Every week we update our to-do list on a whiteboard in the barn, but in July many things remain on the list every week. Some stay on the list because they are maintenance tasks we accomplish but need to repeat, like cultivating weeds with the tractors or mowing and weed-whacking around the property. Others stay on the list because they are much bigger projects than the length of their line on the to-do list implies. “Weed carrots” sounds like a pretty straightforward and innocuous task, but it feels never-ending as new carrot successions germinate (unfortunately not as quickly as the newly churned up weed seeds germinate). Weed control in general has overtaken transplanting as the most time-consuming non-harvest task. Perhaps we should consider breaking our weeding to-do list down into 50 foot increments so that we could have the satisfaction of crossing things off more frequently!
While we are still in the midst of a pretty intense stretch of the season, we take comfort in the projects we do get to cross off (garlic harvest - check!) and the fact that we are more than halfway through the hardest four months of the year. We also find relief in the crew’s energy and sense of humor. They push through hard tasks like weed-whacking in the heat, they keep each others’ spirits up as they chat while making their way through long weeding projects, and sometimes they even show up with a scarecrow sitting in their passenger seat ready to guard the watermelon (and make us laugh)!
This week in the CSA:
Tomatoes - The tomatoes from our new high tunnel are coming in, so we’ll have a mix of red and orange slicers, as well as heirlooms available!
Peppers - green bells and purple “Islander” peppers
Fresh Onions - both Ailsa Craig (white) and Red Long of Tropea (red). They should be stored in the refrigerator.
Cucumbers - slicers and picklers
Mini Cabbage - Green, purple and Caraflex
Mizuna or Baby bok choi
Tomatillos - pick when the tomatillo fills out the entire papery husk around it. Great for roasting and making salsa verde.
Hot peppers - these got damaged by Colorado potato beetles, but there are still some nice jalapenos (green) and fresno chiles (red) out there.
Cherry tomatoes - Sungolds (orange), yellow mini (yellow), grape (red), cherry bomb (red), sunpeach (pink) and more are ripening. Check signs for guidance on the correct color for ripeness.
Green and purple snap beans - Look under the foliage to find beans. To pick, hold the plant just above the stem of the bean and gently pull the bean off.
Herbs: parsley, dill flowers and dill seeds, cilantro and coriander seeds, thai basil, chives, peppermint, spearmint, thyme, oregano, tarragon and sage. Many of the herb plants in the herb beds near the farm stand are still small. Please pick sprigs, leaving plenty of plant below to continue to grow. For sage, pick off only a couple of individual leaves, leaving at least 6 or 7 leaves per branch.
Tuesday and Thursday 11am-6pm
We’ll have snapdragons, bachelor’s buttons, calendula, orlaya, gomphrena, cosmos, strawflower, statice, rudbeckia, scabiosa, celosia, sunflowers, decorative basil, zinnias, and more this week. Picking is open to PYO Flower CSA members as well as to the public for purchase by the bouquet (we provide the a jar for measuring your bouquet size and you fill it with the flowers you’d like to take home!).
This week in the farm stand:
We will have all of the veggies listed in the CSA available in the farm store, as well as our own blueberries, flower bouquets, and arugula. We’ll also have sweet corn from Verrill Farm, eggs from Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds and mushrooms from Fat Moon Farm.
This eggplant and tomato recipe was suggested to us by a CSA member!
Persian Seared Eggplant and Tomato Beef (Gheimeh Baademjaan)
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 25 mins
1 large Eggplant or the equivalent amount of the smaller eggplant variety
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-1.5 pounds of Lean Ground Beef
1 White or Yellow Onion, pureed in a food processor or shredded with a box grater
1 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
5 ounces (⅔ cup) of tomato paste
1 large Tomato (or 2 small/medium ones), rinsed and cut into thick wedges
1 cup of Greek Yogurt
1 tablespoon (approximately 4 to 5 cloves) of freshly Minced Garlic
Rinse the eggplant. Remove its stem and slice the eggplant into ¼-inch thick slices. Then cut into a bit larger than bite-sized pieces.
Put water into a large pan to an inch deep. Add in the eggplant into a single layer. Turn heat to high and place cover over pan. Once the water starts seeming like it wants to boil, reduce heat to a simmer (most likely medium heat). After a couple minutes, flip them to cook the other side for another 2 minutes or so. The eggplant should soften and may slightly change in color. Remove the eggplant to a clean plate. Work in batches if needed.
Rinse and dry the pan. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan on med-high heat. Swirl oil around in pan to coat the surface.
Add the eggplant to the pan in a single layer and don’t touch the eggplant for 2 minutes while it sears on one side. After 2 minutes, flip the eggplant and allow to cook for another 2 minutes before removing to a clean plate. Work in batches if needed (add more olive oil for each new batch).
In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, onion, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
Add the beef mixture to the pan on high heat and use a spatula to break up the beef into small pieces.
Allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the beef has browned and begins sauteing in its own natural fat.
At this point, mix in the tomato paste.
Mix in the eggplant and fresh tomato.
Turn heat to med-low and mix occasionally for 5 minutes.
To make the garlic yogurt, mix the garlic into the yogurt. Serve a large dollop of it on top of the beef mixture in your own plate that you’ll enjoy with bread, pasta, rice, or quinoa.
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
Tarator - Bulgarian Cold Cucumber Soup
By Nelka on May 15, 2003 on food.com
2 cucumbers (about 1 lb)
1 lb plain yogurt
3 -4 garlic cloves
2 -3 tablespoons of crushed walnuts (optional)
1 bunch fresh dill
about 1 cup water (optional)
Cut the cucumbers into cubes and put them in a bowl. Beat the yogurt with a fork until it gets liquid and pour it over the cucumbers. Add the crushed garlic, the walnuts and the minced dill as well as salt and oil to taste. Add some water to make the soup as liquid as you like. Put into the refrigerator to cool or add ice cubes. Serve cold.