Tracie’s Farm Weekly Newsletter — Dog Days of Summer, kinda…

On the Farm

The ambient temperature would make it seem like the heat has broken, but working out in the fields today it felt as hot as it was last week. The so called “Dog Days of Summer” are technically past us. It comes from Greek tradition and denotes about a six week period of time when the star Sirius in the constellation Canis Major (big dog) rises at the same time as the sun. It was believed that the power of the sun combined with this bright star made it the hottest time of the year. I use it loosely, because mid-August is the dog days, if you ask me.

I was thinking more about why August seems like the hardest month as a farmer. My body is tired and the end is still out of grasp. It’s a time of year that is bemoaned between farmers. Tracie always give a sympathetic look when I am worrying about the farm in August. The flush of energy that comes with spring is behind us, kind of like the plants. Fatigue is starting to set in but we are still in the thick of planting, harvesting, and maintaining most of the beds on the farm. The days are getting shorter, faster, and it is harder to wake up early to get those last few beds prepped before the day begins. Not only that, but plant growth has slowed and the joy of watching plants double in size overnight won’t be seen until next spring. It is the beginning of the wind down to fall and winter and it’s a time where we farmers are tired and facing our last big push before the end of the season.

Right now part of our last push is on hold while we wait for rain again. Story of the summer, really. We have about 15 beds of beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, and probably something else I’m not thinking of at the moment that want to go in the ground ASAP. It is way too dry, and that rain we got last week has pretty much all left the soil already. Even with the cooler weather and our naturally wet soils, it would be a risk to plant starts without rain in the forecast. There is a silver lining, and it is that we get more time to weed! The most popular activity on the veggie farm. One good thing about a dry year is that the weeds don’t take off as quick. We still have a couple beds that are right in a crucial stage where if they don’t get weeded now, they’ll be lost to weeds before they can mature. There is a chance of rain on Wednesday, but if not, we’ll give our starts a heavy dose of fish fertilizer and make sure we stay on track with the plants in the ground.

Rain would be nice for the veggies. More on summer shares below:

SUMMER SHARES WEEK 10!

A reminder that we are on the even week schedule for half shares. FULL SHARES receive a basket every week. HALF SHARES receive a basket every other week.

EVEN WEEKS

Week 2 – 6/22 Week 10 – 8/17
Week 4 – 7/6 Week 12 – 8/31
Week 6 – 7/20 Week 14 – 9/14
Week 8 – 8/3 Week 16 – 9/28

ODD WEEKS

Week 1 – 6/15 Week 9 – 8/10
Week 3 – 6/29 Week 11 – 8/24
Week 5 – 7/13 Week 13 – 9/7
Week 7 – 7/27 Week 15 – 9/21

Arugula is the loose green this week. It won’t be as big of a bag. I know arugula can be a polarizing veggie, but it’s the green that is working for us best right now. I’m not sure what is going on with our lettuce mix, but I have tried seeding it over and over without any luck so far this year. I’ve even moved fields with no luck. I’ll keep trying, but for the time being arugula is the green. Carrots will be in shares. They are the last of our smaller carrots. There are a few new beds that look promising for the coming weeks, but Wednesday will see the end of our early season beds. Celery is new. This won’t look like the celery you get in stores. It is darker green and thinner. Perfect for soups. Cukes are probably seeing their last couple of weeks. It has been a disappointing cucumber year for us. Our high tunnel was over run with cucumber beetles spreading bacterial wilt. Next year we will have to invest in insect netting to exclude them from the growing zone. Eggplant is going to shares. We grow a Japanese eggplant that is long and skinny, and the classic Italian eggplant. They can be used the same. Garlic is a staple. Head Lettuce is back in shares. Peppers, Summer Squash, and Zucchini are all staples. Tomatoes will finally be ready! Both cherries and slicers should make it into shares this week.

Check for recipes below!

Shares Week 10:
Arugula
Carrots
Celery
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Garlic
Head Lettuce
Peppers
Summer Squash and Zucchini
Tomatoes

Egg Share: CHECK LIST FOR NAME
Bread Share: Red Pepper Cheddar CHECK LIST FOR NAME

LINK: YELLOW SQUASH CASSEROLE

This recipe was shared by one of our members! Thank you, Molly!

Ingredients

6 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease or spray a 2-quart casserole dish or 9×13-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Wash and thinly slice the yellow squash. Place the slices into a large mixing bowl.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. Fold in grated cheese then pour over the sliced yellow squash. Mix to combine.
Transfer the squash and cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a small bowl, combine panko breadcrumbs with the melted butter and garlic salt, plus parmesan and fresh parsley if desired. Sprinkle the topping mixture over the squash in your baking dish, then transfer to the center of the middle rack in your preheated oven.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is melted and starting to bubble and the topping is lightly golden brown in color. You can also broil on low for the last few minutes to finish browning the panko topping.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

JULIE’S BEET SALAD

Another one from a member! This is for anyone that is still using up their beets from last week.
Thank you, Julie!

Ingredients

Beets sliced thin
Cucumber sliced thin
Onions sliced thin
Chopped cilantro
Himalayan pink salt
Cracked pepper
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Directions

Tossed and marinated in refrigerator for 2 or more hours.

LINK: TOMATO SOUP

I really love tomato soup. It is one of my favorite late summer dishes, especially with grilled cheese.

Ingredients

▢ 2 tablespoons good olive oil
▢ 1 Large Onion chopped
▢ 1 carrot chopped
▢ 2 stalks celery chopped
▢ 3 cloves garlic chopped
▢ 2 cups chicken stock
▢ 56 oz whole tomatoes (two 28oz cans) crushed
▢ salt and freshly ground pepper
▢ ½ cup heavy cream whipping cream or half and half

Directions

Start with adding the carrots, celery, and onion to a food processor with the regular blade.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions, carrots and celery and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.
Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste.
Bring the soup to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
remove from the heat, add the cream, and using a hand blender carefully puree the soup. If you’re worried about burning yourself, wait until the soup cools before pureeing.

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