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In This Week's Share:
The first Peppers or Eggplants of the season! Finally, the nightshades are starting to produce! You may receive one or the other this week, and more of both in upcoming weeks. Peppers: sweet green bells, sweet red “Carmen” horn-shaped sweet fryers, and/or jalapenos. Eggplants: either the classic dark purple “Nadia,” the bright magenta “Beatrice,” or the heirloom pink-white “Rosa Bianca” (yes, that’s redundant). Try eggplant on the grill, or fried and served with cheesy pasta, or classic eggplant Parmigiana.
The first Celery of the season- pungent, sweet, fresh. Did you know you can use the leaves in soup? They’re delicious in veggie soup, clear broth, or minestrone. Two strange things though: red stems (a variety called “Redventure” – yes, it’s supposed to be red!), and bunched stems, rather than the whole celery plant. Rather than behead the poor things, we decided to try harvesting individual stems for bunching and allow the plants to keep growing, to see if we could give you celery at least twice this season, instead of only once. We’d appreciate feedback about the keeping quality of loose stems.
Basil: week two! Regular Italian basil, lemon basil, or Thai basil this week. See “recipes” section for pesto recipe- if you’re like me, you’ll love using lemon basil in pesto; if not, perhaps you’ll love it for other reasons… Thai basil is fantastic in coconut curries, among other things! If you’re interested in a preserving share ($10 for a 1-lb bag) please let me know; we’ll do at least one round of preserving shares- a limited quantity on a first-come, first-served basis, to make sure there is still plenty for weekly shares. Some downy mildew has been spotted on the basil- it shows up as rusty-brown discoloration of the leaves, is completely harmless to humans eating it, but will soon kill affected plants if not promptly removed from the field. So some basil you receive may look a little suntanned, but is still tasty and makes perfect pesto.
Beets: Either classic red, or pink, candy-striped Chioggias, with greens. Hint: goat cheese and beets is never a bad idea, no matter how you slice it…. or crumble it. We’ve embarked on an alternating week carrot-beet cycle, so next week: carrots!
Cucumbers! They just won’t stop. Since we’re between lettuce seasons, we’ve been enjoying bodacious cucumber salads- with fresh herbs, onions, oil and vinegar. I’ve included a crazy-sounding, but delicious, recipe for “Cucumber Curry” in the recipes section. Three different varieties: Marketmore, a classic dark green slicer, Diva, a smooth-skinned sweet slicer, or Lemon Cukes- small, round, and yellow, still tastes like cucumber, not citrus. And the picklers are starting to come on- let us know ASAP if you’re interested in a preserving share in the next few weeks.
Summer squash/zucchini- I have to confess: I’ve hit a summer squash wall- both harvesting and eating them. We’ve fried them in butter, had zucchini cookies, steamed them, grilled them, eaten them in burritos, grated them on salad….. but not fritters, not yet- maybe that’s our hope for the rest of the summer squash season! See recipes section.
Cipollini Onions- an Italian open-pollinated onion, sweet and flavorful. The distinctive flattened shape is beautiful and saves time chopping! Cipollini means “little onion” in Italian; despite the name, some of these are huge. These are also an excellent storage onion, so we hope to hold some over for fall/winter.
Garlic- another fresh bulb. Please let us know if you like getting one bulb a week, a bulb every other week, a large quantity all at once, or a bulb or two trickled out at a time- we want to know what works best for you.