There are a variety of beans around, including two types of traditional green beans (one is very thin and the other is regular thickness), Romano or Broad beans (long, flattish and wide), Purple (dark purple string beans which turn green when cooked), and Yellow or Wax. Later there will be Cranberry Beans or French Horticultural beans, which you will recognize with their mottled white and pink pod. If they are new to you, please note they must be shelled. Bean harvesting is a slow and tedious process, but not a bad experience if the picking is good. All the beans in the store are harvested by machine, an implement we toy with attempting to purchase from time to time. We haven’t made the leap because there are only certain types of beans that can be harvested by machine, bred for uniform ripening and ability to withstand the picking “fingers”, and you can only harvest that patch once, as the plants are ripped out of the ground as part of the harvesting process. SO, we still harvest by hand and that is the reason why most CSA do not include beans in their shares or offer them only as pick your own. We hope you enjoy them!
Anyone’s guess about the variety of corn you will see, but be on the lookout for the all white or all yellow varieties. Last week’s white corn was a variety called Whiteout, and I thought it was beautiful. This week we are picking Silver Queen, a special breed, but by no means the one and only white corn.. much as Macintosh is not the only apple (though very good name recognition). The reason why Silver Queen is so wonderful, and why any regular (Su) corn is wonderful, is because, if it is harvested at peak ripeness, and peak sugar content, it is not only perfectly sweet and tender, but full of good corn flavor. We grow a lot of su varieties (all the older breeds are su), but we also grow a few se (sugary enhanced) varieties like the Mistique and Brocade. None of them are genetically modified and still really need to be eaten the day of harvest or shortly thereafter. We do not grow any supersweet (sh2) varieties, as I have mentioned before, because in order to breed them for maximum sugar, they seem to have bred the corn flavor out , and I find them crunchy and unappealing – a big factor in some folks wondering what all the excitement is about when the corn is in. After all that, there is one variety we grow that is not a su or a se. Mirai ® is a synergistic or augmented variety that has su, se and sh2 qualities. There are other synergistic varieties, but most of them have not passed muster here. You’ll know the Mirai we grow by the very large yellow ears of perfection. We got a nice mention in Boston Zest this week regarding the Mirai – check it out.
Blueberries are all done, but I believe everyone got 6 weeks of them—a triumph by any standards. The cabbages are ready and may appear later this week or next week. We grow a traditional smooth green cabbage, a red cabbage and a savoy cabbage which has very crinkly leaves.
This week’s bird sighting is a pair of Carolina Wrens. His very loud song brought me out of the house and once Glenn had a look they were quickly identified. I was excited because I had never heard their song or seen one in life. They have remained in the yard for 5 days now, so now I am hoping they’ll take up residency. It is also butterflies galore with so many -of so many species. It is a great time to be into birds and bugs!
The last of the beans are in the ground and there’s so much being harvested it is both tiring and wonderful. Reid and Glenn spent Thursday collecting veggies for entry in the Hardwick fair. It is a really good learning experience for Reid and he was very proud of all he’s learned about farming and of how to select the perfect specimens for the fair entries. I know it pleases him to have such nice looking produce grown on this farm. He likes to head out on his bike now to scout the apples or strawberries, and really, I can’t blame him…picking the first of something is it’s own reward.
Eat well, Geneviève Stillman