Floating Into August
Notes From The Field
Into August We Ascend, Floating
By Derek McGeehan
Well well well, we don't have to use the well. After 4 more inches of rain the past few days July 2016 is officially the second wettest month in the 8 years we have been at Anchor Run. Before the end of today our monthly total is 11.7, surpassing September of 2011 when we endured tropical storm Lee (August of 2011 still prevails with 15 inches). Besides the deluges, we dealt with quite a heat wave this month. Overall, to say the least, it has been a challenge, mentally and physically. We're still hopeful for the crops to pull through mostly intact and without a noticeable yield deficiency in the pick up room. We always grow extra amounts of crops, depend on a diversity of crops, as insurances when weather is unfriendly and sometimes these extras turn into excess bounty and sometimes we lean heavily upon them. Besides our battles with the heat and rain, we're also plagued by creatures eating our high-sugar content crops like watermelon, cantaloupes, and sweet corn. The damage on the sweet corn was extensive enough to reduce the yield so much that we aren't able to give it out for two weeks, our goal. The damage to the watermelon, coupled with the deleterious effects of too much soil moisture and dying vines, means only enough watermelon for two weeks, not four like last season. So far the cantaloupe vines are alive, but slowly but surely the ripe orbs are being eaten. Is it a raccoon, a skunk, an opossum, crows, or all of the above? Adversity is part of life, right, right, right.
2.8 inches of rain on Saturday, after 1.1 inches on Thursday night and Friday morning, means soil is saturated and we grin/grimace and bear/beer it.
Expected Harvest
Wet Hot Summer Veggies
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #12 (Week B) should include tomatoes, lettuce, summer squash, cucumbers, eggplant, sweet peppers, fresh garlic, scallions, carrots, watermelon, cantaloupe melon, cabbage, and okra. Some items may be a choice. U-pick should include cherry tomatoes, husk cherries, tomatillos, green beans, flowers, basil, dill, cilantro, parsley, and perennial herbs.
Don't forget to enjoy the 25-stem flower bouquet that is included with your CSA share! This monarch butterfly is surely glad for the beautiful flower patch.
Workshifts Week of 8/7
By Derek McGeehan
Half of your committed work hours should be completed soon! Over the course of the season full shares work 8 hours; half shares work 4 hours. If you're unable to contribute the physical portion of your share, you may contribute to the farm financially at the rate of $15/hour. This fills out the balance of your share cost.
  • Tuesday 8/9 8-10am; 10am-12noon
  • Wednesday 8/10 8-10am; 10am-12noon; 6-8pm
  • Friday 8/12 8-10am; 10am-12noon
  • Saturday 8/13 8-10am
Workshift sign-up instructions may be found here.
Thank you!
This smiling crew helped retrieve the first round of winter squash from the field. Spaghetti squash will be followed by kabocha, delicata, sweet dumpling, and several varieties of butternut.
Husk Cherries New this Week
By Linda Dansbury
We are well into the summer season and from a harvest standpoint, that means that the crops will stay pretty much the same for the next few weeks with a new or different item here and there. This week we have husk cherries, which are also known as ground cherries and cape gooseberries. They are in the same botanical genus as tomatillos, and look like minature versions of them. They have significant amounts of beta carotene, protein, calcium, fiber, vitamin C and iron. One of their names, ground cherries, is due to how they are best harvested: when they are really ripe, they fall off the plant and so all you do is pick them off of the ground. In most years, they can sit on the ground with just their protective husk for a long time waiting for one of us to pick them up - with all of this year's rain, I am not sure how long they will keep. To store them, you can just leave them in their husks and sit on the counter or table - they will keep for weeks at room temperature. Early settlers and Native Americans used these as a major portion of their diet through the winter because it is a very nutritional item that doesn't require any preservation.
The taste is somewhat tropical - I have read this description of their taste: a cherry tomato injected with mango and pineapple juice. We have a couple of recipes on this site - Ground Cherry Pie and Ground Cherry Jam. Other ways to enjoy them include using them in salsa, adding to salads with a bit of goat cheese, layer with tomatoes and basil for an easy appetizer, or in meat or fish dishes as a replacement for other recommended fruits.
When husk cherries are ripe they drop from the branches to the ground, hence the alternate name ground cherries. As Gabe demonstrates, picking these is an enjoyable and adventurous task for kids.
U-Pick Note
By Linda Dansbury
I am sure we all feel the same sadness and disappointment when walking through the U-pick tomatoes - a very high percentage are split and rotting due to the extreme weather we have been having. This has happened in past years as well, and I have seen that people then seem to stop going into the cherry tomato beds thinking they are finished for the season. But, they aren't. More little tomatoes will ripen beautifully once the weather dries out again. Later this week is supposed to be beautiful so in another week or 2 there will be a new batch of little delicious tomatoes ready for you to enjoy.
Bouncing from one weather extreme to another is extremely challenging for the farm but at least makes for a nice photo once in a while. Gabe ponders the heavens in the earth.
How I Enjoyed My Harvest
Trying to stay cool
By Linda Dansbury
This hot weather has us all trying to figure out how to eat well without heating up the kitchen. One of my obvious answers is to light up the grill, which we do at least a few times each week. This can also be a challenge due to the amount of thunderstorms we are dealing with recently. One thing we have been doing is when we grill, we grill extra. That gives us extra to have for a couple of days after - so as we are watching the heavy rain, we are still eating deliciously grilled foods! We were away most of last weekend and so didn't have time to do the longer term preserving I often do on Sundays, but here is some things we enjoyed. Click on the bolded recipe titles to get to the full recipe.
Eggplant, scallions, summer squash, parsley- grilled as I have described before. The next night or so I make a large pasta salad and cut up the grilled veggies, add a bit of balsamic vinegar and fresh herbs, a nice olive oil and some sort of cheese - feta or grated pecorino are nice choices. Chopped tomatoes or a squeeze of lemon juice brighten the flavors. Added grilled chicken or fish (all leftover) are also great. This makes for a delicious, nutritious and easy meal for busy families and is as flexible as your imagination and refrigerator.
Tomatoes, garlic scapes, basil - heirloom and cherry tomato season is one of the favorite and shortest seasons. In addition to the tomato salads we have been enjoying, this past week we had pasta with Uncooked Tomato Sauce. There are 2 recipes on this site - both are delicious. We had leftovers, so had another dinner in which I added additional cut up tomatoes and shrimp. Yum!!
Snap Beans, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, basil - made a huge salad, that will be eaten for days!
Cucumbers, mint - I have been making my breakfast as described in member ideas a couple of weeks ago: yogurt, cucumbers, splash of cider vinegar, salt and pepper - our member suggested dill, but I used parsley and mint instead. Very good!
Member Ideas and Suggestions
More Cooling Ideas
By Linda Dansbury
For this week, I received 2 suggestions - if you have any ideas to share with fellow members, please send to me at lindadansbury@comcast.net. Please put Anchor Run in the subject line so I can find your email. Click on the bolded item for the full recipe.
Laura Womack let me know that she has been placing a slice of cucumber in her glass of seltzer - refreshing and not bitter like citrus can be. The flavor lasts through 2 glasses and then she eats the slice. It is also good combined with an herb such as mint or rosemary.
Emily Mahoney is our Anchor Run "Queen of Soups" member! Her office is very cold, so she brings soup for lunch year around. Late last week she sent me a recipe for Mediterranean Stew. It is made in the slow cooker, so it doesn't heat the house up - freeze it in batches now and heat up later for an easy dinner/lunch. It includes butternut squash but I am pretty sure you can use potatoes instead if you want.