Down on the farm: The rainy season is certainly living up to its name recently. It does make some good days for transplanting into the field, though. When plants are put out on a cloudy day with tiny showers every 20 minutes, they have almost no transplant shock. On the down side, we're still having trouble with arugula getting fungus diseases. If we get the predicted slightly cooler weather, maybe that will help, but for right now, its availability is questionable. Mid-October has traditionally been the best lettuce planting time for us. I looked back at a Nov 4, 2003 newsletter and we were actually harvesting leaf lettuce for that week of boxes. That must have been a very cool fall. As autumns seemed to get warmer, I kept putting off the lettuce starting date each year.
The problem is that most lettuce varieties will not germinate at temperatures above 80-85̊. So, when we were seeding directly into the field, I usually waited until we had a few nights below 70̊ before we seeded the lettuce. A few years ago we started growing 'Salanova' leaf lettuce, which we start in flats and then transplant to the field. So we can solve the germination problem by putting the flats into our 54̊ cooler for about 3 days after they are seeded. At least that makes the lettuce germinate. But it is still challenging to bring it out of the cooler and expect this cool season crop to grow normally in 90̊ days-which is why we are just starting to plant it.
The leaf lettuce we are growing now is called 'Salanova', which comes in 4 different shapes and in red and green. A Dutch seed company bred these varieties especially to cut for leaf lettuces. We transplant them into the field and grow them until they form small loose heads. Santa and Angelica cut them from the field, and then cut a round piece around the core in the middle so the head falls into leaves. Then they wash, dry, and bag them. It looks pretty and almost always tastes good. Lana and Elaina from Culturful are going to give us a sample of their beet kvass to include in each box this week. Those who don't get a box this week will get their sample next week. (However, if you have beets on your exclude list, we will not put a sample in your box.) Look on our extras list below for the website you can visit for information, as well as the prices we are charging for this product.
We were actually getting a little low on summer squashes last week. But a new crop is coming into production, so I'm afraid we will have them again now. (No, I didn't make a mistake writing it that way. I often imagine some of you sometimes feel like the proverbial neighbor who hides when her gardening neighbor shows up with another zucchini.) By the way, I'm sure those who prefer one or the other, will be glad to tell me what the difference is between the flavor and texture of zucchini and yellow squash. In the informal surveys I have done ever since we farmed in Texas in the 80s, I have actually had some people tell me that they like zucchini better because it stays more firm when cooked, and others have said that they like yellow squash better because it stays more firm when cooked. What I have noted, though, is it most likely depends on what you grew up eating. And, in most cases, that is zucchini if you lived in the north, and yellow squash if you lived in the south. (Again-a completely unscientific poll!)
And you will probably feel overwhelmed during the fall with winter squashes: butternut, Seminole pumpkins, and spaghetti squashes. But remember, the first two will usually keep for months (or years), so, if you have too many right now, save them for the cooler winter days (We hope there are some!) and use them to make a soup or pumpkin bread-or even your Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Oh-and they make great fall centerpieces, too.
What's in your box this week: beet kvass sample (not included if you have beets on your exclude list) summer squashes butternut squash cucumbers cantaloupe eggplant corn?? arugula or kale or chard spaghetti squash (large boxes only)
A little housekeeping: (This section is where we usually include notes from Donna.) Please try to send your requests, such as skipping boxes or adding extras, or questions about payments, to Donna email@example.com . Yes, it's easier to click reply to the newsletter and send a message to me, and, of course, I will forward it to her-when I see it. But it will get to her more promptly if it goes directly to her.
The line on your label that says "Exclude" means that you have told us that you don't want to receive that item in your box-ever. So, Donna substitutes something else for it. and writes that on the label. So, if you pick up your box, and something that is in the cooler is on your exclude list, please DON'T take one out of the cooler. If you want to change what is on your exclude list, please email Donna and she will do that.
For those who pick up your boxes at the farm: First, please be sure to let us know when you need to skip a box. But, sometimes, problems come up at the last minute that interfere with your getting to the farm for your box or (heaven forbid!) you may even forget to pick it up. If you find you will not be able to get your box on your usual day-or you realize you have forgotten it, please call. If we're still in the office, we'll put the box in the cooler and save it for you until you are able to get it. Unless you have told us that you're not going to make it here to pick up your box, we will leave it out-so you can come here late, or even early the next morning.
We want this to work for you, and we're sorry when the produce is wasted because it is not picked up. We'll do our best to work with changes when they happen. Some items, especially greens, do not keep long without refrigeration, so Donna makes every effort to contact a subscriber if their box is not picked up. If you have not picked it up within 24 hours after your originally scheduled pickup time, we will donate whatever produce is still good to the Caring Kitchen, and you will still be charged for the box.
By the way, the most common reason we are given for boxes not being picked up is that the subscriber who usually picks up has asked someone else to pick up for them. So, please be sure anyone who is substituting for you knows when to come here and how to get here. Remind them to read the directions on the coolers so they get everything that is supposed to go with the box.
Around our area: If you (or your friends) go to local Green Markets, try to look for the locally grown produce. We know these two vendors sell local produce, because they sell our vegetables: Seed to Bloom grows vegetables (in addition to their beautiful flowers) and sells at the Wellington and Lake Worth Green Markets on Saturdays, and the Jupiter Green Market on Sundays. When they need more of something, they supplement their vegetables with ours. And, at the Delray Green Market, Cat's Produce sells our vegetables, as well as herbs from local grower Pontano Farms.
EXTRAS: The best way to order extras is to email Donna at firstname.lastname@example.org 2 PM the day before you get your box. If you are ordering later than that, please call 561-638-2755 and leave the message on the machine, since we don't always have time to check email in the mornings. (Those ordering for Monday boxes should call and leave a message, since you don't receive this list in time to order by email.) Beet Kvass – For information, check their website, www.culturful.com 1 week advance order please! 12 oz. bottles $3.50 3 liter (100 oz.) "pouches" $25
Locally grown Flowers : Caribbean Exotics, Delray Beach: long-stemmed Heliconia-large, impressive "ginger" flowers $20 plus tax (most stems are about 3' tall) Cut flowers require earlier orders since we don't keep a supply of them here. We order just the number of bouquets that we need from the other farm.
McCoy's Honey-raw, unfiltered, locally produced http://www.mccoysfloridahoney.com/ 3 lb. plastic jug $14.00 each (orange blossom, palmetto, or wildflower) 1 gal. (12 lbs.) $52 (orange blossom or palmetto) 8 oz. bee pollen $12
LeDuc "Flavor Pict" Honey (some hives are on our farm, some are in Loxahatchee) Honey 1 qt. glass jars $17
BANANAS ARE BACK! From Yagnapurush Farm, Loxahatchee: 'Namwah' bananas -$1.60/lb. or 3 lbs. for $4 (short, chubby bananas) Herbs (some are from our farm, some from Pontano Farms) $3/bunch basil apple mint oregano rosemary "tarragon" thyme Lemongrass $3 for 1/2 lb. (about 5 stalks)
Microgreens, sandwich bag $3 (mix may contain radishes, arugula, and/or red kale)
Larger greens $3/bag (large bunch or head) (temporarily unavailable) Collard greens green/white or red chard
Other vegetables from our farm: pineapple tomatillos $3/snack size bag Butternut squash $1.50/lb. Spaghetti squash $1.50/lb. Seminole pumpkins $1.50/lb. Okra $3/lb. (limited availability) Southern peas (not shelled)-mixed varieties $1.00/lb. (usually a pound results in about half a pound after shelling) probably last week for these until spring