Week #11, August 2/3, 2018

Our garlic harvest is in.  It is a very satisfying crop.  We didn’t lose plants any over the winter and the bulbs are plumb and beautiful.  They need to dry for a month, then we’ll begin packing them in the CSA boxes.  Above, Karen carefully laid the plants in rows to dry.  Our barn loft is a good place to cure garlic because it’s dry with good circulation.

No bulk basil this year.

Japanese beetle pressure is high right now, cutting into the basil we expected to offer for extra sales.  If you have the chance to buy bulk basil elsewhere, you should do it.  There will be plenty of basil for the CSA boxes.  We’ve seeded extra plantings and plan to harvest the basil smaller than usual, before the beetles find it.  I visit the basil plantings each morning to knock Japanese beetles into a pail of soapy water.  A few pioneering beetles arrive, then are followed within days by congregating beetles, drawn by pheromones.  If I keep the pioneering beetles under control, the rest of the beetles don’t congregate.  If you have basil in your garden, give this approach a try.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #11, Aug 2/3, 2018
– Weekly shares
– Green EOW shares

Green beans, ~1.4 lb
Muskmelon, 1
Cucumbers, ~4
Silver Slicer cucumber or a few pickles
Tomatoes, slicing & plum, ~2.3 lb
Peppers, 2, maybe 1bell + 1fryer
Lettuce, 1 medium
Zucchini or yellow summer squash, 1 or 2 pieces
White onion, 1 or 2
– Some sites get Sun Jewel melon; some get Yellow Doll watermelon.
– Some sites get globe eggplant, some get a small cabbage, some get more pickles, beans or peppers.

Next week’s box will probably carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, melons, onion and more.

Green beans – The string beans are very nice quality, at the perfect stage as we picked them.  Use raw or cooked.  Refrigerate.

Muskmelon – Some are ripe and ready to eat.  Some need to ripen a day or two on your kitchen counter.

Cucumbers – We just began harvesting the next cucumber field so this batch is beautiful.  Now we have pickles and Silver Slicer cucumbers to share.  We’ll scatter them among the boxes as they are ready.  Silver Slicers are medium-sized white cucumbers with thin skins.  Pickles are small, stubby cucumbers with thin skins.  Both can be used interchangeably with slicing cucumbers in cucumber recipes, or mixed together.  However, their best use is as a snack.  Hand these to the kids on the ride home from picking up your CSA box.  There’s no need to peel the thin-skinned pickles or Silver Slicers.  As usual, store all types of cucumbers/pickles in the warmest part of your fridge.

Tomatoes – Store at room temperature and keep a close eye on these tomatoes.  Quality has improved a bit over last week.  Soon we’ll be done with this rain-weakened first field.

Peppers – You’ll get two peppers, probably one bell and one fryer.  Many will be “suntans”; peppers that are partially red and partially green.  It’s always a little risky to leave the first peppers on the plants too long so we harvest at this stage.  The growing plants will provide more shade and shelter for the next round of peppers.  They are coming!

Lettuce – This is SummerCrisp, a variety that does pretty well in summer.  The weather has cooled down so we were able to let this lettuce grow larger than the last batch.

White onions – Mild to moderate pungency.  Store at room temperature.  These are more pungent than the recent sweet Walla Wallas.  

Eggplant – Store eggplants at room temperature for 2 – 3 days for best flavor.  If holding for longer than three days, store in the warmest part of your refrigerator.  Eggplants do not store well for long periods of time.  Many recipes instruct you to salt and drain eggplant “to remove bitter flavors.”  Eggplant this fresh is not bitter so you can skip the salting step.
There are so many ways to use versatile eggplants.  Here are a few ideas:
– Roast in the oven or over coals to cook and smoke your eggplant, then transform into baba ganouj with lemon, tahini, and garlic.  See recipe link below.
– Cut in 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices, peel, and rub with a little salad dressing (I use Newman’s balsamic dressing), then grill slowly until soft and smoky.  At this point, you can cut into cubes to make eggplant caponata with chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, olives, capers, olive oil and red wine vinegar.
– Use the grilled cubes in casseroles or to top pizza.  
– I recently made an easy, less caloric version of eggplant & zucchini parmesan.  Follow the grilling instructions above but cut the raw eggplant into thinner slices, 1/4 to 1/2 inches.  I layered grilled slices of eggplant and zucchini with thinly sliced raw tomatoes and onions.  I added tomato sauce, bread crumbs and parmesan between each layer.  In the middle, I added a thick layer of ricotta cheese mixed with fresh garlic.  Baked at 400 for 30 minutes and it was good
– Alternatively, use thin, grilled eggplant slices in grilled cheese sandwiches.  Use hearty bread – this doesn’t work well with soft sandwich bread.  

Sun Jewel melons (for some sites) – This is our first year growing these interesting Asian melons.  They are sweet and crisp.  We think their taste falls somewhere between honeydew and crenshaw.  The rind is a pretty yellow and the flesh is white.  Any melons with small cracks in the rind are ready to eat, and should be refrigerated.  Otherwise, ripen on your counter for a few days.  These melons are new for us so we can’t tell you what signs to watch for as the melons ripen.  We’re guessing one to three days at room temperature should do it.  I have a collection ripening in our kitchen.  I’ll post in the Facebook group if I learn anything useful.

Everyone gets a muskmelon (left) plus either a Sun Jewel melon (bottom right) or a Yellow Doll watermelon (top right).

Slicing cucumbers at left.  Pickles (top right) and Silver Slicer cucumbers (bottom right) are great for salads or snacking.


Visit our 2018 Recipe Log or our 2017 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics
Simple Streamlined Refrigerator Pickles
Shrimp Stir Fry with Rice, Green Beans, Zucchini and Pepper
Chilled Sun Jewel Soup
Risotto with Braised Red Cabbage
Baba Ganouj
Eggplant Parmesan

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Citrus Rice Salad with Feta, Tomatoes and Cucumbers
Thai  Cucumber, Green Bean and Tomato Salad
Sun Jewel Collins
Braised Red Cabbage with Balsamic Vinegar and Cranberries
Eggplant and Lamb Moussaka

LOCAL THYME/ Quick & Easy Meal
Southwestern Black Bean and Vegetable Salad

No recipes from Lauren this week

She’s preparing to host a big Soil Sisters event and tour.

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