Our eggplant are being ravaged by insect pests who love the rains we have been receiving. We do not usually peel the skin of our eggplant, but it will be necessary until we are able to get rid of this insect population. We are trying several organic controls to eliminate this scourge.
Each year there are blue ribbon crops and lessor crops. This is why we plant in waves and attempt to grow our 90 varieties of vegetables. This manner gives us more opportunities for success BTW, there is nothing wrong with an ugly eggplant, zucchini or cuke—just peel off the skin and blemishes.
The mornings of recent bring a heavy fog settled over the valley which means dampness longer than we would prefer. The patty pan, zucchini and cucumbers may begin to show the results of this moisture; but the beans, in particular, are suffering from the excess moisture. When coupled with no chance to dry out in between the rains, quality can suffer. We threw away the first pickings as a result. We are searching and culling during the harvest and CSA Box packing, but you will need to do the same as you prepare your beans. They will look nice when you receive them, but do not attempt to “hold” them for several days as I suspect they will deteriorate rapidly due to the stressors to which they are being exposed. ONE month ago, we were pleased to get some rainfall after seven weeks of none. How quickly situations change on the farm . . .
I like to roast patty pan squash with their “caps” on–meaning I cut off the top, fill the cavity, and replace the cap. Or one could cover the dish with foil. I stuff them with a combination of onion, green bell pepper, carrots, and the flesh of the squash mixed with a drizzle of EVOO and freshly ground sea salt and peppercorns. Roast or bake until fork tender. The patty pan squash become even sweeter when prepared in this manner. They are delicious either hot or cold! Our CSA Members know from experience, that we attempt to harvest our squash when they are small; but if you are fortunate enough to get larger patty pans, this is the recommended manner of preparation. However, any size can be made into this recipe. Roasting will increase the sweetness of every vegetable from beans and eggplant to squash and zucchini and potatoes. Do not be afraid to experiment! Also, if using animal protein in the stuffing mix (ground beef, chicken, bison, turkey), please cook the meat first and then add it to the mix.
The cantaloupe and honey dew melons are ripening. I do not like putting either cantaloupe or honey dews into the boxes as it makes the weight entirely too heavy for me to enjoy my day. Thus, they will be in a separate box with sign indicating how many to take. Or they may be in a bag along side your CSA Box. You may even get an email saying to go to your pickup site to get some melons. Please do not hesitate! Melons will be available for a short time–rather like the Cadbury Eggs–only healthier!
In your CSA Box this week look for green beans, Yukon Gold potatoes, green or red cabbage, carrots, sweet green bell pepper, cucumbers, a variety of patty pan squash, green and yellow and Italian (stripped) zucchini, eggplant, cantaloupe, and perhaps honey dew melons and okra!