West Hartford CSA Pickup Week 9

August 8, 2013 at 10:36 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Field Update

Planning any endeavor around the weather is tricky. Outdoor weddings can be ruined on the whim of a thunder cloud and a ski vacation can either be a powdery dream or an icy mess. The thing about farming is that the entire season counts. Spring weather sets the tone and plants continue to live with the consequences of big storms even once the skies are cleared.

In June I sat down to write a field update as driving rain fell outside making giant mud puddles of the fields. Today as I write the sun is shining, the soil moisture is even, and our fall crops are standing tall. Even so we don’t have enough summer crops to sell much at farmers markets this season and we have had to buy in cucumbers for pickling.

Seasons like these are very hard on Adamah financially and we do hope that you are able to continue to support us by purchasing our pickles, jams, and cheese at the upcoming farmers market (August 29th at CSA pickup), inviting friends and family to the market, and, if you are in such a position, to consider making a donation to the Adamah program.

While high farm yields are important, they are not our only goals here at Adamah. The weather has not slowed the growth of a vibrant community of empowered young leaders. For us, hail was both a disaster and a teaching moment in humility, climate change, rolling with the punches, and agricultural design.

This season fourty-one Adamah fellows, three farm apprentices, five staff members, and countless volunteers are integrating the work of growing your food with the work of connecting to each other, to themselves, to the environment, and to a just food system. In between harvests we study the connections between biblical agricultural laws and modern ecological crises, the traditional arts of healthy food preservation, how pesticide use affects farm workers and how to create alternative models for growing food.

The other day I witnessed a few Adamah fellows who were so moved by the visceral act of schlepping food waste and turning it into nutrients for future crops that after their chore they stood on top of the compost pile and read a poem about decomposition. As CSA members, you are on the other end of a production model that allows for this type of spontaneous exploration of the human relationship with our world.

Many Adamah fellows will go on to be leaders in the movement toward a more sustainable future- a result even more powerful than the robust pickling cucumber plants we had hoped for this year. For anyone who has ever harvested cucumbers during a good season at Adamah, you know that that is saying quite a lot!

The other good news is that we do have just enough produce to give out beautiful, full, colorful CSA shares. Rather than shuttle the crops off to market or use them onsite, we are prioritizing our relationship with Jewish Local Greens and ending up with a great mix each week. After the hail and flooding ruined one of our fields in June we scrambled to fill up every inch of existing space in our other two fields and those crops are growing wonderfully. Fall shares should be excellent.

Each week I write the harvest notes about the crops in your share. This of course leaves a certain silence around the crops that won’t make it into your share due to the weather. Going forward, there are two crops that will be distinctly absent- summer squash and potatoes. Most years, our cooler literally overflows with squash and zucchini but this season our entire first planting was killed by hail and the second succession mostly died in flooding. The other absentee will be potatoes. Our six varieties of potatoes were growing beautifully until the late May hail storm when they were completely defoliated. They could not recover due to flooding nor could we replant because June is too late to plant potatoes in our climate.

Enough about what we don’t have. Below you will find the harvest notes describing the gorgeous bounty that is indeed in your shares this week…

Harvest Notes August 9th 2013

Sun Jewel Melon This Asian melon variety is extraordinarily crisp and early! Each share is getting one medium sized one of these.

Cantaloupe OR Watermelon OR Large Sun Jewel We didn’t have enough cantaloupe or watermelon so you get to choose one or the other! We expect at least one full delivery each of cantaloupe and of watermelon in the near future so whatever you don’t get today, you should get coming up.

Basil If you don’t plan on using your basil right away, you can always hang it in a very well ventilated area to dry. Once 100% of the moisture is gone, crumble it up into a jar or plastic bag for use as a dried herb.

Eggplant The first eggplant of the season are in! We lost most of our plants this spring so it is unlikely to be a bountiful eggplant year. If you don’t have enough to make a large dish, try throwing it into a stirfy, pasta dish, or casserole with other veggies. We grow a few different varieties and everyone gets to take their pick:

Italian Eggplant is a classic for eggplant parmasean and other European dishes. We grow both the recognizable dark purple variety as well as a white skinned variety.

Asian Eggplant are long and narrow with a higher skin to flesh ratio. They are traditionally used for stif-fries but are relatively interchangeable with Italian eggplant. We grow a dark purple and bright colored Asian Eggplant.

Dill Check out this simple beet and dill salad recipe.

Beets Again you have a mix of classic round beets and long cylindrical beets. Both taste and cook similarly.

Green Beans This is probably the last of our green bean harvest for the season. Enjoy the incredible difference that freshness makes with this particular vegetable!

Garlic Check out this good news: “High doses of dietary garlic, over about a five-month period, seem to reduce the number of tick bites.”

Romaine Lettuce Lettuce tends to get bitter int he summer but we decided to try a heat tolerant variety this season. It won’t taste as sweet as spring lettuce but we deemed its flavor to be “complex.” If you don’t like bitter greens, try toning it down with a sweet salad dressing.

Cucumber More crunchy, cooling salad or sandwich ingredients!

Cherry TomatoesTomatoes didn’t ripen as quickly under this week’s cooler weather so we only have a half pint per share. There is a mix of varieites in each share. Sungolds are the dark orange ones and Esterinas are yellow.

Tomatoes Many of our wild and crazy tomato varieties with stripes and dots were casualties in the May hail. However, we do still have some truly delicious heirlooms left. The orange variety was first gifted to us by a friend in Washington state. We have saved seeds from it ever since because it is so tangy and unique. The round, red variety with a pointy bottom and the pink ones are other favorites to try. Some tomatoes will be ready to eat right away while others will need a few days to ripen.

Storage Guide for This Week’s Share

CROP

SHORT STORAGE LIFE

(eat first)

MED STORAGE LIFE

(4-10 days)

LONG STORAGE LIFE

(2-6 wks)

STORE IN FRIDGE IN BAG

STORE ON COUNTER

FREEZES WELL

Tomato (storage life depends on how ripe it is the day you get it)

*

*

*

Cherry Tomato

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Basil

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Stems in water

*

Dill

*

*

*

Green Beans

*

*

*

Eggplant

*

*

*

Lettuce

*

*

*

Fresh Garlic

*

*

*

Cucumber

*

*

Melons

*

*

*

Beets

*

*

Adamah Fellow Meredith harvests tomatoes from our Chai Tunnel

Adamah Fellow Meredith harvests tomatoes from our Chai Tunnel

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