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variety pack!

August 7, 2010

Hi everyone,

This week’s box will be a bit different from the rest. For one, the spring lettuces and peas and potatoes and such are finally done with, and pulled out of the ground. So from here on out, we’re starting to get in our summer veggies!

But quantities of EACH thing are still limited, so I’ve put smaller quantities of a LOT of different things in your boxes. Hopefully, there’s enough variety in there to keep things interesting. Last year, I got a lot of comments about zucchini. And they weren’t all pleasant.

So, not only are there a lot of different types of veggies this week, but there are a lot of different varieties to try, too. So, I’ll list by category:


The earliest ones this season are the Purple Russians, which was not at all what I expected. Not even the cherry tomatoes are ripening yet! These originate from the Ukraine, and are sort of plum shaped and purple-tinged. If you’ve gotten a bigger tomato or two in your share this week, it’s likely a Purple Russian. These are beautifully sweet and meaty.

The Red Zebra Tomatoes are by far the prettiest. These are the small round striped ones. If they’re not perfectly soft, just let them sit out for a day or two.

You might have gotten an Earliana tomato. These are supposed to ripen about a week later than the Purple Russians and Red Zebras, so I expect a lot more of them next week. These are standard red, round, small tomatoes. Known for being early ripeners (important here in OR!), but don’t stand a chance next to their Ukrainian cousins.

We also have Austin Red Pear Tomatoes, small pear-shaped cherry tomatoes, but not ready yet, neither are the Blondkopfchen (small yellow cherries), Sweet Pea Currant (small red cherries), Crnkovic Yugoslavian (big red beefsteaks), or the Brandywines (my absolute favorites). Hopefully by next week, the rest of the tomatoes will be cranking out big beautiful fruits!


We have a lot of different ones planted, but the Ancho Gigantea (dark green and heart-shaped) and Alma Paprika (small creamy-white colored) are the ones you’ll likely find in your box this week. Neither are spicy. On a scale of 0-5, these rank about around 1 or 2. We need lots of heat temperature-wise to get the heat in the peppers… so we’re not quite there yet.

Summer Squash:

As promised, not too many. But there are Golden Zucchinis, Yellow Crookneck, Black Beauty, and 8-Ball squashes. I’m confident that you’ll be able to tell the difference…


Not everyone got one, but there are some Pingtung Long eggplants just starting to get big enough to pick. Later in the season, there will also be some beautiful lavender Listada de Gandia eggplants.


Man, are these prolific. So far, you’ve seen the True Lemon Cucumbers (the little yellow balls in your last box). These are Jon’s favorite, so we planted a lot of them. You’ll also find A&C Pickling Cucumbers, these look a lot like your standard garden cucumber, but picked small they’re crispy and delicious. You’ll also find some… PICKLES! These are from the A&C’s.

The other day, Jon came out of the garden with a few white cucumbers and said… “there’s something wrong with these!”. Indeed! I was indignant! But then relieved when I saw what he was talking about. These little white cukes are Boothby’s Blondes, and heirloom variety from Maine. For those of you who like to pickle, these are known to make excellent bread and butter pickles. Nothing is wrong with them. They’re supposed to be…. um…white.

There are also a few Suyo Long cukes (long, skinny, Chinese cukes) and Armenian (long, ridged and light green). The armenians will be starting to produce soon, I can see the little armenian babies on the vine already.

Also new this week, but EXTRA FUN… GARBANZO BEANS! Disclaimer… I’ve never grown these before, so I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea you could grow garbanzos in Oregon! So I only planted a short row. I’m kicking myself now, because these are so fun to eat! Steam them like edamame, sprinkle a little sea salt and a squeeze of lemon and pop them straight from the shell into your mouth. Fresh garbanzos are NOTHING like those mealy things you find in a can.

There’s enough for a small appetizer, which hopefully will whet your appetite for them… I plan on planting a LOT more of these next year.

Also fun are the elephant garlics that we finally dug up the other day. You’ve gotten just a couple of cloves out of the enormous bulbs. The flavor of elephant garlic isn’t as strong as some of the other garlics you’ve been getting, so don’t be scared to chop up the entire clove and use it all at once. I’ll have to check on this, but I remember hearing that elephant garlic isn’t actually a garlic, but in the onion family. Does anyone know?

More Amaranth (you know what to do), small Easter Egg radishes, carrots, basil, parsley, Green Lake beans, Yellow Sultan beans, Purple beans, and Fin de Bagnol green beans, all mixed together in a baggie. More bread from the Breadboard Artisan Bakery, multi-grain this time (did I already mention how much I love these guys?), and some Red Russian and Curly-leafed Kale.

I’m probably forgetting something critical, but no matter, you’ll find it all tomorrow in your boxes.

Don’t forget your flowers!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Tammy permalink
    August 15, 2010 4:43 am

    What is the red leaf that we’ve gotten the last 3 weeks or so? It is a small leaf, about the size of a large basil leaf and about the same shape, but on a larger stalk. It is usually with the kale. I’ve been stir frying it with the kale, but I have no idea what it is! Help me out here.

    • nadinelew permalink*
      August 15, 2010 5:00 am

      Tammy, it’s amaranth! The greens of this plant have lots of good protein and we love them steamed or braised! Cooking them with/like kale is just perfect. What do you think of it?

      Sent from my iPhone

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