Blackberries & Puncture Vine

Every day is fun and eventful on the farm! One day we’re finding snakes, another we’re catching crawdads or finding a baby bird that has fallen from its nest. Today, we took advantage of some cooler weather and I picked blackberries! Our sweet little kitty trailed behind us, all the way up the hill, making short detours to stalk down a grasshopper or a frog along the way.  Our “Welcome Wolf,” Kina (said “Kee-nah”), also accompanied us up the hill.  She is also quite fond of those sweet, succulent berries, and does quite well at picking them for herself!  Levi, my little helper for the day, brought his own bucket into which to pick.  I think he may have had a berry in there once…  The only other evidence of his help was smeared across his face, but I daresay he enjoyed the experience!  After wading into the irrigation ditch, my helper shed his wet shoes and opted for barefoot.  Ah, for those days!  Jennifer’s feet would be black with so much dirt and … other organic materials… which I suspect was a point of pride, and also the cause of a bit of strife in an effort to get her to WASH those feet!  But I digress … Levi did very well in his little bare feet, somehow managing not to step on any blackberry thorns while he picked !  He hopped his way across the hot dirt on our way back, only begging to be carried a couple times before we reached the barns!  Then he hopped his way between the soft weeds growing on the driveway, just like I remember doing so many times as a kid!

All the kiddos getting in on the 4-wheeler fun with grandpa!

All the kiddos getting in on the 4-wheeler fun with grandpa!

Thank you all for the prayers for water!  Our family got together and went down to the creek to repair our makeshift dam of straw bales.  We were doubtful of what difference it would make, considering it only changed the level of the water an inch or two, but we have been so thankful for the water we have had in the ditch ever since!!  As you have probably witnessed, we have gotten our corn all the way through harvest!  We did not plant as much this year, due to our concerns that we wouldn’t have the water to support it.  The tomatoes are now coming on strong!  This has us busy canning, making salsa, and gearing up for making our own marinara as well.  Meanwhile, if you have been considering making any pickles this year, please drop us a note to order your cucumbers!  They are slowing down quickly, and are usually done about the time most are ready to start their canning (when the kids get back in school).  Other produce in the Garden Shed right now:  broccoli, chard, onions, garlic, cut flowers, Asian eggplant, peppers (anahiems, bells, & jalepenos), cherry  tomatoes, cantaloupe, green beans, sunburst (patty pan) squash, zucchini, cucumbers (Aremenian, Orient express slicers, and sassies for canning and slicing), & tomatoes.  We also have fresh basil, and can sell you some if you’d be interested in making pesto or just having fresh herbs.

We have begun harvesting our grapes! But sorry, you won't find any of these for sale in the garden shed.

We have begun harvesting our grapes! But sorry, you won’t find any of these for sale in the garden shed.

Canning tomatoes! You'll want about 15 pounds in order to fill your canner with 7 quarts.

Canning tomatoes! You’ll want about 15 pounds in order to fill your canner with 7 quarts.

There’s one more thing we’ve been harvesting around here lately – something we’re not so fond of: Puncture vine!  If you are here in Southern Oregon, you have probably seen some of these signs around, warning against “noxious weeks” and reminding you that it’s “your responsibility.”  But if you are new to the area, or just botanically illiterate, you probably have no idea which weeds are considered “noxious” or why!  While “noxious” refers directly to the harmful effects of the weeds on the environment and/or animals, it also indicates that those plants are not native to the area and are particularly invasive.  Some are more ob-noxious than others… some are actually pretty!  And as much as blackberry thorns hurt and the bushes can quickly hinder and overtake our ditches, we sure appreciate their fruit even though they are also considered “noxious” here in Southern Oregon (some types)!

You may see these signs around Southern Oregon, but do you know what a noxious weed is?

You may see these signs around Southern Oregon, but do you know what a noxious weed is?

My days 'harvest' of puncture vine. Can you see those nasty thorns? They break into about 10 more individual seeds each.

My days ‘harvest’ of puncture vine. Can you see those nasty thorns? They break into about 10 more individual seeds each.

