A full week into July now, and we’re starting to pull up zucchini, squash, cucumbers, and even tomatoes that have produced all they care to this season. Despite that, we continue to bring in colorful harvests daily, thanks to the steady production of okra, eggplants, and peppers, including our new lunchbox snacking peppers. These small, sweet peppers are delicious, even if you’ve outgrown your lunchbox!
Another steady producer on the farm this time of year is basil, so much so that we’re offering “pesto packs“, a large quantity of Sweet Genovese basil perfect for whipping up a batch of pesto. I make up a big batch and freeze it in ice cube trays so that I can take out as much or as little as I need for dips, sauces, spreads, or salad dressings the rest of the year. A standard pesto recipe calls for basil, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. I also like to play with the ingredients, swapping out the pine nuts for pistachios or pecans, omitting or substituting the parmesan, and usually using a bit less olive oil than the recipe calls for. It’s a very forgiving recipe, so make it your own!
As we were planting cucumbers this year, I mentioned that we were going to grow them on tomato cages for the first time. Now that the end of the cucumber season is near, I can report that the tomato cages were a success. Certainly much better than letting them sprawl over the ground like we’ve done in previous years, which allows them to grow together into a dense, entangled mat of cucumber vines that can be hard to walk through, let alone harvest from. It was a daily chore the first few weeks to train the cucumber vines to grow up the tomato cages to keep open the aisles between rows. Harvesting also required a fair bit of stooping, but was nonetheless an improvement over previous years. However, we also planted a few cucumbers along the snow pea trellis, and that may be the preferred method of all. The cucumber climbed the trellis with no training required, and the individual cucumbers were very easy to see and harvest from the trellis.
We did even take time off this week to enjoy family, friends, food, and fireworks, all the makings of a fabulous 4th of July!