The hot summer sun has been brutal on our tender vegetables – and our people too. We’ve had as much sun and blistering heat this year as any year since we’ve began growing vegetables. We’ve gone to an earlier start in the mornings to try to avoid some of the heat for the people. But, in this constant sun, plants and vegetables can literally become sunburned and dryout, especially in a greenhouse or high tunnel, where all of the moisture is coming from drip irrigation near the root system.
So, almost a month ago I told you that we put shade cloth on the greenhouse. It’s been great to have that reprieve from the sun in the greenhouse. Shade cloth is a simple knit or woven fabric designed to reduce the amount of sun that reaches the vegetable bed. Although shade cloths come in many colors, materials, and thicknesses, our shade cloth is a nice black woven mesh. And as of this week, we have put shade cloth on the remaining 5 high tunnels. It’s the first time these tunnels have had shade cloth and we were amazed at how quickly it went on.
This week we’ve also been working hard to get more plants in the field. We planted nearly 12,500 plants in a single day. Whew! We were thankful to get some good planting conditions with just a little moisture in the ground from the last 0.30 in of rain.
We’ve also spent a large amount of time harvesting this week. The zucchini, yellow squash, and cucumbers need to be harvested nearly every day. It looks like the tomato production may start to pick up soon, but they’ve been pretty slow for so far.
We’ve got a few crops this week that haven’t been in the CSA yet this year. Although most of you have probably seen these vegetables before, this may be the first time many of you are cooking eggplants. Here’s a big tip: Before cooking the eggplant, be sure to “sweat” the eggplant. “Sweating” an eggplant means to get out any bitterness that may have developed by making it sweat. Begin by slicing the eggplants into 1/4 inch thick slices and liberally sprinkle salt on both sides. Set the salted, sliced eggplant into a colander and let it rest for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the eggplant should begin to sweat (droplets of moisture being extracted by salt). Rinse the eggplant. Then remove the excess moisture before cooking. There are many of recipes out there, so pick one to enjoy or check out what I made for supper last night on pekareksproduce.wordpress.com.
Ryan, Katie, and Crew
What’s in this week’s CSA?
- Sweet Corn
- Green Beans
- Bell Pepper(s)
- *Full share only