July 26th, 2022
What’s in this Week’s VEGGIE BOX Grapes, Basil, Beets, Squash, Red Onion, Garlic, Peppers and Cucumbers
Bread this week: Round Lavain OR Whole Wheat your choice of one
Peach Party 2022
We are once again hosting the Peach Party to celebrate the harvest and our community. We are limiting our numbers, so please send me an email if you are interested in joining us and I will put your name on the list. We ask you to kindly limit your party size if possible so that we have room for all members to attend.
Join us on August 6th from 4:30-10pm for a potluck dinner, farm tour and other merriments.
I will send an email the week before with more information to the attendees
!!!! NEW QUARTER !!!!
Fall Quarter Payment is Due August 9th
~The new quarter starts August 16th and ends November 8th
~We do have Bi-Weekly option available
~Please let us know if you DO OR DO NOT plan on continuing.
~Please do not leave payments at drop sites
This week on the farm
This week we have a new item for you! Peppers! One of the more exciting summer crops if you ask me, and a symbol that summer is chugging right along. Tomatoes will start trickling in this week, and soon your boxes will be full of all the best California can offer (except avocados, that would really be a fantastic box then! But back to the peppers. . .
Yesterday I spent most of the day bent over pepper plants, with my face right down in the foliage, looking for the hidden fruit. Pepper plants are much like any plant, the product of the output of energy. Most annual flowering plants follow the same schedule; seed germination and sprouting, leafing, flowering, fruiting with resulting seeds, and then dying. The same goes for cut flowers, who develop fruit and seeds when we stop picking. Farming and gardening is the work to develop a connection with and understanding of that process, and to manipulate and support for our needs.
So yesterday I was hunched over the peppers plants trying to manage their production. Peppers are one of the more difficult items to grow here, and take a lot of management. The bell peppers that you will be able to enjoy today originates in central America, and are native to a climate a bit more humid than ours, so to keep them happy and healthy we have to pay a lot of attention. In their native climate they enjoy a slightly cooler and definitely more humid day, which produces lots of large, rich leaves that bush out on the plants. So when the flowers come, and then the fruit, they are fed by a large well established plant, and shaded by big fat leaves. Here in California, the moisture is sparse, the sun is hot, and our pepper plants need encouragement to get big and bushy. That encouragement can come in the way of heavy fertilization, or in our case, excessive work. Every pepper season is preceded by the job that I had the pleasure of doing yesterday; stopping at each plant, selecting the large ones to be put in your box this week, removing any damaged fruit, and thinning the plant so that it can successfully support and feed the fruit it holds.
What I am doing is managing the output of the plants energy, and removing fruit to allow more energy to go into leaf production. If you have a peach tree and don’t thin, you will get a lot of fruit but it will be very small. If you think of those peaches, the same energy can be distributed to half the amount of fruit, so it will be able to grow bigger and the tree will simultaneously be able to put energy into leaf and branch growth. In our area, too many peppers on a plant will lead to less leaves, less photosynthesis, less root, all of which leads to less support for the pepper in our daily heat and dry air. The result will look like a sunburn, or white breakdown on the flesh of the pepper. But it is not really sunburn because it occurs even in the shadiest areas of the plant. It is just the pepper plant making the calculation of what part it can afford to short in stressful times. It is such a natural process in all species, and thinning is our manipulation beyond that to get what we would like to have.
And don’t forget that today’s green peppers will mature into tomorrow’s (well, next month’s) big, beautiful red and orange bell peppers for your box.
In conclusion to this educational and maybe not the most fun newsletter every written, a joke:
Q: What does a nosey pepper do?
A: Gets jalapeno (all up in your) business!
Have a great week ~ Ali
Beet and Onion Jam Galette
½ cup walnut pieces
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces (1 stick)
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 - 2 tablespoon ice water
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon onion jam or fig jam
1 5.3 ounce package semisoft cheese with garlic and fine herbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 pound red beets, trimmed, halved if large, peeled, and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
Chopped walnuts, toasted
In a food processor pulse walnut pieces until very finely chopped. Add flour and 1/2 tsp. salt; pulse to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add sour cream and 1 Tbsp. ice water; pulse until the mixture begins to come together, adding an additional 1 Tbsp. ice water if needed. Remove to a bowl. Knead dough gently until it comes together. Wrap pastry in plastic wrap, flattening into a disk. Chill 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to a 12-inch round. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Spread 1/2 cup onion jam over pastry, leaving a 2-inch wide border. Spoon small mounds of cheese over jam. Sprinkle with thyme. Layer the beets on top, overlapping as necessary. Fold pastry edge over beets, pleating as necessary. Drizzle beets and pastry with oil and sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Place a foil-lined shallow baking sheet on oven rack below galette. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until pastry is golden brown, juices are bubbling, and beets are tender. Brush with remaining 1 Tbsp. jam while warm. Let cool on baking sheet on a wire rack 30 minutes. Garnish with toasted walnuts and additional fresh thyme.
4 cucumbers—peeled, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups seedless grapes
1 small garlic clove
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1 cup of water
Cooked shrimp and chopped roasted almonds, for garnish
In a blender, combine the cucumbers, grapes, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and 1 cup of water; puree until smooth. Season with salt. Serve chilled, garnished with shrimp and almonds.
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
One 3-inch piece of cucumber—peeled, seeded and diced, plus 1 round for garnish
3 basil leaves, 2 torn
2 ounces gin
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar in the hot water. Press the grated ginger through a fine strainer set over the bowl, releasing the juice. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the diced cucumber with the 2 torn basil leaves. Add the ginger syrup, gin, lime juice and a handful of ice. Shake well, and then strain into a martini glass. Garnish the martini with the cucumber slice and the remaining whole basil leaf and serve.
Garlic Butter Sauteed Zucchini
1 ¼ pounds chopped zucchini
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or red wine vinegar,
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan or pecorino cheese,
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
It’s up to you as to how you cut the zucchini. You can slice the zucchini into rounds, cut into half moons or chop into bitesize pieces. Melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until the zucchini is browned in places and tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, and then stir in the scallions, a squeeze of lemon juice, and cheese (if using). Taste, and then season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
SUMMER ZUCCHINI BASIL FRITTATA
3 small zucchinis, shredded
1 pound ground Italian sausage
1/2 yellow onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
12 eggs, whisked
8–10 basil leaves, sliced + extra for garnishing
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Shred zucchinis, place between two paper towels and place a heavy dish on top to help pull out the excess liquid. Place a large oven safe sauté pan over medium heat. Add Italian sausage, onion, and garlic clove to pan and break sausage apart with a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is browned and no pink remains. Remove from heat. Whisk together eggs, basil, red pepper flakes and salt then pour into pan with sausage and onion. Then add in shredded zucchini that has excess water removed. Mix to combine completely then place extra basil leaves throughout pan on top of the egg mixture. Place in oven to bake for 25 minutes or until eggs do not jiggle in the middle of the pan. Slice and eat!