From the Field
Here on St. Croix tropical storm Gabrielle brought a lot of dark, grey weather, with a few breaks of sunshine, rainbows and colorful sunsets. The plants have had mixed responses to the downpours - our eggplant and pepper transplants relished the needed moisture; but some of the recently sown salad mix and the yardlong beans have been experiencing some effects of fungal diseases from the excess residual moisture.
One of the practices we use on the farm to control disease is crop rotation. We plan our plantings in such a way that plants from the same family like tomatoes and eggplant from solanaceae and cucumbers and pumpkins from cucurbitaceae are planted in a new location every season, to avoid spreading diseases, insects and pathogens that can remain in the same location. We can also plant crops that have lower fertility requirements after crops that have high fertility requirements in the same location to make use of the limited space we have available to us on the farm, then follow with a nutrient-giving cover crop that returns nitrogen to the soil for future crops.
Stay dry this hurricane season, and happy eating!
Claudia & the crew at Ridge to Reef Farm
Photo above: Eggplant in the CSA fields
What's in Your Box
Yardlong Beans (Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis) are a type of legume that can be prepared and eaten just like green beans, even though they belong to a different genus than the common stringbean. Despite the name, they are only actually about 1.5 to 2 feet in length. They are also known as chinese long beans or asparagus beans, and are a tropical/subtropical annual vine. There are several different colors and varieties, ranging from green to red. Their flavor and texture are best when the beans are cut into smaller sections and sauteéd, stir-fried, braised, steamed, stewed, roasted or cooked in a curry. The beans are an excellent source of protein, vitamin A, B vitamins, iron, phsphorus and potassium.
Genovese Basil is the the traditional Italian pesto basil. Store unwashed basil in a plastic bag in the refrigerator vegetable crisper, but for no longer than a few days. To avoid discoloration, you can purée the basil in a blender or a food processor and top it with a protective layer of olive oil. You can even freeze this in ice cubes and save for later!
Mixed greens can be eaten raw as salad greens, or cooked briefly until just wilted. We grow a gourmet blend of highly nutritious greens, whose young leaves are tender and tasty. Try making a salad with radishes sliced on top! Radish greens are edible and similar in taste to mustard greens, so they are best cooked to remove some of their spicy flavor.
Okra is excellent fried or sauteed, or used in s chili or gumbo. Just chop into one to two inch sections. Our red burgundy okra is prized for its striking color and tenderness even in the large pods. When cooked it turns the more familiar green.
STIR FRIED BOK CHOY WITH GINGER AND GARLIC
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 cups chopped fresh bok choy (1-2 heads)
1 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
Salt and ground black pepper
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add bok choy and soy sauce cook 3 to 5 minutes, until greens are wilted and stalks are crisp-tender. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.
This Week's Harvest
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).