But it does not take too much of an imagination to fill in the blanks about puncture vine (although it is also called “goat head” in some areas), and why it is so ob-noxious!  Puncture vine is known for having these nasty thorns on them that can puncture your bike tires and your feet (or your dear “Fido’s” feet). Not only do they hurt like the dickens, but they catch a free ride on your car tires or the soles of your shoes, spreading like wildfire wherever they go.  (It is NOT nice to find these in your carpet either!)  Part of what makes them particularly ob-“noxious” is that they require very little of an environment in order to thrive!  They like to grow in the middle of a gravel packed driveway, and in cracks on the sidewalk.

How can you identify these nasty plants?  Well, let me show you! They spread all over the ground, similar to a lot of other weeds we have around here (this is particularly a problem when those hot bare feet are eager to find a soft weed spreading on the driveway, only to find puncture vine instead!).  Unlike the other weeds, puncture vine has a very distinct leaf pattern, and small yellow flowers.  Harder to see are the nasty thorns that hide underneath the leaves.

Puncture vine has a distinct leaf pattern, and these 'cute' little yellow flowers... which lead to very distinct nasty thorns.

Puncture vine has a distinct leaf pattern, and these ‘cute’ little yellow flowers… which lead to very distinct nasty thorns.

A patch of puncture vine growing alongside Brownsboro Hwy/Royal Avenue in Eagle Point.

A patch of puncture vine growing alongside Brownsboro Hwy/Royal Avenue in Eagle Point.

Here is what you can DO about puncture vine:  Look for it early!  If you can find it before it sets thorns, you can spray it (heaven forbid, yes, it does merit that sort of drastic measure).  However, if you are just finding it after the flowers and thorns are set, we suggest you pull it out and gently place it in a plastic bag to be discarded, and look for the seeds that may have been dropped to discard them as well!  This may seem extreme, but these nasty little seeds are a major part of the problem!  Each cluster of thorns break into about ten other seeds, and will come up as an entire patch of puncture vine next year, not to mention where else they might spread .

You might be thinking we’re a little extreme about this stuff… but as a former Texas resident, let me just say that we have a lot of things to love about Oregon, and the lack of puncture vine infested grass is one of them!!

Want more information about noxious weeds in Southern Oregon and what to do about them?  Visit this site: http://www.rvcog.org/pdf/NR_Noxious_Weed_Handout.pdfIMG_3877[1]

An abundance of tomatoes!  We'll try to give you a few recipe ideas. :)

An abundance of tomatoes! We’ll try to give you a few recipe ideas. 🙂

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Sun and Water

The Garden Shed is OPEN!

The Garden Shed is OPEN!

Alright folks!  We know we haven’t kept you posted throughout the fall and winter of all our goings-on.  That doesn’t mean that we haven’t been busy!  On the contrary, we could write you a book on the things we’ve been up to!  But now, we figure that the reason you’re coming here is to check and see when those corn and tomatoes will be out in the garden shed.

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The pickings may be slim now, but they are growing every day! Feel free to poke around under the wet burlap, which is there to keep the veggies from wilting prematurely.


The season is nearly here, and the first of the corn are just starting to silk out!  We have been enjoying some of our own red tomatoes, but have yet to share them with the public.  The summer squash are starting to come on, and are now available in the garden shed (zucchini & patty pan).  (On a side note:  You may notice that we do not sell any yellow crook neck squash.  This is because we have long since abandoned crook neck for these delicious little patty pan squash [or sunburst], which we have found to be far superior to the crook neck, which get tough skin and large seed cavities.)  Occasionally, we will also have some broccoli and chard out there in the garden shed as well.  If you’d like some rhubarb for a pie or crisp (or whatever you’d like to make), let us know and we will pick it for you to order.  Meanwhile, we’ve been busy picking garlic and sweet onions, and you can expect to see them out there soon also.

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The first of the corn are starting to silk! We plant our corn at intervals so that we can keep harvesting for longer (providing we have water).

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Our very own red tomatoes! We potted some plants up so we could enjoy some earlier-than-usual tomatoes.


