We haven’t talked about the weather in awhile. It’s a subject that occupies our mind quite a bit over the season. We check and compare our weather apps on our phones, we read extended forecasts, we watch the sky. We plan our weeks around rain and temperature.
Today is a hot and sticky one. Knowing that the heat index was going to be over 100 degrees today, we went from harvesting to weeding this morning. That way we can work in the barn washing, packing, and sorting veggies in the afternoon. It stays quite cool in our insulated washing barn. Right now the farm team is busy counting and sorting tomatoes, peppers, and melons by size and weight. Tomorrow won’t be quite as hot and by the end of the week it will be in the high 70s again. Perfect weather for working outside getting weeds under control.
It has been a dry month. We have been irrigating almost every day to keep the crops going. Our neighbors are busy pumping water, too. We are almost afraid to mention it or wish for rain after the super rainy fall of 2018. But over the weekend we got some very welcome rain. We can now start seeding our late summer/early fall cover crops. The soil was just too dry to work and the seeds wouldn’t have germinated in the dusty earth. We look forward to seeing our empty vegetable fields turn green again with cow peas, oats & peas, tillage radish, lentils, and rye & vetch.
The dry weather and the string of hot days changes how the vegetables are maturing. Some things are later and some are earlier. Our share plan that we carefully created in January is a bit different than what nature is providing. But, that is how farming works. We have to adapt and change in small ways on a daily basis and in large ways as new climate patterns become evident. So this year you are getting napa cabbage, collards, and broccoli in August. We are seeding a few more fall greens to fill the broccoli spot in the late September share. It will all balance out in the end but does cause us a bit of worry. We want the shares to be equally abundant all season long. Especially after the frost when we sorely miss the tomatoes and peppers. But not too worry we have two more months of tomato season before that happens!
COOKING TIPS AND RECIPES
Fennel: You can eat the bulb, the stalks, and the leafy fronds. Store in a plastic bag in the fridge until you are ready to eat it. Rinse the bulb and slice thinly to eat it raw or cooked. Do the same with the stalks. The fronds can be pinched into small pieces and are a great addition to salad.
Fennel, Tomato, and Feta Skillet Bake
1 fennel bulb
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (such as Pomì)
2 tablespoons sliced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons crumbled feta
Cut fennel bulb into 8 wedges each; sprinkle with ground coriander. Chop fennel fronds to equal 1 tablespoon Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add fennel wedges; cook 4 minutes. Turn; add chopped tomatoes, sliced garlic, lemon juice, and kosher salt. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with crumbled feta and fronds.
3 tablespoons panko
1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
3 tablespoons plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 cups sliced cucumber
2 cups sliced fennel bulb
1 1/2 cups sliced bell pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
Toast panko in melted unsalted butter in a skillet over medium. Stir together plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt, prepared horseradish, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, kosher salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Add sliced cucumber, sliced fennel bulb, and sliced bell pepper; toss to coat. Top with panko and chopped fresh dill.