This Week on the Farm 9/30
Last week marked the end of the summer season in our books since it was the last week we had to pick green beans. Over the course of the season we picked close to 1600 pounds of green beans! We hope that you enjoyed all of your green beans and if you felt overwhelmed by the number of green beans in your box you were able to take the opportunity to blanch some of them and store them for this coming winter. There is nothing like our green beans in the dead of winter!
Speaking of blanching, if you are sick of eating tomatoes and don’t know what to do with them, a super easy option is to blanch the tomatoes and freeze them. To blanch tomatoes boil a pot of water on the stove. Remove any bad spots from the tomatoes using a sharp knife. Add the tomatoes to the boiling water and cook them until the skins begin to split. Remove from the pot of water using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl that contains cold water and ice. This will stop the cooking process and make the tomatoes easier to handle without burning your hands. Remove skins by pealing them and discard the skins. Place the tomatoes in freezer bags and let cool until there is no more steam on the sides of the bags. Close the bags making sure to remove as much air as possible and place in the freezer. These tomatoes can be made into salsa, soup, chili, or added to hot dishes later in the year. Make sure to use them up before next summers tomatoes are in season.
I love this method of storing tomatoes because it is so much easier than canning. It does take up more space in the freezer though, so make sure you keep that in mind. If you are interested in canning or freezing tomatoes, we almost always have a flat or two of “seconds” that we don’t put in the CSA boxes. These tomatoes have splits or bad spots that mean they won’t store well. The flats are available for on farm pick up and with the weather being what it is they are likely available only through next week. Contact us for pricing and availability.
I really hope that you all like cabbage and are able to find recipes to utilize the cabbages that have been/will be in your boxes this season. It was a fantastic late summer for our cabbage crop. I personally love the coleslaw that my mother-in-law makes so that is how we use some of our cabbage, but it is also great in soups. This week we have Caraflex cabbage in the box. Caraflex is known as a sweetheart cabbage. Tyler likes to call them rosebud cabbages because of their shape. When we were going through the seed catalogue this past winter this variety stuck out because of their unusual shape and because the size was perfect for our boxes. With many of our members getting half shares designed to feed one or two people, a four to five pound cabbage is not ideal. These little beauties average 1.5 to 2 pounds, which is a more usable amount of cabbage for two people in one week. We hope you enjoy them and let us know what you think!
Our fall plantings are looking really great! We have Swiss chard, collards, kohlrabi, kale, lettuce, arugula, radishes, turnips, carrots, and diakon radishes that will be ready in the next few weeks. With last night’s rain we should be in good shape and we shouldn’t need to irrigate for awhile. I am looking forward to trying the diakon radishes this year. This is the first year we are growing them and according to the seed catalogue one radish can weigh between two and six pounds! I personally hate raw radishes, but I like them roasted so I am looking forward to roasting these with a little olive oil and salt. Each radish is long and very straight, so I am planning on cutting them into chips and roasting them that way.
Trying to find new ways to cook vegetables is one of the cool things about CSAs and/or growing your own food. Before we started farming there is no way that I would have eaten radishes. In my mind they were one of those old people vegetables that my Grandpa ate with nothing but a little salt (to be fair to radishes I felt the same way about raw tomatoes, something he also ate with nothing but a little salt). But after trial and error I have found multiple dishes that I will eat willingly that have radishes in them and I will also eat tomatoes raw, with a little salt (thank you for that one Grandpa:) ). I hope that you have been able to find new recipes this season that will become future standards. I know that the Shredded Chicken and Tomatillo Tacos with Queso Fresco recipe from our Week 12 newsletter has become a standard in our house.
If you have found recipes that you really enjoy you have two more weeks to share them with your fellow members in order to be entered into our storage share drawing at the end of the season. The drawing for the storage shares will take place October 17, so make sure to get your recipes in before then!
The weather last week was awesome to be out in the fields. We discovered that it is easier to mow each field before trying to remove the drip tape. So after an unsuccessful attempt at pulling the tapes out on Wednesday (the grass was too high and made removal difficult), we were able to get one field of drip tapes wound up on Friday. Unfortunately we are not going to be able to get any more mowing done for a few days since our tractor has a flat tire. We called on Monday morning to order two new rear tires and they will be out on Wednesday sometime to replace the tires and tubes. We decided to order both rear tires at the same time so that they wear evenly, but it was an expense we had not anticipated so that was kind of a bummer. We knew that in the next few years we were up against new tires, but we were hoping that we would at least be able to make it through this season. Oh well!
Now that we don’t have to pick green beans on Mondays and Wednesdays we should be able to get more field work done during the week. We still have two and a half fields that have drip tapes in them, but many of those tapes will have to wait until we are done harvesting crops from those fields. I would like to get the pea trellising removed in the next week or two since we are done harvesting the green beans in that field. If we get a chance to get the trellising down we will be able to mow everything off and get that field prepped for winter.