and pointing upward, and then we know that they're ready to snip off.
Remember to read about all of our crops in the Library of Resources, but think of garlic scapes like a cross between asparagus and garlic. They have the texture of asparagus with the mild flavor of garlic. You can eat them whole and grill or roast them, you can chop them up and put them in hummus or butter (one of the trendiest things we do here at Laurel Glen Farm - seriously, you gotta try this!), or you can chop them up and use them in a dish exactly like you would use garlic.
They'll only be in shares this week, so if you want more, we do recommend that you snatch up what you see in the store. (Hint: garlic butter freezes really well!)
We are so impressed by the dishes and posts that you're all sharing in our Facebook group. On the first week, we specifically talked about using the greens from the top of your root crops, and you all crushed it! Lisa made kohlrabi green chips with a yogurt dill sauce and Stephanie made radish green dal.
As for me, I was super inspired by the members who posted about their kohlrabi fries and decided to make some myself.
Take a moment to reflect on what you've learned from this program so far.
This may be the time in the season when you're acquiring some unused veggies left over in your fridge. To avoid food waste, I always refer back to longest participating member RoseAnn's (10 years!) tip about doing a sweep of your fridge mid-week. After you've had your share at home for a few days, sweep out and freeze anything you know you won't use. Basic Ziploc bags can do wonders. You don't even necessarily need to blanch or prep these items. For example, if you're not going to use the head of escarole and it's halfway through the week, stick it in a gallon sized Ziploc and store it in the freezer. If you make soup with it this fall, the quality of it won't matter as much. Better than food waste, for sure!
Thank you all for keeping morale up in the Facebook group, too! Shout out to Stephanie for her photo of her daughter holding up her gigantic veggies, and to Lynne for her joke: "By the time I chop up all that napa cabbage I'm going to need a napa!" Pickled radishes are being made for the first time, and there are so many successes happening. We hope you're having fun!
This week you're receiving cucumbers, and they might be slicing cucumbers or pickling cucumbers. Sometimes when customers hear the word "pickling," they worry that these cucumbers can only be used for making pickles. Pickling cucumbers get their name for being crunchy and the perfect size for pickling - slender and short - and the seeds inside typically stay smaller due to the size of the cucumber itself. But the truth is, pickling cukes make the best snacks and are my personal go-to when slicing a cucumber for a salad.
Here's a photo showing the difference between a slicing and pickling cucumber.
On the left is a slicing cucumber and on the right a pickling cucumber. You can see the size difference, but another way you can tell them apart is by subtle differences in their appearance. Slicing cucumbers are slightly darker. Pickling cucumbers also have a greater amount of light green speckles on the skin. Can you see the difference?
This week, you're also receiving Tokyo bekana, a leaf cabbage. We highly recommend reading all about it in the Library of Resources. It's a member favorite for sure!
We sell bulk boxes of pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, and imperfect peppers for pickling and canning once we have an abundance.
Pickling cucumbers: 25 lb. boxes for $30 (Makes 12-13 quarts)
Plum tomatoes: 25 lb. boxes for $35 (Makes 8-9 quarts)
Imperfect Peppers for Freezing (some blemishes to cut around, in assorted colors): 25 lb. boxes for $35 (Makes 8-9 quart bags)
We have a waiting list that can be months-long, but you can add your name to the list now.
Here’s how it works: we’ll send you an email or call when your order is ready for pickup at our store. You’ll have 24 hours to respond before we move down the list (we’ll circle back to you one time).
Click this link to fill out the form and add yourself to the list. More information about this can be found on the form.
Coming soon: green and wax beans! Looking good!
In Your Share (Listed approximately from shortest shelf life to longest)
1 head of broccoli
1 head of romaine
1 head of lettuce
1 bunch of Tokyo bekana
1 bunch of Swiss chard
1 bunch of dill
1 lb. of cucumbers
1 lb. of squash or zucchini
1/4 lb. of garlic scapes
1 head of broccoli
1 head of romaine
1 bunch of Tokyo bekana
1 bunch of Swiss chard
1 lb. of cucumbers
1/4 lb. of garlic scapes
Caring For Your Share (All of this information, plus long-term storage info, can also be found in our Vegetable Library of Resources)
Store lettuce, romaine, Swiss chard, and Tokyo bekana in a plastic bag in the fridge, shaking out any excess water first.
Store garlic scapes in a plastic bag in the fridge. Wash when ready to use.
Most sources will recommend wrapping a head of broccoli in a damp paper towel in the fridge. We think the less air it's exposed to the better. Open air causes it to wilt fast. You can try putting your broccoli in a plastic bag in the fridge and using it within the week. Wash when ready to use.
Trim the bottoms of dill and place in a jar of water in the fridge, like a bouquet. Put a plastic bag over the leaves to protect them.
