news from the farm…

hello friends!  as you all know, the past many weeks have brought us downpour upon deluge, more rain than we can remember ever getting at once, and this week some of our crops took a real turn for the worse.  the constant rain causes, among other things, puddling in the fields, where plant diseases that live in the soil proliferate and then splash up on the leaves of the plants, infecting them.  our eggplants and peppers have basically stopped producing in the fields under this disease and weather pressure, and the last two successions of squash, zucchini and cucumbers produced very little edible fruit before getting overcome.

we hope that some of the peppers and eggplants will hang on long enough for us to continue to harvest them a little while longer, but you will notice the yields have declined dramatically.  we went from having thousands of gorgeous plants heavy with beautiful ripening peppers, eggplants, squash, cucumbers and zucchini, to sad rows of brown and yellow plants with vegetables literally melting off of their stems.  needless to say, it has been quite devastating.  all of the farmers around here are experiencing similar hardship, and some who grow a lot of only a few crops have suffered the loss even harder, losing a significant portion of everything they grow.

it is times like these that we feel grateful to be a CSA.  the fact that we grow over 40 crops means that when we lose one, we still have others.  we have you, our sharemembers, who are with us in times of plenty and in times of lean.  as farmers, our livelihood rests upon both our labor and skill, but also upon the elements: weather, soil, sunshine and so much that is totally out of our control.  while we count our blessings that we are not experiencing wild fires or flooding, the intense heavy rain is impacting the welfare of our food system here as well.  whether these shifting weather patterns due to climate change mark the beginning of more seasons like this to come, we can’t say for certain.  what we do know is that it is real; that it means we have fewer varieties of vegetables available right now to harvest, that we will have no more squash, cucumbers or zucchini this year and very limited peppers, that we will have a few weeks with no carrots or beets, and that we are lucky to be able to bear this burden thanks to your support at the beginning of the season and commitment to go through leaner times along with abundance, together.

happily, kale, all the alliums, sweet potatoes and many fall crops are looking great, and we hope the tomatoes will continue to produce for a little while longer.

the rain may have deterred some of you from getting into the u-pick fields, but they are full of bounty right now!  the green beans are doing wonderfully, and are laden with sweet beans.  the cherry tomatoes, too, are plentiful and burstingly sweet, and our flowers bushy and bright.  please pick and enjoy them!

in gratitude, your farmer,
Ray

above:
*before: healthy escamillo (sweet yellow) pepper plants, full of healthy fruit
below:
*purple and italia peppers and summer squash plants sick with phytophthora and melting off the vines



in the share this week:

  • in the share room:
    • garlic!
    • tomatoes
    • braising greens (kale, collards, chard)
    • mix & match:
      • onions
      • leeks
      • carrots
      • peppers (limited)
      • eggplant (limited)
      • beets (returning soon)
      • broccoli (limited)
      • green tomatoes
      • scallions
    • **organic sweet corn will periodically be available for sale in the share room, as well as organic peaches
  • pick your own:
    • herbs
    • green beans!
    • flowers!
    • cherry tomatoes!

recipes by mira

fresh onion soup

this is one of my favorite soups to eat, just about any time of year.  it’s rich, savory, a little bit sweet and deeply flavorful.  i used to think of onion soup as complicated and time-consuming, but i love it so much that i determined to make it simple enough that it could be a weekday meal, and not reserved for special occasions.  this recipe rests upon the lush flavor of the fresh onions, and doesn’t require hours of caramelizing to achieve umami deliciousness.  make this when there is finally an evening cool enough to want hot soup, and drink in the days of high summer with each mouthful of rich oniony broth.

*peel and slice 4-6 medium size onions into thin crescents

*on medium-low, heat 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium size, thick bottom pot until golden and bubbling.  add the onions, a couple of large pinches of salt, a large pinch of dried thyme or a couple of stems of fresh thyme, and saute over low heat for 20 or so minutes, stirring often.  cook until the onions are deeply golden brown and smell amazing

*add 2 small cloves garlic, smashed and chopped finely, and cook for 30 seconds

*pour in 1.5 quarts of beef, chicken or vegetable broth, or the same amount of water with 1-2 teaspoons of bouillon stirred in

*stir all together, taste for salt, add some fresh pepper to taste, and continue to cook on low, covered, for 15 minutes

*meanwhile, make croutons.  cut your favorite rustic bread into several 2″ squares, and toast lightly.  grate 1 cup of gruyere cheese, or other hard meltable cheese

*when ready to serve, ladle soup into heatproof bowls, put 1-2 croutons in each bowl, and cover with grated cheese.  put in the broiler (oven or toaster) and broil about 1 minute until the cheese is golden and bubbling

*eat the soup hot with more of your favorite bread, a fresh green salad, and the company of people you love.  nourishing for body and spirit!

upcoming events

Join Community and Clinical Herbalist and Herbalism Teacher Jade Alicandro Mace for a walk through the Next Barn Over medicinal garden!

Many of you have noticed the perennial garden growing near the barn on the edge of the pick-your-own field. This is a community medicinal garden open to all farm members! On Monday, August 27th, Jade will be sharing her wisdom about the various plants living there. To learn more about Jade check out her website at www.milkandhoneyherbs.com.

Monday August 27th 5:30-6:15

free and open to all! (donations accepted for Jade) 

please rsvp to tory@nextbarnover.com

We are also looking for a few people to take on a more steady relationship with this garden starting next season- helping to take care of it and keep it weeded in exchange for time with the plants and the ability to make medicine with them throughout the season.  If your interested in this please also email Tory.