Week 17: September 27th
What’s in your Share This Week?
The New Stuff: How to eat it, cut it, cook it, and keep it…
In most places, the storage onions would have bulbed up, dried out and been hung in the barn by now – but we are just beginning to bring our harvest in from the field. The yellow storage onions are further along than the reds and have all been pulled and laid out in windrows to cure in the field (while we have this amazing window of dry, hot weather).
The reds, on the other hand, are taking their sweet time. It looks like many aren’t planning to bulb up at all, and those that have are still standing strong with green tops. We went ahead and harvested some fresh for you this week…who knows if they are EVER going to flop over and succumb to their fate as storage onions! We’ll see.
Nevertheless, they are pretty to look at and tasty to chew on as fresh onions. Enjoy them raw, or cook them up any old way. They’ll store best in the fridge and should hold for a week or two.
Good things are worth waiting for, and nothing proves it like the first corn of the season (and man, did we have to wait this year)! Because of the long, cold wet spring, we were almost a month delayed getting our corn seeded, so that the old adage, “knee high by the 4th of July” was more like “knee high by the 4th of August” this year.
For the past three weeks, it’s seemed like the corn was just a couple days from being ready – but then came the rain and 60 degree days and clouds and I feared it might never ripen.
But this week’s heat has done the trick and we are harvesting an abundance of bi-color sweet corn by the name of Trinity. It has succulent kernels and great flavor; the only complaint I have with the harvest is that the pollination appears to have been spotty. You may encounter a couple ears with irregular or incomplete kernels (though I did my best to give each ear a squeeze before harvesting to try to ensure that they were full ears).
Why the pollination trouble? I’m not entirely sure. Having never grown this particular variety before, it may well be a bad habit of Trinity itself. But I have a hunch that’s not the case. This was our first planting and it’s on the western edge of the corn patch. Our prevailing winds are from the west, and being a wind-pollinated crop, I’m wondering if perhaps the pollen blew east and overshot its target of all the corn silks below eagerly awaiting fertilization.
(A biological sidenote here: in case you didn’t know, every single kernel on an ear of corn is individually pollinated through one of those “silks” that stick out the top of the husk. Pollen showers down from the top of the corn plant, sticks to the silks, and travels down each silk inside the husk to fertilize a single corn kernel. Amazing design.)
Fortunately, the yield is good on Trinity, so instead of the anticipated 4 ears per share, we were able to send 6 to everyone instead – so hopefully that will make up for any imperfect ears you might encounter.
There are two more varieties of corn still to come – a yellow corn called Sugar Buns (our tried and true favorite, coming next week), and a white corn called Whiteout that is another experimental planting. We’ll cross our fingers it’s a goodie!
As for eating your corn, the most important thing is to do it soon! Once sweet corn is harvested, its sugars promptly begin to change to starch and the flavor and tenderness begin to decline. How to cook it? You can grill it in the husk, or shuck it and steam or boil it. Make sure not to overcook it so the ears will retain their wonderful, perky pop!
And of course, no matter what, LOTS of butter!
On the Farm…
I know farmers talk ad nauseam about the weather, but whoa, what a week! Not that many days ago we were slogging around in raingear and rubber boots, lamenting the end of summer, the end of swimming, the beginning of mud, rotting lettuce, under-ripe corn and green tomatoes. And then came this thing called high pressure…really high pressure.
It’s been 80+ degrees at the farm this week, and you can tell! The outdoor tomatoes are suddenly coming on in a crazy glut. The corn is ripe. The strawberries got a bad sunburn, but the ones that survived the scorching weekend are as sweet as the come. After a week’s reprieve, we are irrigating again and the horses are sucking down their water trough like it’s mid-August. The dogs are seeking shade everywhere we go on the farm. Swimming has been a mandatory mid-day activity for canines and humans alike.
After a fieldwalk on Monday, it became suddenly apparent to me that we are headed for a serious produce glut (brace yourselves!). As you know firsthand, many of our summer crops – like tomatoes - have come on late and are just hitting their peak right now. But all of our fall crops – broccoli, romanesco, radishes, cabbage, pac choi, etc. – are coming on early (it seems they really liked our cool summer). The broccoli is going to be 1-2 weeks early (you’ll see it next week in your totes). The romanesco cauliflower is probably going to be 2-3 weeks early. The radishes, napa cabbage, and pac choi will probably follow the same pattern. All of this food is going to overlap squarely with the late summer produce and make for some of the heaviest Harvest Baskets we’ve ever packed!
Which means that the next few weeks of food could be slightly overwhelming for you (let this be fair warning!). I’ll do my best to remind you about food preservation options along the way, in case you can’t eat it all in a single week.
But then again, this could be a good challenge – who can chow down their entire Harvest Basket in seven short days…..?
I sense a reality TV show in the making.
Enjoy the glut!