On the agenda for this weeks blog: the produce list, some ideas on how to use borage and other veggies this week, and then some overall updates about the farm and season.

This week’s produce share includes:

  • Apples
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Watercress
  • Hot peppers
  • Chives
  • Borage

Borage is probably the most interesting things in this week’s box. Here is what farmer Molly at Ambassador Fridge has to say about it:

“Borage is a gardeners best friend! Both the leaves and flowers are edible and taste like sweet herbal cucumber. In fact, the plant is an excellent source of Omega 6 fatty acids, vitamin B, beta-carotene, fiber, and many minerals and makes a great dietary supplement.  It’s flowers attract honey bees, bumble bees, and myriad native pollinators to the garden. It regularly self-sows it’s seeds, and will return year after year if you let it. It’s very low maintenance plant, and will continue to bloom July-September in our climate. Even after the plant is done for the season, it makes a great addition to the compost pile– adding desirable organic matter and all those minerals to the mix. The list goes on and on! 

Leaves are best eaten young before they grow their prickly hairs. Older leaves may be sauteed and used as a spinach substitute. The flowers may be eaten fresh or candied for a floral treat.”

Here are some other recipes from past year’s blogs to help you use this week’s veggies:

At our house the hot peppers go quickly, but don’t worry if you’re slower to use them. Most hot peppers are thin skinned and will dry if you hang them on a string. You can also pickle them in the fridge in a 50/50 water and vinegar mix with salt and other spices added to taste.

So now a little update on the season. We know some of the shares the past few weeks have been a little light, and don’t meet our usual standards for variety- we usually strive for 7 different items plus an herb, giving you 3 types of tomatoes like last week is not our favorite.

If you read our FAQ and Member Handbook (which of course you all did!) you know that rolling with the ups and downs of the season is part of the contract we make with our CSA members, but we also work really hard to be sure if we have a couple of lame weeks that we’ll make up for it later. Plus we like to let you know what is going on that is contributing to some tough weeks.

So weather- people often ask me if the weather this year is “weird”. In a world of climate change I think we can expect the answer to that to always be yes. This year started with lots of rain and early insect pressure (flea beetles nearly killed off my eggplant crop about a day after I planted it). In some ways the rain was great, but it delayed some spring planting. While that early spring delay didn’t necessarily impact the CSA much at first, it did mean that the crops that followed- which would have been coming ripe in early August- were also delayed and sometimes didn’t get in. For example at my place, Fields of Plenty, that means I am only growing one row of beans instead of three, and didn’t get in a fall crop of cabbage. On the plus side, I am making up for that with extra fall crops like lettuce, turnips, and radishes.

We also had a very dry first half of August (the rain last night and today was divine). This slowed down the growth of some of our hearty greens like chard, kale, and collards. While we have still been getting those into the CSA, some of our bunches have been smaller than we’d like. Now that things are cooling off and getting wetter these crops should be booming in no time.

Weeds are another thing that LOVED our wet beginning to the summer. Weeds are always an issue, and any little disruption in the schedule can give them the time and space to get totally out of control. Along with pest pressure this inspired our main salad green grower to just plow everything under and start over for the fall. Sometimes that is the best course of action and we look forward to offering more Wild Earth greens later in the season.

I mentioned above that the spring brought a lot of pest pressure and that my eggplant ALMOST was killed off by flea beetles. Luckily it wasn’t and while we are way behind schedule, we should be able to get at least a little eggplant into September CSA.

Finally, we’ve got all sorts of other later summer/fall delights coming your way. Detroit Mushroom Factory shut down during the hottest part of the year, but we plan to get those into the CSA for at least one more round this fall. While we offered up some early, new potatoes already this summer there are more in the ground that will be coming to you this fall and in our Storage and November Bonus shares. We have lots of winter squash and pumpkins growing their slow vine-y way into fall and Storage shares as well.

Community Supported Agriculture really helps all of us growers out when it comes to making all of this work- by having the money up front we are able to roll over these bumps in the road and make sure we can power through the small disasters and still get a strong finish to the season. Thanks for hanging in there during the lighter weeks, we promise to weigh your shares down this fall.

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