This week our farm apprentice, Colton Cummings is giving a sneak peek into Loon from his perspective. Colton hails from Wisconsin, attended the U of MN, was in the Peace Corps in Gambia, and is now apprenticing on our farm for the season. If Colton could be any vegetable, he would be a sweet potato. This morning Laura asked me what being an apprentice at Loon Organics means to me. Throughout the day, I found myself pondering this question, finding it easy to get lost deep in thought as we went through the motions of harvesting beans, squash, cucumbers, peppers, and onions under the tranquil blanket of late summer skies. Frogs and birds singing, cicadas buzzing, back sore from constantly bending, the humid air neutralizing my body’s attempt to cool itself, leaving me sticky and hot.  As I travel onward and ever onward down this path, watching, listening, feeling, and ultimately searching for what is important to me, I find myself considering my values. Through my experiences I’ve come to better know myself, and paint an abstract picture of what these values are: honesty, hard work, sustainability, community, humility, independence, and health to name a few. I have found most of my passions involve being dirty and outside, surrounded by some kind of plants, away from the hustle and bustle of a city.  So what does being an apprentice at Loon mean to me? Alongside the obvious of learning the particulars of vegetable farming, it is an opportunity for me to live true to my values while expressing my passions. And although most days the farm leaves me exhausted, dirty, and sore, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  A few notes about this week’s box:  MELONS! The red watermelons all came in at once this year. We will move into the yellow watermelons next and should have one more week of watermelons and/or cantaloupe. Watermelons need to be picked ripe. They won’t ripen off the vine. I (Laura) have now been professionally tapping watermelons for 12 years and have a good sense of when they are usually ripe, but there are times when an overripe or underripe melon will slip past my watchful eye. If you get a bad melon, just let us know and we can send a replacement for you the following week. Our friends and neighbors at York Farm are hosting a wood-fired pizza oven building workshop on their farm Aug. 11-14. Check their Facebook page if you are interested in attending. Garlic Fest is at Hutchinson Fair Grounds this Saturday!! Have a great weekend! Next week’s box: melons, cucumbers, summer squash/zucchini (starting to peter out), sweet peppers, tomatoes, garlic, colored carrots, and more.

Recipe Corner 

Watermelon Sorbet 

Our on farm chef and manager Sophie whipped up this little number for our coffee break and it is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!!! DO try it! If you’re really ambitious Sophie suggests scooping out the flesh and adding the sorbet back in with mini chocolate chips for a fun party/potluck addition. 

8 cups of watermelon, cut into chunks, most of the seeds removed 2-4 tablespoons lemon or lime juice 1 1/4 cups water 1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup honey) Make a simple syrup by boiling water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Let come to room temp (use an ice bath to speed it up) then chill for 30 minutes. Blend watermelon and citrus juice until liquid. You can also add herbs for any extra flavor- basil or mint can never go wrong. Try adding 1/2 a minced jalapeno for a little sweet-spicy kick! Pour through a sieve to remove any remaining seeds, then add the simple syrup. Chill for 1 hour, then either use an ice cream maker to churn, OR leave it in the freezer in the container you have it in and stir every 20 minutes to mix ice crystals into the mixture until the entire thing in frozen (if you just let it freeze without stirring it will be a solid block. Stirring incorporates air, making it spoon-able.)

Summer Squash Pizza 

We’re coming down to the end on our summer squash! Celebrate the last few picks with this recipe. From Smitten Kitchen again…we know but it’s great, Deb adapted it from Jim Lahey over at an amazing bakery called Sullivan Street Bakery in New York. He has some amazing cookbooks so if you have the time definitely take a gander at them. His website is http://www.sullivanstreetbakery.com 

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for fingertips 1 recipe pizza dough (Click HERE for Deb’s Recipe) or dough recipe of your choice 2 1/2 pounds (about 5 small-medium or 3 large) zucchini or summer squash, trimmed 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt 2 cups (8 ounces) coarsely grated gruyere cheese 2 to 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs Heat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Brush either 1 13•18-inch rimmed half-sheet pan or 2 9•13-inch quarter-sheet pans with olive oil. Divide your dough in half and use oiled fingertips to pull, stretch, nudge and press the dough across the bottom of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect; just try to get it even. If holes form, just pinch them together. Use a food processor with a grater attachment or the large holes of a box grater to grate the zucchini. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and salt. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes (more, if you have the time), until the zucchini has wilted and released its water. Drain the zucchini in a colander and then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible, a fistful at a time. Back in the large bowl (wiped out if still wet), toss the zucchini with the gruyere shreds, being sure to break up any clumps of zucchini. Taste the mixture; it should be seasoned enough from the salt, but you can add more, plus ground pepper or pepper flakes if desired. Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough(s), going all the way to the edges of the pan and piling it a bit thicker at the edges, where it will brown first. Sprinkle messily with the bread crumbs. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden. Remove from oven, cut into squares and dig in. Enjoy your box and thanks again from all of us at Loon Organics Farm! Your farmers, Adam, Laura, Eli, Willie + Crew