Week Four Farm Share
Hello again Farm Share members. It seems that the hot weather is here to stay. At the farm, this means that things are growing very fast and the water is always on. We are getting our summer crops a month earlier than usual, as evidenced by the first of the season’s heirloom tomatoes in this week’s shares. The heat and irrigation also make it so that the weeds grow like crazy too. With a lot of ground to cover and not that many bodies, we needed a mechanical edge to make it so our newest transplants have a the best growing environment they can get. Our newest member of the farm equipment collection: the surf board weeder.
This weeder can hold six people at a time, so during one pass we can weed a full nine rows of crops, which is a major advantage over hand hoeing, and a bit more precise than tractor cultivation. With some improvements on the device since its premier, such as padding, head straps and more narrow shoulder supports for more arm movement, everyone was even smiling while about to embark on an afternoon of weeding.
This is the weeder in action. While laying down on a board, our arms are free to weed about a bed an a half at a time, greatly increasing the speed at which we can cover ground. This has been a really helpful device, especially as of late with all the neccessary overhead irrigation in the heat. Also, though a bit akward at times, it beats bending over and squatting to pull weeds and is easier on the back than hoeing.
All this weeding makes harvest much easier and the quality of our produce higher. Weeds at times grow faster than the vegetables, robbing them of needed light, space and nutrients. On the subject of nutrients, this week’s shares contain every color except blue. With tomatoes, carrots, beets, kale, collards, chard, salad, onions, squash, cucumbers, broccoli or cauliflower and cabbage in the shares, it will be easy this week to eat a full spectrum of colorful, (nutritious), food. Usually fruits and vegetables that are darker greens, reds and purples tend to contain more nutrients. Try slicing fresh tomato on salads or sandwiches. Add shredded carrots and raisins to a broccoli salad with honey dijon dressing. Slice cucumbers onto a bagel and cream cheese, grill whole onions and sliced squash as a side for your Fourth of July barbeque or shred beets into your next coleslaw. This might make your coleslaw hot pink if you use red beets, but the striped chioggia or gold beets bleed less color.
1-2 heads broccoli or cauliflower, cut into bite sized pieces
3 carrots, shredded
1/3 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, hemp seeds or sliced almonds
1/3 cup mayonaise or vegan substitute
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard
1 Tbs. honey
Combine first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the last three ingredients and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour over salad. Toss to coat salad ingredients. If you like a creamier salad, double to dressing recipe. This will serve about four as a side or two as a main dish. Shredded chicken on top turns this easy salad into a fast week night meal.
We hope you are all enjoying your vegetables and look forward to more colorful and healthy shares in the future. Have a happy Fourth of July and be safe!
–The Simington Gardens Team