Week 8 CSA from Valley Flora!

  • Beets - red or chioggia, depending on location. Don't forget that beet greens are 100% edible and tasty, too. Like chard!
  • Carrots
  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Basil

Eating Summer, Planting for Winter

While the summer food begins to ramp up in your Harvest Basket (cukes! zukes! basil! beets!), our field activities - apart from harvest - are actually primarily focused on fall and winter crops right now. For the past month+ we've been doing weekly greenhouse seedings of all kinds of cool-weather varieties: Brassicas like broccoli, romanesco, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, winter cabbage, kale, and kohlrabi, plus chicories, overwintering onions and more. Two weeks ago we began transplanting out the first wave of starts into our "Fall Brassica" field, and we have another month ahead of us of sizable weekly plantings. Our big planting push is usually done by mid-August, with some smaller plantings peppered into the schedule until October. This sets the stage for all of our fall and winter production, the food that will see us through until next spring in combination with storage crops like potatoes, onions and squash. 

And speaking of storage crops, they're looking good! The potato field is verdant and almost done flowering, with the first new potatoes sizing up underground. You should see the first potatoes in your share sometime in early August. After a slow start through chilly June, our squash field has finally taken off - a tangle of vines and flowers that are underseeded with red clover this year. We're experimenting with early establishhment of a red clover cover crop in the understory so that our fall cover crop is already in place, ready to grow wild once the squash vines die back in September. And while we don't expect it to be a bumper onion year like last year, the beds are looking fine and you should see your first bunch of Purplette onions in your share next week, followed by Italian torpedo onions and Walla Walla Sweets! 

Because of the weather, our outdoor crops are at least a couple weeks behind this season, from dahlias to peas to onions to zucchini. I suppose the upshot of late-blooming is that we get to feel that eager anticipation of so many good things still to come for an extra couple weeks. In my intuitive body - the one that judges season by the temperature of the creek and the color of the hills and the amount of water still trickling through that one culvert on the curves a mile up Floras Creek Road -  it feels more like late June than the third week of July, and our current crop mix confirms that. Maybe I'll just throw my calendar out for good, cuz what really marks time more than that day you eat your first homegrown tomato of the summer? (For me, a single sungold cherry tomato savored on July 14th, a lovely birthday present.)

Have a good week, eat your beets!