Friday, July 8, 2011

Just made it!

The title of this blog might confuse some folks. But at Parker Produce our thoughts are with Brittany as she went home with an illness today. Her work ethic is beyond compare and it pained her to go on a harvest day. But we want her to get well and we also want her to know I finished bagging and packing at exactly 3pm. Just in time!!! No worries. Hope you feel better Brittany!!!
And to speed your recovery, here's a picture worthy of a hallmark get well card. We had a severe thunderstorm at the farm the other day and this is one of the good things that came of it. It was amazing and neither this picture, nor any of the others I took, do it justice.

I've been hard at work this week trying to keep from getting overwhelmed (too late!!!) by weeds. Here is a row of beet greens amidst Royal Burgundy Bush Beans. This is just prior to cultivating.

And here is the same row after I used the stir-up hoe. I love simple but effective tools.
Also, our new baby laying hens arrived this week. This one is cute...but suspicious.

Here are a couple of shots of me on Tuesday trying to stay ahead of the Sugar Snap Peas. They're so big that they are starting to manipulate the trellis. They're so yummy but sometimes a pain. As you check out the next couple of pictures keep in mind I'm about 6'2" tall. These plants are serious. They'll grow to 8 feet or more in a season.

Here I am at just after dawn. Still chilly.Only a few minutes later it's very, very hot. What a week of weather we've had.

In this week's share you'll find another round of Chard. I'm pretty happy with the Chard this year. I finally got the planting quantity correct so we have no trouble giving everyone a full bunch. Below is an idea for what to do with Chard (or other things). Tempura. I made up this recipe but it's a fairly common idea so you could google the word for recipes or you might already have one. We liked the Chard the best of all the things on this plate, including spinach, scapes and snow peas. I dipped the chard into a plate of scrambled egg and coated the whole leaf (but not the stem as it makes a convenient handle). Then I dipped it into a mixture of all purpose flour and quick cooking oats. Then I set it into a very hot frying pan which was holding rendered fat (from bacon). If you're vegetarian, vegan or just don't save your renderings, you could probably use vegetable or olive oil. Just be careful because they ignite at lower temperatures and off-gas some nasty things when too hot. Once they were fried up I salted them liberally with sea salt and enjoyed them. A great meal for a hot afternoon. Disregard the charred spinach in the middle of this photo. My first attempt was during the same time Martin decided he was suddenly really, really hungry and needed a bottle NOW DADDY!!!

Here's a shot of something I set out for the 4th party we had. Carrots (in your share again today!!!) Sugar Snaps and Chard stems. Chard stems are a great substitute for Celery. I don't grow celery. Too hard, never had luck, gave up. Chard is more interesting anyway!

Here is a shot of the bags just after packing prior to them going into the coolers. The very best problem a CSA farmer has is not having enough room in the bags at the beginning of July! What a season so far.

Ok, Shell Peas are here! We should have more next week when we can get in a full day's harvest. I consider Thursday night part of a full day's harvest. I was at a farmstead tour at the home of John Bunker (the Fedco Trees guy) in Palermo yesterday into the evening and didn't get a chance to get a jump on the harvest. So I had to harvest your carrots and radishes today. Usually root crops are good to hit the night before because they weather the process well. More peas next week! But this 1/2lb in your share should be enjoyable. Caselode is the variety and they are delicious.

Here is a little video of me explaining how to open the peas. Not everyone was as fortunate as I to grow up in a home where the kids helped with the food storage. Shelling peas, cleaning blueberries, crushing blackberries are all memories I have of childhood. I didn't know it at the time but I really was fortunate to be learning how to accomplish these tasks. Now, as we attempt to 'put by' as much food as possible for our family, Emily and I can pass these traditions onto Lizzie (and Martin when he is old enough). Luckily, Lizzie is young enough to love helping with these things. Anyway, if you don't know how to open and shell the peas, hope this helps.

Also this week, a red romaine lettuce called Eruption. An apt name. It really does erupt and we nearly missed our harvest window before it bolted. I only lost one head. The trouble with lettuce is that it can't be harvested early and if you blink you missed it. I got pretty lucky because this is a beautiful lettuce. Enjoy.

I was harvesting your Tango Lettuce today and heard quite a noise. I looked up to find this hen on top of the old hen-mobile. I was once told chickens don't fly very well. I disagree.

Hope everyone is enjoying their vegetable, egg and bread shares. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback. Until next week, enjoy.

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