I have a theory that there is always at least one blustery day in the second half of August. Today, then, along with yesterday, is fall's annual incursion upon summer. We expect sun and warmer temperatures by the end of the week, but for now it is cool and windy and the rain has been steady and it certainly feels like a new season. Our soil will appreciate the moisture, and we appreciate the opportunity to leave the fields to the weather while we complete a few indoor projects. (This morning, for example, we spent some hours preparing our seed garlic. Of the garlic that we grew for CSA distribution we set aside a crate of particularly robust heads; we separated these into individual cloves, each of which will be planted next month as part of next season's garlic crop.) Our harvest, though, isn't slowed by the temporary change in conditions. This week's share:
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Red Russian Kale
*The fact that the watermelon is being distributed during a blustery week is inadvertent. The melons are ripe now, but they'll last a few days on your counter (longer in the refrigerator) if you want to save them for a day that is more summer-like. We're growing a few varieties, so don't be surprised if your melon is either yellow or white. I've never pickled watermelon rind, but I'm curious. If you have, let me know how it turned out. If you haven't and are also curious, try this recipe:
1 4-pound watermelon, quartered
8 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
8 whole cloves
8 whole black peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp pickling spice
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Cut watermelon pulp from rind (eat it!), leaving thin layer of pink on rind. Cut green outer skin from rind and discard. Cut rind into 1 x 1/2 inch pieces to measure 4 cups. Combine water and 2 tbsp salt in large pot and bring to boil. Add rind pieces and boil until tender, about 5 minutes. Strain and transfer rinds to large metal bowl. Combine remaining 2 tsp salt, sugar, and next 7 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over watermelon rinds. Place plate atop rinds to keep rinds submerged in pickling liquid. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. Strain liquid from rinds into saucepan and bring to boil. Pour over rinds. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Repeat straining and boiling of liquid and pour over rinds 1 more time.
*Edamame are green soybeans. We've harvested them by cutting and bunching entire plants, so what you pick up at distribution will have the appearance of a small bush adorned with many fuzzy pods. The beans can be prepared simply by removing the pods from the stems and steaming them for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and lemon juice and eat the beans directly from the pod. They are also good marinated in soy sauce.
*A CSA member sent us this suggestion for fennel:
Very thinly slice a whole fennel bulb--a mandolin works best. In a serving dish make thin layers--fennel, a little shaved parmesan, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Be sure to top the last layer with parmesan. You can either serve this as a salad and top with the fennel fronds, or you can bake it in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes until the top browns slightly and then top with the fennel fronds.
*We planted a row of husk cherries earlier in the season, and they're beginning to ripen. Like tomatillos, the fruit grows inside a papery shell, but they're smaller than tomatillos and have a unique taste that is somewhat sweet, somewhat vegetable-like, and somewhat tomato-like. We probably won't harvest them for distribution, but if you are interested in taking a walk on the farm and eating a few, ask Joshua or Jonathan to show you where they are, and to tell you how to know when they are ripe.