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CSA #16

Dear CSA-ers,

This week’s Preassembled Bag will contain Cucumbers, Mixed Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Mist Head Lettuce, Spring Mix, Cilantro, and Carrots. Orders may now be placed on the online market at:

Long, bright days tell us we are speeding towards Summer Solstice, (next Saturday, June 20th) the longest day of the year. This celestial event signifies the official beginning of Summer. In Princeton, Kentucky, Solstice clocks in at a whopping 14 hours 46 minutes of daylight. From an office, it might be easy to miss the big 4 celestial events that demarcate the seasons, but on the farm, it’s hard not to notice their significance. These long sunlight hours mean that our plants will grow their fastest, provided they have the water and nutrition that they need.

Nutrition is taken care of at planting with a careful mixture of organic amendments we craft based on a soil test which tells us what needs to be bolstered. However, water can be challenging this time of year. Pursuing our broad goals towards sustainability, we utilize water efficient drip irrigation on the overwhelming majority of our plantings, with overhead wobbling only for seedbed establishment and lettuce production. Nevertheless, weeks without any forecasted rain can be kind of scary. Currently we are working on establishing Sweet Potatoes for the Fall and are going to try to heal-in some winter squash plantings as well. It’s incredible how quickly a cool, wet Spring can flip to a hot, dry Summer.

For this reason, our featured vegetable this week is the cucumber, which hails from the arid climate of India. With its crisp, cool interior, one might not think of cucumbers as a crop that thrives in deserts and areas of extreme seasonal dryness, but it very much is. Observing the plant itself, this climbing vine is covered in tiny hairs (formally “trichomes”) that protect it from sunlight, herbivores, and losing too much water to evaporation. The rind of the cucumber protects the delicious fruit itself as it accumulates moisture and nutrition. Cucumbers are mostly water, but they also contain a near perfect blend of electrolytes for humans. They are the perfect snack if you are feeling dehydrated or have been outside in the heat. We get asked a lot about “burpless” cucumbers, which is a complicated and misunderstood topic. There is a compound in cucumbers called “cucurbitacin” that protects the plant itself from insects and herbivores. Some plants accumulate this compound in fruits and others only produce it in foliage. At one time, this chemical was thought to induce burping in people who ate the bitter cucumbers. Plants with low fruit bitterness were selected for and bred. The link between cucurbitacin and burping has never been substantiated, and more likely burping is caused by eating any cucumber too fast. Yet the term “burpless” stuck as a marketing thing, and functionally means a low-bitter cucumber. We selected out cucumbers varieties to be resilient and delicious. Not all of them are advertised as “burpless” but so far they all taste great. So next time you think about asking a vendor if their cucumbers are ‘burpless’, instead, ask them “are they delicious?” We hope you find the answer for ours is “yes!”

As always we thank you for supporting our farm through our CSA and market presences. We are still very much a growing farm and are working perpetually to improve your experience. Yet we are still human, and subject to err. Should you have an issue with our produce, please let us know, and we will try to make it right for you. Customer feedback is an important part of improving our service, and being the best farm we can be, for you, our community.

The Magney Legacy Ridge Farm Team