Thursday, June 30, 2011

Well, here it is 9:30 pm and we are finally sending out this week’s newsletter.When William began writing it this morning at 6:00 am, we had no idea that today would turn into “one of those days.” See the last paragraph in the body of the newsletter and you’ll see the type of piggy adventures we were up to late last night…and then several times through the day today when we trying to harvest and pack the CSA boxes. The pigs have been having a blast! Every heard of a pig jumping over the moon? We hadn’t either.

Week 7 Box: We apologize for the shortened recipes section today.

Curly Kale- Baked Kale Chips anyone?

Swiss Chard- I’ll be cooking a fine Italian pasta meal with Swiss Chard, zucchini and squash, basil, garlic, and parmesan cheese.

Bok Choy (also spelled Boc Choi) Try an Asian style stir-fry with carrots, spring onions, and boc choy. Remember to cook the carrots and onions first, then cook the Bok Choy stems lightly, and the chopped Bok Choy greens last. Any green will taste bitter if you cook it for too long- I like my greens just past wilted and still bright green.




Spring Onions

Garlic- variety “Nootka Rose”

Basil- Keep the bag of basil open so the basil can “breathe” and always store basil at room temperature. You can still use it if it is slightly wilted. You make also freeze basil in freezer bags and then crumble it into a dish when you need it. It won’t keep a pretty color when frozen, but it will still taste amazing!

Thank you for all the returned boxes last week! It makes our job much easier to have them back so we can pack them for you today.

This week you will be receiving some of the garlic we talked about last week. We grew about 5 different varieties of garlic, just a small sampling of all the possibilities. This week’s garlic variety is Nootka Rose, a beautiful silverskin garlic with red streaked clove skin. Look for differences in taste, peeling ability, and texture each time we put garlic in your box. Garlic is a great example of a crop with tremendous variation that has been reduced down to just a few types available commercially. Those commercial types have, as usual, been chosen not for flavor but for looks, storage ability, and easier peeling. Spending just a few moments more to peel a clove of garlic seems like a small price to pay to begin to explore a plant with as many complexities and differences in flavor as wines. For a brief overview of all the garlic available you can read

You will probably notice holes and pock marks on the boc choi. These are the marks of flea beetles. The marks are just cosmetic blemishes, and the plants are fine to eat. They are very small, usually black insects that jump when disturbed, hence their name. Two of their favorite crops are eggplant and boc choi and this year they found both! If their numbers are controlled they typically just slow a plant down and it will recover. However, they are capable of completely devouring a young transplant. It is always interesting to see how the pest populations vary from year to year. Last year we had very little flea beetle problems, but we were inundated with squash bugs and potato beetles at this time. This year it is reversed.

This big project in the garden this week was to catch up on weeding and put down hay mulch around the potatoes and tomatoes. We still need to get around to the peppers. All these crops really appreciate the moderating effects of mulch. It will help hold moisture in, cut down on weeds, cool the soil temperature, and reduce pest pressure. Pests that particularly like tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes-in particular the potato beetle, are unable to navigate the jungle created by mulch. They tend to get lost in the hay instead of finding the plant. Unfortunately the same is not true of pests for other plant families. Mulch around squashes is a bad idea because this provides the ideal habitat for squash bugs to wildly proliferate.

This Monday and Tuesday we didn’t get to work in the garden quite as much as we had planned because we were busy with an experiment. We were testing the idea that our single electric line fences for pigs only work when the pigs are happy. It turns out that when the pigs decide that they are unsatisfied with what’s inside their fence they have no problem going through it! In the last 48 hours the pigs have more or less operated as if there were no fence-extremely exasperating (especially to the poor horse who is pretty sure that the pigs are after her when they get out!). Last night we were finally able to address some of the issues. Turns out the pigs were just plain hot. Who can blame them for being grumpy when it’s almost 90 and humid? So we ran water for a nice big wallow-they loved it! We also added some electric lines to their fence so it looks a little more intimidating. Today we will find out if our changes worked. Update: The pigs decided that the fence doesn’t apply to their situation right now. William added one more electric line to help prevent these particularly athletic pigs from sailing over the fence.

That’s all for this week, Enjoy the food!

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