Summer has officially arrived and with it our first heat wave of the season. The hot weather was beneficial for the summer crops like tomatoes and peppers but a bit stressful for the cool weather plants. Cool weather crops like lettuce, radicchio, spinach and the mustards (arugula, tatsoi, mizuna etc.) react to this stress by bolting. This is the reproductive mode of the plant whereby it stretches out and sends up a flower stalk.
We harvested a lot of lettuce this past weekend so as not to lose it. Lettuce in particular gets bitter when bolting begins. Another effect of high heat on the lettuce family is tip burn, where the upper edges of the leaves turn brown. We have a beautiful heirloom romaine called Forellenschlus, it is speckled with red and when grown to maturity has a densely packed head with dozens of thin tender leaves. We had to cut it a bit early because it gets bitter quickly. It has a little tip burn but still good quality. We are also sending a nice Boston lettuce. We also had to cut all the escarole last week and much of the frissee is bolting as well. There will be a choice between these 2 again this week, though mostly frissee this round. The heavy rains of the previous week and the heat of this past week were the one two punch for the spinach crop. Nobody likes wet feet but spinach actually dies from this condition; what survived is shooting up seed stalks. We have been cutting it over the weekend and will have enough for 2 more bunches per share this week.
The summer squash is beginning to produce and we expect to have enough for 2 per share this week. Next week we should have more. Also new this week will be baby salad turnips, these are sweet ping pong ball size roots that can be eaten raw in salads or cooked. They also have very nice edible greens. Peas are coming in heavy now so there will be larger quantities this week. The English, or shell type is the most abundant; I expect the sugarsnaps to begin producing heavily by next week. The broccoli is beginning to head up and kohlrabi is forming its bulb, so I expect to begin the rotation through the various brassica crops (cabbage, cauliflower, etc.) next week.
The share for this week will be: Forellenschlus romaine, green Boston lettuce, kale, choice of arugula, broccoli raab, or other mustard greens, salad turnips, summer squash, English peas, choice of escarole or frissee, spinach (some red stemmed) and choice of an herb (mostly dill and cilantro still).