Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 15

Roots Farm CSA
Week 15: August 3 & 6
This Week:

-Melons: Sun Jewel, Honey Yellow
-Watermelons: Sugar Baby, Sangria, New Orchid, Early Moonbeam
-Cucumbers: Mid-East Prolific, Lemon
-Tomatoes: Big Beef, Brandywine, Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Jubilee, Tropical, Whopper
-Green Tomatoes
-Peppers: Carmen, Lipstick, Islander
-Eggplant: Nadia, Hansel, Gretel, Fairytale, Pingtung Long
-Basil: Sweet, Lemon, Thai, Purple
-Beans: Kentucky Wonder, Red Noodle
-Okra: Clemson Spineless, Red Burgundy
-Flowers: Assorted Sunflowers, Zinnias

On the Farm . . .
Summer is taking its toll. Everything is dry and hot and dusty. It’s hard to keep things watered and many early plantings are calling it quits. The summer squash are done--pools of dead plant in an ocean of squash bugs. The last 2 rows of cucumbers are holding on, but leaves are beginning to yellow. In pole bean land, the Marvel of Venice and the Blue Coco have finished up, but thankfully we’ve got the Kentucky Wonders and Red Noodles coming on to take their places. Tomatoes are a sad state of affairs and we’ve only got about 2 rows still producing for us. Yep. It’s a time of pulling out old plantings that are done and beginning to put in new plantings. Two weeks ago, we planted the first round of fall carrots, last week it was beets, and this week it’s lettuce and summer squash and cukes. Our broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage starts are about 2 inches tall and we hope to transplant them within the next two weeks. The fields may look bleak, but new life is on the way.

Saturday Workday, August 14, 8am-noon
It’s that time again--time to hustle up your weekend energy and bring yourselves out to the farm on a bright and sunny Saturday morning! Our next workday is coming up in a couple of weeks, so mark your calendars. We’ll be out here from 8am-noon. I’ve got some destruction of finished crops planned, which should be fun, and there may even be new fall transplants to plant, not to mention the usual task of weeding. We could use your help, so come join us! I recommend getting here early to avoid the heat.

New in the Basket!
Appearing this week, you’ll find a couple of new veggies that we’re excited about. First up, okra! Finally okra is here! I just love eating okra. I don’t love picking it or handling it because it makes me mighty itchy--you almost need a hazmat suit to make it through the field itch-free--but it sure does taste good. So yeah, glad to finally announce the arrival of okra to the baskets. And also new, the Red Noodle beans. These are a new variety we’re trying this year, also sometimes referred to as yard-long beans or Asian beans, and I’m excited to have them with us. They make beautiful bunches, are easy to see and pick in the field, and taste lovely. I think the flavor is a cross between green bean and field pea. You can cook them just like you do green beans, though they will lose that nice red color. We hope you like them.

Glad they’re finally here! For those of you picking up on Friday, there may not be watermelons for ya--you got yours last week. I always try to harvest things so both pickup days get them in a given week, but sometimes with things like watermelons and corn, I just can’t nail the maturity and I’ve gotta pick when they’re ripe. That said, enjoy them now! This is our only succession of watermelons, so this is all you’ll get, I’m sad to say. Maybe we’ll plant more next year. Anyway, we’ve got several varieties--round red Sugar Baby, long & stripey red Sangrias, pale green striped with yellow flesh Early Moonbeams, and green with green striped and orange-yellow flesh New Orchids. Taste the watermelon rainbow. You can eat them fresh, refrigerated or at room temperature. You can also pickle the rind. And if that’s not enough for ya, we’ve got recipe suggestions: a soup, a salad, and a sorbet! Who knew watermelon was so versatile? Enjoy! STORAGE: Handle watermelons carefully. When harvested at their peak ripeness, they can crack or split easily if bumped or roughly handled. (We learned this the hard way when the wheelbarrow tipped over and sent melons flying everywhere; unfortunately about 10 busted, but they sure were ripe and tasty!) Refrigerate your watermelon and eat it within the week. Cut melon should be covered in plastic wrap, chunks or slices should be kept in an airtight container, all should be eaten ASAP.


Watermelon Soup
9-10 cups watermelon, cut into chunks (~6 lbs or 1 small watermelon)
1/2 cup diced fennel
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint plus sprigs for garnish
2 bell peppers (yellow, orange, or red), diced
1 red chile pepper or jalapeno pepper, minced
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (~1 lime)
2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (~1 small lemon)
1 1/2 tsp grated ginger
salt & freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries, thawed

Run the watermelon through a food mill to remove all the seeds, or pick the out by hand. If not using a food mill, puree the watermelon in batches in a food processor or blender. Pout the watermelon in a large bowl. Add the fennel, mint, bell peppers, chile pepper, lime and lemon juices, ginger, and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Garnish with blueberries and mint sprigs just before serving. Makes 4-6 servings. From Farmer John’s Cookbook.

Spicy Watermelon Salad
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp ground red pepper, or to taste
6 cups watermelon, seeded, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice, or to taste
2 Tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley

Stir chili powder, salt, and ground red pepper together in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, toss the watermelon, onion, jalapeno, lime juice, and cilantro or parsley together. Sprinkle the tossed veggies with the spice mixture and combine well. Serve at room temperature. Makes 4-6 servings. From The Joy of Cooking.

Watermelon Sorbet
2 1/2 lbs red or yellow watermelon (makes 2 cups watermelon juice)
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp camparai or vodka (optional)

Make watermelon juice by removing the rind and seeds from the watermelon. Puree until smooth, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve; discard the pulp. Combine 1/2 cup watermelon juice with sugar in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring, just until the sugar is dissolved. Do not boil. Remove the pan from the heat, cover and steep for 15 minutes. Pour into a medium bowl. Stir in the rest of the watermelon juice and the lemon juice and liquor and refrigerate until cold. Taste and add more sugar if needed, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved, 2-3 minutes. Pour into an ice cream maker and freeze as directed. Makes 2 1/2 cups. From The Joy of Cooking.

1 comment:

Mike K said...

Aw, man, I was hoping for more watermelon ;) Last week's was (and still is) delicious!