With the hot temperatures we've been having lately it seems odd to be talking about fall crops, but those are what are on our minds lately. Our harvest routine is firmly focused on summer, with tomatoes, melons, summer squash, zucchini and cukes taking up several hours every other day. Much of the rest of our time, however, is devoted to caring for (and sometimes just admiring) many of the crops we have to look forward to in a few weeks. Unlike May and June, August's tasks feel much more manageable. There is very little planting and seeding left to do. Our weed pressure shifts away from persistent grasses and nutsedge to the more merciful purslane and chickweed. Garlic, shallots and cipollini onions were harvested weeks ago and are curing in the greenhouse and farm stand. Other crops, like winter squash and fall potatoes, were planted much earlier in the summer and no longer require weeding.
It's a good thing we are no longer feeling the urgent pressures of May and June, because late August is also the time of year that we lose a lot of our help to the start of the school year. We wish Matt the best of luck at UVA and Emma at CCHS, and congratulations to Kathleen, who is getting married in Hawaii before starting back at her regular teaching job in September. We will still be seeing Kathleen and Emma around the farm, though for fewer hours than over the summer. Fortunately, we still have Rachel and Lauren, as well as some incredible volunteers helping us get through this time, including Caleb and Gabriella in the fields and Patsy, Dee, Jane, Kathy and Susan in the store. And of course, our smiling customers and members always give us an added boost!
In the CSA this Week
- Golden and Chioggia Beets - these are the first beets from our fall planting
- Kale - we've had a few week's hiatus from kale as the spring planting succumbed to old age and we have now moved on to our beautiful fall crop
- Swiss Chard - a new planting is ready and it looks gorgeous
- Heirloom Tomatoes
- Slicing tomatoes - both red and orange varieties
- Paste tomatoes - perfect for making sauce
- Peppers - green and purple bells.
- Watermelon - we'll continue to have the last of the Starlight variety, as well as a new (to us) open pollinated variety called Blacktail Mountain
- Summer Squash
- Baby Bok Choi
- Lettuce - limited quantities this week
- Husk cherries - these are a sweet treat and developed quite a following last year. They are ready to pick when they fall to the ground and the husks are brown and dry
- Tomatillos - great for making salsa verde
- Cherry tomatoes - members will have the option to buy an extra quart for picking in addition to the quart that is part of the CSA share.
- Hot peppers - jalapenos, serrano, capperino, ancho
- Herbs - Genovese basil, Thai basil, parsley, thyme, and sage
- Sunflowers - the next varieties blooming sound like something you want to eat: Buttercream and Chocolate!
In the store:
In addition to the crops listed above, we should have cantaloupe, some of the first colored peppers and Verrill Farm sweet corn.
Here are a couple of delicious recipes featuring leeks. The tart is also a great opportunity to use Pete and Jen's eggs!
Leek, Cherry Tomato and Pecorino Pizza
from Food & Wine, October 2009
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 1/2 pounds pizza dough, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 large leeks, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 pound ground lamb
- 32 cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 pound truffled pecorino cheese, thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 500°. Heat a pizza stone on the bottom of the oven for 45 minutes. (Alternatively, heat a large inverted baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven for 5 minutes.)
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 7-inch round. Oil 3 large baking sheets and place the dough rounds on the sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Add the lamb, season with salt and pepper and cook until no pink remains, about 5 minutes.
- Generously flour a pizza peel. Place a dough round on the peel and brush with olive oil. Top with some of the leeks, lamb, tomatoes and pecorino cheese. Slide the dough round onto the hot stone or baking sheet and bake for about 4 minutes, until bubbling and crisp. Repeat with the remaining ingredients and serve.
Leek and Swiss Chard Tart
adapted from Bon Appétit October 1999
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3-4 leeks, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 1/2 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves (ribs removed)
- 1 1/4 cups whipping cream
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
Roll out pastry on floured work surface to 12-inch square. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1 inch. Fold under; crimp edges. Cover; chill.
Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover; cook until leeks are very tender but not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add chard; saut until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool.
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 425°F. Whisk cream and next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in cooled leek mixture. Pour filling into crust.
Bake tart 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and bake until filling is puffed and just set in center, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer to rack; cool 10 minutes.