Our newsletter from September 1:
Dear CSA members,
The first of September already! This is the time of year when I look back on the season and wish I had a time machine to transport me back to Spring so I can fix all of the mistakes we made and try out all of the new ideas I learned over the summer. But that’s what next year is for!
Next week will be our last regular distribution for this season. We hope you’ve enjoyed being a part of our farming adventures this year. Speaking for myself, this has been one of the most enjoyable seasons since I started this business. Usually at this time of year, I am exhausted and not at all sure that I ever want to do this again! But we did a much better job of managing our time and energy this year, so I’m actually looking forward to next season for the first time in several years. We also took the time to attend workshops and visit other farms this summer, which has given me new ideas that I’m excited about—tools and growing techniques that I think will help us be more efficient, which means that we’ll have more time and energy to devote to producing better quality and more diverse crops for you.
Of course, there are lots of things I wish we’d done differently this year and lots of crops I wish had turned out better in one way or another. We continue to struggle with pests that burrow into roots, like onion maggots, carrot flies, and seedcorn maggots. Our plan this year was to grow all of our onion crops at John’s farm, hoping that the flies wouldn’t be as bad over there. But we don’t have a good way water to crops there, so that long dry spell wiped them out. Seedcorn maggots knocked out a big portion of our melon crop early in the year and even though we were able to get some carrots to you, we could do a lot more if the carrot flies weren’t giving us heck.
We’ve tried a variety of strategies for dealing with these root pests over the past couple of years with minimal success. Over the winter, I’m going to do a little research into using predatory nematodes to control them. It’s an expensive technique and I’m always a little cautious about importing organisms onto the farm, even beneficial ones, because sometimes they interact with the ecosystem in unanticipated ways. But I really want to find a solution to these beneath-the-soil pests. I miss onions and I miss leeks! We used to grow big beautiful leeks before the onion maggots showed up. I want to find a way to be able to do that again.
Speaking of insect pests, you may have seen my email this morning regarding earworms in the corn. If you didn’t, well—there are earworms in the corn. This isn’t surprising, since it’s really hard to grow corn organically and not have earworms. There are more of them than I’d like to see this year, though, and I’m sorry about that. As I mentioned in my email, the good thing about earworms is that they usually eat at the tip of the ear, so you can just break off the part they are on and the rest of the ear will be fine.
Of course, you can just boil or grill your corn and slather it in butter and salt. But if you want to try something different, you could make this salad:
Fresh Corn and Tomato Salad
Ingredients: 9 ears of corn (cooked, cut off the cob, cooled); 6-7 tomatoes cut up / cubed; 1/4 cup chopped basil; 1/4 cup (or less) Italian dressing; Tsp salt
Mix tomatoes, salt, basil, and dressing in bowl. Add corn. Serve immediately or put in fridge to serve cold.
Thanks to Kerry for sharing this recipe with us! Since our basil is mostly done now, I think I’ll try this with parsley instead. Cilantro could be good too, if you have that.
Even though the weather has cooled, the eggplants still keep producing. They’ve actually done a lot better than even the zucchinis this year. I don’t think I’ve put my baba ganoush recipe in a newsletter yet this year, so here it is. It makes a great potluck dish and is a good way to use up any quantity or types of eggplants that might be languishing in your crisper drawers:
Ingredients: Eggplant; Lemon Juice; Tahini (sesame butter); Olive oil; Garlic. Optional: Salt, Parsley or Cilantro, Chili Powder, Cumin, Olives
Some people like a smoky flavor in their baba ganoush and so char the eggplant skins over the flame on their gas oven, under the broiler, or on the grill before roasting them. If you don’t want the smoky flavor, skip this step. Cut the eggplants in half and place cut side down on an oiled baking sheet. Roast in the oven at about 375-400 degrees F until the eggplant is soft. Cool, scrape the pulp out of the skin and place it in a blender, food processor, or bowl. Add tahini, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt to taste and blend or mash until smooth. I’d start with a couple tablespoons tahini, one small garlic clove, the juice of half a lemon, and a drizzle of olive oil per medium-sized eggplant and go from there. Add any of the optional stuff you like and anything else that sounds good to you. Serve as a dip with pitas, crackers, chips, or sliced veggies. Or spread on your favorite bread. Since I have a digestive sensitivity to garlic, I make a variation on this which involves blackened jalapenos and chopped tomatoes instead of garlic. Some people add roasted red pepper and onion to the mix as well. Go nuts.
I’ll be sending out more information on this later, but for those of you who need to plan ahead, our harvest party will be on the afternoon of Saturday, October 15. We hope to have some winter squashes and apple cider for you at that time, along with our regular potluck/hayrides/bonfire celebration. Fingers crossed for some lovely fall weather this year!
Have a great week! Amy & John