From the Farmer

Week 17 – 9/10/2015
Alright, are you still with us?  We know this time of year brings changes.  School starts, schedules change, and traffic gets worse.  It’s the same at the Farm.  We’re still in the throes of summer crops but we’re slowly changing over into fall ones.  You’ll start seeing fall and winter squashes like Delicata, spaghetti, butternut and kuri; broccoli family members should start appearing – radishes, turnips first, arugula; broccoli raab and broccoli; kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts; and soon sweet potatoes.  Meanwhile the tomatoes and peppers are hanging on.  
 
Kudos to you, by the way, for your endurance.  Our CSA is a long season, 27 weeks!  The summer stretch is exciting at first but it can be long here in Virginia to be sure, and you see many of the same items week after week.  Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers… we sure hope you like these!  It’s a good time to reflect on the season and to appreciate them before they’re gone.  If you like but tire of them, try freezing or canning even a small amount to have fresh again in winter. 
 
Changing Your Pickup Day
 
New schedule making pickup complicated?  Please let us know if you’d like to change your pickup day for the remainder of the season.  We’re glad to accommodate.
 
Peppers and Peppers
 
You may see peppers for several more weeks; they keep going until frost kills them, though they will slow down enough that we’ll not have enough for CSA and will keep them just at the Farm Stand.  This week’s box can make the base for a fun salsa.  Check out the All About and get creative!
 
Peppers – both sweet and hot – are by species the same, Capsicum annuum.  Capsicum comes from the Greek kapto which means ‘bite’.  Some are bred for heat and have been around for a long time; chiles have been eaten in Mexico for more than 5,000 years.  The Aztecs had a half-dozen words for hot peppers and the Incas used peppers as a kind of currency.  Hot ones give some people a pleasant stimulation, but to others it can be too much (it turns out that birds seem to be unaffected by capsaicin).  That said, if you’re headed overseas and want to prepare yourself, you can build your tolerance slowly.  The hot stuff is concentrated in the white pith around pepper seeds (not in the seeds themselves), so you can start by using just the flesh.  In fact, if you want to add just a bit of heat to a dish, slice a hot pepper and put it in the pan, then take it out whole after you’ve finished cooking.  Then, as you build your heat-strength, start chopping but avoid the inner parts of the pepper.  And when you’re ready to start breathing fire, use the whole thing.
 
Sweet peppers, on the other hand, have no capsaicin due to their genetic disposition.  Like many fruit, these are best when they fully mature and turn red.  Red peppers also cost a heck of a lot more than green peppers.  Well, it takes more work to grow red peppers: another three weeks or so before a plant’s fruit start turning red, and a lot can go wrong in those three weeks, from disease to pest to nutrient requirements.  So the premium on colored peppers covers the cost of additional hair-loss treatments for farmers who worry a lot.
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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

Phone: 571-440-2400

info@willowsfordconservancy.org

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Willowsford Farm Stand

23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

farm@willowsfordfarm.com

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