For those of you who are eagerly looking forward to the corn and other veggies, we kindly ask that you hit your knees and pray for rain to get those carefully planted crops through to harvest!  This year is already a hard year for water and it’s only June!  We’ve been hard pressed to get enough water in the irrigation ditch to even run the sprinklers.  While we need the sunshine to sweeten the fruit, dry the hay, and make the corn grow, that ‘nasty’ rain is just as necessary to keep them all alive.

To this point, we have observed an interesting divergence in thinking between the office folk and the farm folk.  From the office and on the air waves we hear shouts of joy for all days sunny that call for picnics by the lake and summer vacation days.  Similarly, we hear generalized loathing of the rainy days that so inopportunely intrude on our summer bliss.  Yet somewhere in the city life and around the water coolers of the office buildings, there remains a nostalgic romanticizing of farm life and the days of farm fresh produce, when ‘people knew where their food came from, and the work that went into it!’  But somewhere there appears to be a disconnect between that loathsome rain and that delightful fruit of the earth.

Meanwhile, during our life on the farm (which really is wonderful), some of the romance is lost when those beautiful long summer days hit a few months too early, the snow melts prematurely off the mountain, and the ferocious fangs of summer drought clench down to drain the arteries of water that are the life flow to farms across the entire Northwest.  Reality sets in over romance during those moments and the urgency of the problem sets in in a way that I just can’t really convey to the water cooler group.

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This is what no water looks like on a field… 😦

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And this is what no water in the ditch looks like… Praising God for a full head of water today! We shall survive another week! 🙂


While we hope you’ve been enjoying all this beautiful sunshine we’ve had, we’d appreciate your prayers for rain!  If you’ve kept up with California at all, they are also in the midst of a terrible drought, exacerbated by fights over fish, dams and water rights.  We are thankful not to be in that state right now, but we know we aren’t too far behind, and we are probably all feeling the crunch of higher veggie prices at the market as the Central Valley suffers.

 

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Spaghetti squash is coming!

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We don’t generally share our grapes with the public, but we’re happy to see them growing!

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This is it!

All of our fall decorations, in a wagon!  That black thing in his arms is our token cat, which he loves!

All of our fall decorations, in a wagon! That black thing in his arms is our token cat, which he loves!

The calendar said it was the beginning of autumn, and like a charm, the weather turned cool and rainy… at least for a few days!  Now we’re back to sunshine and a bit of heat before it is gone for the season.  I find myself soaking it up, knowing that the impending doom of winter will be here way before I’m ready!  But regardless of how warm it may be right now, the garden has got to go, and soon!

Working hard on the tractor with Grandpa.  It does not take long for them to hear that engine fire up, get their boots on, and come running!

Working hard on the tractor with Grandpa. It does not take long for them to hear that engine fire up, get their boots on, and come running!

Tilling under the gardens; this is how it starts, and how it ends.

Tilling under the gardens; this is how it starts, and how it ends.

Mr. Hubbard is quickly approaching his second knee replacement, which really puts a time crimp in the calendar!  in addition, the water is no longer flowing through the ditch, meaning we have no water for the gardens anyhow.  With these things in mind, the two gardens have already been tilled under, and the seed sown for the winter cover crop that will work to restore the nutrients to the soil.  All that remains now is two cherry tomato plants, some ground cherries, the peppers, some eggplant, and broccoli.  As sad as it is to see this time pass, it is also a blessing to see a time of rest and apple cider approaching!  Several have come by to pick up some dried out and discarded corn stalks for decorations.  We did not take the time or trouble to bind these together to sell this fall, but a few have been willing to take the risk of stepping into the bull pen to wrangle out a few stalks on their own.fall 2014 026

This is a great time for peppers, and we have a LOT!

This is a great time for peppers, and we have a LOT!

We have a lot of peppers, but a lot of them have been getting eaten by the deer... Or by these little guys!  :)  These dessert peppers are so delicious that even the two year old is stealing them from my basket!

We have a lot of peppers, but a lot of them have been getting eaten by the deer… Or by these little guys! 🙂 These dessert peppers are so delicious that even the two year old is stealing them from my basket!

