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CSA Newsletter ~ Week 18

Posted 8/18/2012 8:37pm by Chris.
This week marks the mid point of both the summer season and the whole season. It's been quite the ride with the very warm/hot weather since March and that super dry six week period we had from Memorial Day through mid-July. Things are settling down very nicely as we head into the last few weeks of summer with beautifully moderate temperatures and ample rainfall forecast through the end of August. Having to work extra hard with the tougher than average conditions much of the year leaves us feeling quite relieved now that conditions are more favorable for crops and our crew alike. 
We've got an amazingly beautiful succession of fall crops planted and flourishing. Lettuce, mesclun, broccoli, cabbage, fennel (the licorice flavored vegetable many of you have never seen), and a few other greens are just around the corner. With several plantings of these crops in the ground, there are still two more plantings to go until September 1st. Then we start planting the hoop houses with spinach and other cool-loving greens for fall/winter crops. Summer crops are in full swing with at least a month of excellent production ahead of us. Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are doing very well. Tomatillos are doing ok and will hopefully find their way into the box once this year. Potatoes are the only bust we've had lately. They prefer cool weather for good yield and quality, so you can imagine the problems we've had there. We'll have them in the box exactly once this year, probably in a couple weeks after we've finished harvesting and washing them.    
defiant closeup
Tomatoes take center stage
A few customers have complained about receiving damaged tomatoes. We need to hear this and very much appreciate such feedback. I am the strictest person you'll ever meet with regard to post-harvest quality and gentle handling of all--especially sensitive and perishable--crops. I'm constantly talking with farm and farmers' market workers and CSA delivery drivers to be careful and mindful of how they handle produce, with tomatoes being on top of that list. If you want to see me in action, come to any Green City Market from now through the end of tomato season and watch me lecture customers on the need to protect tomatoes from bruising/rough handling. I cringe when I see most farmers handle tomatoes or zucchini. We pack our market and CSA tomatoes on soft foam for protection. We will replace any damaged tomatoes in subsequent deliveries, but we can't do this if you don't let us know you've had a problem. If you've had a problem--with anything--please tell us and we'll make things right.  
I've been surprised to learn that many people--even some of my farm workers--didn't know where red (and yellow and orange) peppers come from. With the
Jalapenos in all stages of ripening
exception of purple peppers, when growing on the plant they all start out green. The green is from chlorophyll, which purple peppers lack, so they're purple. They then ripen, just like tomatoes, and turn a color, usually red, but some varieties have been bred for orange or yellow. So green and purple peppers are not fully ripe, while red/yellow/orange peppers are ripe and, of course, sweeter. Even hot peppers get a lot sweeter when ripe, but it's harder to tell because they're hot.
carmen peppers
Red ripe (sweet) carmens
We use ripe/red hot peppers in our farm processing kitchen to add nice sweetness to our salsas.    
For a few weeks we stopped taking additional CSA customers due to the rough weather and associated difficulty with greens and insufficient crop variety/production. Things are looking a lot better now, so expect great boxes from here on out, and feel free to encourage your friends to sign up as the rest of summer and fall look great from a variety and production standpoint. Thanks again for your support.  

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