CSA Week 10: Cool As A Watermelon
Expected Harvest
by Farmer Dana
Harvest #10 (Week B) should include cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, cabbage, carrots, scallions, garlic, watermelon, hot peppers, okra, Italian dandelion, and basil. Some items will be a choice. U-Pick should include cherry tomatoes, snap beans, tomatillos, husk cherries, flowers, and herbs.
Notes From The Field
Challenging Heat
by Farmer Derek
Feeling good about a robust patch of leeks following a difficult job of trimming and mowing aisle grass and weed growth in what could be our most fertile field.
The hottest spell of the season has descended upon the area. The worst of it looks to be short-lived, that is if you count upper 80s or low 90s as relief. All will be well and we'll persevere through it as long as rain is provided with the transition from super heat to regular heat. This kind of weather tests our resolve and patience. It's quite easy to worry about all the crops and be in a constant state of panic. It's probably the most difficult time of the year for us regardless of the heat. Harvests are getting heavier which basically means we're moving more weight around from the fields to the barn to the shares. Our minds and bodies feel a subtle fatigue from the constant daily work that began many months ago. We're concerned that newly transplanted crops might not survive until the next rainfall. Watermelons are starting to ripen but will there be enough for all members? Will wild critters find them before we do? What's the best way to harvest and cure onions for longterm storage? Are our coolers working properly? Will lettuces head up and hold up until the next harvest or will they bolt faster than we can keep up? Besides the crops we must pay attention to ourselves during this extreme weather. Even harvesting a few hundred pounds of tomatoes at 10am on Sunday morning with Farmer Dana to reduce Monday's harvest to-do list results in a thoroughly sweat drenched state that fails to evaporate and cool thanks to the humidity and lack of wind. After watering the flats in the hoop house and greenhouse a seat in front of a fan with shades drawn and doors shut cools me down just enough. Give me a bite of watermelon and I'm all good.
Either way, overall, it's an exciting time on the farm. Summer crops are thriving and long-season crops begin to beckon: watermelon now, cantaloupe soon, onions now, potatoes soon. We strive to keep up and ensure proper harvest and stowing. As we harvest our footprint slowly reduces and we have less farm space to actively manage. Very soon we'll begin sowing cover crops and putting fields to sleep for the winter. Each week that passes more plants go in the ground and less plants still need to be planted, less land needs to be prepared. For now, though, we'll focus on getting through Monday's harvest and distribution, on what could be the hottest day of the year. Stay cool!
Workshifts for Week of 7/20/20
by Farmer Derek
The farm crew - Craig, Jacob, Pat, and Emma - transplanting lettuce.
This week we'll probably embark on the onion harvest as well as pull weeds. If you signed up for a share with work discount, please consider joining us soon.
Per the PA Dept. of Health, masks and social distancing are required.
Workshifts scheduled for this week:
  • Tuesday 7/21 8-10am
  • Wednesday 7/22 8-10am
  • Friday 7/24 8-10am
  • Sunday 7/26 7-9am
Bring Your Muscles!
By Linda Dansbury
Tomatillos are ripe when they're bursting through their husks.
Once again, this week brings with it several new items. The harvest is really diverse - and heavy, so plan for it by bringing a larger, or second container for your haul - watermelon, cucs, squash and more are heavy once you load them all up.
Tomatillos - one of the staples of the farm each summer. They are a very interesting veggie and you can do quite a bit with them. They look like green tomatoes and in fact, are in the same family. Tomatillos are a good source of Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Niacin, Potassium and Manganese. Tomatillos store well in the fridge - 2-3 weeks - store in an open plastic or paper bag and keep the husk on until ready to use. When ready to use, remove the husk and rinse in cool water to remove the stickiness. This veggie can be eaten raw added to salads, or made into a fresh salsa. They are also delicious cooked into salsas or stews. Two of my favorites are Slow Cooker Chicken or Pork with Chile Verde and Chicken Stew with Tomatillo Sauce. The first recipe uses a slow cooker and the second one is easily adapted to the pressure cooker, so neither one heats up the kitchen. I typically use 2 or even 3 weeks worth of tomatillos and make the sauce for the Chicken Stew and freeze it in 2 cup batches which is what the recipe uses - it comes together for an easy meal over rice or on tortillas.
The best, most ripe tomatillos are those in which their husks have become dry and papery and they often just fall on the ground. Walk the beds and look for spots where a few have fallen on the ground - right now, that is mostly in the center of the plant and near the ground. This method will provide your share in just a few minutes.
Tomatoes - ok, so everyone knows about tomatoes, but there has been a debate about whether or not to refrigerate them. I researched this a couple of years ago, and the scientific community said to store at room temperature until they are at their optimum ripeness, or are starting to soften/have soft spots - then place them loosely in the fridge. A cold perfectly ripe tomato is better cold than one that has been left at room temperature to start to become over-ripe.
Husk Cherries, aka Ground Cherries - these interesting little fruits are also in the same family as tomatoes and tomatillos. Like tomatillos, they have a papery husk on them which dries up when ripe. They are called ground cherries, because the little fruits fall to the ground when ripe, making it really easy to harvest them. Just scoop them off the ground. Ground cherries can be stored on the kitchen counter almost indefinitely, making it a great addition when your fridge is overloaded! They are very nutritious and are similar to tomatillos in the vitamins and minerals they provide. There are several recipes on this site, both sweet and savory. My favorite is the Fresh Ground Cherry Salsa - it requires a lot of chopping, but the taste makes it worth it! We don't have a specific category on the recipe site for ground cherries, so search on Summer Miscellaneous and you will find the recipes.
How I Enjoyed My Harvest
Veggie Meals
By Linda Dansbury
An eastern tiger swallowtail lapping up some nectar from wild bergamot, bee balm.
In the heat of the summer, we often find ourselves grazing on easy-to-make veggie centric meals. Instead of having a large main dish, we will have a few smaller dishes that are simple to prepare and often don't involve much cooking. I usually do things that require roasting in the oven on a weekend morning when the weather is not that hot. Here are a few things we did with our harvest - please share how you are enjoying your harvest by emailing me at lindadansbury@comcast.net and use Anchor Run in your subject line.
Eggplant, peppers, scallions, zucchini, basil - grilled all the veggies and when they came off the grill we drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper, basil and sprinkled some crumbled local feta cheese - a great summer meal. Had a salad on the side.
Zucchini - found a new, really simple recipe - the hardest part of it is cutting them up; you could use your zoodle maker too. It is called Quick Zucchini Saute.
Tomato, basil, (garlic) - summer tomatoes are so delicious and the season always seems too short, so nearly every evening we trade off between making bruschetta and a Caprese Salad, which is just a fancy way of saying tomatoes with mozzarella cheese. The key to both of these is a good quality olive oil and creamy mozzarella cheese. I also use a locally made bread for the bruschetta.
Cucumber, scallion - made an Indian street food dish called Spiced Cucumber Sticks. Simple, once you have the Chaat spice - available at Middle Eastern markets and on Amazon - it is simple to make. It calls for red onion, which would add a nice color balance, but I used scallions since it is what we have.