The peppers are starting to come in with the heat of summer. We often lose up to 50% of our peppers due to sunscald - there's just never enough foliage on the plants to prevent the fruits from getting burn spots. It's the kind of heat only mad dogs and Englishmen venture out in lately, and nobody should be out there without a little protection from the mid-day sun. So we made our peppers some hats last week out of shade cloth and piping. Will it work? We'll see, but it never hurts to try.
Our cucumber vines withered up into little dry crisps this weekend, and the beans may well go on hiatus for a bit. Most warm-weather crops are fruiting crops, which means they produce a blossom, which needs to be pollinated, then set fruit. That whole process gets aborted when temperatures rise too high, and especially when it never cools off at night (fun fact: did you know plants do most of their growing at night?) We are definitely careening into the late summer crops: peppers, eggplant, melons, and okra, which can continue to set new blooms and fruits even when it's steamier than a sauna out there. Still plenty of tomatoes, especially the tangy orange 'Kelloggs Breakfast,' juicy red 'Big Beefs,' and sweet pink "Mariannas Peace', but we aren't seeing any new green fruit set. This could be the last week to get tomatoes in bulk quantities if you're looking to squirrel some away for the winter, or just stuff your face with tomatoes (and that's OK).
Lots of new crops this week, many of which may be new to you, so a little explanation would probably be a good idea:
- 'Sensation' melons have a very soft white flesh, the flavor reminds me of the best perfectly ripe pear you ever ate with just a hint of cinnamon.
- Sweet Italian peppers, also called Marconi peppers, are a long, tapered horn-shaped pepper. They are just as sweet (if not sweeter) than a red bell pepper, with slightly thinner walls. We love these for stir-fries and sautes.
- We grew 'Aji Dulce' peppers at the persistent request of a regular customer (ask and you shall/maybe/sometimes receive!) These are a small chinense variety of pepper that look exactly like habaneras, have no heat, but lots of flavor. They're traditionally used to make a Caribbean sofrito, a sauteed mixture of the peppers, onion, and garlic, which is used to flavor everything from rice and beans, to meats, or veggies.
- After sorting through all our stored onions, we also have a few cases of small baby sized sweet onions, about the size of pearl onions. These would be perfect threaded onto skewers for grilled kabobs, dropped whole into stews, or just chomped down as is for all our fellow onion fans.
I think that's the run-down on the 'weird' crops for now. We still have plenty of regular ol' tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes if that's your preference, but I do like to mix things up when I can get away with it!
One last note - did I mention it's a little toasty out there? We need to pick as early in the day as possible to make sure your veggies get in out of the hot field to maintain good quality. I'll admit we also like to preserve our own hides and get inside before the hottest part of the day as well. For those of you who prefer to place pre-orders, you can help us out by getting your orders in a little earlier than usual, so we know what we need to have on hand for you. We do love early birds!
Thanks as always for your business, and have a great week!