While farmer Val is making her way back down to Florida for the remainder of the summer and then to Sweden we are happy to introduce the newsletter from one of our favorite Berkshire CSAs, Farm Girl Farm, that is written by our next favorite farmer gal, Laura Meister. We hope you enjoy Laura's insights and delightful recipes that of course include in season ingredients!
Hello Farm Girl Farmers.
I may have mentioned before that I often read last year’s corresponding week’s newsletter before writing the current ones, and when I looked back at the one I wrote a year ago, it was all about the loss of our dear tomatoes. Thank the harvest gods that it has been a very different year. But the pathogens that cause Late Blight are around in small numbers this season, and we have been warned to take precautions. We are spraying an organically approved fungicidal copper on our tomato plants—we started yesterday and will work our way through all 40 beds throughout the week. Its not much fun—the stuff is supposed to be non-toxic in such small doses but still, it feels kind of yucky to work with, and it is incredibly time consuming—I estimate it will take 20 person hours to spray all of our plants. And if it should rain or if the warnings continue, we’ll have to do it AGAIN in another week. Hard to conceive of how we’ll find the time. But given the spectre of another total crop loss, I’m spraying. You should know that we will wait the recommended 24 hours before harvesting any tomato that has been sprayed but I do recommend that you rinse your tomatoes when you get them home, just to be extra safe.
For more information about Late Blight and the copper funcigide (we’re using Nu Cop), please see http://www.umassvegetable.org and click on Late Blight Alert. This is a very informative website with links to other relevant sources.
In other news from the field, I’m excited to begin to welcome the real summer veggies into our lives—we’ve got peppers beginning, as you see in your share, and eggplant trickling in, and we have seen one or two ripe tomatoes out there as we’ve been making our rounds. . Its such an exciting and colorful time of the season! All of these crops are grown in our field across Pumpkin Hollow Road, which you can see from Rt. 71 if you’re heading west and remember to look down and to the right. Meanwhile, we’re turning over the “home field,” the one you see when you pick-up your veggies. We’re pulling all of the garlic, we’ll cure it in the greenhouse, sort the best and the brightest out for seed, and store and distribute the remainder for the rest of the season. We’re mowing down the crops that are finished for now, and we’ll rent a burly rototiller for a day or so and turn over all the vegetable residue and prepare the beds for the fall plantings. We’ll do more beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, bok choy. And we’ll also try a few things we didn’t do in the spring—broccoli raab did well last fall so we’re going to do more of it this fall. We’re trying again with the broccoli, too—this spring it got so hot so fast we lost a lot of it to the heat (it bolted) and the weeds.
Speaking of weeds, we are definitely in need of helping hands—we have some beds of kale which are rather engulfed but which are otherwise healthy and harvestable throughout the season. We’d like to keep these crops going and haven’t been able to keep up with all of it ourselves—give us a call if you’ve got a few hours and would like to get your hands dirty!
Enjoy the veggies this week.
--Laura Meister, Farm Girl Farm Farmer
VEGGIE NOTES JULY 27, 2010.
Original recipe by Judith Janowski
2 cups shredded zucchini (8oz.)
2 cups granular sugar
1 cup cooking oil
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1 recipe Peanut Butter Frosting
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line muffin cups with paper bake cups or lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl stir together zucchini, eggs, granulated sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and chocolate chips; stir until combined. Spoon batter into prepared cups, filling about half full. Bake about 25 minutes (about 15 minutes for mini-cupcakes) or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from cups. Cool completely. Frost with Peanut Butter Frosting.
Peanut Butter Frosting:
Beat 1 cup peanut butter, 1/3 cup softened butter, 1 tablespoon milk, and 1teaspoon vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Gradually add 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, beating until combined. If necessary, stir in 1 to 2 teaspoons additional milk until desired consistency.
Dill-icious(!) cucumber salad-
From the kitchen of Ruth Ballenzweig, Farm Girl Farm Girl emeritus
juice of 1/4-1/2 of a lemon approx. 1 cup plain yogurt
small bunch of dill
salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and peel 2-3 cucumbers (I like to leave on some of the skin)
Thinly slice cucumbers into a bowl
Remove thick stems and loosely chop dill
Add yogurt, lemon, juice, and salt and pepper to taste
Stir and enjoy!
This a light, cooling summer salad. Double or triple quantities for a great potluck dish!