Mr. Mantis on My Shoulder: Week #7

Well, it’s hot again on the farm. Nothing new there! So I’m going to have to find something else to talk about and think about in the field!! Though I was not happy to be greeted by high 70’s temperature at 6 this morning, the day is turning out to be full of fun discoveries.

This week we are harvesting the first of the potatoes. You’ll be getting red potatoes in your box the next few weeks, but that’s not the point of this story. While we were harvesting the potatoes one of my farm hands, Kelly, looked up and started pointing at my shoulder. She calmly, yet excitedly, announced I had a praying mantis on my shoulder! I looked over and, lo and behold, she was right! There on my left shoulder was a bright green, young looking praying mantis. I was fascinated! I’ve only seen three praying mantises in my whole life, now four! Each one has been on a farm too. In fact the third one I saw was just last week. My other farm hand, Anya, found it on a harvest crate.

I tried to take some pictures, but they only came out blurry. Soon the mantis got a little camera shy, crawled down my back, and leaped into the weeds. Hopefully, it went on eating bugs that would otherwise be eating my crops. Mantises mystify me. I always thought they would be easy to see since they are a bigger insect, but they hide so well. There are a great bug to have on your farm or in your garden since they prey on other problem bugs.

So that was the fun discovery of the week. There were other, not so fun, discoveries this week. As you may well guess, the farm is struggling with this season’s drought and hot weather. Up until now things have been going well despite these hardships. However, the farm is now really feeling the need for water. It’s actually been in need of water for the last month. Multiple seedings have not germinated and growth is stunted in other crops. I’ve been running irrigation, but I don’t have the ability to water everything. So what this means is that the boxes will be a little smaller these next few weeks. I’m hoping that as we get closer to tomato season (which is right around the corner!) I’ll be able to give you the kind of variety I’ve done in the past.

This is all part of the risk of farming and I appreciate you joining me in that risk! Thanks for your support and let’s keep hoping for rain!

Cheers!

What’s In the Box

Red Potatoes– The first of the potatoes are in! These red potatoes are great in salads or just boiled and topped with butter.

Cipollini Onions– These disc shaped onions are a sweet Italian onion. They are great any way you fix them. Saute them with the fennel for a tasty duo.

Baby Beets– These young beets are quite tender and delicious. Don’t bother trying to take the skins off. The beets are so tender that you won’t even notice the skin is on!

Fennel-(This is the fern like vegetable in your box) Did you know that you can use every part of this unique veggie? The fronds you can use like dill, the stalks like celery, and the bulb like an onion. They all have that wonderful anise flavor.

Cuceumber

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Mixed Herbs-There is a combination of thyme, oregano, sage, savory and chives in the box. These herbs go well with any meat or vegetable dish. Below is a recipe for your own mixed herb marinade. Time to fire up that grill!

Recipes

Garlic & Herb Marinade– from marthastewart.com

Orange & Fennel Salad– from foodnetwork.com; you can use the two small bulbs for the one big bulb in the recipe.

Six Great Recipes for Zucchini– from cookinglight.com, a series of great recipes for zucchini and squash. Take your pick!

Beet Recipes Even a Beet Hater Can Love- from nytimes.com, another list of recipes that are all great!

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