CSA Autumn Share 2013 - Week #3 (16-22 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 – We are continuing to thin a new planting. Bunches are young basil with roots. Lemon Basil and Purple Basil – Thinning both. Beans – We are harvesting 'Cherokee Wax' , yellow, string less, bush beans and 'Strike', green, string less, bush beans. Broccoli – We have two varieties which are heading - 'DeCiccio' which have smaller heads and 'Marathon' which have large heads.  There may be green cabbage moth caterpillars, as this is organic broccoli. 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.  Please look at the pepper post to identify. Celery – Our celery has been greatly effected this year by the lack of rain.  The flavour has been concentrated and it may be stringy.  We are still putting it into the boxes though as celery is filled with so many minerals and the stock we have been making from it is fabulous...so full of flavour.  We also had one member write to us and tell us that all celery used to be stringy and an evening chore for young children, much like shucking corn and topping and tailing beans was taking the strings off the celery. 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 – It missed the photo but YES, we are still harvesting corn! The fifth planting of corn is a butter and sugar variety 'Max'. 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'. 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. Fennel – Harvesting lovely small and medium, tender heads of 'Zefo Fino'. Leeks – Harvesting 'American Flag'. Melons – We are still harvesting from the second planting, although the harvest is scanty.  The harvest of the third planting has begun with the green flesh 'Eden's Gem' .  We are unsure of what the harvest this week will be. 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 – Harvesting 'Desiree'. Rocket – There is some baby rocket ready for harvesting.. English Spinach – Harvesting young 'Bloomsdale'. Thyme – Bunch in every box. Tomatoes – Romas and 'Marglobes'. Watermelon – We found that the heat of last week left some of the watermelons cooked inside.  Some still had lovely sweet flesh, so we did put it into the boxes as the taste was so good.  But some was literally cooked.  There are still watermelons in the field.  We are unsure of what they will be like though. 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 The tomato plants were really struck down by the last heat wave.  The lack of rain and the heat left them open to an attack from green shield beetles.  We will be abandoning the first tomato planting.  There is a second planting which we are harvesting and hope it will continue.

The watermelons, which have been amazing, really fell to the heat last week - Nine days straight of 32-35 degree days.  Before Tuesday, when we harvested the watermelons, the outsides were really hot.  But when we cut them open, straight from the field, the insides were cool!  It was amazing proof that plants are alive...they regulate their own temperature.  But on Tuesday, we found watermelons with very warm, mealy centers.  They just could not last any longer with the lack of a deep water and the intense heat.

The lettuce also rotted in the heat so no lettuce this week and maybe even next.

The Brassica plantings are looking great with more cabbage coming (not intentional trying to overload you with cabbage - the heat has hastened along the next planting) and two broccoli plantings heading up.

Next week we may have Turnips, our first planting of the season looks almost ready, and carrots will return.

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!

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 Fennel Salad with a Lime Vinaigrette Pesto - Have on pasta, bread, stir into soup or freeze for winter Mineral Rich Chicken Stock Szechwan Green Beans

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