Edamame: Summer CSA ’11 – Week 13

 In CSA Newsletter

Edamame. If you’ve never heard of them before, these are a style of soy beans meant for fresh eating (as opposed to animal feed). They are a delectable treat.

Harvesting edamame is a major chore. In fact everything about edamame is kind of a chore. The seed is really expensive. The plants take a long time to grow. And well there’s just no easy, quick way to harvest them (without a combine). But they are so yummy! Some years we grow them; some years we don’t.

We’ve experimented with how to harvest edamame the most efficiently. One year we tried cutting the whole stalk with lobbers. Then we would bend and fold the plants (with the beans still on) into a little package held together with rubberbands.  The eater then had to do the job of pulling the beans off the plant. This year we started picking them like we do green beans. This requires a harvester to bend over to the ground for hours, hunting for beans through the leaves. Mike and I calculated the labor hours it took to harvest just 30 pounds and it was astronomical; one labor hour for five pounds. Holy Toledo!

So this morning we tried yet a third way to harvest edamame. One person went through and cut the plants off their stalk and laid them in big piles in the field. Then the rest of us followed behind with crates, pulling off the beans into our bins.  It is slow going. We brought lawn chairs and buckets to sit on. It was a big soy-bean pulling party. It must have been a strange sight for those driving by; ten people in chairs out in the middle of the field.

Not only was this harvesting method the best we’ve come up with so far, it was also really fun!  All of us worked together, telling jokes in the cool morning air.  Rare are the times that all of the people working at the farm work all together on one task (and on a task that was so easy on the body). Puns were flying. Grand declarations about country music were made and debated. A Katie Perry song got in everyone’s head, which we promptly tried to extricate with Willie Nelson.  It was a pleasant harvest indeed.

Eating edamame is a lot like eating peanuts. You salt the outer skin, but only to get the salt on your tongue. To prepare, fill a medium sauce pan with a few cups of water and then add salt. The saltier the better. Then boil the beans for about 10 minutes. Drain and then eat by putting the whole bean in your mouth and using your teeth to pull the beans out of the furry skin. Discard skin.

You will notice a big change in your boxes this week: no more zucchini, no more cucumbers, no more melon.  The cucurbits are done. Can you believe it? Meanwhile, there are 3 very exciting additions to your box this week: sweet bell pepper, sweet red Carmen pepper (my favorite ever!), and a poblano pepper (hot). Please note that all the RED peppers in your box are SWEET.  Both the green peppers are HOT.

More tomatoes are also coming your way.  With this large of an amount of tomatoes, it’s best to put the ones you plan to eat later in your fridge, and the ones you hope to eat sooner on a plate on your counter.

Have a great week & enjoy your veggies! Sincerely, Mike, Cassie, & Zea

In the Box:

  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Cabbage, Green
  • Cilantro
  • Edamame
  • Eggplant, Japanese
  • Garlic
  • Jalapeno Pepper
  • Onion, Sweet
  • Poblano Pepper
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Sweet Red Carmen Pepper
  • Sweet Corn
  • Tomatoes,  Red Cherry “ EOs
  • Tomatoes, Slicers & Heirlooms

REGs = Regular members only

EOs = Everyother members only

This Week’s Recipes:

Summer Week 13 – Wednesday, August 31st: Everyother Group A