CSA Week 11: August 10th
An important message to start the update off: Fellow CSA member, Samm, created a mid-season survey for you all to fill out! We want to know how we can improve the CSA process for the remaining weeks and next season. It’s a short and straight forward survey so we appreciate you taking the time to tell us how we are doing!
Oh August, my favorite month! July usually wears me down but August is my second wind. All the most colorful and delicious vegetables are ripe. The nights are cooler and the fall transplants are ready to get into the field. It’s that last summer month to truly soak in the warm days. And here’s what you’ll be eating to get the most of it:
Purple String Beans
Pole Beans (long beans)
Purple Beans: the true lower back killer
Beans are so delicious: steamed, stir fried, in a nicoise salad, you name it. But wow are they a pain in the back to harvest. They grow extremely low to the ground and have to be harvested several times throughout the week so they don’t get too large and tough. They are also small so it takes a long time to harvest large quantities, thus forcing a farmer to be bent over for long periods of time. Many tasks can require this strain on your back, but for some reason beans are just extra villainous in this department for me. Hannah, our part time farmer, is an expert bean harvester and willing to sacrifice her back for the bean. Remember to savor your beans!
I made this Ratatouille recipe a few weeks back and cannot stop thinking about it. I opted out of using the oven because it was too hot and instead lowered the heat on the stove and covered. It still turned out incredible. Half share members will definitely have to supplement a bit with some other produce, but I also think this dish will be just fine without the bell pepper. August is peak Ratatouille time, so grab yourself a baguette and seize the season!
We get asked about our tomatoes all the time. How are they so big? What do you add to them? What variety are they? But what actually creates the height and health of the plants is the pruning style that we use. Pruning tomatoes is a time consuming but very important task for getting lots of fruit to ripen in the short season we have in Michigan. The part of the tomato plant that you remove are called “suckers” and they are a growing point that forms between the main stem and the leaf, though sometimes they grow in other parts of the plant too. By removing the suckers, the plants are able to put more energy and nutrients into the fruit. We also remove leaves that are lower than the fruit to create more air flow and prevent diseases and fruit rot. Since we are making the plants grow less bushy, they are then trellised up, creating a pretty tall plant. Some of our cherry tomatoes are around 10 feet tall now and most of the slicer tomatoes are over 6 feet. The pruning and trellising has to be done about once a week, as tomato plants are vigorous growers. There’s a lot that goes into those delicious fruits, but it sure is worth it!
Enjoy the late summer share of the farm, it’s a crazy time in the world but food can heal!
Amy and Andy