July 18th, 2013

Well the summer weather finally arrived this week.  With temps in the 90's and high humidity it actually felt like mid-July.  The heat is putting an end to our spring greens but fortunately our summer crops are doing well.  We are hoping that the greens will not be gone too long as we already started our Fall greens a few weeks ago!  It seems crazy to think about autumn but around here we constantly thinking 3-6 months out.

A good example of long term planning is with our potatoes.  We placed the order for our seed potatoes back in Dec 2012.  Seed potatoes are actually normal looking potatoes that are ready to send a sprout out from each eye.  The seed potatoes arrived in February and we planted them into the ground on March 17th.  Just prior to planting the seed potatoes we cut each one into smaller chucks that contain at least one eye.  We spaced the potatoes about one foot apart and then covered them with soil.  A few weeks later after they sprouted we went through with the tractor to "hill" the potatoes which helped keep the weeds away.  Now it's July and the potato plants have died back and now we can dig them up.  To dig them up we actually use a potato plow on the back of the tractor.  The potato plow is simply a large single spade that is pulled behind the tractor.  We run the potato plow down the row and it digs a trench and leaves the potatoes on top of the fresh dirt (see pic below).  I love harvesting potatoes because it only takes 1 minute to run the tractor down a row and when you turn around to see your work there are hundreds of potatoes nestled on top of the soil.  The last step is to gently place the potatoes into our harvest bins.   This year we planted somewhere around 2,500 feet of potatoes.  The Yukon golds are typically very prolific but for some odd reason our yields on these larger potatoes are down this year.  However, our fingerlings in addition to our purple and red fleshed potatoes are doing great and we look forward to several more weeks of spuds!

Enjoy your tubers!
Jeff and the Sugar Creek Crew

Purple Potato Salad via food network

2 pounds small purple potatoes
1 purple onion, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the potatoes until fork tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain, then rinse in cold water, and cut in quarters. Place the warm potatoes in a large bowl and toss with onion, celery, dill, and parsley. In another bowl, stir together mayonnaise, mustard, celery seed, cayenne, vinegar, and lemon. Check seasoning. Add the dressing to the vegetable mixture. Toss gently to coat taking care not to mash the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad via food network

6 small tomatoes (4 medium)
1 pound fresh mozzarella
10 to 15 basil leaves
3 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella and arrange casually with the basil leaves on a large platter. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

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