Hello from your farmers at Zephyr Organics. I want to thank you all- I was a little more vulnerable that normal on my last blog post, just admitting some of the struggles this year has brought, and the response from you all has been so very gracious. Thanks for supporting us through the ups and downs of farming.
I had a very big up and down this week and it all centred around a tiny kitten. We have a new litter of kittens from one of the farm cats, and have just located them now at about 2 or 3 weeks old. Mama cats often find a very secret den for the first weeks of life to keep their babies safe, and when their kittens start to open their eyes and move around, they find a new den a little closer to their food source, in preparation for the babies eating solids. Well, one of these little kittens was heard crying in the basement, and L and I were on a mission to rescue her! We were sure we heard her in one of the large duct pipes, so we strategized and tried this and that until eventually making a hole in the drywall and removing a section of pipe to liberate her. We were surprised and dismayed to find she was not in the pipe at all! We still heard those desperate mews coming from behind the wall. A piece of plywood nailed into a sturdy wood frame appeared to be the only way in. I struggled and struggled with those tiny nails, sunk deep into the wood and got it open enough to reach my arm inside to get the kitten, but to no avail. I bruised my ribs, got all filthy and sweaty, and even got the cat bite of my life trying to bring her mother on the scene to help, but to no avail. I was exhausted and out of ideas and then I remembered I have kids to care for too. Well, today, after being in there for 2 nights all alone, her mom must have found a way in (maybe where we wedged a gap, maybe another way), but the kitten was found out on the floor. I was so beyond overjoyed! I had tried and tried and come up short, but the miracle I had hoped for came in its own time. The kitten is safe and back with her mom, and I am just so thankful that that little ball of cuteness is in with her brothers and sisters.
I’d better get to the veggie part. The item that really has me jazzed this week is carrots! It feels like I have never waited for anything so long in my life- lol, maybe a slight exaggeration. I do have 2 children that overstayed their welcome by an extra week in my womb, but still! I wanted these carrots so badly to send you, but my dear husband would not let me have them till they were big and beautiful. And here they are- big and beautiful! Enjoy your carrots. A good scrub and you may find the peels are not bothersome, as these carrots are fresh and young.
Watermelon is in season…and the flavour and hydration watermelon provides are truly unmatched. This week we are enjoying sugar baby watermelon, which have dark rinds and bright pink insides. More of a traditional type of watermelon. Yellow or red- what’s your favourite type? Do you have a method for cutting your watermelon? If you don’t, or want to try serving it in a new way, check out this cool blog post, which’ll have you chopping it up like a pro.
Another sign of good things to come are the sweet peppers, already ripening up to red! These often don’t come on until September, at least in plenty. The whole shares will get to sample them and tell us what they think.
Most of the sweet corn is still growing slowly- between that and strawberries, which are slowly increasing in yield as more plants start to bear, I am hoping to get enough for everyone. If not, I will find something else delicious for you 🙂
Eggplant is back in black this week. Check out our blog post from 2 weeks ago for lots of ideas on how to enjoy your eggplant. Farm Share is a great chance to try new things that you wouldn’t necessarily select from the grocery store. The results are often surprising, and leave you with a more varied diet rich in vitamins and minerals.
Tomatoes are getting more plentiful and prettier. We lost a lot of them due to the super heavy rains. It split through anything remotely ripe. Now we are bringing in lots more tomatoes and should have some for bulk sales soon (including romas!). Look for these next week or at the farm store this weekend 🙂
Here’s a refreshing idea from Farm Share member Suzanne for your cucumber and mint (from last week)
2. We’ve been making yogurt in our Instant pot. I usually use 1 bag of milk at a time, less fussing with a measuring cup. I also prefer my yogurt to be thicker, so I drain it through a coffee filter for a half hour or so. But what to do with all that liquid?!?! Sad to see it go down the drain. Soooo …..
Save it in the fridge and make this cold drink!
In a large glass, add ice cubes (5-6). Add about 150mL drained COLD liquid. Add about 75mL coarsely shredded cucumber ( about 5 cm piece). Add about 50 mL mint syrup. Stir. Enjoy.
Mint syrup: Measure out 250 mL white sugar into a small pot. Using mortar and pestle, grind together 50 mint leaves (I used spearmint) with some of the sugar, to make a paste. Add the mint paste to the sugar, with 250 mL boiling water. Stir over medium heat until all sugar dissolved and bring syrup to a boil. Let simmer 2-3 mins. Cool. Strain into a bottle and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks ( so delicious it won’t last that long).
If you don’t like sediment, strain through cheesecloth. I just use a small strainer, since I like the look of the sediment floating in the drink.
I made my first batch of syrup from mint in my box of goodies, and the second from mint in my garden. Next I will try with peppermint! This recipe is adapted from “Beverages”, in the Time-Life series “The Good Cook”
3. What to do with zucchini? Only so many zucchini quick breads one can manage …. Cut into 2 cm chunks. Sauté with garlic and a good helping of chili garlic paste. Yum.
Zucchini, Zucchini, are you getting sick of it yet?
What’s so good about this veggie, anyways? Well first of all (maybe you should sit down for this one) – it’s considered a fruit. Seriously, it’s like when Pluto lost its planetary status! Now this fruit is basically a vitamin A rockstar with 40 % of your daily value in one little cup (cooked). Vitamin A supports your vision and immune system. Keep it raw to maximize the vitamin C content. In addition, it’s great for your digestion because of it’s ample water and fibre content.
One of the simplest ways to prepare it is to slice it into sticks and use it as a crudite (a raw veggie) for dipping in your favourite dip, like say, baba ghanouj made with your eggplant and garlic chives! Bonus points- zucchini is much easier on more sensitive stomachs.
I have been thoroughly enjoying tossing it in olive oil and grilling it in my grill basket on the barbecue. Don’t forget a sprinkle of salt and pepper, and keep an eye on it as it cooks quickly. I really brings out the flavour.
One of my go-to’s is always chopping it up small and adding it to my taco meat mix. It helps the mix not dry out, acts like a sponge soaking up all the great flavours, and is a good way to get zucchini into kids that don’t like it! Grate it up for the truly picky youngsters and it is pretty much undetectable. I normally add the zucchini when the meat is mostly cooked and cook until quite tender.
Want to dive in to all the zucchini goodness? Try Greek Zoodle Salad! Bonus points you can enjoy a variation on pasta salad with a lot more nutrition density and less carbs.