Harvesting Okra & Curing Butternut Squash
Village Farm Team,
We harvested the first of our okra this past week! Lucky for us, okra loves the heat and will keep producing throughout the hottest part of the year. Okra is a member of the mallow family along with hibiscus which is why their blooms look so similar. Once okra flowers, it takes as little as 3-4 days until the pod reaches harvestable size. This means that we’ll be checking our plants at least once a day from here on out to make sure we can keep up with the harvest. Though okra is commonly fried or used in gumbo, we like to snack on it raw! It has a crunchy texture and a mild flavor.
Remember the butternut squash we planted the Silo Fields with back in March? We just harvested them all in preparation for the curing process, about 1,500 pounds worth! You might notice in the photo that these butternuts have a very small stature. These butternuts are a variety called “898 Squash” and were bred by the folks at Row 7 Seeds in order to pack concentrated sweetness, flavor, and beta-carotene into a single-serving squash. We’re currently curing them in the greenhouse in order to prepare them for long term storage.
Did you have a chance to pick up any eggplant from the veggie wagon this weekend? In addition to the Beatrice variety we’re also growing the glossy, dark purple Galine variety. The Galine embodies the quintessential color and shape of what we’ve come to expect of an eggplant in the United States. Unlike the Beatrice variety, the calyx of Galine is green. Larger eggplant varieties have the potential to be a bit more bitter so if you prefer you can cut the eggplant in half, salt it, and let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing it and using it in your recipes. Eggplant pairs well with other nightshades (tomatoes, peppers) in addition to onions, zucchini, basil, cilantro, garlic, and ginger.
Please note the veggie wagon is still open on Saturdays from 8-12 but with more stringent sanitary protocols in place!
Happy Harvesting, The Agmenity Farm Team
Words & Photos by Courtney West