This photo is a public service reminder of what can happen when you leave your zucchini plants unattended for a week. They go on a binge diet, get fat and multiply. There were a lot of zucchini to carry around on a hot day yesterday! Fortunately, as we write this, Kenny and Charles are picking up the thousands of pounds of squash that we left like shipwreck survivors on the sides of the field, and will bring them to the SHABACH food pantry to give away. You, my dears, will each get one modest, young zucchini and one overgrown zucchini--we didn't want to deprive you of the opportunity to make chocolate zucchini cake or stuffed zucchini boats (recipes below), but we also didn't want to overwhelm you. Hopefully, we struck the right balance for most of you.
- We got 7 inches of rain on Monday night! Yikes! No one washed away, thank goodness, and the fields are still in good shape.
- Speaking of water, the map experts at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation created this amazing app where you can find your nearest body of water, and we thought you might get a kick out of checking it out. If you're looking for a fun outing with a kid, find your nearest wetland and start turning over rocks.
- We’re hiring! The educators have been busy creating virtual outdoor experiences for students and teachers so they have to step back a bit from helping on the farm (sad for us but good for the Chesapeake Bay). We’re hiring one person for 40 hours/week through November 20th, $11.50/hour. Here’s the job announcement with instructions to apply.
- As promised, we accomplished a lot this past week. We transplanted 6000 sweet potato plants, pounded hundreds of stakes into the tomato fields so they can get tied up, and weeded your okra and next year's strawberries.
- Picking up in Annapolis? Want to take home oysters next Thursday? This time, the oysters are from Harris Creek Oyster Company. To order, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to order is Tuesday July 14 (for pick up Thursday 7/16, at the same time and location as our CSA pick-up). Look here for more details.
- $1/oyster for less than 50
- $0.85/oyster for 50-99
- $0.75/oyster for 100 or more
Have you ever seen yellow, corrugated plastic signs on the side of the road on little metal legs? They usually advertise something dubious like fast cash or quick home sales. We cover them with a sticky goo and set them out in our squash, cucumber and melon fields to trap cucumber beetles. It's quick, not toxic, and works like a charm. If you happen to come across any signs that need a new home, bring them to us! They must be YELLOW (think of the color of a squash blossom).
- We picked our first melons this week. They are quirky varieties that mature quickly, which is why you're getting them in early July and not mid-August. One variety is a very small, round watermelon. The other is a yellow, Korean melon. They are both crisp and refreshing and only mildly sweet, so set your expectations in the right place and you will be as delighted as we are. Melons can be a little hard to read from the outside, so if you get one that isn't ripe, let us know--we can put a replacement in your share next week.
This week's share
- 1 small melon
- 1 small head green cabbage
- 1 head garlic
- 1 bunch small red onions (these are bulb onions, just like you'd see at the store, but they still have their green leaves on top, and are petite, like beautiful, ruby-colored tree ornaments)
- carrots (these store better without their leaves, so rip off the leaves when you get home and consider adding them to your pesto or garnish your dinner plates to impress your family)
- beets (most of these are an exciting variety called Chioggia which look ordinary on the outside but have concentric red and white rings on the inside)
- 1 bunch kale or collards
- cucumbers (about 2 pounds, which like the squash, might be one very large cucumber)
- 2 zucchinis (or some of you might get one yellow squash and one zucchini)
- 2 turnips
- Either chard or beans
Place cucumber and red onion slices, garlic, and herbs (if using) in individual jars or a large container.
- Stuffed Zucchini: There's a lot of versions to try. Here's a classic Middle Eastern version (it calls for fresh tomatoes, but you can sub with canned tomatoes for now). Here's a vegetarian version (if you prefer not to eat bread, you can sub with rice or textured vegetable protein). And here's one that includes a lot of spinach, which can be easily substituted with chard.
- If we were not in a pandemic, I would be trying to have a zucchini taste test event with heavy representation of chocolate zucchini cakes. Here's one version from Epicurious. I do not have the patience for making their cute full moon stencil these days, so instead I would top with a crumble of equal parts chopped nuts, brown sugar and chocolate chips, sprinkled onto the batter before baking.
- How about a classic zucchini bread? Here's one from James Beard. And you can even try a zucchini cornbread.
- Fritters are another classic way to use zucchini. Here's one version from Bon Appetit.
- Pickled Beans and Cucumbers
- Green Beans trimmed
- Cucumbers sliced 1/8"
- 1/2 Red Onion sliced 1/8"
- 3 Garlic Cloves Crushed and left whole
- 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 Cups Filtered Water
- 1/4 Cup Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Cup Pickling Spice Blend or herbs of your choice
Bring Water, Vinegar, Salt, and spices (if using) to a soft boil.
Carefully add green beans to the pan of boiling liquid.
Simmer for 5 minutes
Remove from heat.
Using tongs, carefully remove beans from liquid and place in jars/container with onions/cucs
Carefully ladle pickling liquid into jars/container of beans/cucs.
Allow to cool uncovered for an hour.
Cover with a tight fitting lid and place in the refrigerator.
Recipe and photo by Brandy Shannon
- Peppers! The plants look fantastic. Your first green bell pepper (next week, we hope) will be a harbinger of many wonderful peppers to come this summer.
- There are lots of big green tomatoes taunting us from the field. When will they ripen and make it into your share? Our best guess is week 10. As with peppers, the plants look like they are ready to go gangbusters any minute. Get your sauce jars ready.
- Those long, green, slicing-style cucumbers are about to peter out, but the smaller, pickling-style cucumbers are still going strong. Don't be fooled--both styles can be pickled or sliced.
- This summer's melon supply is looking paltry. The main season crop of watermelons and cantaloupes did not germinate well, even after we reseeded them.
- Eggplant are coming soon, but this will be a modest year. They were hit hard by beetles and their recovery has slowed them down. But really, a modest amount of eggplant is not such a bad thing. We love them, but don't want to swim in them.
- You'll get a few weeks of red onions and then it's time for shallots. Exciting!
- A number of crops are fading out in the heat and will return (hopefully) in the fall. This week ends the beets and turnips. This week or next will be your last kale and collards. We might possibly eek one more week of small carrots. And my crystal ball says week 11 will be your last week of chard.
- Potatoes! Back in May I thought they were doomed. But June proved me wrong, wrong, wrong. We have a hearty crop of potatoes sizing up right now, and we'll start giving you a few new babies next week, most likely. Don't you love it when nature gives you a happy surprise?
- We expect to have a lull in squash next week, and then a modest supply from our second succession of squash beginning week 10 (no more of the zucchini debauchery you're witnessing now).
- Green beans should continue nicely for another month. I know some of you would like more, but please have mercy on my dear back--picking is no easy chore.
- Will we have corn? The plants look lovely, but it's the final week before harvest when they face the groundhog/racoon/caterpillar gauntlet. Who will prevail? Only time will tell.
As the heat and humidity settles on our region like a volcanic ooze, send us your cool, popsicle-filled thoughts!
Carrie and the Clagett Farm Team