- Tomatoes- weather dependent, we’ll try to keep them coming!
- Yakina Savoy
- Head Lettuce
- Cipollini Onions
The first of the fall rains are coming in, ready or not here they come! Last week we put in long hours in anticipation of the impending weather. This time of years the concern is that when the rains come they saturate the soils making it impossible for tractors to get in the fields. All the planting and important big harvests need to be done by the time the weather arrives.
This season has been unusually dry. Normally this rainy season comes in September, but this year it has been warm and sunny clear to the later part of October, a blessing for us as our plate is full with harvesting and moving plans. At the same time the dryness is slightly concerning as this year we had to irrigate in October. Usually we are done irrigating a month earlier. We hope this is not the new trend as all of us farmers need the water to grow food for all of you.
To prepare for the shift in weather last week we were focused on our dry corn harvest which is now complete after a day and a half of harvesting beautiful ears. Every time we peeled back the husk it was like opening a present as you waited to see what incredible color variation would be revealed. Far more interesting than the standard yellow corn.
In celebration of finishing the harvest we shelled the first few ears of corn and ground them for cornbread. We feasted on the hot, steaming bread fresh from the oven, full of flavor which you cannot find from the normal store bought packages of cornmeal.
We are excited to offer freshly ground cornmeal to the CSA this Winter. The main difference between store bought cornmeal and freshly ground is that the freshly ground still has the hull and germ left in it. The hull and germ give it a more coarse texture and a more rich corn flavor. The one dilemma of the fresh cornmeal is that it needs to be refrigerated as it will go rancid quickly when the hull and germ are left in. This means when we offer ground corn make sure to eat it fresh within the week for optimum flavor.
The ground whole corn can be used for the traditional quick cornbread, corn muffins, corn cakes, corn fritters, yeast breads or polenta. The non ground corn can be used to make hominy, fresh tortillas, tamales, and fresh chips by soaking it in lime (calcium carbonate) in a process called nixtamalization. A slightly longer process, but well worth the effort.
The varieties of corn that we grow are unique in flavor and also nutrition. Today’s modern corn varieties are bred for high yields and cheap calories. The varieties that we are growing, however, are bred from several native corn strains, which have higher protein and antioxidant content. Breeders have been working to preserve the few genetic strains of corn that still have these valuable traits. In addition to the nutrition these varieties are bred for extreme drought and cold tolerance, often being grown in mountainous locations.
As we may be faced with more droughts and unpredictable weather it is important to have breeders working on preserving varieties that can be grown under stress with high yields. We look forward to selecting our own seed that produces the best in our area preserving this valuable seed for generations to come.
Enjoy this week’s share.