What a crazy week it's been! We hope you're all safe and sound after that storm. We had a few trees down on fences - but nothing that caused any damage, just a nuisance. We also lost power for a few days, which made us nervous about running generators through the night so we wouldn't lose product. We are counting our blessings and hope you're doing okay.
The cooler up and running after a few days without power. Phew!
This week we give a fond farewell to Randy's cousin Ryan, whose final days of delivering will be this Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll take over for him for a little while after that. So many of you gave him well wishes, which he really appreciated. Ryan was really good at delivering and somehow never forgot anything, which is more than I can say for myself. We wish him the best at UConn. Maybe he'll be back next summer...
And while we're spotlighting special people, meet Terry, who is a subscription member. We got to know Terry through the Shelton Farmer's Market and she joined our program this year. We love so much when you all come to pick up. Over the weekend I told Randy how much I enjoy being in the store, seeing you all, chatting, and making connections. I know that Dawn and Amanda feel the same way.
Corn has arrived! Randy is feeling very discouraged about his corn crop. Critters have been knocking it down and eating it. The tips haven't been fully pollinated... the list goes on and on. Randy tried to simplify this year and just grow a bicolor variety. He reports that he feels worried about not having enough to put into shares. Hopefully over the next week or two we'll get a better sense of what's going on.
P.S. We see a lot of advertising for non-GMO sweet corn. Sweet corn is RARELY GMO - there's just not great reason to grow genetically modified corn to eat. To be clear, GMO sweet corn does exist, but is not typically the norm. "Field corn" is typically the kind that is GMO, which is grown for animal feed, used to make corn meal and corn chips, and used to make ethanol (fuel) and polymers (like plastic).
While we always encourage you to ask your farmer for clarification about what they're growing, it's worth knowing that sweet corn is not usually GMO, as ours is not.
Are you a fan of autumn?! Personally, I'm all about summer, but I do get excited about harvest time. These are baby mums that we hope are ready in time for your fall planting at home. Katelyn of Rustle Floral Co. took these mum cuttings off of our plants from last year. How cool is that? We are hoping to sell these online by pre-order, which I will keep you updated on as they grow.
This week you're all receiving green peppers. Did you know that red, orange, and yellow peppers start out green and turn to those colors? It's actually part of the decomposition process believe it or not. This is why colored peppers cost more - it takes longer to grow them, and many, many are lost along the way with rot spots as farmers wait for them to change color in the field. The green peppers you're receiving were all harvested off of one row in the field. The other 2 rows of bell peppers are left to change colors, and then we have hot peppers in the field as well. I'll do a video about colored peppers as they progress later in the season so you can see better how it goes.
Plum tomatoes are starting to arrive! We have a waiting list for 25 lb. crates that are perfect for canning. Crates are $25 for 25 lbs. As the season progresses, I'm hoping to put them onto the online store, but I'm working my way through the waiting list first so that they don't get snatched up online. If you want to be added to the list, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can count you in.
How pretty are these "currant tomatoes?" They're like cherry tomatoes, but smaller and somehow even prettier on the vine.
When you pick up this week, visit the table up against the farm store (or around the side, depending on where the shade is) to grab a few extra "seconds" tomatoes for free. "Seconds" may have some splits, soft spots, or blemishes, but are still edible.
Can you believe that Randy and I are already starting to talk about next year's program?! We're definitely writing down ideas, so if you have any suggestions, we are SO happy to consider them. This week when you pick up, we have a survey question for you to answer. How do you feel about the size of your share? Is the portion too large, too small, or just right? We've been thinking about scaling since we've kept sizing pretty constant over the years, but need to ask for your opinions.
Also, next up to do is to finalize our list of fall program members, and launch a very special endeavor for the fall for those of you who missed the sign up. What could it be?!
A Message from Randy:
(Terrible quality thanks to his old phone, but a great piece of equipment!)
Contents (In approximate order from shortest shelf life to longest):
1 lb. of tomatoes
2 medium eggplants
1 bunch of carrots
1 lb. of peppers
1 bunch of scallions
1/2 lb. of cucumbers
1 lb. of tomatoes
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 bunch of radishes
2 medium eggplant
1 bunch of carrots
2 lbs. of peppers (may be bell or frying peppers)
1 bunch of scallions
1/2 lb. of cucumbers
Caring For Your Share:
Store the cucumbers, peppers, and eggplant in the fridge as is. Wash when ready to use.
Remove the greens from the carrots and radishes and store them in Ziploc bags in the fridge.
Place the scallions in a Ziploc bag and store them in the refrigerator.
Keep the tomatoes out of the fridge and pour the cherries or grapes out into a bowl. Store out of direct sunlight, like on a counter. Wash before using.
