It's onion harvest week! We brought in 3 full beds of onions between Wednesday last week and Monday this week. I'm not yet sure how many pounds of onions we are drying, but it's a lot. It seems like a decent bit more than last year although we planted about the same amount of onions this year. We have red and yellow storage onions, with a lot more of the yellow ones because they tend to dry better. Let's hope that they mostly dry down nicely and we don't lose too many to rot during the curing process! We cure (dry) the onions for 2-3 weeks, until their tops and the outer protective skins are thoroughly dry. Then we'll trim the tops and roots and pack them into storage boxes so we can give them in shares for a good part of the second half of the season.
We are also gearing up to get many of our fall plantings in the ground from late July through August. It's a little bit like a second spring, as we turn over lots of beds and start putting in cooler weather fall crops again. We'll plant cabbage, kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, napa cabbage, chard, radicchio, kale, fennel, rutabaga, and of course lots more carrots, lettuces, beets, turnips and radishes.
This week, we're still in the heart of the summer as far as harvests go. The tomatoes are excellent these first few weeks of harvest. Our second cucumber planting is going strong, so you'll have those in your shares this week as well. We love a simple and refreshing cucumber and tomato salad when it's hot outside:
Our kale plantings are still looking good for mid-July. Most years the plants nearly stop producing at this point. I know some of you love kale and are always happy to have more, while others might not be the biggest fans. Remember, you can always blanch and freeze hearty greens like kale for use in soups in the winter. I also thought this kale and roasted carrot recipe sounded wonderful and would be gorgeous with your rainbow carrots:
Speaking of the rainbow carrots, they are lots of fun but aren't always as nicely shaped as the orange ones. The yellow and red/orange carrots seem more like a wild root sometimes becoming long but not filling out as much as the orange carrots we are used to seeing. Steve, who has a degree in plant breeding, says that the orange carrot varieties have had many decades of selection and breeding behind them while the newer colored carrots have not. My favorite colored carrot variety is the purple ones that have an orange center. These seem to mostly have a decent size and shape as well. It's important to note that the purple color will fade a bit with cooking, so if you want to really preserve the wow factor it's best to slice them in rounds and eat them raw with some kind of salad.