After the morning harvest every day, we head back into the rows to weed for a few hours, then after lunch we tie up our rambunctiously vining tomatoes. Like many growers in Wisconsin, we have seen significant early signs of blight, as a result of the ultra-wet conditions in early June. If you can remember that far back to before it was so hot and dry, we flooded so many times out here our road was closed on three separate occasions! The plants are loaded with fruit, however, so we are hoping to reap a ton before the vines succumb to the various foliar diseases. The hot dry conditions we are experiencing now are the best thing for keeping the blight in check, so our fingers are crossed.
Here on the farm, we are trying to end every work day by 2pm so as to get out of the sun before the heat advisories. So far, so good: our crew is healthy and in good spirits, in spite of a few mild cases of heat stroke. The sum total of all that heat is a wonderful bounty of summer’s earliest treats: basil, squash, chard and cukes. Enjoy!
Here's what's In The Box! Use the first things first:
Radicchio: Our head lettuce and salad is on break for a few weeks while we nurture along the new rows in the shade. These bitter greens may look like lettuce, but they are an Italian open-leaf variety of radicchio that is wonderful grilled. So it’s the perfect time to heat that grill up outside in the sunshine – while you’ve got it hot you can also marinate some summer squash and zucchini and sear that up, too! See our Farmer Kriss Pinterest page for some great instructions.
Swiss Chard: This is what we are using for fresh salads these days, mixed in with baby kale and collards. With a texture like spinach and the delicate sweetness of beets, this is a very versatile cooking green as well. Alice Water’s Chard Gratin is always a favorite with our members. See it on theBox 4 Recipe page.
Baby Kale and Collards: These lovely baby leaves are tender enough to use for a fresh salad, but flavorful enough to use for cooking. The best way to enjoy kale as a salad is to cut it in thin ribbons, then massage it (really, mash it with your hand) in the dressing 15 minutes before you plant to eat. We planted 5 different varieties of kale this year because our members have been telling us how much they love kale. Enjoy!
Calendula Confetti: We planted these lovely calendulas and johnny jump-ups to add to our salad mixes, but they are just now flowering. So use this sprinkled on top of a salad, or garnish a cold cucumber salad or bean side dish.
Broccoli: (Full Size only) We are really a bit embarrassed to pack these. Our spring broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage really took a beating in the heat and mostly flowered before it was of harvest-able size. Our shade-covered greenhouse is full of fall brassicas however, and we are confident you’ll get lots of beautiful cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts and napa come September.
Lemon Balm (bunched with chocolate mint): This bright-tasting herb is a favorite for us in the summer. Add to lemonade, iced tea or chiffonade into your salad. This is terrific chopped and added to goat cheese or a quick bread recipe. Wonderful in shortbread cookies. This week, you can add the lemon balm to your basil and make a tart fresh pesto! Find a cookie and a salad dressing recipe on the Farmer Kriss Pinterest page.
Chocolate Mint: Just what you need to beat the heat! Add to lemonade, slice thinly over fruit salad, make mojitos. Store in an inch of water in the fridge until you are ready to use.
Sorrel: You asked for it, you got it – more sorrel! This is just a little bag – add to salad or chop into your sautéed summer squash recipes. Look on the recipe blog for more ideas.
Cucumber: Lovely and crisp. The flavor of these is so good try chopping and eating as a plain salad with just rice wine vinegar and chunky sea salt. Mmmmm. A little chopped lemon balm and you’ve got a very special little side dish!
Zucchini and Summer Squash: You’ve got a big and some smalls in your box. All are good eaten fresh with dips, sautéed in coconut, grilled with olive oil or shredded into breads and cakes. But try making raw pasta with your veggie peeler! Recipe on the Farmer Kriss Pinterest page.
String Beans: There’s nothing quite like a fresh-from-the-field green bean. We picked these for you on Thursday, so it’s almost as good as growing them yourself. The flavor is exceptional, so try just lightly sautéing in olive oil and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and eat while quite al dente. Do forgo boiling!
Peas: (Shortie Shares Only) Snap peas hate the heat, so alas, this is the last little bag from this year’s crop. We’ve been slicing and adding to salads.
Cinnamon Basil Transplants: We are about to plant our final succession of basil here at the farm and this is a good time for you to put another plant in, too. These cinnamon basil plants are prolific, sweet, spicy and terrific in Thai dishes. Harvest a few leaves from the top of the bush every few days and you’ll find you have a big bush plant producing a ton of basil for you in a few weeks.