Store cucumbers, squash, and zucchini in the crisper drawer of the fridge for approximately a week. Wash when ready to use.
The LGF Cooking Club
30 Minutes or Less:
Large Share Additional Ingredients:
Biweekly Catch-Up (A copy of last week's updates)
It feels like the summer season is gaining traction now. This week we're bulk harvesting a lot of our cooler weather crops to get them into storage. Napa cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, escarole, and lettuce all need to come out of the heat or they'll rot or "bolt."
You'll hear us use this term a lot this season. "Bolt" means to "go to seed," so if you've heard either of those terms, they're interchangeable.
Put simply, every single plant's goal is to reproduce. Cooler weather crops like greens and roots that don't tolerate heat well are in danger when temperatures start to rise. Since they can't survive the heat, they become stressed out and frantic to reproduce before they die. They'll then begin the process of generating seeds to secure the next generation of the crop.
Here's an example of what that looks like:
See how those heads of escarole have funny-looking points shooting up from the center? At the very top of those escarole towers, there will be escarole seed pods. The escarole is sensing the temperature swings and doing whatever it can to reproduce.
We talk about this so much because it affects our crops probably more than any other process on the farm. We have lost entire crops of greens overnight due to bolting. We can try to water the plants to keep them cool, but more often than not, the process of going to seed takes over and the plants are gone in an instant.
Remember the broccoli rabe from last week? Here I am among the broccoli rabe flowers, scrounging to piece together bunches. Those yellow flowers are the broccoli rabe florets that opened up literally overnight. We planned last week's shares to include spinach and broccoli rabe because we knew it wouldn't last much longer.
Sometimes bolting affects the flavor of crops and makes greens very bitter. So home gardeners, beware! Most of the time we feel that there isn't a huge difference, but we always check for bitterness before we include an item in your share.
Long story short, this week, broccoli is on the harvest list, but we truly can never guarantee that sensitive items like this won't bolt or rot literally overnight and ruin our entire plan. Broccoli is probably my least favorite crop to grow for this reason - it's so finicky! Fingers crossed that we won't need a substitution, but we'll try to let you know if one is needed.
These massive bowling balls in your share this week are called Napa cabbages. Be sure to read all about them in our Library of Resources.
Last season, Randy's mom Dawn's napa cabbage slaw went viral in our Facebook group. (P.S. If you haven't joined us, please do so here!)
Here's a recipe for that incredible slaw.
The beautiful thing about this slaw is you can add whatever you want to it: radishes, cucumber, peas, kohlrabi, scallions. Be sure to post your variation in our group to show it off!
You'll definitely be able to get a couple of dishes out of your head of cabbage this week, and believe it or not, it's one of our favorite greens to grill at home:
We toss ours in olive oil and season it with salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder, and a touch of red pepper flakes. Then we grill it on high for about 15 minutes. It makes a flavorful, crunchy (and surprisingly filling!) side dish.
This week, sugar snap peas made it into your share! We're really excited about that since we know it's nice to get a respite from eating all leafy greens. No need to shell or de-string these peas. You can eat them raw (maybe even with dip!) or quickly stir-fried, steamed, or blanched.
Squash and zucchini are here, too! Small share members are receiving one small squash or zucchini, and large share members are receiving one large size squash or zucchini. From time to time, you'll see that the newsletter will say "____ or ____." Unless otherwise noted, this means that which item you receive is dependent upon our farm's availability. There will be chances to choose an item during structured opportunities such as "grab-a-green," "pick-a-pint," and "select a winter squash," but we'll explain those further when they arise. We appreciate your flexibility in accepting whichever crop you receive this week.
Greenhouse tomatoes are also starting to ripen! Last year was the first year that we grew greenhouse tomatoes, and we might have been able to share 1 or 2 in boxes in July. We hope to have enough to share with you, but we promise we'll see plenty of field tomatoes beginning around week 8 of the program. Whatever greenhouse tomatoes we harvest will be in the store.
Save the date for the Great Garlic Harvest on Saturday, July 16th! This was an awesome community-building event last season. We welcomed members to the farm to pull up garlic and spend time together. Unfortunately, if it rains, we'll have to get the garlic up during the week, so there will not be a rain date. Fingers crossed for good weather! As this date approaches, we'll discuss the details more.
This past week, we seeded all of our pumpkins and gourds for the fall.
We grow jack-o-lanterns, specialty pumpkins, edible pumpkins, and a variety of little gourds. This year we're also growing a little bit of ornamental corn... and popcorn!
All of our farmers' markets are now underway. You can find Steve and Henry at the following:
Trumbull Farmers' Market at the NIA ballfiends on Thursdays from 4 to 7
Monroe Farmers' Market at the Monroe Town Green on Fridays from 3 to 6
Shelton Farmers' Market on Canal Street on Saturdays from 9 to 12