CSA Week 8, 2011

Green bell, Purple Beauty(top left) and Islander(top right) peppers

By week 7, I can usually tell who is skimming over their letter or the blog and who isn’t. :}  So, just to recap, if you are ever wondering about what’s in your box, forget Google, just email me the description and I’ll ID it for you. If you are really ambitious, snap a picture with your phone and email it to me or upload it to our facebook page and you’ll be sure to get lots of feedback.

Last week I described eggplants, so keep that in mind while you discover new shapes and colors of these nestled in your box. The peppers are coming along, so you’ll be seeing the regular green bell peppers, but you will surely see some other varieties during the season. There are lots of ways to categorize peppers: sweet peppers, hot peppers, specialty hot, specialty sweet, ethnic peppers and of course, ornamental. What’s what? Just put the ornamental peppers out of mind for now, other than to imagine exotic looking plants in containers and bouquets. For simplicity sake, I will narrow the categories down to sweet and hot, because, when you really think about it, all peppers are part of someone’s ethnicity—so they are all “ethnic”. Whatever (insert Valley Girl emphasis). For sweet bell peppers, we have green, lavender, purple, chocolate, ivory, orange, gold and red. Most of the bell peppers will ripen to red (there’s no strictly red pepper) and then they are really sweet. We do grow a pimento shaped sweet pepper that ripens red very early—they are wonderfully sweet! There are also several long sweet peppers: Cubanelle 

Cubanelle peppers

(aka: banana pepeper) which are long and light green, turning orange and then red, and Italia, which are long and medium green. The hot pepper lineup is a little more complicated: Mole are long, skinny, very mild heat and very dark green; Pablano(green)/Ancho(red) are medium hot, heart shaped and very dark, shiny green (pablano) and turning brick red later (ancho); Hungarian Wax are medium hot (but hotter than the pablano), elongated and smooth yellow-dark orange; Cherry Bomb are hot green to red and cherry shaped; Jalepeno are hot, dark green-purple-red, pointy sausage shaped; Serrano are hotter, smoother and more elegant looking than the Jalepeno; Cayenne are hot-hotter,very long, slender, wrinkly, green-red; and Habanero are super hot, wrinkly lantern-shaped, lime green-orange-red. There’s probably a few I am missing, because we love to experiment and we also trial plants for a few seed companies.

Mole, pablano, Hungarian Wax and Cayenne peppers

I like to keep a bag of chopped hot pepper in the freezer to add to stir fry. Yes, it’s that simple, chop or mince and stuff in a freezer container.

This week we are picking: swiss chard, kale, eggplant, arugula, corn, tomatoes, peaches, blueberries, sweet peppers, hot peppers, potatoes, summer squash, cousa, zucchini, golden zuchini, cucumbers…

Farm Dirt

We lost a favorite cow and calf during the heat. Granted, she was quite old, but it is very hard for Glenn to lose an animal 😦  The good news is we had a lovely heifer calf born two days letter and she looks wonderful! We do provide watering holes for the cows to cool off in, a situation that caused great uproar in our community. Visitors of the farm will often see the cows cooling off in their pasture water holes, no worries, they are not drowning 🙂 no need to get the police, fire department, ambulance and other emergency personnel over to the farm—real story.  It is still the standing joke to rush  into the house yelling “call 911, there are cows standing in the water!”

The Bluebirds are nesting again, a pair of Kingbirds are nesting in the yard and I saw a Scarlet Tanager in the big Ash tree this week. Score for the bird watching!

The weather is cooperating more these days (though we could use less hail and high wind alerts), but don’t forget how miserable June was for growing. It will still be while before we climb out of that hole, and there are some things that are just gone. For instance, the Vista Bella apples everyone received in July last year, just didn’t have a chance with the hail damage and then cold wet scab inducing weather of June. Thankfully the peppers and eggplants are coming along—they just always excites me and are truly an indicator of normal summer weather.

Eat well,            Geneviève Stillman


About stillmansfarm

Stillman's Farm® is a family owned farm in Massachusetts. We currently operate at two locations: a greenhouse/retail business in Lunenburg, and the majority of vegetable production in New Braintree. Glenn Stillman started the business in Lunenburg over 20 years ago and now enjoys the promise of the next generation further expanding the very diverse enterprise. The farm also has several Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs established in Boston, Lunenburg, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, New Braintree and the Southborough/Framingham area. In addition, the Stillman's trucks have become a fixture at the Boston Area Farmer's Markets. Our Philosophy Most of Stillman's produce is grown without chemicals. For a few crops this simply is not feasible. For these particular crops, we participate in the State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This entails systematic scouting of fields, protection of beneficial insects, bio-controls, and well-timed applications of only the safest pesticides. With growing concern about genetically modified organisms (GMO), as a patron you can be confident that none of the produce we grow have been engineered, in fact, we often experiment with many heirloom varieties! Conscientiously Grown® The combination of no pesticides, good cultivation management, and IPM practices allows us to offer the widest possible selection of fruit and vegetable varieties and be a thriving sustainable farm. We have developed our own label, "conscientiously grown" to convey our commitment to the safety of our environment, family and customers. All of our hormone free, pasture raised meats carry a conscientiously grown label too!
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