Many summer crops are taking off right now - cherry tomatoes, slicing tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes especially seemed to have a burst of ripening at the end of last week. The predicted heat this week should translate to some nice tomato harvests, and will also hopefully help our watermelon and colored peppers along so that we can be harvesting them soon as well. The hot and dry conditions are also good weed killing weather - we'll have our cultivating tractors and stirrup hoes out this week for sure! Another plus to this weather is that it creates unfavorable conditions for the spread of many plant diseases. Of course, hot weather isn't always great for every plant. Extreme heat can cause the blossoms to drop off of eggplant, which leads to gaps in the harvest later on. We think this is what's going on with our eggplant harvest right now - hot conditions several weeks ago caused blossoms to drop, hence not much fruit right now. The plants look healthy, though, so the prognosis is good for future harvests! Another downside to the heat is that it creates tough working conditions for the crew. However, we've got some lighter duty afternoon tasks and frequent water (and maybe popsicle breaks) planned.
This week in the CSA:
- Heirloom tomatoes - The varieties we grow are Pruden's Purple (pink and sweet), Striped German (yellow and pink, juicy and sweet), Cherokee Purple (brownish with green shoulders, slightly more acidic flavor), Cherokee Green (yellowish green, slightly tart) and Carbon (similar to Cherokee Purple) We have been spraying the heirlooms regularly with copper (an organic fungicide) to prevent late blight. Please be sure to wash your tomatoes before eating.
- Slicing tomatoes - Defiant (red), Damsel (pink) and Chef's Choice (orange). The Defiant and Damsel are naturally late blight resistant, so we do not spray them. We do however, spray the Chef's Choice, so those should be washed.
- Potatoes - We're now harvesting Carola, a buttery flavored potato with golden skin and flesh. Transitional.
- Fresh onions - Transitional.
- Summer squash - Transitional.
- Zucchini - Transitional.
- Cucumbers - Transitional.
- Peppers - green and purple.
- Swiss chard
- Cherry tomatoes - so many varieties are ready now, including Sungold (orange - a farm favorite, incredibly flavorful), Cherry Bomb (red), Jasper (red), Yellow Mini (yellow and pink striped), Sunpeach (pink), Mountain Magic (red cocktail size), and Grape (red).
- Beans - we still have green beans as well as some Dragon's Tongue (pale yellow flat pods with purple speckles).
- Basil - we've got 2 plantings that are going strong. It's a good week to make pesto!
In the farm store:
We will have most of the veggies listed in the CSA available, as well as a small amount of eggplant, husk cherries and colored peppers. We'll also still have corn from Verrill, honey from Double B honey (produced by bees right here on the property!), and eggs from Pete and Jen.
You don't have to be a Flower CSA member to pick - just talk to a shopkeeper about purchasing a bouquet a la carte. Flowers in bloom right now include zinnias, snapdragons bachelors button, celosia, statice, scabiosa, verbena, cosmos, strawflower, craspedia, gomphrena, ammi and more.
Blistered Beans With Tomato-Almond Pesto
The tomato pesto is delicious, but if you are trying to minimize time in the kitchen during this hot week, we also recommend sautéing your beans, for a couple of minutes, slicing a pint of cherry tomatoes in half, and tossing them in the pan for a minute or two with the green beans!
By Chris Morocco, Bon AppétitNovember 2015
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup unsalted, roasted almonds
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 3 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 2 pounds green or Dragon’s Tongue beans, trimmed
Preheat oven to 450°F. Roast tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet, turning once, until blistered and lightly charred, 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Finely chop almonds in a food processor. Add garlic, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, cayenne, and half of tomatoes; pulse to a coarse pesto consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add half of beans; cook, undisturbed, until beginning to blister, about 2 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 7–9 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Spread beans out on a platter; let cool. Repeat with remaining vegetable oil and beans. Toss beans with pesto; season with salt and pepper if needed. Add remaining tomatoes and transfer to a platter.
ZUCCHINI GRIDDLECAKES (and variation with corn)
By Adam Ried, Boston Globe August 19, 2007
- 2 1/2 pounds small to medium zucchini
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 large eggs, beaten lightly
- 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, or to taste
- 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons flour
- Corn, vegetable, or canola oil (for cooking)
Using the shredding disk in a food processor or the large holes on a box grater, shred or grate the zucchini (you should have about 8 cups) and the onion. Place the vegetables in a colander, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt, and mix. Place the colander over a bowl and let stand 30 minutes until mixture exudes about 1 cup of liquid. Rinse under cold water. Spread a clean dish towel on a work surface, place the mixture in the center, gather the corners of the towel, and twist to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a large bowl, and break up clumps with a wooden spoon.Stir parsley, eggs, milk or half-and-half, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper into the zucchini and blend. Add the flour, and, using a rubber spatula, fold it into the zucchini mixture.
Set the oven rack to the center position and heat to 250 degrees. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Measure 2 or 3 tablespoons zucchini batter and pour into the pan to form a disk 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. Repeat until the pan is filled, leaving about 1 inch between cakes. Cook cakes without moving (adjusting heat if pan becomes too hot) until the bottoms are golden brown, about 3 1/2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the cakes and cook until the second side is golden brown, about 3 1/2 minutes more. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels and set in the warm oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm.
Thyme and corn Remove kernels from 2 ears of corn, about 2 cups. Follow the Zucchini Griddlecakes recipe using 4 zucchini instead of 8. Add the corn and 3/4 teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme to the squeezed zucchini along with the parsley, eggs, milk or half-and-half, baking powder, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper