Weekly Share August 8th – 14th

Sugar Baby or Crimson Watermelon
Tomatoes or Tomatillos
Red Candy Onion
Anaheim Peppers
Romano Beans
Serrano Chilies
Crisp Lettuce

Not sure if everyone is as excited as we are that the weather is finally cooling down a smidge. It has been a difficult 10 weeks; with a lot of very humid and hot days, especially mid-week when we have our most active workloads. We are also antsy to begin planting our fall crops. This week if the weather cooperates, we will get all our large cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and bunching green crops in the ground. We will also seed carrots, beets, and herbs. Next week we will follow up with fennel, turnips, rutabaga, winter radishes, and the first chicory transplants. So fall is in the air for us even though we have 6 more weeks of summer.  The past few weeks have been filled with managing greenhouse crops, fending off predatory animals both big and small (harsh summers create very hungry wildlife), and cleaning up/preparing fields for the fall plantings. Our small crew of farm hands has been really productive even though we are all sweating buckets by 10am. It seems to me like one of the hottest feeling summers in our decade here in Virginia. Now as it begins to wain a tiny bit we keep our fingers crossed that our farm will be missed by big destructive storms and that we will get some precipitation but not extremes. This is a big ask but we can hope.
This week’s share finally has more beans. Our first planting was practically a wash and we are happy that the 2nd succession is finally producing. They are delicious braised, blanched, or even eaten raw. A Romano bean is a flat-podded green bean that comes from Italy. They are meaty, with great flavor and texture. We also are happy to have a quick lettuce showing (this succession in the summer is always a crap shoot), although the heads are small and irregular, they are crisp and tender. They are so delicious as a salad with red onion, feta, and tomatoes or put in your classic blt. This week also includes the 2nd watermelon for the season these will likely be much smaller and pair so perfectly with our mild and hot peppers. Check the recipes below and enjoy the share…..Brian and Autumn

Watermelon Salad With Cotija And Serrano Peppers

Stuffed Anaheim Peppers

Pork Chile Verde

Italian Green Beans Recipe

Salata Horiatiki (Greek Country Salad)The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
1 head summer crisp lettuce, cut into ribbons
2 large firm ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, peeled, split in half through its length, and cut into thick slices
1 green pepper, cut into thin rings
1 large mild onion, thinly slices, the rings separated
8 oz feta cheese, cut into small squares or broken into coarse pieces
1 dozen or more black Kalamata olives
For the dressing
A good bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
6 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper
Put all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Just before serving, mix the dressing, pour over the salad, and toss.

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Weekly Share August 1st – 7th

Chioggia Beets
Summer Squash
Round & Teardrop Eggplant
Italian Sauce Tomatoes
Genovese Basil

Lebanese Baked Eggplant With Beef And Pine Nuts

Layered Eggplant, Zucchini and Tomato Casserole

Shaved Summer Squash Salad

Spaghetti With Fresh Tomato Sauce

Roasted Beet And Avocado Salad With Basil Lime Vinaigrette

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Weekly Share July 25th – 31st

Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Asian Long or Thai Round Eggplant
Little Leaf Pickling Cucumbers
Seyrek or Shishito Peppers
Assorted Tomatoes
Thai Basil

With 4 weeks left in the Spring/Summer share, we are finally beginning to see some new crops after a relatively slim month. Our early Summer has been a little slim because of  a number of different factors. We ran through our Spring crops very quickly due to low yields in the carrot crops, lots of bolting in the herbs, and early heat meaning some storage crops were ready early. Since we have limited storage space, things like cabbages need to move quickly, to make space for other crops like potatoes, onions, and garlic. Another affect of the weather, the intense heat with high humidity since late May, has meant some destruction from Southern blight. It is a soil born disease that is very difficult to get rid of without taking crop land out of production for long amounts of time, something we cannot do. This has been taking out swaths of peppers (very sad, although we still have a lot growing strong) and set back some maturity. It has also affected our potato yields and mildly affected our eggplants when they were young, all slowing down early flowering and yields. We also always get behind schedule in May, often because we are waiting for one crop to be done to replant in that same space. This year we got behind planting our okra, long beans, and hot chilies. Then they were hit with unrelenting heat, followed by pest pressure (deer and groundhog eating), so their growth has been stunted. Again we have been very dry and hot, so the animals are hungry and taking risks to come into our crop fields. As we get a handle on this, we feel hopeful that the plantings will pull through but it will be another 3-4 weeks before they hit their stride.  Every season is full of these sorts of issues and our job is to anticipate in advance what we need when and sometimes things do better than expected (cucumbers, squash, watermelon, tomatoes this season) and sometimes much worse. Crops like okra and eggplant are so hearty that sometimes we ignore them and then we get setback or caught off guard; but with time things can sometimes turn around.
This week’s share includes our last spring scallion planting, which was planted 3 weeks late; but in a tunnel under a shade cloth. They are taking a long time to get to size, due to a dislike for 90degree temperatures; but they are a nice aromatic partner with thai basil, so we are happy to have them this week. The seyrek peppers are beginning to take off , they are a great crunchy mild pepper, delicious in salads, sautéed, or grilled or if you prefer some heat, we will have shishitos. Both of these peppers pair well with tomatoes or eggplant, so lots of options. We are also excited to get you a early for us watermelon, usually these do not come on until August. These will likely be enormous. Overall this is the largest crimson sweet watermelon we have grown, not the highest yield but the largest pieces. Don’t be overwhelmed, cut into it, eat some, keep a piece in the fridge for a week easily, and then juice a hug chunk, it is so refreshing on a hot day. The juicing does not require a juicer, just a blender and then a strainer. Add some lime, bubbly water, thai basil, mix with cucumber , delicious. Enjoy the share….Autumn and Brian

