Another amazing observation about farm life is how we live in the present and the future simultaneously. These days, we are spending a lot of time thinking about cover cropping for the winter, and preparing the fields for the winter--which is really preparing the fields for next season. Our greenhouse production is slowing down because much of what we need to plant is already out in the fields. It is incredible sometimes to think about how little time we really have to grow everything we want to have through the fall and winter--those fall crops, like kale, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage, are all out there now. We just seeded our first of the fall spinach, and the last lettuce of the year has already been seeded. In farming, it always seems like the future is now.
Sometimes it is difficult to come up with topics to write about for this blog, because when we think about what we've done this week, it seems like nothing is that noteworthy. We weed, we harvest, we prepare our crops for market, we go to market, and sometimes we sleep. But really, it is all noteworthy. The experience of caring for the plants, tending to them and allowing them to grow properly, is inherently worth discussing. Take the kale and the brussels sprouts, for example. Those two crops are growing in the same field this year, a field we're struggling to properly control the weeds in. So while both crops are growing on black plastic to minimize weeds, the sides of the plastic beds are always very weedy, not a great situation. So we have to be on top of it, mowing or handweeding the beds. Plus, there's a large tree at the end of the field, as well as Emma's cabin. And a groundhog who lives under her cabin. The groundhog loves to eat the leaves of the brussels and the tender young kale (naturally!). So we also have to keep an eye on that end of the field, and occasionally spray an organic, harmless deterrent on the plants to convince the groundhog to stay away.
Little tasks like that are often what fills our days here, and it's valuable to remember that each small job combines to build our farm and bring all our delicious food to market!
At market this week, we will have so many delicious late summer items! Of course: more tomatoes! Plus freshly picked corn, melons, beans, leeks, many colorful varieties of peppers, eggplants of all shapes and colors, fresh crisp lettuce, lots of potatoes, bright herbs, and lots and lots of peaches, nectarines and donut peaches! Plums are slowing down so be sure to get them this week!
Okra is also delicious as a raw ingredient or snack, and is also incredibly beneficial for your health. Heather thinks the blog Raw Girl, Toxic World says it well -- "Okra is a mucilaginous vegetable, full of natural fiber which regulates blood sugar levels by curbing the amount of sugar absorbed in the intestinal tract. It helps to relieve constipation and can aid with a host of other ailments including diabetes, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and acne." So there ya go. If you've been turned off by okra in the past, now is the time to give it another chance! We'll have lots this weekend at both markets!
Here's a couple recipes to get in the okra mood. One is a fresh, raw salad (and yes, you can eat okra raw! Jim loves it that way!). The second is for grilled okra! Yum!
Summer's Bounty Raw Salad with Peach Basil Vinaigrette
2 cups raw okra, cut into 1/3 in medallions
2 lbs small savory tomatoes (like our Red Zebras or Mountain Magics), cut into eighths lengthwise
6 fresh sweet corn ears, kernels cut from cobs
1 cup sweet peppers, medium dice
1/4 cup sweet onion, small dice
2/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large peaches (you can pick soft, bruised "2nds" peaches for this recipe), skin removed and chopped
3 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade* (try our lemon basil for this recipe!)
salt and coarse black pepper to taste
(*Chiffonade is a chopping technique in which herbs or leafy green vegetables (such as spinach and basil) are cut into long, thin strips)
1. For the dressing, add all ingredients except for the olive oil, peach, and basil. Whisk until smooth and slowly add the olive oil to emulsify nicely. Stir in the juicy peaches and basil. Season to taste.
2. For the salad, prepare all ingredients as indicated, and toss with the dressing to your liking. Season to taste and serve and enjoy summer!
by Robyn Stone at Addapinch.com
- 1 pound okra, washed
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
- Skewer okra or place in a grill basket to prevent it from going through the grill grates while cooking. Drizzle with olive oil and place onto grill that has been preheated to around 450º F.
- Cook until the skin of the okra begins to caramelize and then flip to cook the other side.
- Remove from the grill and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add cayenne pepper, if desired.
- Serve warm.
Here's a couple more links on grilled okra recipes, which both sound AMAZING:
Grilled Okra with Lemon-Basil dipping sauce
Grilled Okra with Sriracha Lime Salt