As all of these things come to a close, some things are already beginning for the next year.  The way holidays seem to creep up earlier and earlier in the department store displays (which is probably more perception than reality), the seed catalogs seem to operate on about that same schedule.  We’ve been spreading them out, reading up on various varieties of tomatoes, corn, etc.  In addition to that, Mr. Hubbard has already planted his garlic for this next year!  So, the seasons come, and the seasons go, each year seemingly faster than the year before it.  You know what they say, “Life is like a roll of toilet paper.  The closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!”

Things still for sale in the Garden Shed (We’ll probably only have our doors open for one more week):

-Broccoli

– Winter Squash (pumpkins, spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut)

– Tomatoes

– PEPPERS!!  (Bell, Anaheim, dessert peppers, jalapenos)

We have picked a lot of fruit this summer that has not been in the garden shed.  Now is the season for the raspberries.  We've also put up some pears and apples for the winter, and dried some plums.

We have picked a lot of fruit this summer that has not been in the garden shed. Now is the season for the raspberries. We’ve also put up some pears and apples for the winter, and dried some plums.

These are a fun fall treat!  These are ground cherries, which look a lot like tomatillos or chinese lanterns.  Inside the paper husk is a delicious fruity cherry that the kids (and dog) love!

These are a fun fall treat! These are ground cherries, which look a lot like tomatillos or chinese lanterns. Inside the paper husk is a delicious fruity cherry that the kids (and dog) love!

The Ones That Got Away

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A beautiful cornucopia picked from our garden. This is a sure sign of fall, as during the summer we would have at least a basket of each vegetable! Such a nice pretty leaf from our liquidamber also. 🙂

Most people talk and brag about the ones they caught, but got away. But around here, we have the evidence to prove it! Just look out under the walnut tree, and you’ll see a graveyard of overgrown sunburst squash and cucumbers – the ones that “got away” from us! Somehow, although we pick our veggies almost every single day, there still manage to be a few that somehow slip by us until they’re so huge you could feed a neighborhood with it!

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Some of the zucchini that “got away” from us! Unsure of what to do with your giant squash? They work great as lasagna noodle substitutes, or sliced thinly and grilled on the BBQ with olive oil and seasoning. We also grate it and freeze it for zucchini bread or zucchini brownies during the winter.

In case you have any doubts, our garden shed is still open and rocking away, at least for a few more weeks! Things are definitely slowing down though. A few unfortunate customers are just getting around to reserving their orders for pickling cukes, but alas they’ve  come too late. Our cucumbers have slowed down to a mere trickle. Meanwhile, the broccoli, zucchini, and peppers have been newly inspired by the slightly cooler weather.

How do you get your kids to eat their broccoli?

How do you get your kids to eat their broccoli? Our chickens ate the broccoli when we first planted it, so that we planted a second crop. Well, the first crop survived, and we now have a LOT of broccoli!

The tomatoes are hanging in there too, though their own doom is impending also. This year, we’ve experimented a bit by planting some sweet peppers – the kind that are practically a desert and have no spice at all! In case you have any doubts, I can testify that all the kids, even the two year old, enjoy them! Also, another fun experiment this year is the spaghetti squash, which we have quite a bit of. We have enjoyed it immensely, making all sorts of alfredos and yummy “noodle” dishes with it! We have a lot of winter squash out in the garden shed now, and recently cut down the price to half, so come have a look.

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We have picked a lot of winter squash, including pumpkins, acorn squash, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash. And, we recently knocked down the price of them too!

 

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These fall crocus did very well this year, and have gotten a lot of attention and admiration. It’s technical name is Callochortus fortunii, or something along those lines, for those who want to look it up.

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Some pretty and vibrant morning glory. 🙂

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An important birthday in the family, and of course celebrating our farm heritage with his favorite kind of tractor – none other than a John Deere, of course!

Others have also been asking for corn. Well, I hate to break it to you guys, but here is the ugly TRUTH about corn:
First, corn harvests after a determinant period of time. Therefore, 80 days after the corn seed is set in the ground, we can count on harvesting corn from that stalk (so long as the weather is favorable). For that reason, we are careful to plant our corn at intervals so that we can have corn to offer for more than one week! The second, and rather sad truth is that each corn stalk only yields two (sometimes three, or an extra midget) ears of corn. After that, it is DONE. While the cucumbers produce and produce a variable number of cucumbers throughout the summer, and the zucchini produce a bounty per plant, it just won’t happen from a corn stalk. For this reason, you might understand a bit of why we don’t plant ONLY corn! We hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!

