CSA Autumn Share 2013 - Week #1 (2 - 8 March)

WHAT’S IN THE BOX The following are the items being harvested this coming week.  Items and quantities in your box may vary depending on your harvest day and the harvest.  Please read the  Notes on the Share (below) to know which items we "rotate" through the boxes.  If the harvest of a crop is not enough for every member, we keep track of whom has received it and whom has not so as to keep the shares even.

The picture represents a full share box and is not exactly what every box will contain this week.  The boxes are completely governed by what is ripe and ready for harvest and how much of it there is.  We endeavour to divide the harvest fairly.

NOTES ON STORING THE HARVEST Please check out our Vegetable & Fruit page on the website to find tips on maximizing the life of your veggies.

NOTES ON THE SHARE Basil – Bunch in every box. Beans – We are between plantings of bush beans.  The last planting has finished producing and the next one is not quite ready for harvesting.  The beans are there and we will harvest them when they are big enough. Cabbage – We have begun harvesting another cabbage planting 'Golden Acre'.  We are unsure how many heads will be ready and will be dividing the harvest.  If you do not receive green cabbage this week, there is more coming on, as well as a planting of 'Red Rock', purple cabbage. Capsicum – We are harvesting "breaking" capsicums. These are green or purple capsicums that have started to turn to red.  There are many posts online which talk about how to continue to turn the capsicum red...on your kitchen counter or in a bag with a banana.  We are harvesting them "breaking" to keep the plant producing as they should produce for another four-six weeks depending on the weather. Red capsicums contain high levels of vitamin C but come only when the plant has matured.  We did lose flowers on the pepper plants two weeks ago during those days with heat above 33 degrees.  Many of the capsicums were also sun scalded during those days too.  So we are nursing the plants and hoping we can keep them producing until the weather gets cold. Please look at the pepper post to identify. Carrots – Bunches of 'Scarlet Nantes' or 'Red Core Chantenay'. Chillies - The harvest of ‘Padron’ chillies will continue to appear in some boxes. There are ‘Hungarian Hot Wax’,  ‘Long Thin Cayennes’ and ‘Thai Hot’ or ‘Bird’s Eye’ being harvested.  Please look at the pepper post to identify. Corn – The fourth planting of corn was stunted in its growth.  The ears are stunted as well, but they are still very tasty. We have begun harvesting them this week and hope they make it into everyone's box.  Corn is the tastiest the day it is picked - the natural sugars begun to turn to starch immediately and even refrigeration does not slow this process.  We do not pick the corn until Saturday morning, for farm pick ups, and right before the truck heads out with the boxes on delivery days...that is how strongly we think the taste changes over time.  Try to eat them on the day you receive your box . Cucumbers – We are harvesting the third planting. There are small, round 'Lemon' cucumbers, small pickling cucumbers 'Sumter', medium size cucumbers 'Marketmore' and 'Straight Eight' and large Chinese climbing cucumbers 'Suyo'.  With the cooler weather the past few days, the harvest has reduced. Eggplant – The eggplants were another crop effected by the extreme heat.  We are continuing to harvest what is there.  Please look at the eggplant post to identify.  We rotate the harvest. Garlic – Each box will receive a clove or two this week. Lettuce –  Harvesting 'Freckles', 'Red Lollo' and 'Green Oak Leaf'. Mesclun – There is still some mixed lettuce left in the mesclun planting.  We will finish that harvest and divide what is there. Melons – The prolific second planting has slowed down a bit...Hasn't it been fantastic!  We have now harvested two of the four varieties of watermelon and hope to continuing harvesting them this week.  We harvest the cantaloupes and honey dews when they 'slip' off the vine.  It is like an umbilical cord to the melon and when it simply pops off when we touch it, the plant is telling us the melon is ready.  These melons should be ready for consumption when you receive them.  We are not sure when the second planting will continue to ripen and the third planting is not yet ready.  If the heat continues, we should be able to harvest those as well. Onions – We are harvesting the 'Long Torpea Red', 'Spanish White' and 'California Red'. Parsley – 'Flat leaf' Italian and 'Curly Leaf'. Bunch in every box. Patty Pan Squash – The variety is 'Jaune Et Verte'.  They are scallop, small, round summer squash.  Delicious baked, grilled or stir fried.  We are rotating the harvest of these each week. Potatoes – We harvested 'Nicola' and 'Desiree' for Saturday.  We are unsure of which varieties we will harvest for Wednesday delivery. Pumpkin –  Harvesting 'Queensland Blue' and 'Buttercup'.  Each pumpkin variety is unique and just like potatoes, they have their specialty dishes.  Both of these are good roasted, baked or mashed.  The 'Buttercups' have a more intense flavour and are better roasted in larger chunks. Radishes –  Harvesting a few 'Purple Plum'. They are starting to bulb up although we are unsure if they will be ready this week or next. Rosemary –  Bunch in every box. Tomatoes – There is a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes.  The Romas are coming on and there are a few 'Marglobes' too.  Expect extra this week as the cherries are so prolific! Zucchini – Harvesting 'Nero de Milano' and 'Romanesco'. The zucchinis are slowing down and we may need to start rotating the harvest.

NOTES ON WHAT'S GROWING We are still in the thick of tomato season with the bigger varieties ripening now.  The smaller ones are beginning to show signs of slowing down. The fifth planting of corn is huge - well over seven foot high - with big ears which have pollinated and should be ripe in two to three weeks. There is another planting of coriander which should be ready next week. A planting of broccoli is also showing signs of sending heads up...but I am unsure when we will be harvesting.  We started seeding the brassicas for this Autumn in December.  This has been the year of the caterpillar with the lack of rain.  Even greens like rocket have had caterpillars.  But there is plenty left of each plant for us...it just looks nibbled.  We believe that the hole you see is much better then the chemicals which you don't. There is an English spinach planting which may be ready next week and the first of the heirloom turnips coming in about three weeks.

ESKY'S Please keep putting out your esky's.  Peter is happy to put your vegetables in one to preserve the freshness of the food until you return home.  Leave them in the shade and leave a note if you think he would not spot it.  We have also been told that water frozen in juice bottles with card board on top in an esky is an excellent way to protect the tender greens and keep everything cold and crisp.  Thanks for the advice!

U-PICK FLOWERS AND CHERRY TOMATOES While many flowers have felt the effects of the heat and lack of water, there are still  zinneas, scabiosa, fever few, statice, helichrysums and a few other fillers.  Every member is welcome to come and U-pick  a bouquet each week on Saturdays from 8am-11am.  If you have not been to the farm yet, this is a great chance to walk around, see your food growing and leave with a wonderful posy.

We also have a row of cherry tomatoes that you are welcome to come U-Pick.  Saturday 8-11 or during the week by appointment.  Please call Robin 0434002130.

SEASONAL EATING - SHARING INSPIRATION Please keep sharing your inspirations.  True seasonal eating has lost its definition, due partly to the fact that the grocery stores and fruit and vegetable shops seem to have everything, all the time.  It is great to be a part of the re-awakening of eating with the season and I am enjoying compiling what that looks like for so many different families.

RECIPE SUGGESTIONS Ministrone Vegetable Pakoras Perfect Lettuce Salad with Radishes, Semi Dried Tomatoes and Capers Slow Roasted Tomatoes Quinoa Tabouli Watermelon, Feta and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salad

You can also search by key ingredient on our website recipe page for many more ideas.