Share Notes July 27th, 2023

Share Notes July 27th, 2023

CSA Share Notes:

Welcome to week 5 of our Summer season! Justin teased in the barn yesterday when we began filling the large shares that we should open our notes to you this week with “I’m sorry the box is so heavy!” Ha!

Yes you’re getting a TON of food today. Make it a personal challenge to see if you can use up every bit without any going to waste (This might need to include sharing with friends or neighbors)


I’ve got a garden update for you!

This will help you be aware of what’s coming and what’s leaving, why some crops may be more abundant and others lean.

Our summer harvests look like they’ll last between 2-4 more weeks but the weather dictates all.

Okra is almost ready, melons are getting close, too. Eggplant are just beginning and we think will grow in abundance over the next couple of weeks. Peppers appear to be increasing in abundance too, and will likely peak soon.

Squash and zucchini are reducing productivity pretty fast. We won’t have nearly as much of it over the next few weeks. Cucumbers were probably at their peak last week and will gradually decline from here. Sungolds have peaked, too, and will draw down.

The other tomatoes are tricky to tell right now. Last week was our first large harvest for the CSA. This week was our second harvest and we expected to get much more in week 2 than in week 1, but that wasn’t the case. We got a little bit less.

It’s been a hard year for tomatoes (for all summer crops, actually!). A long cold spring well into May, including a late hard freeze in mid April meant many area growers lost their tomato crops. (FYI, this is the same reason you’re not seeing many local peaches, blueberries, blackberries etc. this year. Almost anything available here in ETX was trucked in from other regions of the country.) Those of us who waited to plant our summer crops were really lucky in missing that late freeze, but it got intensely hot really quickly in June, and that can cut various crops’ productivity really short. It may prove to be a very brief tomato season for us.

Did you know there’s a whole family of summer crops that won’t produce fruits when the average daytime & night time temperature reach a certain level?  It’s called the solanaceous crop family. It includes eggplant, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers- all the “night shade” crops.

The plants may produce lovely leaves, abundant flowers, and establish healthy roots, but any flowers that are pollinated and would become little baby fruits all self abort.

Tomatoes are especially sensitive to this issue and this is precisely why East Texas is such a difficult growing region for tomatoes.  It’s not just the high day time temperatures, it’s the combination with our high humidity -raising the heat index to over 120 many times in the past month- plus high overnight temps – upper 70s, even low 80s- all together meaning the plants don’t ever get a sufficient reprieve. Lots of stress hormones are secreted in these conditions telling the plant it’s unsafe to reproduce, that the plant won’t be able to sustain life.

The tomatoes you are receiving last week and this week were born from flowers that were pollinated about 6 weeks ago before the heat became so intense. We’ll soon see the end of those as they’re ripening over the next couple of weeks.  We are not seeing many new baby tomato fruits out there developed in the past month of heat.

But a positive note!  – we are really excited about the 2 days we had this past weekend when it dipped into the mid 60s overnight and only reached the low 90s during the day.  We can’t know for sure yet, but we think it may have lowered the stress hormones in the plants enough for them to set new fruits, making some new babies for us! Of course these fruits will not be ripe for many weeks, probably well after the Summer CSA is over- though you may see them show up at the markets or in the fall CSA.

Thanks for reading this little garden update! Now here’s your vegetable line-up:

