While we may be losing tomato plants faster than we can pull them, things aren’t all bad on the farm this year. The cool, rainy weather that has plagued us (or blessed us, depending on your personal opinion) most of the summer has created some prize winners as well.
Overall, the Allium family wins the award for most improved. Our garlic, onions, leeks and shallots are the biggest and best we’ve ever grown! Just yesterday, Kevin harvested all the shallots and showed me one that looked rather small in comparison to the rest. “This one,” he claimed, “is the size of the largest one I had ever grown until this year.” All lined up neatly stacked on tables, they resemble large red onions more than the little shallot bulbs of years past. The garlic heads are bulky, flavorful, and easy to peel, the individual cloves nearly bursting at the seams like clothes they’ve outgrown. The onions are big, beautiful, and sweet. Slicing them isn’t even making me cry a river the way it usually does.
Another bumper crop this year were our fava beans. Favas crave the cool and wet, and most years we’re lucky to get one decent round of them in June before the heat overwhelms them. This year they were not only bigger and healthier, harvest lasted halfway into July, a miracle on our region.
As our CSA members are very aware, this was also the year the turnips kept coming, and coming, and coming! I began to feel sorry our members, deciding week after week what one does with turnips. (For the record, my favorite way I tried them was a cold potato salad-like recipe whipped up by my friend Maya. The recipe comes from Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian, which is one of the greatest cookbooks I have ever seen.) The turnips’ close relatives, the rutabagas, got so big they could be classified as morbidly obese.
While these are the winners that really come to mind, there are dozens more vegetables doing just fine on the farm including zucchinis and green beans, the latter being harvested in amounts that can only be accurately described as (pardon my language) a shit-tonne. Come on out to the farm store or to the Jim Thorpe Farmers’ Market to check them out!