This time of year just always seems to sneak up on us in the most wonderful way. We are so laser focused on getting all the fall crops into the ground, harvesting the first of the tomatoes, preparing for Soil Sisters, figuring out how to get away for Kyle’s birthday (more on this later!), and just generally trying to survive the mania that is July and August on a vegetable farm, that all of a sudden we look up, realize the CSA is half over, and discover that we’ve made it to the most beautifully abundant time of the year.
From now on, the fields will only get less full. And though there are parts of that that feel bittersweet, it’s mostly the exhale we’ve been waiting for since early May. The scales have tipped. There is still plenty to harvest and the pace certainly isn’t slow, but it stops feeling so much like a race—like we can’t sleep a full 8 hours or take a full weekend off because we may never catch up.
The biggest focus of our weeks now, aside from getting a succession of lettuce, scallions, and fennel transplanted every couple of weeks, is staying on top of the weeds in the fall fields, keeping up with the tomato harvest, and hauling in all the storage crops.
We began with the garlic in mid-July. The crew got most of it dug on one lovely Wednesday afternoon after we packed our CSA boxes. We covered our greenhouse with shade cloth and transitioned the space into a curing house for our alliums. These beauties took a couple weeks to cure, then we bunched them to continue their drying process while we moved onto the shallots. We harvested all of these at the end of a CSA harvest day about a month ago and brought them into the greenhouse for curing the next day. Again, a couple weeks later, we moved the cured shallots into bags to make room for the onions.
The cycle continues like this for all of August since our little greenhouse can only fit about two beds of alliums at a time (and we grew 10 beds of alliums that needed curing). At this point, about half of the onions are bagged or in crates. The last couple of beds are laid out to dry. Getting them all in from the fields has been one of the biggest tasks of our August. Once they remainder has had their week or two of curing, we will begin to clip the tops and move them into crates and then bags. Before you know it, we’ll begin bringing in the potatoes and winter squash!
Late summer into early fall continues like this. We harvest what’s ready in the field while also focusing on getting storage crops curing. It’s some of the most fun we’ll have on the farm—some of the only times you get to clear a whole crop at one time and take it to the scale. It feels amazing to write things like 283 pounds of shallots of 1000 pounds of Walla Walla onions in the harvest log. It’s our chance to really see what our fields are capable of, to understand the gravity and weight our little four acres can produce. We’re giddy to be here in the middle of late summer, and we hope you’re savoring just as much of these August days as we are.
The eating this time of year is amazing. Dinners can be simple and flavorful without much effort. We’ve been eating so many tomato salads, so many pasta salads, and putting quick cherry tomato salsas on everything. A steak or a burger with abundant vegetable side dishes are keeping us satiated in all the ways our farming bodies need.
This little salad in particular blew me away with its subtle beauty. Quickly blanched green beans, the first of the tender fall lettuces, freshly cured onions, and a handful of cherry tomatoes get a salty bite from fresh feta and a hearty crunch from the toasted walnuts. A delicate oregano dressing ties it all together. Serve this up for lunch outside and you’ll be just as ready as us to celebrate September.
LATE SUMMER GREEN BEAN SALAD
Adapted from Vegetarian Times
Takes 20 minutes
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half if large (about 4-5 cups)
1 head washed lettuce, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 pint halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon sherry or red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
3 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt, for serving
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add green beans and cook for 4 minutes then rinse under cold water. Pat dry with a towel.
- Toss together lettuce, beans, shallots and cherry tomatoes in a large bowl (or four small bowls). Top with feta and walnuts.
- Whisk sherry vinegar with dried oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic. Once combined, whisk in olive oil. Taste and adjust flavors as desired. Drizzle over salad. Sprinkle with a little extra flaky sea salt right before serving.