Farm NewsLetter 07/17/06

Week of July 17th, 2006

This weekend we got a new main water line at Zenger Farm! Thank you to Wisteria and everyone in the Friends of Zenger group who helped to make this happen. The main we have been working off there was the original service to the old farmhouse and must have been at least 40 years old. It might have been 3/4” in the beginning, but that old galvanized pipe was seriously corroded and letting les and less water in every year. Last season, we used the farm almost exclusively in the early and late season when the rains would help us out, because the water pressure and volume was so low. This new line will allow us to get all the fields out there planted and fully utilized. Thanks again!

Nobody will be surprised to hear that irrigation is in full swing. We use drip tape (t-tape) on the farm almost exclusively because it is such an incredibly efficient way to water. Each line has an emitter embedded into the plastic every 12” that releases 4 gallons of water per hour. This allows to regulate the amount of water that each planting receives, and to put the water right next to the plant where it is needed most. It also means that the weeds on the edges and in the paths don’t get watered. Hopefully this means they won’t grow as fast, but sometimes I wonder. They get no water and still they’re going strong…

There are a few special instances where overhead irrigation is preferable to drip. One of those is in the greenhouse on the propagation table. Obviously we can’t water those little trays with drip tape, but we do use special misting nozzles and a timer to increase efficiency. Direct seeded crops can be hard to start with t-tape because the little seeds are in the top layer of the soil and spaced much closer than 12”. In well drained soils, the water forms an inverted pyramid through the soil profile- spreading out as it goes down. To insure good germination it is important to wet the entire soil surface and sprinkers do this better than the t-tape. For the same reason, it is helpful to use sprinklers for our summer cover crops. Once things are up and growing with roots that can reach out a bit to find the water in the deeper part of the soil profile, then we can switch the crops back to the drip lines.

Work parties are the first Sat. of every month and the next one is…
The Big Potato Dig: Aug. 5th, 1-5pm,Luscher Farm

The Weather: SunShine!
Thank you everyone for all your help!

Your share this week may include:

Arugula Despite the hot weather these have stayed tender and not too spicy. Use them in salad or lightly sautéed.
Beets Beautiful Big Red ones! Don’t forget to use the greens too- like their cousin chard, they can substitute in almost any recipe for cooked spinach.
Cauliflower We’ve washed these once, but there may still be a few aphids deep in the heads. We recommend you give them another washing once you break up the heads into separate florettes.
Chard Beautiful rainbow colors.
Dill Use it sparingly in salad, or chopped up in dip.
Lettuce Heads An incredible red romaine appropriately named “Outredgeous”
Mustard Greens A bit on the spicy side they add a real zing! to salads, but mellow considerably when cooked.
Parsley This tasty flat leaf Italian variety will be a staple throughout the summer.
Onions The tops are starting to fall, but these are still very fresh! Use them quickly or store in the fridge.
Summer Squash All different shapes and sizes. Steam the little ones whole, or chop them up and sauté.
Tomatoes!! First of the season, these little Stupice tomatoes from the greenhouse are super tasty

Coming Soon… Potatoes and Cucumbers!

Oven-Fried Zucchini Spears
From Asparagus to Zucchini: A Guide to Farm-Fresh, Seasonal Produce

2 medium-sized zucchini or yellow summer squash 1 teaspoon dried summer savory
3 Tablespoons dried bread crumbs 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese 2 teaspoons corn oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil marinara sauce, optional

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Lightly oil baking sheet. Wash zucchini and pat dry. Do not peel. Cut into eights lengthwise, then halves crosswise. On a sheet of wax paper, toss bread crumbs, cheese,herbs, garlic powder an pepper. Whisk oil and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Moisten zucchini spears in this mixture, then roll them in crumb mixture, covering all sides. Arrange on baking sheet. Bake 7-10 min, or until lightly browned. Turn spears over and bake 3 minutes more. Serve immediately, with hot marinara if desired. Four servings

Green Pizza
Shareholder Sandra Steiner

ß Chop 6-8 leaves of chard, collards or other greens and one sweet onion. Drizzle with oil and either sauté to wilt or microwave for 2 minutes on high to remove a lot of the moisture.
ß I use either pesto or ranch dressing ( I have a recipe for homemade if you want) for the base
ß Pizza dough: 1cup warm water, two Tblsp yeast, 1 tsp salt, 3 Tblsp olive oil, and wheat or white flour mixed in until no longer sticky- knead two minutes, rest it 15 minutes and roll it out.
ß Put the wilted greens on top, then we like Italian sausage, mushrooms, and lots of good mozzarella, maybe some smoked gouda, and fresh grated Romano.
ß Bake at 425 degrees in preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

I am having great success with my kids eating greens by making this recipe!