From the Farmer

Week 9 – 7/12/2016
Thank you to everyone who came out and volunteered on Sunday. Together, volunteers harvested more than 700 heads of garlic. Please note that while our next regular volunteer hours will take place at The Grange Farm, the August tour will take place at The Grant Farm, on the corner of Everfield Drive and Route 50, on Sunday August 7th at 2 p.m. Please register here
 
While we’re talking dates, it’s not too early to think about food.  The Fall Potluck is Sunday, September 18th.  Save the date, we’re looking forward to it!
 
In Your Share
Man, how about those potatoes last week?  We love ‘new’ potatoes.  By ‘new’ we mean potatoes fresh dug, washed, and into the CSA box.  Most potatoes are cured so that they store well, living in a kind of hibernation for months.  But new potatoes have fragile skin and moist, even sweet flesh.  They are infinitely yummy.
 
New in your share this week: yellow wax or green beans, parsley, turnips, and tomato, singular.  What is a yellow wax bean?  Similar to green beans, which will be in some shares this week, and which they’re closely related to; yellow wax beans are native to the Americas but were bred and improved for cooking in North Africa, Algeria in particular.  They have stringless pods, so cook them whole: use them as part of a salad, cook in a pan with garlic and butter, even potatoes, too, and flavor them with parsley or other Mediterranean herbs.  They also make good dilly beans.  Just before you cook them you can rinse and remove their tips from the stem end (I often skip topping them). Store them in the fridge in a sealed container or ziplock.
 
This week’s herb is parsley.  Doesn’t it seem like a cold weather food?  It’s not!  And it’s not just for garnish.  Parlsey goes well as part of many summer recipes, including sauces, dressings (parsley vinaigrette?), parsley pesto (try with a different hard cheese like Asiago), hummus – and various mixed drinks, adult or virgin.  Easiest is adding it to fresh cheese and cream, soups and stocks, and tomato or wine-based sauces.  When you get it home, put it stem-side down into a short glass or jar of water then put it in the fridge.  
 
This week is The First Tomato week.  Our field tomatoes are not far behind, but these are coming out of our high tunnels.  Just one this week, but the first are some of the best!  We grow several varieties of tomato, including heirlooms like Cherokee Purple (smokey dark flesh), Hillbilly and Big Rainbow (a multi-colored, red and yellow and orange amazingness), and Rose de Berne, a pink globe of favoriteness; we also grow hybrids like Big Beef and Pink Beauty (sadly, a discontinued seed).  You’ll find that some tomatoes, usually the hybrids, keep far longer than others. Heirlooms tend to be thinner skinned and crack easily, so eat these first when you get home.  Standard reds and pinks can keep much longer.  In some cases, we pick just a little early, when a red tomato is still orange, so that you can take it home and leave it on the counter for later in the week.  So general rule of thumb: eat the deepest colored and softest first, while the others ripen for another day.
 
One note about tomatoes.  You may sometimes see yellow spotting on a tomato.  This is a bug-kiss and is not bad! Control of this insect is a nasty business and we find that organic practices do a good job on them, but don’t eliminate the problem entirely.  We compare the looks of these tomatoes to what a model looks like before she’s been airbrushed; kind of a Monet: good from afar but far from good.  If you know what movie that’s from, send an email with the correct answer and we’ll send you a special farm package.
 
Store tomatoes in a cooler room or on the counter but not in the fridge; ideal temperature is around 55°F.  Again, don’t keep them in the fridge!  They get cold, mealy, and lose what makes them special.  Cut tomatoes with a bread knife – much easier, just watch your fingers.
 
Have a good week and as always, be great,
 
Mike, Deb, Al, Lex, Jennifer, Anya, James, Kay, Sonya, Julia and Kelly, Radish and Bella, Goats x 12, Camilla x 494, dinner chicks x 999 in the freezer, Roscoe RIP and Popcorn, watching Al’s HBO Go outside of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

 

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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

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23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

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