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It’s been a rough summer for our cats here, two of whom have met their demise on the asphalt. But as morbid as it may sound, we don’t mourn for too long, assured of the fact that we will very likely find a few kittens somewhere around the farm! Our dog helped us to find this kitten by chasing him up the rafters in the barn. 🙂 He’s pretty relaxed around the dog now!

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Our neighbors generously bestowed these four wheelers on our family. The boys love having one more way they can be just like grandpa!

Fall is in the Air

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The squash are slowing down, but we still have quite a bit!  The winter squash will be ready before you know it.

The squash are slowing down, but we still have quite a bit! The winter squash will be ready before you know it.

It seems crazy that the summer could pass so fast, but already we are waking up to crisp cool mornings and witnessing the slow down in production from the garden. Our month was busy here, not only with the picking, watering, a broken water pump, and attempting to keep up with some of the weeds, but also with a visit from one of our other sisters/daughters from back East and a family reunion!

The Hubbard girls, all together back on the farm for a brief time.

The Hubbard girls, all together back on the farm for a brief time.

The last of the corn has now been picked, and we’re lucky if there is any still in the garden shed to be sold at this very moment. Harvesting our practically legendary sweet corn has been quite effective at bringing customers out, and typically, the corn has already sold out by about 10:00 in the morning! Hopefully our visitors won’t stop coming for the absence of corn, as we have plenty of other veggies yet to be sold.

The summer corn harvest coming to a close already!  If that doesn't forebode the end of the summer and garden produce, I'm not sure what does!  If you would like corn stalks for fall decorating, let us know before they all become fodder for the cows.

The summer corn harvest coming to a close already! If that doesn’t forebode the end of the summer and garden produce, I’m not sure what does! If you would like corn stalks for fall decorating, let us know before they all become fodder for the cows.

Even the dog enjoyed a good ear of sweet corn!  She got this one from the corn stalks that were being removed from the garden.

Even the dog enjoyed a good ear of sweet corn! She got this one from the corn stalks that were being removed from the garden.

It's been a struggle to get the little farmers to eat their vegetables, but as research shows and experience has proven, growing it and picking it themselves has really helped to increase their interest and buy in!  Jacob really enjoys these cherry tomatoes... even though he doesn't like tomatoes (he says).

It’s been a struggle to get the little farmers to eat their vegetables, but as research shows and experience has proven, growing it and picking it themselves has really helped to increase their interest and buy in! Jacob really enjoys these cherry tomatoes… even though he doesn’t like tomatoes (he says).

The long awaited tomatoes finally made their debut and are producing quite a bit. If you’re interested in ordering a lot of tomatoes so you can make your own batch of salsa, barbeque sauce, canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, or whatever your heart desires, let us know so we can set some aside for you! We also have some fresh basil, if you’re interested, but you’ll have to let us know as it doesn’t hold well when picked and set out in the garden shed.

We have fresh basil too, by special request.  And if you need a great recipe for some pesto, we have that too!

We have fresh basil too, by special request. And if you need a great recipe for some pesto, we have that too!

From our own kitchen, we’ve made a batch of sweet pickle relish, dill pickles, pesto, marinara, and barbeque sauce. We’ve also been freezing quite a bit of broccoli, onions, peppers, beans, and a tad bit of corn (from the lesser ears of corn that weren’t for sale).

What we currently have in the Garden Shed for sale:
– Yellow Onions (there are not many left; the Walla Walla sweets are gone)
– Garlic
– Broccoli
– Zucchini (slowing down quickly!)
– Patty Pan squash
– Slicing cucumbers (you can still order some pickling cucumbers also, but get your order in quick, as they are slowing down quickly!)
– Tomatoes (cherry, heirloom, paste, and slicing. If you’d like to order some canning tomatoes, let us know that as well)
– Spaghetti squash
– Cantaloupe melons (sometimes; we don’t have many this year)
– Green beans
– Peppers (jalepeno, anaheim, and bell)
– Asian eggplant (also slowing down quickly)
– Chard (sometimes; it sells quickly)

Coming soon:
– Pumpkins
– Acorn and Butternut squash
– We may have some other products, depending on our abundance!

