Week 4: We're all on the vegetables' schedule

Heirloom tomatoes! Half a pint of cherry tomatoes! Eggplant! Green pepper! That's some summertime excitement, all of a sudden. We shouldn't be surprised, and yet we are taken aback by the sudden flood at a time when we're usually still in a dribble. Peppers and tomatoes did not make an appearance until Week 6 last season, when the spring was unseasonably cold. Eggplant didn't show up until Week 11! The last couple weeks it's been a bit of a scrounge to even line up enough eggplant for just half of the CSA, and today, to our amazement, we picked more than 500 pounds. This goes to show you how much the weather affects plant growth even if they are planted at the same time each year .

This is the point in the season when we switch gears. We are now working on the vegetables' schedules--not our own. We've been doing work, but on our own schedule, as modified by weather and worker availability. Now we pick vegetables on their schedule, in whatever quantity exists, and adjust our lives accordingly. I didn't expect more than a continuing sprinkle of tomatoes today, and so harvested these green peppers as a new item this week. We gave out eggplant recently thinking it wouldn't be the real deal for a while, but having a quarter ton on hand by surprise, well...plans change. We had to throw our whole original vegetable list out the window and start fresh when we saw the reality of what came in from the fields.

So, just like us, you are now on the vegetable's schedule. Your expectations of what might be in the bag might not be correct either, but just roll with it.  Lettuce and chard are ready for you whenever you like during the week, and potatoes and cabbage will wait patiently to become dinner anytime. But tomatoes? Tomatoes tell YOU when to eat them and that's that. Leave them on the counter until they're ripe; too soon and they're uninspiring but too late and they're mush. Let the vegetables tell you what to eat for dinner, and your CSA meal plan falls into place.