Dear Friends of the Farm,
This week you are getting red potatoes, sweet yellow onions, squash, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, white, cheddar and/or purple cauliflower, celery, beans, basil & corn! A few of you will get Japanese or Globe eggplant, artichoke and tomatoes. There isn’t enough to give them to everyone and most of you will not get any of these five crops. But we don’t want them to go to waste. The hot days over 90 degrees and warm nights over 63 degrees have helped to get these crops to mature. Unfortunately they are not maturing fast enough to give them to the entire membership! However this is the beginning of wonderful things to come! We have to tell you we are surprised by the sudden abundance we received recently. We knew this would happen, but expected it to happen more towards the middle of August!
Everyone is anxiously waiting for the peaches this week. First Fruit says the Newhaven’s are ready and we will be getting them this week! First Fruits Organic Farms is an orchard run by two brothers, Chris and Kevin Kropp. They have been running this organic orchard since 1988 in the Paonia area. The microclimate provides the unique combination of hot summer days followed by cool nighttime breezes, which creates fruit that is unusually high in natural sugars & concentrated flavors. Many have said the fruit is the best they have ever tasted! They utilize bio-friendly methods of pest control and rebuild their soils with minerals, composted manures, cover crops and beneficial microbes to leave the precious living soils better than they found them. By purchasing First Fruits Organic Farm fruit, they believe you are not only providing yourself, your family and your friends with a safe, healthy and delicious bounty from the land, but also support farming methods and practices that are sustainable and responsible. Just the fact that you have found their fruit worthy of taking home and feeding yourself and your family is the biggest reward and compliment you could give them. The two Kropp families asked me to tell you a huge heart-felt Thank you! (Partially taken from an updated bio you can now find on our website.)
Thank you for being patient with me over the last two weeks. Alaina moved two weeks ago into a different house and we have two weddings to go to this last weekend. It is so hard for us to do anything extra over and above the farm this time of year. And to have something happening two weekends in a row has Jerry crawling in a ditch to hide!
I know several of you are always looking for new ways to prepare the crops you get on a weekly basis. Mary Rogers is a current member of the farm. She has a blog called everydayeating.wordpress.com. She helps you not only figure out what to do with your veggies, but includes tips in preparation and recipes. You can even sign-up for cooking classes!
Here is a helpful way to use all of that squash; make pickles!
Sweet & Spicy Pickles
Cut 4 lbs summer squash (use all the different kinds) into ¼ inch slices or cube into bite-size pieces.
Cut onions in half and then in half again, then slice into ¼ inch slices.
3 dried hot peppers or 8 fresh anaheims or 4 fresh jalapeno peppers.
Heaping ¼ cup canning salt
1 quart crushed ice
5 pound weight
2 ¼ cups vinegar
1 cup dark maple syrup
¾ cup water
1 tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp whole allspice
½ tsp celery seeds
6 pint jars with lids and bands
Toss squash, onion, ¼ cup salt and ice together in a large bowl. Cover with a plate and weight down. Let this stand for four hours. Meanwhile sterilize jars, lids and bands, (boil for 3 minutes). Boil the next 7 ingredients (if using dried chilies) plus 1 ½ tsp salt for 10 minutes. If using fresh chilies; cut through skins but do not cut through the meat of the chili – several times and add to mixture in the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain vegetables and pack into jars. At this time, you could add one of the chilies to the jars as well (half and de-seed the anaheim & jalapeno)! Fill jars with hot liquid leaving ½ inch space at top Seal and roll jar on its side to remove any bubbles. Add more liquid if necessary. Seal and submerge jars in boiling water for 20 minutes for slices, 25 minutes for chunks. Let pickles stand for 1 to 2 weeks to develop flavor.
Recipe adapted from Nature Preserved
We had a fantastic compliment this week. A current member from another CSA called asking how they could get involved with our CSA because they are not getting much variety or quantity with their shares. I guess a niece is a member of our farm and they have been comparing shares. I knew this was probably happening within the membership, this is just the first time someone has admitted to it! I can’t tell you how happy I was to talk with this person to find out how we do compare with another CSA. She said she was happy with her share until she saw what was given out from your farm. Needless to say, she is anxiously waiting for next year to start!
Have a fantastic week! Enjoy all the new, fun veggies this week!
Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Alaina