Week 9: Outbreak!

onions9This week in the pack, we’ve got beans; peas; spinach; carrots; cucumbers; zucchini; baby arugula; garlic; a choice of herb; salad mix; a choice of kale, chard, cabbage, or beets; and eggs.  We’re not sure about fruit yet.

In addition, we will have pesto packs (large bag of basil leaves and garlic) available for $7.  *Let Jen know if you want one*

Please note:  Thursday pick-up is happening at a different location because Victoria Park is not available.  The alternate location is in the parking lot behind 1185/7 Queen St at the corner of Queen and South Streets.

This Saturday, July 20, is an open farm day.  You are welcome from 2pm on.

Another note:  We got some comments that the strawberries from Week 7 were not the best.  We are very sorry about this and would happily offer a refund or an extra item to anyone who was not satisfied with the quality of the berries.  Since we are not producing the strawberries ourselves, it is hard to ensure they meet our quality standards.

In other farm news, we had an outbreak of ladybird beetles.2LBB9

This one is crawling up to consume its prey: aphids.  Yay!  You see them everywhere crawling around on the crops, crawling on the weeds, mating, flying, eating.  They are unpaid workers, cheerfully doing their thing.  But the teenaged larval stage is the real bust-it kind of worker that gets the job done.  I saw a bunch of them when I was picking peas.  Here is one on a lamb’s quarter heading to work.

LBBteenager9

This is what they look like before the larvae pupate.

LBBYoung9

This is the kind of outbreak we want.  We have other, not so good outbreaks too, like sudden increases in aphids, or colorado potato beetles, or striped cucumber beetles.  An outbreak of ladybird beetles, on the other hand, is pleasant and relaxing.

David took advantage of the dry hot weather to finish emptying the cattle pen.  He LOVES building piles of manure to make compost.  The pile is starting to heat up as all the organisms work away to turn the manure and bedding into spongy black compost for growing vegetables.  Soon we’ll cover the pile, and in the spring it will be full of red wiggler compost worms and ready to use on the gardens.  Using good quality compost is a critical step to grow healthy, resilient veggies.  It sure saves a lot of headaches later on!

compost9

I am learning new things every day.  For instance, beets are extremely sensitive to soil conditions.  We have a new crop of beets coming that looks fantastic.  The leaves are not blotchy at all.  They were planted in a spot where we added ashes, which are high in potassium and other micronutrients.  The beets are teaching us what the soil needs.

Beets

Beets

I am also learning about peas.  Before 2012, I’d always grown shelling peas.  Now we grow only edible pod peas.  The two kinds are the flat snow peas, and the chubby sugar snap peas.  Snow peas are wonderful cooked very lightly and used in stir fries or oriental cooking.  The cooking releases their sweetness.  Sugar snaps are sweeter from the start and are eaten raw or cooked.  I didn’t realize that edible pod peas had strings that come off !  I was just cutting the ends off before cooking.  It is a good thing David is bringing some refinement to the kitchen.

Taking the strings off snow peas.

Taking the strings off snow peas.

Blanched snow peas, ready for freezing.

Blanched snow peas, ready for freezing, David-style.

Sugar snap peas

Sugar snap peas

Blanched sugar snap peas, ready for freezing.

Blanched sugar snap peas, with one end cut off, ready for freezing. Jen-style.

We have to pick peas every couple of days to keep them producing.  If we don’t sell them, I freeze them.

I’ve noticed the weather is more extreme lately.  Either too wet, or too dry.  With the hot, dry weather, we are so glad we invested in irrigation infrastructure!!  All the gardens have moveable lines of sprinklers, and the heads look like Darth Vader.

darthvader9

Here is a recipe for basil pesto, but it is a very individual thing.  I started with a recipe and then modified it to my taste.  I use basil pesto a lot, on pasta, in salad dressing, in quesadillas, and on sandwiches.  Since we use so much, I use sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts to make it more economical.

Basil Pesto Recipe

1/2 cup pine nuts (I use roasted sunflower seeds)

8 cloves garlic

4 cups basil leaves, packed

1 cup olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt to taste

Place all ingredients, except olive oil, in a food processor.  Chop.  With the appliance running, stream in the olive oil until a smooth paste forms.  Use immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days.  In the recipe, it suggests you don’t add garlic or cheese if you plan to freeze it.  But I do and it seems ok.

Basil pesto, ready to put in the freezer.

Basil pesto, ready to put in the freezer.

beans9

We hope you like beans because we’ve got a lot coming on!

smix9rudbeckia9woods9See you all soon!

The farm crew: Jen, David, Bruce, Cassie, Stephanie, and Brent

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2 thoughts on “Week 9: Outbreak!

  1. I started making pizza and realized I had no pasta sauce or tomato paste, but we did have some garlic scape pesto left over. DELICIOUS as a base for mushrooms, onions and smoked salmon!

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