Our fourth sister/daughter came out from Ohio this month for our family reunion.  We produced all sorts of smiles and fun memories for these cousins!

Our fourth sister/daughter came out from Ohio this month for our family reunion. We produced all sorts of smiles and fun memories for these cousins!

What can you say?  We're a John Deere family!  One of our Little Farmers told me the other day that he would have a tractor when he grew up.  When I asked him what kind, he replied incredulously, "A John Deere!"  As if there were ever a question!!

What can you say? We’re a John Deere family! One of our Little Farmers told me the other day that he would have a tractor when he grew up. When I asked him what kind, he replied incredulously, “A John Deere!” As if there were ever a question!!

Some pretty visitors we had in our garden.

Some pretty visitors we had in our garden.

Here's the scoop, memories are rarely  made the OSHA friendly way!

Here’s the scoop, memories are rarely
made the OSHA friendly way!

Three sisters in a scoop... If we can't work out our differences on the ground, this might force us to it!  This is how we reach those big beautiful berries that always seem to be just out of reach!

Three sisters in a scoop… If we can’t work out our differences on the ground, this might force us to it! This is how we reach those big beautiful berries that always seem to be just out of reach!

How many people can you fit on a tractor? One of our favorite things to do in the summer is pick black berries!  This year we got to take the entire family!  Not all members actually had berries in their buckets at the end, but they had purple faces anyhow.

How many people can you fit on a tractor? One of our favorite things to do in the summer is pick black berries! This year we got to take the entire family! Not all members actually had berries in their buckets at the end, but they had purple faces anyhow.

The Passing Seasons – Don’t Wait for School to Start!

The garden shed is open Monday – Saturday, early till around dusk!

It’s amazing how much changes in just one week, and how fast time flies!

Rather than trying to keep up with the average four seasons, the passage of time seems more appropriately marked by ‘when the very first flowers bloom, the fancy daffodils bloom, the garden is tilled, the ___ is planted,’ etc…  And now, it is marked by which vegetables and which fruits are finally harvesting!  It seems so sudden then that just in the last two weeks, we have been able to enjoy the first few smatterings of green beans, then some cantaloupe, and now even some blackberries!  Just last week, three little mouths devoured the first of the cantaloupe at our kitchen bar. This week also marked the first day of our sweet corn being available to you out in the shed! (It’s going fast!) The variety available out there changes daily. Pretty soon, perhaps we’ll be able to fill up both sides with a variety of peppers and tomatoes!  Little Josephine is learning to pick her cherry tomatoes regularly so that she can provide them to you on a regular basis, and is so excited to see them sell!  The first of the larger tomatoes are just starting to ripen, and more

will be out there for you soon also, likely in the next week or two.

Our first planting of sweet corn is now harvesting, and going fast each day! And the flavor has certainly not disappointed us!

What is currently picking and in the garden shed:

– Garlic – Walla Walla sweet onions – Anaheim and bell peppers – orient express slicing cucumbers – pickling cucumbers – Asian eggplant – sweet corn – cherry tomatoes – cantaloupe – zucchini – patty pan (scallop) squash – broccoli – and some occasional spaghetti squash (no doubt more will be there soon!)

Meanwhile, from the farmer:

Seems a year never passes that a busy homemaker says they will wait until the kids are in school before they turn their attention to pickling.  I can relate to the desire to balance one’s time.  On the other hand, the cucumber production is on the decline late August, and fades daily through September till the end comes in October.  Orders come in with the start of school and they pile up with the slower production.  Some of the late ones go unfilled.  A shame!  Meanwhile, July and August are great times for cuke production, if you have time and energy to match!  And, it’s great to teach your kids about canning!  Order now!

Our own jar of pickles, made with our own cucumbers, garlic, and dill.

Our own jar of pickles, made with our own cucumbers, garlic, and dill.

The Heat Is On… And so are the Cukes!

