CSA Newsletter Week #12 August 14th

Farm Notes
The newest plants in our fields exuded tiny droplets of sap from the edges of their leaves, shimmering in the morning light. While new life is beginning in some fields, others were bursting with vegetables ready for harvest this morning.

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More of the quintessential summer vegetables grace your share this week: squash, peppers, and tomatoes. Furthermore, the long awaited summer fruit is here: watermelons! These melons are very large and heavy, averaging around 25-30 lbs each, so be prepared for a heavy load. These are the only watermelons for the season. Next week you can expect another round of cantaloupes. Soon, winter squash will also be in your shares.

This week’s onion variety is Sierra Blanca, a white onion with mild flavor and thick rings. The garlic variety is Music.

We hope our guides to picking out the right peppers and tomatoes for you in our previous newsletters were helpful. But if you have questions about the varieties, don’t hesitate to ask our farm staff at distribution, or put an apprentice in the hotseat to share their farm knowledge with you!

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What’s In Your Share

For August 14th, you’ll find:

+ Watermelon
+ Corn
+ Squash
+ Zucchini
+ Cucumbers
+ Eggplant
+ Tomatoes
+ Peppers
+ Onions
+ Garlic

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The following crops are available for U-Pick:

+ Flowers
+ Herbs
+ Okra
+ Cherry Tomatoes
+ Basil and Dill Flowers – This may be the last week for basil! Both crops are in the 5th field.

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

+ The Corn variety in your shares is Honey Select, a super sweet yellow corn with tender kernels. Keep the corn cool in your fridge until you eat it, as this is the best way to preserve its sweetness and keep the sugars from turning to starch. Corn has higher caloric values than most other vegetables, but behind those calories is dietary fiber, vitamin A, and a host of antioxidants.

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+ Moon and Stars is the variety name for the Watermelons in the share. This variety is an heirloom that dates back to 1924, but was thought to have gone extinct until it was rediscovered in 1981. The name comes from the bright yellow mottling on the dark green skin — usually there is one larger yellow “moon” and then several pea-sized yellow “stars.” The flesh is sweet and pink. Watermelons are excellent sources of lycopene, vitamins A and C.

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+ Speaking of Watermelons, why don’t we grow seedless watermelons? Seedless watermelons are the “mule” of the plant world. They result from crossing a normal watermelon with a watermelon that has double the chromosomes as a result of a chemical process. This “horse and donkey” cross gives you sterile seedless watermelons. So one reason we don’t grow seedless varieties is that the pollen on the plants is sterile — which means, we would have to plant a seeded variety just for pollination purposes. At least a third of our plants would be there just for pollination, which is not the most efficient use of our land and resources. Another reason is that these plants suffer poor germination, thus requiring more effort and frustration than they’re arguably worth. A final reason we don’t grow seedless: they simply don’t taste as sweet!

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But now for an even more interesting fact: the seeds of watermelons contain high levels of protein, and an important amino acid arginine that regulates blood pressure, along with zinc and iron. Many people in China and Africa grow watermelons specifically for their seeds. If you want to give them a try, save the seeds, dry and roast them.

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Recipes

Fresh Corn Salsa

Ingredients:
4 sweet corn ears
4 tomatoes medium sized – seeded and diced
1 onion medium sized – diced
3 jalapeños – seeded and diced fine
1 lime – juiced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup cilantro – fresh and chopped

Directions:
Husk and boil the sweet corn until desired doneness. You could also grill the sweet corn if you prefer. When the corn if done, set aside to allow it to cool.

Dice the tomatoes, onions and jalapenos and place them in a mixing bowl. Cut the corn from the ears and add it into the mixing bowl. Add in the juice from one lime, salt and garlic powder. Chop the cilantro and mix all together.

Can be served immediately or covered and refrigerated until ready to use.

Eggplant Fritters with Honey (Berenjena Con Miel)
This dish is a specialty of Andalusia.

Ingredients:
1 eggplants (about 1/4 pounds)
About 2 cups milk
Flour for dusting or dredging
Salt
Oil for deep-frying
Honey

Directions:
Peel the eggplants and cut them into slices about 1/3 inch thick. Put them in a bowl, add enough milk to cover, and put a small plate on top to hold them down. Let soak for 1 to 2 hours; drain.

Cover a plate with plenty of flour mixed with a sprinkling of salt. Working in batches, turn the eggplant slices in this so that they are entirely covered with flour, then shake them to remove the excess. Deep-fry in sizzling but not too hot oil, turning the slices over as soon as the first side is brown. Drain on paper towels.

Serve hot with a dribble of honey, and let people help themselves to more honey if they like.

Roasted Watermelon Seeds

Ingredients:
1 cup raw watermelon seeds, rinsed and dried
Olive Oil
Sea Salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 F.

Toss seeds with a little olive oil and sea salt. Spread on baking sheet and roast in oven for 10-15 minutes.

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