• Parsley or thyme or basil
• Napa cabbage (sorry it didn’t show up last week, it was not ready when we went out to harvest)
• radishes or beets (choose one or the other)
• Kale or chard
• Sweet peppers (red and green and yellow, enjoy them while you can)
• tomatoes (very slow ripening due to the dramatic change in the weather)
• winter squash (let the squash sit on the counter for a few weeks to months it will get sweeter and more delicious as it ages)
• apples (good for eating and for sauce)
• hot peppers
The shift in the weather has really changed the landscape at the farm. The heat loving crops like tomatoes and eggplant, cucumbers and zucchini resent the cool nights that dip into the low 40s. They have all but stopped production and are setting flowers that are not likely to produce fruit. The rain was super for the fall crops like lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, but they still seem to be a few weeks off. There was a horrible new pest we have not seen outside the greenhouse that was causing severe damage to many of our leafy crops that seems to have sent back into hiding with the rain. There are so many things we can not control, weather being one.
Juvencio went into action with the change in weather and pulled out the last of the melons. They have been so good this year. We now realize that many of you have purchased our melons but we did not give guidance on how to tell if they are ripe and sweet to eat. We are trying to give you the very best, but melons are a bit tricky and need to be very ripe, but not overripe to have them be superb. Here are some tips I found when searching on the internet, we use the smell as our guide and keeping them at room temperature for some time is helpful.
If picking a ripe melon feels like a completely daunting task, I can assure you that you’re not alone. Sometimes this choice feels more like a leap of faith, where you cross your fingers and hope for the best.
But there are ways to discover the sweetest, ripest, juiciest melons, and to pluck them from the heap.
Picking a good melon comes with challenges. It’s not like selecting berries where you can see green hints of unripeness. And it’s certainly not as easy as selecting a good peach or nectarine, where you can feel for juiciness, and smell the scent of perfect ripeness.
From now on, use these 5 tips to pick a ripe melon every time!
1. Inspect the melon for defects.
Your first order of business should be to inspect what the melon looks like. Does it have any bruising, soft spots or cracks? Choose a melon that’s not damaged on the outside. It should be free of bruises, soft spots, moldy patches and cracks.
2. Check the skin color.
When buying watermelon and honeydew, choose a melon with a dull looking appearance. A shiny outside is an indicator of an underripe melon. Also, honeydews should be pale yellow to light lemon in color, not overly green.
With melons such as cantaloupe and muskmelons, the rind underneath the net-like texture should be golden or orange in color. Avoid melons with an underlying green or white color.
→ Related: The Best Way to Pick a Watermelon
3. Size does matter.
Pick up a few melons and see how they feel. Choose a melon that’s heavy for its size.
4. Tap, tap, tap!
Have you ever tried the tapping test when buying a watermelon? It’s quite simple. Just tap the melon with the palm of your hand. If you hear a hollow sound, it’s passed the first test.
5. Don’t forget the smell test.
This works best with melons like cantaloupes and honeydew. Push your fingers on the round section where the vine was attached. It should be slightly soft and should smell fresh and fragrant with a hint of sweetness.
I have been busy filling in the greenhouses and space outside with fall and winter crops. I planted more lettuce, radicchio, escarole, kale, cilantro and beets in place of the melons and carrots. I will have more plants to go and more space to fill as we shift into the winter. The col crops (broccoli etc.) are looking good but seem like they are 1-3 weeks from being ready to harvest. We debute some radishes and beets today, again plagued by poor germination during the super hot spells there is not enough for everyone to enjoy it all, you will have to choose your favorite.
We have 4 more weeks of harvest remaining in the regular season. It is hard to believe the 2017 season is coming to an end. In some ways we are happy to see it go. It has been the hardest year of farming in our recent memory. So many difficulties with weather, germination, pests we questioned our knowledge and experience. The summer months were good, reminding us that, “yes we do know how to grow vegetables for 100 families”. The fall will be fairly good, but that remains to be seen. Our favorite Romanesco broccoli was a bust, it did not form heads at all. Half of the brussels sprouts are not going to produce and our amazing winter squash that looked so promising was stunted by the cucumber beetles. Alas, we are not sad to see 2017 end. The political storm and world weather tragedies as well as the constant threat of war make our struggles pale in comparison.
