Each week, something doesn’t make it; and a remarkable journey for what does
Cold, wet, muddy conditions have run their course over a season’s months. Parched, dry, hot August days are upon us. Clear, blue sky often now breaks the cloudiness, which consistently retarded so many plants’ growth. Yet we need moisture, too. We shuttle the big water tank we bought from Farm and Fleet in last year’s drought. Back and forth from field to farm it lumbers on a refurbished 1940s hay wagon. We keep moving hoses and sprinklers about other sections of garden and field. We keep watering fall crops and harvesting what we’ve managed to keep growing. Carrots and beets have been particularly challenging this year. First it was unrelenting weeds, weeds, weeds. Then and now, lack of water. Conditions swing suddenly, dramatically for many reasons. A big section of zucchini that yielded more than 400 vegetables its first week, plummeted to 40 the next. Tomatoes have vexed us, too. We had to invest $500 mid-season on a new botanical spray of essential oils. It seems to have helped curb much late tomato blight here, which affected many parts of Wisconsin this year. With backpack sprayers, we’ve been weekly walking eight 250-foot rows of field tomato plants, also the rows of plants we transplanted early into the biggest of our high tunnel greenhouses and home garden tomatoes. This organic approved spray has even been healing affected tomato plants among more than 4,000 we transplanted. Yet many tomatoes were lost to blight. Others succumbed to tomato hornworms, which we killed by hand by the dozens. In a brown paper grocery bag, you see only the vegetables we manage to harvest. In quantities that help feed more than 500 people, you see “the survivors” weekly for nearly six months. You do not see the heartbreak of entire beds of planted seeds and tender recent transplants from our greenhouse, wiped out in several early deluges of rain. You do not see beds of other seeded plants overcome by weeds despite many, many hours of hand and close hoe weeding. You do not see nearly empty beds of other seeded plants where seeds never germinated from intense heat and lack of moisture. In the bag is what has escaped Nature’s drama that unfolds in the field and on the ground every season. In the bag is a summation of a year’s effort. Despite ruinous public policies. Despite exploitative economic practices. Despite haunting effects of climate change. Despite an indulgent culture’s modern buying and eating habits. Despite our personal limitations and sometimes meager resources. Eight to ten varieties of vegetables from heirloom and organic seed make their way weekly into a recycled brown paper grocery sack and onto your kitchen table. It’s a remarkable journey, really. Keep in mind this place, their source, this Scotch Hill Farm and how close it is really to your home. Think of what you’ve done, in what you’ve invested – here. You help heal yourself, the local economy, the countryside, the Earth. You help Dela and Tony, family and friends keep the cycle of life going despite all odds. Volunteer helpers always needed, always welcome. Let us know when to expect you. Refer to the calendar in past newsletters, and at www.scotchhillfarm.com or the facebook link.
This Week’s Vegetables include:
Peppers (some hot, some not)
Green beans OR Okra (each site, different)
Bright Lights Chard
Ice Box Melon (they fit in the frige!)
Eggplant OR summer squash
Cooking Tips for the Week
Adapted From Charleston Recipes, 1950
Baked Squash: Cut available yellow squash in half lengthwise (Do not remove skin). Boil in salted water 10 to 15 minutes, drain, scoop out, leaving ¼ inch shell. Mash scooped out part and season with chopped onion, minced green pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Add crumbled bacon from 2 slices (fried crisp) and 2 tablespoons butter. Fill shells, sprinkle with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 375 F for 20 minutes. Serve. Scalloped Cucumbers: Into a buttered baking dish, crumble as slice of bread. Add thick large slices of 3 large cucumbers, pepper, salt and butter. Repeat in layers until dish is full. Make a hole in the middle of the dish with a knife and pour in Organic Valley or Sassy Cow whole milk until it shows around the edges. Sprinkle on top bread crumbs stirred with melted butter, and/or your favorite grated cheese. Bake ½ hour at moderate temperature in the oven. Serves 6.