Keep the garlic in a cool, dark place out of the fridge, such as a pantry, where it will have air flow.
LGF Cooking Club:
Chargrilled Scallion Salsa Verde (serve on flank steak, grilled chicken, or fish): https://food52.com/recipes/38083-chargrilled-scallion-salsa-verde
Portobello Tacos with Charred Scallion Salsa Verde:
Eggplant "Meatballs" (Thanks, Norma!) https://www.skinnytaste.com/eggplant-meatballs/
Easy Sweet and Sour Carrots with Green Bell Pepper: https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-sweet-and-sour-carrots-3052475
Tomato Scallion Shortcakes with Whipped Goat Cheese: https://www.stephiecooks.com/tomato-scallion-shortcakes-with-whipped-goat-cheese/
Healthy Carrot Muffins (If you want to keep the Breakfast Club going!): https://cookieandkate.com/healthy-carrot-muffins-recipe/
Baba Ganoush (An eggplant dip/spread): https://cookieandkate.com/epic-baba-ganoush-recipe/
1 eggplant, cut crosswise into inch-thick slices
¼ cup olive oil, divided
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Slices of mozzarella cheese
Roasted red peppers, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Heat the grill to medium-high. Brush eggplant slices with olive oil and grill them for about 5 minutes per side. Top with cheese and grill for a few more minutes until the slices are tender. Meanwhile, reduce the balsamic vinegar on medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Layer the burger: place the eggplant slice on the ciabatta bun with lettuce, roasted red pepper, and onion. Drizzle balsamic vinegar and enjoy!
Cooking Tip(s) of the Week:
6 Ways to Cut Scallions for Chinese Cooking:
How to Regrow Green Onions in Water (I admit I've never tried this, but let me know if you do...)
Biweekly Catch-Up Time:
What a beautiful way to start the month of August. I chose to grow these sunflowers right by our parking lot, and they had the quickest "days to harvest" growth period. Mostly we grow herbs (and weeds!) alongside the greenhouse, but in the future I'd like to grow more sunflowers there, because they bring so many smiles.
P.S. This photo was taken by Amanda, and if you don't follow us on Instagram and Facebook, consider doing so. Amanda and Eric have both "taken over the Instagram" to show you a day in their lives at the farm. And speaking of amazing crew members, here is my aunt - "Ciocci Lorraine" - with a gigantic beet!
Click to scroll through the remaining photos, which include a fresh summer tea blend delivery from Jim of Seasonal Catering, Amanda playing our silly game of "Can We Get an Exact Poundage of Veggies on the Scale," a 2.44 lb. kohlrabi, and some more fun and beauty on the farm.
August always leaves me feeling a little melancholy. Personally, my time on the farm starts to come to an end, as well as for many of our other crew members who head back to school (Amanda, Randy's mom Dawn...). To be honest, we haven't even reached peak farming season yet, and our season is extremely busy until Halloween. This is the first year that Randy and I have discussed what we're going to do: who is going to take over the deliveries when Ryan heads to UConn, who will manage the farm stand, who will help in the field when our high school aged crew members have to go, and whether or not I'll be able to do a good job with email, communication, newsletters, and managing our subscription program when I'm back at work. It's the first year that we've honestly worried, and planning for the upcoming months needs to become a priority now.
Randy considers September 15th to be the "hurdle" of farming season. It seems to be busy now, but our heaviest labor consists of harvesting squash, zucchini, and cucumbers every other day. Now we're starting to add in tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, corn, hot peppers, and eventually melons and ground cherries, on top of harvesting for subscriptions, markets, and planting. By September 15th, Randy has all of his fall lettuces and greens in the ground and can focus solely on harvesting. It's quite a ways away, but some of our crew members are leaving soon. Next week will be Ryan's final time delivering, and I only have 3 weeks left myself.
This is another reason why we value you all so much. As we've mentioned, you all have been the kindest, most understanding, enthusiastic, and engaged members we've ever had. Thank you so much for being with us.
It's Tomato Time!
I wanted to share this video all about harvesting tomatoes and some of the challenges that come along with it. No matter what... it's always worth it! I love my time in the field picking tomatoes.
P.S. For everyone who's new this year... did you know that Randy hates tomatoes? I'm on my own with BLTs for dinner!
One of our other big jobs lately has been harvesting onions. Once they reach a certain stage in their life cycle, it is important to harvest them before they rot in the ground. We harvested most of the onions to date and are getting them into storage. We have drying racks that we space them out on to promote air flow, and they stay in a cooler, dark place on these racks through the fall until we use them up. Mostly we save our onions for the fall subscription, so we figured we would give you one last round of fresher onions this week. There is no difference, really, between the flavor and quality of fresh and cured onions, just that fresh onions are shinier and have some useable green tops.