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Broken Leg, Vacation, Melons and Tomatoes!

Posted 8/9/2018 11:58am by Christy and Chris Kantlehner.

Hello Everyone! It is actually Christy, sending an email. For the first time since May?!!

I have a mixed bag of announcements.  We will get the bummer out of the way quickly – Chris got kicked at men’s league soccer last Thursday night and has a fractured right fibula.  He is not to do any physical labor for at least 4 weeks. He can stay in the walking boot, doesn’t need surgery, and can put weight on his leg as tolerated. It was a clean break and is probably the best scenario if you must be a farmer and break your leg in August.

On a positive note (in a way) We had already scheduled a summer vacation to Colorado for this week and indeed I’m writing from Grand Lake, Colorado. I am breathing some seriously fresh, cool air at this moment. I hardly feel myself without sweat-soaked clothing and sweat droplets all over my face and dripping off my nose.  

The time difference had us all up before 6am this morning, breathing in chilly morning air and walking easily (even for Chris in his walking boot) down to the lake with gasp-inspiring hazy blue mountains rising up from the perfectly still and reflective glacial Grand Lake at 8367 ft elevation. This is the headwaters of the Colorado River and was known as Spirit Lake by the Native Americans here. What calm, what beauty, what peace. We are definitely “gapers” (a term for tourists shared with me by my best pal, Maggie, in Montana). The vastness, altitude, hairpin turns, and allover wildness is something we can really appreciate coming from the congestion and busy-ness of suburbia.

We based this vacation around our annual O’Neill family baseball trip. Chris’ mom’s sister was a huge Mets fan, so when she passed away young, the family decided to honor and remember her by visiting a different baseball stadium together every year. It has become a yearly family reunion and “Ann’s Game” is a wonderful tradition. This year we are going to see the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field and staying at a big AirBnB with all the family in Denver. Chris and I wanted to come early to explore Rocky Mountain National Park (we were picturing hiking at the time) and stay a few days after to visit Chris’ best friend in Frisco.. Now we are thinking tandem kayak could be a great way for us to get outdoors and be active and exploring together, broken leg and all.    

 

Our minds cannot really rest, however, as the thought of the thousands of pounds of cantaloupe, watermelon, and tomatoes of all shapes, colors, and sizes weighs on our minds. The brutal heat and humidity that has us running for the lake, the ocean, the sprinkler, and the A/C has been the perfect weather for properly ripening tomatoes and melons! See! Always a silver lining. This season lends itself to chopped salads, raw veggies, grilled veggies, quick and simple pastas, fruit for dessert, and grain or pasta salads with pops of crunchy cukes and sweet juicy cherry tomatoes! These highly perishable fruits need to be received by you all! Our Community! Please tell your friends! Organize a watermelon seed spitting contest. Make melon gelato. Stuff some zucchini. Caprese Salad it up! 

Two Awesome Categories of High Summer Veggies: “For the Grill” and “Knife and Cutting Board Only” 

For the grill: green peppers(that includes lime green & purple peppers!), onions, eggplantof all kinds, zucchini, summer squash, patty pansquash. If you haven’t tried patty pan or golden zukes – you’ve got to taste and compare to experience the full range of flavors and textures. I find patties to be extra firm and tasty on the grill. (this is an off topic recommend but it is flowing into my mind so – so be it: Summer squash makes awesome chowder – pairing perfectly with butter, onions, and a touch of cream.)

All that’s needed is a Knife and Cutting Board: 

  • Slicing tomatoes (sprinkle w/ sea salt to really activate your taste buds).
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Two-Bite Tomatoes – just one cut down the center is often enough. The mini plum is “Juliet” The round apricot-colored gem is “Jaune Flamme” – yellow flame – or Jean Claude Van Flamme, as we prefer to call it. This one softens quickly but is fabulous dried or to finish a pasta dish. The round one is “Mountain Magic”
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon – yellow and red. all with seeds.