Watermelon Tomato Salad

Watermelon Cucumber Salad with Crispy Thai Basil Dressing

Fresh Watermelon Thai Basil Fresca (We make this without the added sweetener and both with and without the alcohol – delicious)

Blistered Shishito Peppers with Miso

Spiced Peppers and Eggplant (substitute seyrek or shishito for sweet peppers)

Japanese Eggplant With Chicken & Thai Basil

Eggplant with Thai Basil
1 lb eggplant, cut into ½-inch slices
4-5 cloves garlic
1-2 medium sized fresh red or green chilies (or sweet bell pepper for the meek)
1 Tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 bunch Thai basil
Slice the eggplant into ½ inch rounds and fry them over medium high in a wide skillet with ¼ inch of canola or other frying oil. When things get going, the eggplant slices will absorb the oil and you will gradually see it penetrate through to the top.  Make sure that they don’t get too brown on the bottom before this happens.  If the eggplant slices absorb all the oil and still don’t look wet, you must add more—but don’t worry, because they will release much of it as they cook.  When they look like they have absorbed enough oil and they start to get nice and brown on the bottom, flip them over and brown them on the other side.  If the pan is dry at this point, don’t add more oil because the slices have absorbed enough to fry themselves.  When they’re done, drain the slices on paper towels
Meanwhile, cut the garlic into slices and the chilies into diagonal rings.  When the eggplant is ready, remove it and add 2 Tbsp of fresh oil to the pan, add the garlic and half the chilies, and stir-fry until the garlic is golden.  Add the soy sauces and sugar, stir for about 30 seconds until the sugar starts to bubble, and return the eggplant to the pan.  Add torn basil leaves, stir and serve, garnished with the rest of the chilies (if you dare!)

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Weekly Share 7/18 – 7/24

Red Candy Onions
Zephyr and Safari Squash
Serrano and Jalapeno Chilies
Heirloom or Sungold Cherry Tomatoes

Tomatillo And Tomato Salad

Late-summer tomato & carrot salad

Salsa Verde Recipe

Grilled Zucchini Tacos

Easy Calabacitas Recipe

South Indian Style carrot salad

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Weekly Share July 11th – 17th

Sangre Potatoes
Shishito Peppers
Eggplant or Romano Green Beans
Genovese Basil

Braised Romano Beans

Blistered Shishito Peppers with Olive-and-Basil Salt

Creamy Cucumber and Grilled Potato Salad

Cucumber-Basil Egg Salad

Tiella di patate, cipolle e pomodori (Potato, Onion and Tomato Casserole)

Aloo Baingan (Eggplant And Potato Curry)

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Weekly Share July 4th – 10th

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Romano Beans or Eggplant
Tendersweet Cabbage
Summer Squash Mix
Red Candy Onions
Chioggia Beets

We hope everyone is having a fun or restful holiday weekend. On the farm we are getting a bit of rest before the week begins. It seems like Summer has really hit. Our tomatoes are poised to hit high gear any day now and they are tasting really delicious. We always love the tomatoes; but this year the flavor seems exceptionally good especially for the early varieties/ Our small patch of corn (Cateto variety this year) is already 4-5’ tall, even with the limited amount of rain we have gotten here on the farm. All of a sudden it seems like our potatoes are ready to be dug, the garlic and onions have cured very quickly, eggplant and beans are producing, with peppers and okra some weeks behind. We have softball size watermelon and the winter squash is flowering like crazy. Oh and the weather is hot and humid, so yes Summer is most definitely here. This past week we began the first of our fall and winter transplanted crops (cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, and broccoli), meaning  we seeded cell trays that will be ready to plant in 4-6 weeks,. So as the new season sets in, we are off preparing for the next. This week we seed trays of late day chicories, bunching greens, and chinese cabbage. We are also set to transplant our last succession of tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers; as well as direct seed a summer round of arugula and our last succession of romano beans. Some of our farm spaces are full and abundant, while others are dry and open. These fields have recently been cleared of cover crop or spring crops and will now get ready for fall planting or cover cropping. We are looking forward to our upcoming CSA workday to help get some of the potatoes dug quickly, as they can rot if left in the ground once mature when temperatures are so high. As the season cycles continue year after year, there is always an enormous amount of timely work to be done once Summer arrives.
This week’s share will include the last spring cabbage, it holds well in the refrigerator so do not feel rushed to use it and relish in the greens, as they become more sparse with all this heat. We also will have the very first harvest of green beans for the season. They have been growing very slowly due to the dry and hot conditions; but seem mature and ready to be eaten. Both of these crops make great fresh salads; add some red onion, a little vinegar, sugar, salt, and oil. With beans,  blanch for 1-2 minutes, then chill before tossing with the other ingredients and some halved sungold tomatoes. Check the recipes below and enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brain

