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August 22, 2010

Well, I was a little surprised that the winter squashes are coming in already, before the tomatoes ripen, but stranger things have happened… the little orange gem in your box this week is a Potimarron Squash…

 The description of this little guy from the seed catalogue reads, ” Famous winter squash from France. The name is derived from potiron (pumpkin) and marron (chestnut). Very aromatic and chestnut-like in taste. One of the very best for baking and roasting. Nice-sized 3-4 pound fruits store well.”

We just thought they were pretty cool-looking. The 85 days til maturity on the seed packet, I guess makes sense now. We planted them way back in May… so, I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that they’re ready to eat.

Let us know what you do with them, and how you like them. With any luck maybe we’ll get a second crop of them off of the same vines. They’re flowering again.

Some of you got a “Passport melon” this week. If the weather holds, next week we’ll see Tigger and Cream of Saskatchewan melons… followed by small Shining Light watermelons, Amish melons and Queen Anne Pocket melons…  I can’t believe the summer is almost over. (“stink”, as AJ says.)

So each new endeavor brings up a whole new learning curve. Expanding the CSA has taught me some valuable lessons:

1- You can never plant too much of anything, except for green beans. The crops I’ve really, really loved this season, we always seem to be scarce on. And now I know. Next year I’ll plant 3-4X more than I think we’ll need.

2- The gophers always win. There’s no use in fighting back. They’re smarter, quicker, more adaptable than I will ever be. So long as they never make it into the house, I think we’ve developed an understanding of each other.

3- I hate picking green beans. Period. You can be out there for hours on end with very little return. The other day, I saw green beans at the market for $1/lb, and I thought, “wow, why bother?”. That values the time I’ve spent on these plants at something like 25 cents an hour. That’ll never pay off my student loans.

4- I absolutely LOVE harvesting herbs. No matter what sort of mood I’m in when I start, I’m always transformed into a happy, life-loving hippy after snipping basil and summer savory. I think it does wonders for my head chemistry.

5- Spreading out the harvest makes a LOT more sense in the summer with slow ripening tomatoes, cucumbers by the millions, zucchinis… these things need to be picked every day, and aiming for once/week deliveries just makes storing them a nightmare.

6- Never give up on the chickens. This year, mid-season, the home flock of 18 decided it was time to moult. For WEEKS, I’d go out there and try to figure out why I was spending roughly $20/week on food, for a measly 3 eggs/day. We tried everything. Electrolytes, apple cider vinegar in their water, high protein diets, kelp, molasses…. frequent cleanings… and really, all we needed was patience. Now these ladies are all fluffed up with new feathers and laying like champions.

7- Plant more flowers. You can never have enough flowers. I’m learning.

8- Talk to other farmers more, about just about anything and everything. The amount of quality information I’ve learned from just chatting at the farmer’s market to other gardeners is amazing… from symphalins, to whether or not apples are bad for chickens, to “your tomatoes are still green, too?”, to “that’s a cool-looking bean, what is that?”. There are so many good tips and ideas that are out there…

There are more, but I need to get tilling before it rains tonight. Stay tuned for more info, and let us all know how you’re using your veggies!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Cat permalink
    August 23, 2010 9:48 pm

    Now that we know what you’ve learned, lemme tell you what I’ve learned…
    1) Take the 5-10 minutes as soon as you get home to unpack and properly store your veggies. It’s like “Meet your Veggies!”. If you don’t know what you have, and you haven’t stored ’em all wrapped up cozy, they’ll be limp before you’ve gotten inspiration. Unpacking them IS inspiration.
    2) If you don’t know what it is, ask Nadine right away cuz that too is inspiration. Embrace the unknown…how would I ever have known about Scot’s mom’s recipe for pickled beets (turns out I LOVE beets this way) if I’d pulled my nose up at ’em.
    3) Accept that you’re not gonna LOVE everything…and eat it anyway cuz it puts hair on your chest. Preferably before your fave thing so unfave doesn’t get any ideas about petrifying in the back of your fridge.
    4) There can never be too many fruits. Don’t give in to the temptation to go get more berries at the grocery store. You will only be disappointed. I never would have thought I could go through 4 gallon bags of cherries, and now they’re gone and I miss ’em. Except there’s a stash in the freezer muauahahaha. Ditto for spring onions.
    5) I love the C in CSA the most. The comraderie of comparing what you’ve been using the most of is extra bonus fun.
    6) I love the excuse to go up to Mississippi and visit my compadres at Muddy’s. A lot.
    7) Draw smiley faces on your happy chicken eggs. Cuz you’ll smile too.
    8) It’s a great gift to give your box to a friend if you’re gone on a weekend…spread the happy chicken eggs around ya’ll.

    HA! 8 made it in!

  2. Cat permalink
    August 23, 2010 9:52 pm

    And I like that the chickens have permission to molt whenever the hell they want. Industrial unhappy chickens get forced molt. Not happy chickens. Nope. They can take July off. And half of August. Cuz they feel like it. Fluff on ladies, fluff on.

  3. nadinelew permalink*
    August 23, 2010 11:01 pm

    🙂 happy chickens = happy farmers = happy CSA members. what came first? the happy chicken? or the happy egg?

  4. nadinelew permalink*
    August 24, 2010 2:39 am

    p.s. cat. what are your fave things and unfave things?

  5. Cat permalink
    August 31, 2010 9:27 pm

    fave: potimarron as you know. Most fave ever. Also zucc…we are best friends. So verstatile! All fruits, of all kinds. newest fave: chili peppers…it’s like spring onions but spicy! go in everything!
    unfave: I have no unfaves. I have only failed to unlock their true potential. Respect the eggplant. do not ask it to do things it is not good at. It is not good at lasagne.

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