We did it! As of yesterday evening, Dawn and I have both completed our forty-hour volunteer commitment, helping to set up at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. The festival starts in a week, so we’re able to focus more fully this week on what’s happening out in the fields, which is a really good thing, since there sure is a lot going on out there!
It’s going to be a challenge to find enough room on our tables at both of our markets. Last week, as you can see, our tables were overflowing with our summer bounty. We’re able to bring in a few more of our outdoor crops this week, so we’ll have to figure out a way to squeeze them in so that you can see what we have to offer. If you aren’t seeing what you came for, please feel free to ask where
we’ve snuck it in this week!
If you’ve been jonesing for our baby potatoes, we’ll have some again this week. We decided last week to leave them in the ground for one more week so they could get to that perfect, incredibly tasty size, and we’ll have both the yellow Yukon Gold and the red Norland varieties back on our table at both markets this week.
Berry season in full swing right now. We’ll have Saskatoons for another week or two, and while we were only able to bring a few pints of raspberries in to the Edmonton market last weekend, we’ll
have a lot more this week. Even if you don’t think you can eat a ton of berries over the next few weeks, it’s well worth stocking up and freezing them for later – they freeze well on a baking sheet, and it’s awesome to be able to pull beautiful, ripe berries out of the freezer in the middle of winter, so it’s worth stocking up now, while they’re bountiful.
We’ve been watching the cucumbers for the last couple of weeks, noticing how many flowers and tiny little cucumbers were out there, and the extreme heat over the past couple of weeks have switched
their growth into overdrive. I went out last Sunday and picked a bag for us at the house (until a couple of years ago, I’d never had a cucumber sandwich, and I’m now
slightly addicted) and already, less than a hundred hours later, there are many more ready to pick for market. Like many of our other crops, we try to pick our cucumbers when they’re still young, as we prefer their flavour when they’re petite – and they make great pickles, too!
We’ve had summer squash for the last two weeks, in smaller numbers, but now that they’ve started to fruit, they’ll be providing a tremendously prolific crop for us. We grow yellow and green zucchini, as well as a few Magda (or Cousa) squash, but the majority of our summer squash field is filled with yellow Patty-Pan squash. We get a lot of questions about these at market, as both their color and shape are a real show-stoppers. Sometime over the next few weeks I’ll do up a blog post about this wonderful squash, but for now I’ll just tell you all that these yellow, UFO-shaped squash are a family favourite. They are treated much the same way that the more familiar zucchini is in the kitchen. When the fruit is small and young, they’re delicious sliced up raw in a salad, or alongside your favourite dip. They don’t need to be cooked for long, just heated up, more than anything, and one of the best ways to cook them is steamed whole. We’ll post a bunch of recipe ideas over the next few weeks – we eat these several times a week (sometimes several times a day!!), and if you’ve tried something with the summer squash you’d like to share, please send us a message. While we try our best to pick them when they’re still small and delicate, sometimes they get overlooked while we’re out there (yes, even though they’re bright yellow, we sometimes don’t see them). They’re still wonderful as they get larger, though – we love slicing them into 1/4″ slices, spraying them with oil, salt and pepper, and some garlic powder, and BBQing them as a side dish. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re looking for a side dish for 2-3 people, you’ll need around one pound of any summer squash.
And it’s not just the summer squash that we’re bringing this week, either. In general with winter squash (things like pumpkins and buttercup squash), we have to wait until fall to harvest. Our
Small Wonder spaghetti squash, however, is delicious even before the fruit has ripened. You still cook it the way you’re used to (I’ll write more about this delicious treat in a few weeks), and the only difference compared to the ripe squash is a slightly higher water content, so keep that in mind when you’re planning your recipe.
We’re starting to see red in the cold frame, as many of the cherry tomatoes we’ve got planted in there are starting to ripen on their vines. We won’t be able to bring a lot in this week, but over the next few markets, we’ll bring them in increasing numbers, as the crop
starts their ripening process. If you’ve only been eating store-bought tomatoes over the last while, these garden-grown, vine-ripened beauties are a real treat!
It’s a great time to make it down to your local farmers’ market. The hard work Mother Nature has put in over the last few months is really starting to pay off, and over the next few weeks, you’ll have the biggest selection of fresh, local produce that you’ll find all year.
Hope to see you this weekend!