Sorry that we haven’t been posting lately, friends! But if you’ve been following us on facebook or instagram, you know that we’ve been crazy super mega busy in the garden (Dave calls it “the field” so it sounds cooler but I just think it makes him sound like a Baba O’Reily lyric. 10 points for The Who reference). Right now we’re knee deep in peppers, cucumbers, zucchini and bush beans. Here’s a gander around the garden, a.k.a. the field. A quick look at what we’re harvesting and where it’s going!
We’ve been waiting for this time of year. All the planning, the planting, the compost hauling, the weeding, the pest and insect fighting and everything else… lead up to this moment. It’s finally time to enjoy the fruits of our labors. But not without some more laboring first. It’s harvest time, which is excellent but in order to ensure that our customers get the freshest produce possible, we try and wait until the very last minute to harvest our vegetables. And that can sometimes mean harvesting by moonlight, flashlight or daybreak. Sometimes those blend in together. Sometimes harvest time sneaks up on you and you’re all like, “Oh shit, 70lbs of zucchini is a lot of zucchini! That weighs more than an elephant’s penis!” (It does… look it up).
First on the harvesting agenda is our bush beans. We have about 300 row feet of green bush beans planted this year. These guys grow like crazy in our soil and are extremely productive! I swear, it feels like when I start harvesting on one end of the row, by the time I get down to the end there’s already new beans ready to pick back at the beginning! But for real, when bush beans are ready to harvest, you should be picking them every couple of days in order to keep them producing. Pick the beans before the pods start to swell up and form seeds inside the pods. If seeds form inside the pods, it tells the plants to stop producing fruit (the green beans). Besides, young and tender bush beans are more flavorful anyway.
Cadillac was very sweet to come in the garden to keep us company while we harvested beans one night. He’s learned to only walk in the walking paths. Although sometimes his huge paws get in the way, but he tries really hard to be mindful of the plants. When we’re harvesting, he’ll lay down in the row underneath the shade of an okra plant and wait for us to finish.
The cucumber bed has rebounded beautifully! It was touch and go there at the beginning of the season but now they’re producing beautiful, tasty cucumbers! We’re growing two varieties this year; a pickling and a slicing variety. We pick our slicing cucumbers at about 4″-5″ long. It makes them the perfect canning size for halves, wedges or sandwich slices.
Harvesting cucumbers is like going on a scavenger hunt. They really like to hide from you and when it’s 98 degrees outside and not a drop of SPF 85 in sight, it’s not always a fun hiding game. Not funny, cucumbers. Similar to the bush beans, the more cucumbers you harvest, the more the plant will produce. So you may have to play this fun hide-and-seek game every few days or so. A firm, nice looking cucumber might be 2″ one day then you turn around and the next day they’re 6″. They get big real fast so watch out ladies… and gentlemen.
Our pepper row gets a gold star. They’re doing great in our soil and hot/humid Missouri summer. Once pepper season starts, make sure you have your canning supplies ready because you’ll be putting up peppers for weeks and weeks and weeks and weeks. Right now we’re harvesting a lot of sweet and mild peppers but when our jalepenos and habeneros start flying off the plants, we’ll probably harvest with some gloves on. Even when harvesting, peppers can sometimes release their inner juices. If they do and it gets on your hands you are going to be SOOOOO sorry. I think that peppers are really interesting vegetables so we’ll do a pepper post soon but for now, Here’s a little intro to our peppers:
After a full night and all day of harvesting, we cleaned and packaged everything up for delivery. Our first stop was The Libertine (4927 Forsyth, Clayton MO). The Libertine is a wonderful restaurant that re-defines the neighborhood eatery. Executive chef Josh Galliano and Executive Sous Chef Josh Poletti have created a very diverse and ever-changing menu that features vegetables, meat and seafood. You can tell how passionate they are about their food and their craft. I can’t say enough about The Libertine and its staff, you’ll have to go check it out for yourself if you’re in St. Louis. And you should try to creamed kale, kale chips or roasted squash…. just sayin’.
Next on our delivery route is Maude’s MarketÂ (4219 Virginia, St. Louis, MO). Maude Bauschard has put together a wonderful local food haven in Dutchtown. Not only can you join their shared CSA program, but you can also go into their market store and buy produce individually. The CSA shares vary each week and features local produce, eggs, pasta, snacks and sweets, coffee and tea and more! Each week she’ll put together a blog with everything available in the CSA and in the market as well as recipes! I don’t know how she has time for all of this, but I’m glad she does because it’s an awesome hub for local produce and artisan food in St. Louis.
And finally, our last stop this week was the DeSoto Farmer’s Market. The market always makes for a fun Saturday morning. We always get to meet interesting customers, chat it up with local vendors and of course, talk about excellent local food and products. For some reason they always put us next to a cupcake or bread vendor. They’re trying to test my willpower, I just know it. We’re at the DeSoto Farmers Market every other Saturday from 8a-12p. Next time you’re in our neck of the woods please stop by and see us!
Needless to say, at the end of the week we’re pretty pooped. But if I can muster up any strength, I’ll can and preserve any produce that’s left over. But that’s another blog post for another day!