Cheesy Zucchini-Eggplant Bake

Salad of Chioggia Beets and Romano Beans

Cumin-Spiced Beet Salad with Yogurt and Preserved Lemon

Warm Cabbage and Green Beans

Eggplant in a Spicy Honey SauceThe New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
The sauce is a splendid example of the hot, spicy, and sweet combinations; which are a thrilling feature of North African cooking. Serve it cold with bread.
2 medium-large eggplants
olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 inches fresh gingerroot, grated, or cut into pieces
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
large pinch cayenne or ground chili pepper, to taste
4-6 Tbls honey
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup water
Cut the eggplants into rounds about 1/3” thick. Do not peel them. Dip them in olive oil, turning them over, and cook on a griddle or under a broiler, turning them over once, until they are lightly browned. They do not need to be soft, as they will cook further in the sauce. In a wide saucepan or skillet, fry the garlic in 2 Tbls of the oil for seconds only, stirring, then take off the heat. Add the ginger, cumin, and cayenne or gorund chili pepper, honey, lemon juice, and water. Put in the eggplant slices and cook over low heat –either in batches, so they are in one layer, or together, rearranging them so that each slice gets some time in the sauce –for about 10 minutes, or until the slices are soft and have absorbed the sauce. Add a little water if necessary.

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Weekly Share June 27th – July 3rd

Early Tomatoes
Red New Potatoes

This seems like a strange time to talk about what is happening on the farm or to suggest recipes. We will be dedicating our energies to figuring out our personal path in addressing the larger national crises at hand. Eat well, be strong, and enjoy the share….Autumn and Brian

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Weekly Share June 20th – 26th

Swiss Chard
Genovese Basil
Escarole or Frisee
Cousa, Safari, & Zephyr Squash
Candy Onions
Something Extra

Summer Squash and Basil Pasta

Marcella Hazan’s Pesto

Beet and Escarole Salad with Avocado and Walnuts

Provençal Zucchini and Swiss Chard Tart

Roasted Beet Salad with Lemon-Basil Dressing

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Weekly Share June 13th – 19th

Bibb Lettuce
Russian Kale
Spring Carrots
Napa Cabbage
Cucumbers (Suyo Long & Marketmore)

Another busy week and its looking to get busier and hotter as we approach the solstice. Already we are looking towards filling up the greenhouse with Fall and Winter crops, while just beginning to get into the Summer crops and holding onto our Spring crops for awhile longer. Even though we had an extraordinarily rainy week a little while back, it has actually been quite dry, so certain crops like our potatoes and early beans are slow growing at this point. We are inundated with cucumbers and squash though and the broccoli is still pumping strong. Many of the items in this week’s share will be in small volume, as the heat has really hit some crops back. This will be the last of the kale, radishes, and broccoli until September. One of my favorite ways to use Napa cabbage is to make into a quick slaw style salad, with whatever is around and dressed with a touch of sesame oil and soy, sweetened rice vinegar, muddled garlic, ginger, and salt and a squeeze of lime. Have herbs through it in, grate carrots and radishes, chop up broccoli into small pieces stem and all. It is delicious and fresh. Enjoy the share……Autumn & Brian

Kale and Cucumber Salad with Roasted Ginger Dressing

Korean Cucumber and Radish Salad

Chinese-style kale

Chinese Restaurant Style Stir Fried Napa Cabbage

Cabbage Fried Rice

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Weekly Share June 6th – 12th

Swiss Chard
Iceburg Lettuce
Tendersweet Cabbage
Tropea Onions
Fresh Garlic
extra: Summer Squash

Iceburg Lettuce, Cucumber, Bacon, & Egg Salad

Iceberg Salad with Italian Dressing

Fennel, Orange, and Cabbage Slaw

Spicy Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Tahini-Smothered Charred Cabbage

Grilled Fish Tacos With Cilantro Lime Cabbage Slaw

Creamed Chard and Spring Onions

Avocado and Fennel Salad

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