  • Tomatoes – 1 large slicer for the Large shares, and 2 small slicers for the Regular shares. A few of you received an orange Valencia tomato. Don’t wait for those to turn red, they’ll be fully ripe once they’re a deep orange. Check your maters for blemishes and if you’ve got any damage, plan to use those up fairly quickly.  Let them finish ripening upside down on a windowsill. They’re ripe enough once about 90% of the tomato has reached its fullest color.
  • San Marzanoes – A couple of our Italian sauce tomatoes for the Mini shares. These are a dryer tomato, excellent for a pico or any application where you want less juice.
  • Sungolds – We had enough for large shares and regular shares this week.
  • Basil – For the Large and Mini shares this week. Did you receive wilted basil? Don’t fret! Trim the stem and then plunge it in a sink of cold water and let it rehydrate for about an hour.  If it still doesn’t perk back up, it’s perfectly good for hanging to dry so you’ll have dried basil for use later in the year. Important note: DO NOT REFRIGERATE your basil. Basil can’t tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees. If you refrigerate it, you’ll have black, nasty leaves, only fit for compost.  Store it bouquet style, in a glass of cool water on the counter.
  • Bell Peppers – Green and Purple bell peppers for Large and Mini shares
  • Sweet Italian Peppers – Regular shares received all of these this week. You received both vibrant green ones, and pale yellow-green ones. See the image below to help you identify them.  These are delicious, crunchy, long and slender Italian sweet peppers, NOT spicy! These will be very similar to bell peppers in flavor and heat.
  • Shishito peppers – A paper bag of peppers for everyone this week! These are so perfect blistered in a hot skillet or grill, and then dipped in any delicious type of dip you can come up with to go with it. They’re super yummy.
  • Jalapenos – A few for everyone.
  • Cucumbers – Try a smashed cucumber salad this week!
  • Eggplant –  Most of our large shares received our beautiful heirlooms, Casper and Rosa Bianca plus purple Italian. The Regulars received beautiful fairytale eggplant, and the Minis received Japanese.
    •  My recommendation with eggplant is to use super high heat: a super hot cast iron, a hot grill, or an oven around 450.  We roasted some and used it in a Thai green curry this week.
  • Yellow Squash – A few for everyone. If you’re struggling to get through it all, Squash freezes really well, just chop and flash-freeze on a cookie sheet before tossing it into a gallon ziploc.
  • Zephyr Squash – Large shares this week. This two-toned crop is a very delicious with a sweet and nutty flavor, plus it’s so cool looking! Like the blossom end was dipped into lime green paint.  Enjoy this unique summer squash.
  • Heirloom Zucchini – The Large shares received our heirloom types this week. There are a couple of heirloom zucchini types we’re growing, but my favorite is Romanesco. It’s a fantastic squash but the shelf life isn’t as long as most, so plan to use them quick.
  • Black Zucchini – Larges and Regulars received these.
  • Garlic – A bulb or two per share.
  • Onion – A red onion for everyone.

Veggie Storage tips:

  • Everything wants to be washed well before cooking, but keep the dirt on till then, to prevent faster spoilage.
  • Basil must not be stored in the fridge. Keep it in a glass of water in a cool place, and out of direct light.
  • Tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, and onions prefer room temperature, dry conditions.
  • Squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and cucumbers all want to be sealed up in plastic and stored in the fridge. You CAN store them at room temp for just a day or three, but you’ll extend their shelf-life considerably by storing them properly in the fridge.


We’d love to hear stories and recipes of your culinary adventures this week. Tag us on Instagram or Facebook, showing us how you’ve used your CSA share.

Your farmers, Jess & Justin

Regular Share


Today’s Regular Share:
Left to Rt (top row): Small slicing tomatoes, bagged shishito peppers, sungolds, long cayenne and 4 jalapenos, Fairytale Eggplant down the side. (bottom row): Yellow squash, zucchini, red onion and garlic above cucumbers, and yellow Italian peppers above green Italian peppers.

Large Share

Today’s Large Share:
Left to Rt (top row): Zucchini, small slicing tomatoes, bagged shishito peppers, sungolds, 6 jalapenos and Genovese basil.  (Center): yellow squash and 3 long cayennes. (bottom row): zephyr squash and zucchini, cucumbers, red onion and garlic, bell peppers, and Eggplant- Heirloom Italian, regular Italian, and long Japanese.

 Mini Share

Today’s Mini Share:

Left to Rt (top row): Yellow squash, San Marzano tomatoes, shishito peppers, 3 jalapenos and Genovese basil.  (bottom row): cucumbers, red onion and garlic, bell peppers, long cayenne pepper, and long Japanese Eggplant.