Message to self: “Enjoy what we have, cherish your loved ones, welcome those you don’t know and those who need a hand to join you at your table.”
Last but not least, remember the harvest festival on October 15 from 2-6. This is our last all farm event for the season and should be an enjoyable afternoon. It is an opportunity to for you to show your farm off to friends and neighbors, feel free to bring them along.
Here are some recipes to try:
Kale Salad With Apples and Cheddar Recipe – NYT Cooking
4 cups very finely chopped or
slivered curly kale or Russian kale
(about 6 ounces on the stem, or half
of a 3/4-pound bunch, stemmed and
washed in two rinses of water)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped
1 apple, sweet, like a Fuji, or a sweettart,
like a Gala, Braeburn or Pink
Lady, cored and cut in 1/4-inch dice
1 ounce sharp Cheddar cheese, cut
in 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt to taste
1 very small garlic clove, puréed
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly grated
Advance preparation: This salad benefits from tossing with the
dressing about 15 minutes before you serve it. The kale will soften in
By Martha Rose Shulman YIELD Serves four to six TIME 5 minutes
Kale Salad With Apples and Cheddar
Combine the kale, almonds, apple and Cheddar in a large bowl.
Whisk together the lemon juice, salt, garlic and olive oil. Add to the
salad, and toss well. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top, and serve.
Crisp Kale Chips With Chile and Lime
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Make sure the kale is dry; if it is not, it
will steam rather than crisp in the oven.
In a large bowl, toss kale pieces with olive oil and kosher salt; you may
need to do this in 2 batches. Massage the oil onto each kale piece until
the oil is evenly distributed and the kale glistens. Spread the kale out
on 2 17-by-12-inch jellyroll pans (or do this in batches). Bake the kale
chips until the leaves look crisp and crumble, about 12-16 minutes. If
they are not ready, bake for another 2 to 4 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. Sprinkle with
the lime zest, sea salt and chile powder to taste
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, set
aside a large bowl of ice water. Add kale to boiling water, return to a
boil, and after 1 minute transfer to ice bath. Drain well, and set aside.
In a large sauté pan, heat oil over low heat and sauté onion, carrot and
celery until just softened. Add sherry vinegar and cook until reduced
by two-thirds. Add kale and stir to coat, then add chicken broth,
honey, 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook,
partly covered, until kale is tender, 60 to 80 minutes.
Transfer kale leaves to a warm bowl, leaving onion, carrot and celery
in broth. Strain broth, discarding solids. If there is more than * cup, it
may be boiled in a small saucepan until reduced. Adjust salt and
pepper as needed, and pour over kale. Serve immediately, or cover and
refrigerate for up to 24 hours; gently reheat before serving.
Curried Winter Squash Soup
Farmer John’s Cookbook, John Peterson
3 T unsalted butter
1 cup chopped scallions (about 6)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1 jalapeno, seeded, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pounds butternut squash, about ½ a large squash, peeled, seeded, cubed
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 14 ounce can whole tomatoes or 2 cups peeled, chopped fresh tomatoes
12 whole curry leaves (optional)
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground mace (I skipped this)
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons curry powder
freshly ground pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
1. melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the scallions; sauté until soft and wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley, jalapeno, and garlic,; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
2. Add the squash and toss to coat it with the scallion mixture. Add the stock, tomatoes, curry leaves, all spice, mace and nutmeg. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat and simmer, covered until the squash is very tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly.
3. Transfer the soup in batches to a blender or food processor; puree.
4. Transfer the soup back to the pot. Stir in the curry powder and add salt, pepper to taste. Return the soup to a simmer to heat through. Garnish with the parsley just before serving.