news from the farm…
phew, last week was really a doozy, and we felt it on the farm. i can’t remember such an early and prolonged heat wave. and while the multiple unexpected torrential downpours brought a welcome respite from the intense heat, they were similarly uncharacteristic and tough on the crops. so much rain all at once floods areas of our fields, damaging crops and leaving a crust that is difficult to cultivate well. i read that the temps reached record highs globally last week – we’re all in this climate change together- and my sense it that we can expect more of these unusual extreme weather events.
although mixed salad greens like arugula, mustard, red russian kale, and bok choi are challenging to grow organically in the heat of the summer, we try to have them as late into the season as possible, usually through july, and start them back up again in early september. unfortunately, the summer greens’ break will begin a little earlier this season due to last week’s heat wave. we keep our salad greens under large light-weight permeable blankets, called row cover, to keep them physically protected from flea beetle feeding damage. because the row covers increase the temperature, we try to uncover them whenever it gets above 85 degrees so they don’t burn. it’s a tricky balance because of the competing dangers, and this time they didn’t make it. the greens that didn’t get burned suffered heavy flea beetle damage without the row cover. the same thing happened to some of our fall cabbage and broccoli. we also lost a succession of beets and carrots that were unable to germinate well after a torrential rain buried them under a hardened crust.
thankfully, growing several successions of many different crops gives us some protection from the inherent risks of farming, and hopefully from the unpredictable risks of farming during climate change as well. so while we might have a slightly longer gap this season without salad greens or a little gap without carrots or beets, we should have plenty of other yummy things that will take their places like leaf and head lettuce, cooking greens, and some very very happy “hot crops” like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and melons, which should be peaking earlier than usual after all that heat and rain last week, so not to worry.
i want to give a shout out to our stellar farm crew. last week was a tough one, working long hours outside in the high heat day after day, and the crew did an amazing job getting everything harvested, packed, delivered, planted, trellised, irrigated, and weeded, with great attitudes. none of this would happen without them. thank you!!
i hope that you are happily enjoying all that summer life is bringing you.
p.s. we managed to snap a few photos to share the muddier aspects of farm life with you. ;)
we plant lots of different cover crops to build the health of our soil, peas are particularly good at fixing nitrogen in the soil. peas and oats (pictured here) are great companion plants because the oats act as nurse crops to the peas (protecting them while they’re young and giving them something to grow up later).
and here we are harvesting cukes in the torrential rain!
in the share this week:
- in the share room:
- napa cabbage
- head lettuce
- cooking greens:
- mix and match:
- garlic scapes
- eggplant! & peppers! (starting soon!)
- pick your own:
- green beans
tips for using this week’s veggies!
just a reminder to pick the top leaves (crowns) off your potted basil plants regularly to keep them growing bushy. if they do flower, snip the plants well below the flowering stalk, leaving several lower leaves, to encourage them to leaf out and keep growing.
recipes by mira
crunchy peanut napa slaw
my my has it been hot! almost too hot to eat…almost ;) this kind of weather begs for light, fresh, salty dishes that satisfy without asking much of us. luckily, it’s also the time of year that provides us with an abundance of gorgeous ingredients for our inspiration. this refreshing, crunchy, flavorful slaw came to me last summer when i wanted something to eat but simply couldn’t bring myself to cook. it stands alone as a light july meal (i often eat it right out of the bowl with a fork – but of course you can use a plate), is delicious on top of your favorite peanut noodle, and beautiful alongside grilled chicken or seared fish.
*peel off any wilted outer leaves from your head of napa cabbage. cut it in half lengthwise. if it’s very large, double the other ingredients or only use half
*chop the cabbage into crosswise strips about 1/2″ wide and place them in a large mixing bowl
*wash 3-4 fresh scallions, remove the roots, and chop them finely. add to the bowl
*wash and grate 3-4 fresh carrots and add them in too
*halve 1 large cucumber lengthwise, then slice into thin half moons and add them in
*chop 3/4 cup roasted salted peanuts and add them too
*chop and add a small bunch of cilantro, stems and all (you can add a handful of mint & basil too if you have them)
*optional – grate 3-4 radishes or hakurei and toss them in
*in a separate small bowl, make the dressing. whisk together:
-1/4 cup toasted peanut oil
-2 Tbs tamari
-1 Tbs seasoned rice vinegar
-juice of one big lime
-1 tsp honey or maple syrup
taste and adjust to your preference (more sour, more sweet?)
*pour the dressing over the vegetables and toss everything together. eat immediately! (this slaw will wilt if left to sit, so don’t dress it until right before you eat). yum!
stay cool, and eat up!