Alright, we finally got the onions in! The first batch we harvested doesn't look great. A lot of them have soft spots that will drastically affect their shelf life and their salability. We are considering a discount day on onions so that they don't all end up on the compost pile, so stay tuned for details if we are able to do it.
Here are the onions in the back of the pickup truck. The afternoon crew tossed them in the back of the truck and then unloaded them onto drying tables at the farm.
They sat outside on the plastic in the sun for about 5 days to dry out, and as Randy and I were sitting on the couch late Monday night, we heard it pouring outside. Our first thought was of the onions getting soaked. Of course, there was absolutely no rain in the forecast, so Randy thought the onions would be fine to dry out in the field. Luckily there wasn't enough rain that night to ruin anything, but the onions needed to continue to sit out. Needless to say, we're not thrilled with the onion growing process at all this year, and we'll be glad to be rid of them and for our customers to enjoy them as soon as possible.
And yes, here we are talking about the rain again. It poured on Friday morning, which really put a damper on the harvest again.
It's frustrating to work in the rain because it's incredibly slow going and not only is it unpleasant, but it makes the crops wet and muddy, too. We wanted to pick up more husk cherries for the weekend but they would have been soaked anyway.
On days when it's pouring we remember that our CSA program is a commitment to you all. Of course, pickups need to continue rain or shine, which means the show must go on. We are so grateful that you all enroll in our program and pledge your support to us before the season even begins.
Fall greens are coming along nicely. Here's a shot of the baby bok choy. Randy guesses that they will be ready in about two weeks. The number one question we've received this week is "When will the lettuce be back?" Mid-September is usually the timeline for its return.
Every few days, one of our biggest projects is sorting tomatoes (after harvesting them, of course).
Tomatoes are sorted by color, ripeness, and first and seconds.
We estimate that it's over 1,500 pounds every couple of days, including plum tomatoes.
The harvest crew initially puts the tomatoes onto the trays with a quick sort, and then every couple of days I go through them again and sort them as they're used. I do my best to take out anything soft, cracked, or otherwise unusable for shares, and lately that's a lot. The heavy rain is causing most of the tomatoes to crack and split.
Luckily, Nancy who volunteers for Real Food CT comes every Monday to pick up donations. Last week she picked up over 300 pounds of produce to bring to Sterling House in Stratford. Most of what she brought was split or soft tomatoes that our customers would not want to buy.
Not only does Roseland continue to purchase tomatoes from us, but The Parlor in Stratford does, too!
Member Megan tried The Parlor's white pie special this weekend and reported back that it's delicious. Have you tried either one yet?
This week we said goodbye to Audrey, who was truly one of the MVPs of Laurel Glen Farm this season. We have one wash station attendant, who is responsible for washing, sorting, packing, and loading all of the produce that is washed on the farm. Aside from help with wiping down squash, zucchini, eggplant, and cucumbers and sorting tomatoes, the wash station attendant is the only one responsible for all of the washing!
Audrey was incredibly hard working and dedicated. Not only did she wash and pack, but she also spent a lot of time transplanting and working in the greenhouse in her spare time, sterilizing seedling trays, and even helping me to pack tomato bulk boxes.
For those of you who pick up on Saturdays, you also know her from working in the store on Saturdays. This is hands down the hardest position to fill on the farm. Most applicants shy away from retail and weekend work, but Audrey embraced all of her responsibilities. She is a true gem and we'll miss her so much!
We welcome Dana to the crew, who will be stepping into the wash station position through the end of the season.
As the harvesting keeps rolling along, we're starting to bring in the first of the colorful bell peppers and lunchbox peppers. We're also continuing to harvest red raspberries, blackberries, and golden raspberries. Last year, we got golden raspberries and red raspberries in October, but as we learn more about these fruits, we think that was a fluke. Time will tell, but if you are interested in berries, we recommend snatching them up ASAP while they're definitely still here.
Nothing new will come into season until we see the September greens and first of the fall squashes. For now, we continue to enjoy summer favorites in all of their glory.
Have a wonderful week. And for those headed back to school, we're wishing you a fantastic school year - students, teachers, and parents alike! Remember that if you miss your pickup due to the chaos of back to school (trust me, you're not the only one!), you can always come the next day. See you soon!
In Your Share (Listed approximately from shortest shelf life to longest)
1 bunch of celery
1 lb. of slicing tomatoes
1 lb. of potatoes
1 pint of husk cherries
1 head of garlic
You choose 2 items from our assortment! Some options will be: shishitos, beets, beans, tomatillos, kale, grape tomatoes, and more
1 bunch of celery
1 lb. of slicing tomatoes
1 lb. of potatoes
1 head of garlic
You choose 1 item from our assortment! Some options will be: shishitos, beets, beans, tomatillos, kale, grape tomatoes, and more
Caring For Your Share (All of this information, plus long-term storage info, can also be found in our Vegetable Library of Resources).
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 eggplant at room temperature on a counter, in a well-ventilated place. Do not store in plastic as it can trap naturally-occurring ethylene gases, which promote decay. Store away from tomatoes, melons, and potatoes, which also release ethylene gas.
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 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.
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.
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.
Trim the bottoms of the celery and place in a jar of water in the fridge, like a bouquet. Put a plastic bag over the leaves to protect them.
The LGF Cooking Club (Recipes to try in addition to those in the Library of Resources!)
Cream Cheese Celery Wraps (the celery might not be the same variety, but it works just the same!)
Please note that Victoria does not work on Thursdays this season. Emails received on Wednesday night through Thursday will be answered on Fridays.
How to Change Your Pickup Day
If you need to skip your share for the week, or change your pickup day, you must provide us with 48 hours notice since we pack shares the day before pickup. Once your share has been harvested and packed, we can not cancel your pickup.
For Tuesday pickups being changed, we need to know by Sunday. Wednesday pickups, we need to know by Monday. Saturday pickups, we need to know by Thursday. You have the option to choose another of those pickup days: Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. Or, you can skip a pickup and double the following week.
If you miss your pickup, we will hold your share for 24 hours after your pickup day (Monday for Saturday members), and then it will be donated to a local food pantry. With more members than ever before, we don't have the cooler space to hold onto shares longer than this. This is a great option if you accidentally miss your pickup - just come the next day.