Monthly Archives: July 2012

What’s in the Box for July 31 – August 3, 2012

In this week’s box we have:

  • Italian varietal summer squash
  • salad greens and reds
  • yellow Finn OR German butter ball potatoes
  • arugula
  • red ace beets
  • plums (probably Santa Rosa)
  • peppers: Gypsy* and maybe some hot
  • kale OR spinach
  • basil
  • a first taste of tomatoes

*For those wondering, there will indeed be lots of other varieties coming – it’s just that the Gypsy’s are earlier.

–posted by Steven
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What’s in the Box for July 24-27, 2012

In this week’s box we have:

  • Italian varietal summer squash
  • salad greens and reds
  • yellow Finn potatoes
  • rainbow chard
  • arugula
  • beets thinnings (small greens with an even smaller beet end)
  • Shiro plums
  • peppers: Gypsy and maybe some hot
  • green onions
–posted by Steven

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Gypsy Peppers

This is the first season we’ve grown these increasingly popular peppers, and this is the first week we’ve had some to put in the CSA boxes.

Here are a couple of articles that you might find interesting.  They both include recipes.

Perfect Peppers

Peperonata: The gypsy pepper is thin-skinned, sweet and incredibly versatile.

DESPITE the proliferation of pepper varieties in this world, few can stand up to myriad uses. Bell peppers, for example, offer an abundance of color but not much flavor, and their skin can be leathery when cooked. Hot peppers pack a punch, but some people cower at their potency. By contrast, the boldly flavored, thin-skinned gypsy pepper is so remarkably versatile that Troy MacLarty, the chef at Lovely Hula Hands, has planted his own crop, ensuring that he’ll have as many of them as he needs.  [more]

photo credit: Tom Oliver

Gypsies come to town

Tara Duggan, Chronicle Staff Writer

The curving, tapered shapes and autumnal-fire colors make them hard to resist at a farmers’ market. Sitting next to their spicy cousins habanero and serrano, specialty sweet peppers — from long and squiggly Italian frying peppers to cute and tiny Jingle Bell peppers — beckon for frying and stuffing.

But one in particular stands out on Bay Area restaurant menus this time of year: the Gypsy pepper.

Like other sweet peppers in the “frying pepper” category, Gypsies have a thin skin that doesn’t need to be peeled, making the pepper ideal for frying. They also are smaller and have thinner walls than bell peppers, so you can stuff and roast or grill them quickly. Most of all, the fully ripe, dark red Gypsies have an intense sweetness and complex flavor unmatched by supermarket bell peppers.  [more]

photo credit: Craig Lee / SF

–posted by Steven

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What’s in the Box for July 17-20, 2012

We think this week’s box is really pretty nice, finally including some of those summer crops.  We hope you’ll like it:
  • Italian varietal summer squash
  • salad greens and reds
  • German Butterballs potatoes
  • rainbow chard
  • arugula
  • red Russian kale
  • golden beets
  • mix of peaches and plums
  • peppers: Gypsy and some hot
  • cucumbers
–posted by Steven


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CSA Pickups in Hot Weather

We are putting two ice blocks in the coolers, so your veggies should be fine on the hottest of days if you pick them up on the delivery day.  However, with weather like this, if you wait a day (or two), you mind find things are no longer in great shape.  We would be happy to store your share in our prep room fridge if you let us know (by phone or text message) before delivery time that you would like to pick up a day (or two) later.  You would then have to drive up the hill to the farm, and we can show you were your goodies are.

–posted by Steven

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Tomato Grafting – Side by Side Comparison

We tried something new this year – tomato grafting.  pHred Molnar, our longtime friend and drop-off location owner, grafted a variety of heirloom tomato scion seedlings onto a special root stock tomato plant – Maxifort F1, and then generously donated them to the farm.  The idea is that this root stock is highly disease resistant and can protect the grafted top, which will bear the true heirloom tomato fruit.  You can read all about this technique as Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

The results thus far are impressive:

photo credit: L. Butler

As you can see, the grafted plants on the right of the pepper row are nearly double in size from the ones grown on their own roots.  The cages on both rows are about 7′ tall.  These were planted at the same time with starts that were the same size.

The final test, of course, will be in the quality and quantity of fruit.   We’ll keep you posted.

–posted by Steven

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Pepper Trellising

Most commercial farms grow peppers in rows in open fields.  They seem to get about 1.5 to 2 feet tall.   I think our average size is closer to 3 feet, and some will grow to over 5.  Thus, they have to be supported or the weight of the fruit will break off the branches.

In past years, we’ve used cages made from concrete reinforcement wire (similar to tomato cages, but not as tall).  You can just barely see some in the photo below on the far right.  The new system we are trying this year is using a product called hortonova:

photo credit: L. Butler

We can add new layers as the plants get taller.  Aside from a lower cost, we think this system will give the plants more breathing room (they really get closed in with the cages), will be easier to harvest, and the system breaks down and will be much easier to store.  As it is, we have several hundred cages we have to store each year.

–posted by Steven

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