Weekly Share August 21st – 27th

Butterhead Lettuce
Flat Leaf Parsley
Dancer Eggplant
Highlander Onion
Danvers Carrots
Celebrity or Red Pear Tomatoes
Sweet Italian & Green Seyrek Peppers
Crimson Spineless Okra or Romano Beans
Crimson Sweet Watermelon or Halona Cantaloupe

Happy Solar Eclipse everyone. We hope you can take some time out on Monday to partake in this rare natural phenomenon. With our crazy non-stop schedule it is rare that we get to partake in holidays or midnight lunar eclipses or what have you; but this phenomenon is perfect for us; it’s in the middle of the day, outside and we luckily have a big open space to view the sun. Sometimes farming pays off. Being that its mid-August we are in the midst of our busiest time. We have long harvest days now that the eggplant, okra, long beans, peppers, and chiles are producing at full blast. We are working as fast as we can each week to keep up with our fall and winter planting, which requires seeding and transplanting on a very tight schedule. Every 2-3 days off schedule now can mean 10-14 days off harvesting especially for our long crops such as carrots, broccoli, or spinach. We also have to look for windows of opportunity when the weather will be a bit cooler to get appropriate germination and as always try to keep all our crops (summer, fall, and winter) properly hydrated for good growth. To get all this planting done also means getting rid of old crops quickly so Brian can prepare land for the next round. Between June and September we have to flip about 1/3 of our crop fields a little less than one acre, in order to have enough space for all the things we want to grow. It’s like a Tetris game trying to appropriately rotate certain crops, finding the right conditions for particular crops (light enough soil, good drainage, not too windy in the Winter), and keep blocks of crops together 4-6 months from now for irrigation and cold protection purposes. So while we harvest, plant, manage crops, week by week; we are also quickly clearing those things that need to be done (such as Sungold cherry tomatoes) to make room for the new.
A reminder, we are taking our annual week off the CSA shares next week August 28th – September 3rd. So no shares next week; but this week we have a great big share highlighting the Summer bounty in Virginia. With peppers ripening we can finally get you all some sweet peppers along with a few Turkish Seyrek peppers that are long thin light green delicious peppers, with no heat, but a fresh green, bright flavor. The last of the melons will be doled out this week. We hope you have enjoyed them as thoroughly as we have. We are finally bringing you all okra and/or beans, which have been slim this season up until now. These two crops pair nicely with onion, tomato, green peppers, and carrots to make some delicious bayou food. And then there is the illustrious ever-bountiful eggplant. We imagine that some of you might get your fill of eggplant long before the season quits and for this reason we try to be reasonable about how much we dole out to our CSA members. A funny thing is that since our second year we have never increased our eggplant plot size, growing the same number of plants on the same square footage; but every year the eggplant crop produces larger numbers of fruit and we take this as a positive sign of our slow baby steps towards learning to be better farmers. We hope that we can help those of you who are not in love with eggplant learn to appreciate it a bit more each year with recipe suggestions and diversity of varietals, as it is a truly abundant crop in Virginia. Likely it is one of the few crops that actually makes us a good profit when we can sell it. The plants truly love the humidity, the bouts of drought, the deluge of rain, and the heat. So this is the 4th week of 7 with eggplant and in September and October there will likely be at least 3 more times it is in the share; we hope you can revel in its bounty. Check some ideas below for using this amazing hearty fruit. Enjoy the share…..Brian and Autumn
Cajun Shrimp Eggplant Casserole #SundaySupper
Shrimp And Okra Gumbo
Griddled Eggplant With Meyer Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
Creole Smothered Green Beans With Andouille Sausage
Spiced Peppers and Eggplant
Rice Pilaf With Carrots And Parsley
All photos are generously provided by Alexis Courtney
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