There are weeks that perplex me. This is one of them. Many of our “fall” baby greens are ready, so we will begin harvesting them…just 21 days after I seeded them in the ground. It has been hot and until yesterday, dry, not at all baby green growing weather, and yet, there they are doing just great! The lettuce hasn’t faired as well, which doesn’t really perplex me, as it shouldn’t do well this time of year, but there have been successions of lettuce that have done well in the July and August heat, which is a little more perplexing. We will have lettuce off and on over the next several weeks, which reflects this trend. As we plant lettuce every week, every once and a while we have good enough conditions this time of year for it to get going. (Most lettuce does not germinate over 75 degrees, so early fall lettuce is always dodgy.)
There are a couple of varieties that I want to highlight this week. The long skinny red sweet pepper that we have been handing out for a few weeks is called Jimmy Nardello’s pepper. It is on the Slow Food Ark of Taste list. It originated in Italy in the 1800s and was brought to the US by Italian immigrants. It has a wonderful complex flavor that you just don’t find in many peppers. It reminds me of this really lovely pepper that we grew in NY that was from Jamaica, similar to a Scotch Bonnet except that about 50% of the fruits were sweet and not hot. They were fabulous, but it was a little bit like Russian roulette as you never knew whether the one you were eating might burn through several layers of your tongue or be a lovely fruity treat. These have the same fruity flavor without the high stakes. The other is a small, apricot-shaped and -colored tomato called Jaune Flamme (Yellow Flame). They are a French heirloom that seem a little bland as a fresh eating tomato but that are absolutely exquisite as a dried tomato or roasted into a sauce. We are in the process of drying several of them, but we will also have them available at CSA pick up.
This week’s share: garlic, arugula (or mix for the arugula haters or mix lovers), eggplant, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes (if we have time to pick or volunteers!), green peppers, colorful peppers, jalapenos (other hot peppers for the taking), green beans (looking much better after the rain, sorry there weren’t many on Saturday), okra (lots of extra for Wednesday), watermelons (mostly red, some yellow and orange…lots of heirlooms, just ask if you are curious about the one if your box), summer squash for Sustaining Members and maybe everyone by Saturday, and an herb. We also have some other beans available, again depending on if we have the time to pick them: yard-long/asparagus beans, lima beans (a really pretty variety…wish I knew what it was, not what the seed packet claimed), and really lovely Selma Zesta shellies that make great soup beans. Herbs…mostly basil.
Volunteers…we had a lot of folks out at the farm last week, which was really nice. It allowed us to catch up on planting, harvesting, and clean up. It also forced us to finally admit to ourselves that this is not a two person job – and it never has been.