Week 14 Newsletter (September 21, 2017)
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. -John Muir
Week 14 Crop List
- Bok Choy – all
- Tomatoes – all
- Cucumbers – all
- Summer Squash – all
- Genovese basil – all
- Oregano – all
- Radishes – all
- Peppers (bell, bananas) – all
- Kale – all
- Zinnias – single
- Eggplant – full
- Apples – full
- Potatoes – full
- We are very thankful for 1 inch of rain last week
- The apples are pretty gnarly for fulls but good for salads or baking
- Cherry tomatoes are only for fulls and T.C. singles this week
- Last hurrah for the Genovese basil with a ‘pesto bunch’
- Bok choy does not hold up the greatest in your box. Please soak in very cold water for 15 minutes then make stir fry!
- Pizza last evening was excellent using oregano, basil, tomatoes, peppers etc.
- Radishes are back with the crispness of autumn
- Enjoy the cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes and summer squash before the frost hits
- Registration for our Fall Share continues on through the summer share season – we would love to have you join us!
- Wash all of your produce before you eat it
- FALL HARVEST CELEBRATION is Saturday October 21st from 2-8. Mark your calendars and stop by at any time during that day. Itinerary to follow
Pizza last night
A walk through the fields
As summer squash gives way to winter squash, sweet corn to popcorn, and green beans to dry beans, we turn our attention to the Autumn season.
Diane and I took some time to just walk through our fall crops earlier this week to get a read on how things were looking. It was easier to see all of the Delicata, Acorn, Sweet Dumpling, and Butternut squashes decorating the ground with the leaves now dying off. The pumpkins are taking on color, the popcorn filling in, and the root crops (carrots, beets, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips) swelling. The leeks and the brussel sprouts still need a few weeks to mature and many of the hardy fall greens are just coming out of the ground. Yesterday I removed several rows of hoophouse tomatoes to make room for spinach, lettuce etc for our Fall Share season. The Fall Share is a great way to extend the year of fresh fruits and vegetables and to eat local and in season until Christmas rolls around. The delivery dates are Th. October 26th, Th. November 9th and Tuesday November 21st. We are usually able to continue to offer a limited number of crops later into the winter as well.
Meet the Farmer: Drying Herbs
Herbs drying over an intern’s bunk
Herbs are a delicious addition to any meal one might cook, you might add fresh oregano to your pasta sauce or sprinkle dried Thyme on your potatoes before popping them in the oven. Whether you have a plentiful harvest from your own herb garden or a small amount of purchased herbs that aren’t going to be used immediately, these various methods of herb preservation are simple and allow you to enjoy cooking with herbs no matter the season.
Using a dehydrator is a quick and efficient way to retain the flavor of herbs that require immediate attention after harvesting; broader leaved herbs such as Basil can face the threat of mold if dried incorrectly. Herbs that should be dried quickly include Mint, Tarragon, Lemon Balm, and Parsley. Beginning the drying process soon after harvest reduces the risk of the herbs gathering moisture, wilting, becoming discolored, and losing their potency. When dehydrating herbs like Basil, wash and dry the leaves carefully. Any water droplets left on the leaves can lead to discoloration. The drying can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours depending on the temperature of the dehydrator’s settings. When the Basil is completely dry the leaves will be crisp and easily crumble, the herbs should then be placed in an airtight container after being removed from the dehydrator.
If you don’t have access to a dehydrator, have no fear! There are even simpler ways to have your own stock of herbs on hand. The good old “hang and dry” method is a suitable option for drying herbs like rosemary and Thyme. Bundles can be made by tying the herbs together with rubber bands, twine, or any sort of string. A helpful hint is to not make the bundles too large, this can slow down the drying process and allow for mold to grow. Drying to completion may take a couple days depending on where the herbs are hung; a space that’s warm and dry will speed up the process. Laundry rooms are an ideal spot to hang herbs but not the only option.
Drying herbs can seem like a long process, a faster option is to dry them in the oven. Fresh Sage leaves can be placed on baking sheet and put in the oven at 180 degrees F for 2-4 hours. The leaves cook a bit which decreases their potency, to keep the maximum potency the leaves should be kept whole until used. Herbs can be dried in small or large quantities, using a plethora of different methods, allows them to be enjoyed long after their peak freshness.
Another intern utilizing the “hang and dry” method