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Sunny Blue Skies and Beautiful Farming Days

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Sunny Blue Skies and Beautiful Farming Days
Important Reminders & Annoucements
  • This week, we deliver to weekly and every other week Early Summer Vegetable, Fruit and Egg Share members.
    This Week's Vegetable Harvest:
    • Red Head Lettuce
    • Green Head Lettuce
    • Crimini Mushrooms - from River Valley Ranch in Burlington, WI
    • Fresh Onions
    • Green Pepper
    • Kale
    • New Red Potatoes
    • Cucumbers
    • Kale
    • Zucchini 

    This Week's Fruit Harvest:
    • Apricots
    • Blueberries
    • Sweet Cherries
    • Red Raspberries

    Farm Photo Journal

    Good morning from the farm! The recent weather stability makes working in the field much more comfortable and enjoyable. From weeding to harvest to planting, the mixture of warm sunshine, blue skies and a consistent breeze means that everyone is in a good spirits. We're excited to pull in the first summer harvests of fresh onions, green peppers and new red potatoes this week, and there are more great summer goodies to follow!
    Last week, Jeff and I checked in on new potatoes to plan for the upcoming harvests. One of the potato plants Jeff dug up showed us that the yellow potatoes were not quite ready, however the plant served as a great way to show how the potatoes grow on each plant. Beneath the soil, each piece of seed potato can grow into somewhere between five to ten pounds of potatoes.
    Our field planting work continues as well. Mark and Arlet plant more tomatoes in this picture, as others on the crew plant more summer successions of lettuces, scallions and kohlrabi.  
    All the while, our chickens provide a pleasant chorus of clucks. Yesterday, the chickens enjoyed broccoli and lettuce veggie scraps, and afterwards, they took a moment to duck under the shade cloth to escape the warm sunshine. Sounds like a great afternoon!

    We hope you're enjoying the July sunshine and blue skies, too. Have a great week!

    Your farmers, 
    Jeff, Jen and the farm crew
    Notes from the Farm Kitchen

    This week's share contains beautiful new red potatoes. Typical potato harvest involves mowing off the potato leaves with a tractor and then waiting a few weeks for the skins to cure before harvesting the potatoes.  We've found our rich, moisture-holding soils are not as ideal for curing potato crops, but they are perfect for growing rich, delicious new potatoes. This week's new red potatoes (the variety is called Norland Reds) haven't had any curing time. They have awesome flavor and because their skins are very delicate, we leave them unwashed until cooking.  I hold them under water, gently brushing the soil away with my fingers to clean them.  I made a delicious Nicoise Salad for my family the other night with them, and they are also delicious gently boiled alongside a delicate fish.  Store these potatoes in a brown paper bag in a cool, dry place and use within 2 weeks. 
    Our cucumbers are thriving this season with the cucumber vines are taking over our fields as the plants tend to stretch to 6-8 feet and look for more area to spread out. We find many uses for cucumbers from adding to a cool gazpacho soup to a regular addition in our lunch salad wraps to a quick refrigerator pickle. Last year, I made the recipe featured below and we loved adding these sweet pickles to sandwiches, hamburgers or just eating out of the mason jar for a quick afternoon snack. 
    Fresh sweet onions are also making their first appearance in shares this week. These onions were plucked from the field yesterday and are very crisp and fresh tasting. We will begin to pull in our larger onion harvest later this week which we will cure to allow for their skins to set and create storage onions for the fall and winter. In the meantime, enjoy these onions raw on burgers, salads or wherever you use onions. 
    We strive to grow basil throughout the summer season although in some previous seasons, our basil battled significant disease and pest pressures. As our hoophouse basil thrives in the warm July temperatures, we want to make sure you receive enough for various uses. Here are a few ideas on how to preserve the basil harvest for later enjoyment with tomatoes or this winter.
    This week's fruit share includes Michigan berries that are enjoying the recent drier conditions as well as fresh apricots. I recommend eating those apricots that are soft and ripe, and saving any that need more time to ripen on a pretty dish in your kitchen.  Once they are ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Apricots are also wonderful sliced alongside a variety cheeses on a platter or in baked goods. 
    Recipes from the Farm Kitchen

    Turmeric Refrigerator Bread and Butter Pickles
    1/2 onion, thinly sliced
    2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced
    1 cup water
    1 cup cider vinegar
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    Pinch kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
    1/2 teaspoon pickling spice

    Combine onion and cucumber slices in a clean spring-top jar. 
    Combine the remaining ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 4 full minutes to wake up the flavors of the spices. 

    Slowly pour the hot pickling liquid over the onion and cucumber slice, completely filling the jar. Allow the pickles to cool to room temperature before topping off with any remaining pickling liquid. Refrigerate.
    Refrigerate the pickles for a week to ripen. They will keep for about 2 months in the refrigerator.


    Stone Fruits with Almonds, Chèvre, Ricotta and Honey

    ½ cup blanched whole almonds
    2 tablespoons almond oil or extra-virgin olive oil
    4 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature
    4 ounces fresh ricotta cheese
    5-6 apricots and two handfuls of sweet cherries (pitted) 
    3 tablespoons wildflower or orange-blossom honey

    Heat almonds and oil in a skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until almonds are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer almonds to a plate to cool; discard oil. Stir together cheeses, then mound on a platter, making a small well in the center with the back of a spoon. Surround with fruits and toasted almonds. Drizzle honey into center of cheese.

    Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... eggplant, blueberries, zucchini, head lettuce, parsley, peaches, beets and more!

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