There has been a big push on the farm in the past couple weeks to prepare for the fall and beyond. This weekend we brought in reinforcements from the city (thanks Ashley and Eric!) to help weed in the strawberry beds so that we can have healthy productive plants next June. Last week we weeded all the fall beets and most of the carrots and we are now concentrated on hoeing our fall brassicas including cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and collards. Every year we look for areas we can improve and this year we wanted bigger Brussels sprouts! So, we planted our seedlings earlier, weeded and hoed the plants thoroughly, and gave them a boost with some organic fertilizer to get them on track. The progress we've made in the past week towards preparing fall crops is particularly important because our crew will decrease in number as the summer winds down. This is Matt's last week helping bring in the harvest as he is off to college at the University of Virginia. We appreciate the boost he gave us this summer and hope he comes back to visit. We are pretty sure he will think of the farm whenever he eats arugula or lettuce, his Tuesday morning harvest specialties!
In the CSA this Week
- Heirloom Tomatoes- These tomatoes are funky colors and shapes but full of flavor! We grow the varieties Cherokee Purple, Prudens Purple, and Striped German. Heirloom varieties were not bred for productivity, looks, or ability to ship so they are trickier to grow and store but are well worth the effort.
- Red slicing tomatoes- Coming in strong this week!
- Summer Leeks- The first leeks of the season are a summer crop called Chinook. Leeks were an infamous June weeding project so our crew is excited to see their efforts in the CSA, farm store and on their dinner plates!
- Baby bok choy
- Tatsoi- A mild flavored green that is great for salads!
- Red Russian Kale
- Peppers - green and purple bells.
- Summer Squash
- Cherry tomatoes
- Hot peppers - jalapenos, serrano, capperino, ancho
- Beans - green and yellow wax
- Herbs - Genovese basil, Thai basil, parsley (we are working on weeding the bed so the parsley should be easier to find this week!), thyme, and sage
In the store:
In addition to the crops listed above, we should have mustard greens, Blacktail Mountain watermelon, and Verrill Farm sweet corn.
Adapted from Ratatouille by Martha Rose Shulman at the New York Times. Featured in the article For Vegetarians at the Cookout
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound (2 medium) onions, thinly sliced
4 to 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3/4 pound sweet peppers, cut into slices about 3/4 inch wide by 1 1/2 inches long
1 1/4 pounds zucchini, sliced about 1/2 inch thick (if very thick, cut in half lengthwise first)
1 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper
2 to 4 tablespoons slivered or chopped fresh basil, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the cubed eggplant in a large, heavy flameproof casserole. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and salt to taste. Place in the hot oven, and roast uncovered for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring from time to time until the eggplant is lightly browned and fragrant. Remove the casserole from the oven, cover tightly and allow the eggplant to steam in the hot casserole while you pan-cook the onions, peppers and zucchini.
2. Heat a tablespoon of the remaining oil over medium heat in a large, heavy nonstick skillet. Add the onions. Cook, stirring often, until just about tender, about five minutes. Stir in the peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the peppers have softened and smell fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in half the garlic, and cook for another minute. Season with salt and pepper, and transfer to the casserole with the eggplant. Heat the remaining oil in the skillet, and add the zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until tender but still bright, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining garlic and mix together for a minute until fragrant. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to the casserole. Add the tomatoes to the casserole along with the bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and more salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything together, and place over medium-low heat. When the vegetables begin to sizzle, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes until the mixture is juicy and fragrant and the vegetables are thoroughly tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm or cold, preferably the next day. Stir in the basil shortly before serving.
Yield: Serves six to eight.
Advance preparation: Ratatouille keeps well in the refrigerator for about five days.