It has been a trying week.
Why, might you ask? Welp, rain is either in short supply this year or a complete deluge, which limits our ability to weed (pulled weeds reroot quickly in wet soil) and damages some water-sensitive plants. This is why the spinach season has ended so quickly! Spinach hates wet feet. Then, for the second week in a row, our walk-in cooler has gone on the fritz, ending in a complete meltdown situation where I accidentally drilled a hole in a coolant line at 1 a.m. Don't ask, it's embarrassing. But, we got it fixed!
Still, though, the vegetables in the field stand waiting in readiness for their moment to shine, that effervescent blink of an eye when they are severed from their roots, placed in a tote and tucked into the cooler to meditate in 38 degrees while they anticipate what the surface of your dinner plate will feel like.
Anyways, enough of the anthropomorphizing. We are seeding the fall crops that we'll be planting in July this week, starting the next round of what is essentially an endless succession of planting plants. It really never ends, but that's kind of the fun of it. Keeping in front of that is a task that requires constant reminders, as tiny fires that we battle threaten to keep us from remembering our task to keep reseeding so the food continues to return to the table.
The tomatoes in the high tunnel are approaching adolescence, they've started setting large fruit panicles drooping with green orbs and it is all we can do to keep trellising them upwards in a timely fashion.
I peeked under the insect netting today to find that the broccoli is in good spirits, and should be arriving soon! Heads are about the size of a quarter right now. Chinese and regular cabbage are also getting bigger by the day, and we have an exciting new arrival this week: BEETS! We all know how to cook beets, but because I've got a bit of a soap box here, I'm going to share our favorite way to prepare them: quickly boiled, chilled, and chopped into chunks, which we use to adorn salad greens. Just delicious that way! Or take those cooked beets, cover with a mixture of half water and half vinegar, with a pinch of sugar and salt, toss in the fridge for a few days, and voila, pickled beets.
In more awesome news, at our Westy Pickup we will have some new arrivals this week:
¡BiciCocina! is a pedal powered kitchen cart serving fresh and healthy Latin American street fare and will be set up back behind the Westy in the beer garden on Thursday evenings. Please check them out when you come for your share. Beer and dinner + veggies: it doesn't get better than this!
Crooked Carrot Kitchen, a local purveyor of the finest kim chis, pickles, fermented foods and more will be offering their foods for sale along side our CSA. They make all their products with food from local farms (us included!) and will have them available a la carte at the Westy. Bring cash if you'd like to partake, it's all excellent and pairs very nicely with CSA produce. Here's more information on them, below.
"Crooked Carrot is a local foods business based in Ithaca. Our products are made with traditional preservation techniques such as fermentation and canning, using fresh ingredients exclusively from farms within 30 miles of Ithaca, NY--either certified naturally grown, certified organic, or NOFA-NY Farmers' Pledge--including Plowbreak Farm! Our offering includes raw, live culture ferments such as sauerkraut and kimchi, but will also include pantry staples such as tomato sauce and apple sauce as the ingredients become available. Our products will always be available from a self-serve cooler at Plowbreak's pickup at the Westy.
We'll also be offering the Westy as a Carrot Cash location. Similar to a CSA, Carrot Cash is a financial tool for community-scale investment in our local food system. By investing in Carrot Cash, members get more healthy, delicious food for their money, and Crooked Carrot gets the financing they need to buy abundant, in season produce directly from local, ecologically minded family farms. Having a more abundant cash flow earlier in the season allows us to purchase high quality produce "2nds" and surpluses that might otherwise go to waste, helping us all get more out of the hard work and resources that go into our local farms. Crooked Carrot processes these ingredients, creating meaningful jobs and making more local food available to local people year round. For more information, go to our website or email us at email@example.com."
Finally, we're getting to my favorite part of the CSA e-mail: the pickin' list! (a housekeeping sidenote: second payments on the payment plans are due the first week of July, either mailed or brought to pickup. Thanks!)
Hakurei Turnips (probably the last week for these babies, enjoy them while they last!)
Scallions (eat the whole things: green tips are great for garnishes, bulbs are excellent chopped large and stirfried!
(Basil should be coming soon, the rain has slowed it down!)
Ithaca Farmers Market, Manager
Plowbreak Farm, co-owner845-594-7126