We picked a few cucumbers here, and a few squash there, but were not deceived. The flood would soon be behind it! And now the deluge has begun, and it appears that some inspiration and encouragement is necessary for those less adventurous patrons to dive in and try out some of these delicious novelties!

Orient Express cucumber

Orient Express cucumber

We planted a couple different varieties of cucumbers this year; the Orient Express cucumbers, and sassys. The Express cucumbers are a long, funny looking cucumber that is absolutely excellent for slicing! The peel on these is very thin and crisp, and therefore requires no peeling. The Sassys are great for pickling, and can also double as a slicing cucumber. We have found that these cucumbers grow up ‘gracefully,’ without a hollow center or huge seeds that would generally deter us from choosing a larger cucumber. As these cucumbers are coming on quick, let us know if you would like us to set aside a larger order for pickling! We’re able to pick them large (for bread n’ butter pickles), medium, or small (for gherkins), but note that these small ones will sell at a bit higher price. For those that just can’t do cucumbers because of the awful burps that follow, we have the perfect match: the Armenian cucumber!  Why the difference?  Because it is (technically speaking) actually a melon.  It grows long and thin (like the Orient Express), but is a light green color on the outside.  It also has a thin, crisp peel that allows for no peeling.   These have yet to produce this year, but are flowering profusely!  Hopefully they won’t keep us waiting much longer!
The sunburst, scallop, or patty pan squash (all three names are one and the same) has also been underestimated and understated. I’m sure if their true quality were known, we would have sold out already!  We used to grow the average yellow crook neck summer squash, but traded it out for this much better squash! My frustration with crook neck squash was always the large seeds it would get, and the large seed cavity also. If it got much further than baby stage, the skin would begin to get tough. Patty pan squash are most often described as being “buttery” in texture. They are much less likely to grow large seeds, and rarely have a hollow, less-than-desirable center. These squash cook up perfectly with zucchini. Of course, we prefer to saute some Walla Walla sweet onions first, add then add some squash and mushrooms!

Patty pan, scallop, or sunburst... whatever you would like to call it, it's delicious!  A shiny exterior lets you know it's still fresh.

Patty pan, scallop, or sunburst… whatever you would like to call it, it’s delicious! A shiny exterior lets you know it’s still fresh.

Perhaps you are aware of the different kinds of squash and cucumbers, but are still bewildered by what to do with them?  For cucumbers, we recommend making relish and pickles, slicing them to eat fresh, making cucumber sandwiches, or even using them in place of chips and crackers!  In our family, we have a constant struggle around food and dietary restrictions (this is something we scoffed at for a long time and still wish we could).  Subsequently, Mother Hubbard looked at a bowl of freshly prepared dip and wished aloud that she could have crackers to go with her dip!  Undeterred, we sliced up a few cucumbers and squash and enjoyed our healthier alternative to chips and crackers.  Cucumbers are also popular in a lot of Mediterranean and Greek dishes (like tzatziki sauce) and thus pair well with olives, feta, and cherry tomatoes.  My niece is responsible for growing the cherry tomatoes this year.  She sold her first bag of cherry tomatoes in the garden shed just this past week, and is eagerly anticipating selling her second!  Inside the house, we have a box set aside for her to begin accumulating for her college fund.

If you need a few more suggestions on what to do with the patty pan squash, they do great cooked just about any way you can think of, or even raw!  We have barbecued them on kebabs, thrown some curry in with them on the stove, or saute them up for breakfast alongside some fresh eggs.  For a bit more inspiration, we found this great list or recipes online, which sound pretty delicious:

http://www.healthy-recipes-for-kids.com/scallop-squash-recipes.html

Happy eating!

The corn is growing quick and the stalks smell so good!  It should be ready in a week or two.

The corn is growing quick and the stalks smell so good! It should be ready in a week or two.

Little developing ears of corn.

Little developing ears of corn.

Our savoy cabbage heads are huge!  Great for making sauerkraut.  Otherwise, you might need a friend to split it with!

Our savoy cabbage heads are huge! Great for making sauerkraut. Otherwise, you might need a friend to split it with!

We're blessed with a great view of the sunsets.  This one was worth sharing!

We’re blessed with a great view of the sunsets. This one was worth sharing!

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