CSA Newsletter #8

We had a pretty good stretch of weather the end of last week and through the weekend. The ground was starting to dry out but then today (Tuesday) hit. I think if it stays mostly dry for the rest of the week, we should be able to get back in the field. 

I had the first group of high school students out to the farm last week since before the pandemic. Rising sophomores from Groton HS have been part of a program this summer visiting with faculty from different programs at Tompkins Cortland. I was happy to host them and give them a tour of the farm and overview of the Sustainable Farming program. It was an impressive group of young people. 

As the summer semester approaches its end, the interns have still been working hard and plugging away at all the jobs that need to be done. We were finally able to get all of our peppers strung up. I'm very happy with how things are initially looking with our trellis. We'll wait and see how they hold up as the plants begin to get larger. The black currants are almost done being harvested. That should happen this week. We have crushed our previous high harvest of 55 pounds. We've harvested around 120 pounds so far. You can imagine how many currants that is. I went blueberry picking over the weekend and they were a breeze to pick compared to the currants. Tomatoes are chugging along. More and more cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen and the interns got to taste the first heirloom tomato of the season. Tomato sandwiches are in your near future! A succession planting of basil also got in the ground. Our final big task of the week was to start the garlic harvest. It's been chipped away at the last few weeks with the fresh garlic that has been in the share but we need to get all of it out of the ground before it's too late. If the garlic is left in the ground too long, it will separate and no longer be marketable and would make curing difficult. So, if you grow garlic at home and it's still in the ground, consider harvesting it. It's a pretty daunting task, since we harvest it all by hand. After it's harvested, we sort the garlic into 3 "grades"; firsts, seconds and seed. The firsts get distributed to the CSA, the seconds are saved to plant for garlic greens and the largest, most uniform heads are saved to replant. When you pick up tomorrow, you'll be able to see them hanging upstairs in the barn. Dependent on the weather, it'll take until at least the end of August before they are fully cured. So, garlic will be taking a break from the share for a while.

But not this week! There will still be fresh garlic in the share this week, along with jalapeno peppers, a mix of green bell and frying peppers and possibly my favorite peppers, shishito. They are a small Japanese frying pepper. For the most part, they are mild but every so often you'll come across one with some heat. There's no rhyme or reason to it, that I know of. It just happens but if you're up for it, I think they are a wonderful little treat. They are so simple to prepare. It can be stove top or grill. Keep the peppers whole, stems and all, and heat up some oil in a cast iron pan. Pop the peppers in the hot pan and keep turning until they start to blister. When that happens, pull them and immediately sprinkle with coarse salt and enjoy. If you're a steak eater, I've had some really good meals with steak topped with blistered shishitos and onions. I was hopeful that there was going to be head lettuce in this week's share but it seems like some of our furry four-legged friends were refining their palettes. The next planting isn't too far behind. There will also be roots to choose from, kohlrabi, black currants (probably the last week), some herbs and rosemary plants again. My wife made a killer zucchini fritter last night (I'll include the recipe next week when zucchini is back) and it got me thinking about a kohlrabi/beet fritter. I think it could work. My guess would be to shred the beets and kohlrabi. I'd sprinkle some salt on them and let them sit for 15-20 minutes and then squeeze as much of the excess liquid out. I'd throw that mixture in with some crushed fresh garlic, a beaten egg and some panko bread crumbs. Shape them into little patties and cook them for 4 or so minutes on each side. I think I'll give that a shot this week. Let me know if you do, as well.

Have a great week, 

Farmer Todd