Week 11: August 16th

In Your Share:
Head Lettuce
Summer Squash
Red, Gold & Chiogga Beets
Walla Walla Sweet Onions

On Rotation:
Rainbow Chard

There are some exciting new faces in your totes this week: Walla Walla Sweet Onions, Spinach (for Coos Bay & Bandon; Port Orford and Farm will see it next week), and the first of the TOMATOES! Also, you'll find a pound+ of mixed beets: red, gold and chioggia (or Italian heirloom candy-stripe beets...cut them cross-wise and you should see a perfect pink and white bulls-eye pattern!).

Walla Wallas:
So sweet and mild, they don't even make you cry! Slice them raw for sandwiches, make fat beer-battered onion rings, or sautee them on medium heat and render them down into a carmelized gooey mess of deliciousness. There will be more next week, so no need to save them for later. Keep them in a plastic bag in the fridge.

The Beets:
Rather petite, these beets are from our first spring planting. We decided to clear the whole bed and top all the beets in order to erase all those terrible memories of cold, grey, rainy May. As a result, some beets are big and some are baby, but they should all taste good. I find the red beets to be the sweetest, with the golds taking a close second. I like the flavor of Chioggia beets the least, but they have a lot of interior pizazz when you cut them open to reveal the candy-strip bulls-eye inside. We love to eat our beets steamed or roasted; just be sure you cut them to be a similar size so they cook evenly. These puppies will store for a long time in a bag in your fridge, so no pressure if you're distracted by other things in your Harvest Basket, like....TOMATOES!

That's right, they're here. This is the beginning of the Summer Solanum Celebration: tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers, more potatoes...it's all in the pipeline and ripening nicely. These tomatoes come out of Betsy's greenhouses where they ripen more quickly than they will outdoors. In the coming weeks you'll also be enjoying a rainbow array of cherry tomatoes (grown outdoors), more slicing tomatoes, and some fancy heirlooms as well (they usually peak in early September). You can eat your first tomatoes however you please, but whatever you do, DON'T PUT THEM IN THE FRIDGE! They like to sit on the countertop, where they will continue to ripen and maintain their sweet flavor and good texture. Refrigerated tomatoes often get mealy and bland = yuck.

At last! Oddly enough, August seems to be our month for spinach at Valley Flora. We were expecting it in June and July, but every planting bolted. We're guessing it had something to do with the dramatic switch in the weather from cold and grey to hot and sunny, so quickly. Nevertheless, Abby's recent plantings are looking great - so we're finally able to bag some up and share it with you. You'll see it either this week or next week. Store it in the fridge. It should keep for up to a week.
On the Farm:
Yes indeed, help has arrived! We've hired one person full time and another to help on our big harvest days. Training is going well - albeit a bit frantic, given that it's August and we are in the thick of things! Nevertheless, we are so grateful and relieved to have found some stellar folks to work with us.

Sadly, help has also departed. We bid farewell to Marisa, my dear buddy from Hawaii, on Wednesday. After extending her visit by two weeks (!) in order to help us through our labor crunch in early August, she finally had to board a plane and go back to her life in Hilo. If all goes right, though, she might just be back in Langlois in a year to spend the summer and start a homemade ice cream CSA! We are particularly excited about getting to be her official taste-testers if she does it....:).

And about that cauliflower last week...I didn't mention it because some folks didn't receive theirs until this week, but I've been fielding some questions about it, like "Is it supposed to be bright orange?" "Why is it neon purple?" ETC. Well, the truth is, we grew three variety trials this year: a white cauliflower called Amazing (which was far from it), an orange cauliflower called Cheddar, and a purple cauliflower called Graffiti. Usually varieties like Cheddar and Graffiti aren't very vigorous, plus the specialty seed costs a whole lot - so I was fully expecting those two varieties to flop. Au contrare, mon freir! (Or however you spell that....:). The Amazing did pitifully, while the Cheddar and Graffiti were the most vigorous. We did have some teeny heads among the colored varieties, but I attribute that more to the fact that I planted them at the edge of the field where we thoroughly neglected them, let the weeds run wild, and only sort-of watered them. Even so, the Cheddar and Graffiti mostly pulled through...which means that next year we are going whole hog with the bright orange and purple color scheme!

If you are one of the people who got a boring old normal white head of cauliflower and feel kinda cheated, well, stick around for 2011 and we'll do our best to hook you up with some outrageous neon cauliflower, straight out of the 80s!

Hope you all have a great weekend,