Make a yummy dressing to pull together a grain or pasta salad. Fresh herbs – basil, dill, or parsley are wonderful for adding freshness and flavor, too. Try a grain or pasta you haven’t done before – quinoa, couscous, barley, farro, wheat berries, or stick to the crowd pleasing fusilli pasta. A crumble of feta or goat cheese can be the savory version of “icing on the cake”

My vinaigrette basic formula is (1 vinegar: 4 oil):

  • Small spoonful of Dijon or other mustard at base (to help w/ emulsification)
  • Small spoonful of something sweet – some sort of jam, honey, agave nectar, jelly
  • Finely diced shallot or red onion
  • Add the vinegar – a ¼ cup of whatever vinegar or mix of vinegars you like. Apple cider is delicious and healthful. Balsamic is a little sweet and a wonderful complement to tomatoes.
  • Gradually whisk in a thin stream of 1 cup of oil – you can do all olive oil if you have a yummy olive oil you like or use a less flavorful oil like organic canola or sunflower or safflower or grapeseed or a mix. I often do half olive, half canola.
  • This step is important!!! Taste for salt and pepper. Add salt and pepper until the balance is good. A tiny pinch of sugar is another adjustment tool – but hopefully your honey or jam at the base did its job.
  • It should whisk up nice and thick. Store any extra in the fridge and shake up before you use it (take out early to let olive oil come to room temp or it will be solid).

This lovely dressing can pull together leftover grilled veggies or any chopped salad. This is the time of year when you can do a bunch of veg prep at once and have some side dishes or take-to-work lunch items ready to roll all week.  

Seconds tomatoes: 10 lbs for $10. Bring a box if you can.

Flower Update. Flowers are flourishing. In my tenth year I somehow have not dialed in the marketing of my obsession, fresh cut flowers. I wanted to wholesale flowers but I feel like a small potato, and a late potato, and a potato that needs practice estimating number of bunches of a crop that should be available the following week. I also have no idea how to charge, how many stems to put per bunch, etc. Bouquet making seems the best way to use the full spectrum of flowers that we grow, but is so time consuming that even when we push the price to the limit this market will tolerate, it is still not consistently profitable. But we are trying! and we appreciate so much the Flower CSA members who commit to a bouquet every week and for those of you who have been buying our bouquets at the farmstand for your home or as a gift. Laurene Hulbig is hosting her first “Wine & Design” of the season tonight. The $30/pp event is a BYOB walking tour of the flower field and a fun evening of designing a bouquet of flowers to bring home. Tonight is sold out so she has added additional dates in response to the demand!

10% off all Vermont Compost products. Scratch some compost plus around your perennials. Add compost to the planting hole of any perennials or fall annuals you may be putting in soon. Keep a bag of potting soil on hand for starting fall kale, spinach, and salad greens to take over the spots of summer crops that have gone by in your garden.

We have lots of perennial herbs for you to plant:

4" perennials herbs ($4.50): Lavender-Munstead, Rosemary - BBQ or Arp, Mountain Mint - Nepitella

6" round pots of perennial herbs ($8): Sage, Red-veined Sorrel, Lemon Balm

Well! I need to be wrapping this up! Huge thanks to all of you WBF supporters out there. That reminds me - We've got our WBF hats back in stock - get your favorite color or style before they sell out. Baby and Toddler WBF gear coming soon!

Really, thank you! and thanks to our crew. The times we leave them to run the farm without us really gives them a glimpse of what managing the farm takes. There are lots of aspects, lots of plants, lots of people, lots of pests, weeds, and unbearable heat. This week gives our farmstand, flower, and field crews a true sense of ownership and responsibility. Make sure to let them know if you enjoy the fruits of their labor - a small expression of gratitude and appreciation can do a lot for sweat-soaked morale!

Bring your Bags!!! or Boxes! or Baskets!

Thank you!

Christy and Chris at White Barn Farm

www.whitebarnfarm.org