Share Notes July 20, 2023
CSA Share Notes:
Welcome to week 4 of our Summer season!
Another quick update on our replacement truck fundraiser: We found a truck at a North Carolina auction! It was a rental truck with excellent maintenance records, but has a bunch of small dents and dings (which is great for us! It just keeps the price lower!) It has been delivered to a shop in Tyler, and is being checked out for mechanical issues. As long as all is well, it’ll be ready to be put to hard work in a matter of days.
I want to mention of a key player who’s been helping us in the background throughout this saga: If anyone needs help obtaining a vehicle, Aaron Smith, owner of Motorphilia in Tyler is the way to do it, friends. We’ve now bought two vehicles through him. We give him our budget, and the extremely tight specifications we need, and he gets to work finding it at national auctions where prices are lower. You get none of the icky used-car-salesman tactics or worrying you’re being taken for a ride.
Aaron’s success is directly connected to his relationship building in the ETX area and all the trust he’s garnered because he’s doing good work, taking care of his customers needs within their budget, respecting their time, not giving any runaround, and shooting straight. And for folks like us who just really don’t have time for the many many hours we would have needed to put in driving to multiple dealerships from Dallas to Longview, test driving the few trucks that meet our farm needs, hiring child care so we could drive all over doing that, and taking us away from critical farm work, this was so perfect. The process with Aaron was so efficient: about 4 short phone calls, a handful of text messages, and once the deal is sealed, the truck will be delivered to us! We’re so lucky to have him through this tricky moment for our farm.
Thank you to all who helped us navigate this farm need. We’re so grateful!
Now here’s your vegetable line-up:
- Basil – For the Regular 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.
- Tomatoes – The first nice tomato harvest of the year! 2 large slicers 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 everyone this week! These delicious bursts of summer sweetness have become our favorite cherry tomato type as they’re super flavorful, and like a vegetable candy.
- Bell Peppers – a few of our Green and Purple peppers for everyone.
- Sweet Italian Peppers – Large shares received all of these this week. You may have received dark green ones, or yellow ones. See the image below to help you identify them. These are delicious, crunchy, long and slender Italian sweet peppers. These will be very similar to bell peppers in flavor and heat. The yellow ones are having an issue with blossom-end-rot, where the bottom tip of the pepper is going bad. We hesitated sending them to you, but the pepper is 95% good, and didn’t want all of that deliciousness to go to waste. If you got one with blossom end rot, please enjoy your 95% good yellow pepper!
- Jalapenos – A nice big handful of peppers for everyone. Time to make bacon wrapped poppers!
- Cucumbers – I am crazy about cucumber season. Feta and cucumber salads all week around here. If you got any that are particularly large and have well-developed seeds, they’ll be best for making a big pitcher of cucumber water. We sorted most of the big ones out, but a few went out to some of the large shares.
- Eggplant – For Regulars and Minis. The Regular shares received our slender Japanese type, plus either a nice large Italian eggplant or a half-dozen Fairy Tale eggplant, the loveliest eggplant of all! Mini shares also received a few fairy tale eggplant. 2 VERY lucky individuals received the light purple heirloom- Rosa Bianca. And it is stunning. Snap a picture and tag us in it! We didn’t grab a photo before they went into your shares. My recommendation with eggplant is to use super high heat: a super hot cast iron, a hot grill, or an oven around 450. You want to brown them, and even blister or char them a little bit, and it transforms the insides and brings out their sugars. They become a super delicious veg. We roasted some and turned them into this chilled Korean dish this week and it was an unexpected tasty changeup. Will definitely make it again.
- Yellow Squash – This whole family of crops is on its way out, so if you’re feeling a little sick of squash, don’t worry, they’re nearly done. You won’t get nearly as many now. 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. The Ball Blue Book (the gold standard in home preserving) says you are supposed to blanche squash, before freezing but I never have put in all that extra time and effort.
- Zephyr Squash – Regulars 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 – They’re really a dark green, but we call them black in the Ag world. Regular shares received these.
- Garlic – A bulb or two per share.
- Onion – A yellow onion for everyone. This year’s harvest is healthy, beautiful, and the onions are nice and large, but our yield was very small. We will run out of onions pretty soon. Better luck next year we hope!
Guys….melons are getting close to being ready! We’re so excited.
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