I don’t feel inspired today. I think there was too much thinking needed this week and not enough time to mind-wander. Makes for an uninspiring newsletter. Anyway, here is some random stuff from the farm.
Garlic harvest. We harvested all the garlic last week. It is now hanging in the patent pending garlic curing chamber. We’ll be giving it out sometime next month once it is cured of all that ails it.
Heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes are starting to come on so I figured I’d let everyone know that we grow many heirloom tomatoes. Why do you need to know this? Because many of the tomatoes do not look like perfect, hybrid red tomatoes. And more importantly they taste a lot better. Plus, since they come in a variety of colors, including green, don’t use color to indicate when the tomato is ready to eat. Use touch, or more precisely, a light squeeze. The more it gives, the riper it is. If it gives a lot it is ripe a lot, otherwise know as overripe. So gently squeeze your tomatoes and eat them when they give to light pressure. And store them on your counter, not your fridge (though storing cherry tomatoes in the fridge works fine in my opinion).
Tomatillos. We are just starting to harvest tomatillos. What are tomatillos? They are the smaller, more modest cousin of the tomato. Like tomatoes they are a fruit. Unlike tomatoes they like to wear a light wrap – or husk for the unimaginative. Peel off the husk prior to eating. If you are looking for a recipe try Salsa Verde or Tomatillo Corn Salsa.
Eggplant. Good news bad news on the eggplant scene. They continue to produce. You get to decide if this is good news or bad news. For those who have worked through all their eggplant recipes here is one from a helpful member.
Here’s a recipe to use green onions and eggplant. I made it for years and my husband wouldn’t touch it because it was eggplant. Finally, he tasted it two years ago. Now he can’t wait until everything is in season. It freezes well. Thaw in refrigerator and heat before eating with chips.
Asian Spicy Eggplant (I just call it Eggplant Dip)
Olive or peanut oil
3 medium Eggplant – diced
2 cups scallions – chopped
2-3 tbsp. chili pepper paste (I chop up a red chili pepper and a jalapeno pepper or two with a little oil and the garlic from further down this list.)
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp. minced garlic (I put it with my hot peppers in a chopper.)
2 cups red bell peppers – diced Cashews for garnish (I don’t use them.)
Dice eggplant and sprinkle with canola or similar oil. Saute eggplant (one layer at a time) in hot pan (I use a nonstick electric skillet.) in batches. Remove eggplant from pan, add scallions and remaining ingredients (except bell peppers) and cook until sauce is slightly syrupy. Add back eggplant and stir to mix. Saute red peppers just until color is brilliant and to remove excess moisture. Stir peppers into eggplant mixture. Cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. May be served warm or at room temperature. Garnish with cashews, if desired. Serve with wonton chips or tortilla chips.
(I sprinkle the diced eggplant with just enough oil to wet them before cooking and let them sit for a few minutes to soak it in. I’ve found that when I add them dry to a pan with a little oil in the pan they soak it up and are hungry for more oi.)
There are two types of vegetables: harvest-when-needed (HWN) vegetables and need-to-harvest (NTH) vegetables. HWN veggies can be harvested any time you need them — as long as they are ripe or of sufficient size. Examples of HWN veggies are chard, potatoes, carrots and kale. NTH veggies are vegetables that we have to harvest when they reach a certain state (usually size) otherwise they go bad (get too big, get overripe, etc.) Examples of NTH veggies are tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers and broccoli. Why do I mention this? Because we are inundated right now with NTH vegetables. We have so many veggies that we have to be harvest that we are not harvesting those that are more forgiving and flexible. That is why you are seeing eggplants, tomatoes, beans, summer squash and not chard, potatoes or carrots. Never fear, once some of these more demanding veggies ramp down we will be harvesting the more farmer friendly veggies. In fact, the summer squash is one of the self-centered veggies that is starting to wind down.
Onions. We have a lot of green onions still. But we also have a lot of bulbing onions. Since onions fall into the forgiving veggie category we decided to let them keep growing in the field until the green onions are done. We may change our minds one of these days. At the very least we will be harvesting all the bulbing onions in August when they transition from harvest-when-needed to need-to-harvest due to their end of life.
Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. The broccoli hasn’t looked very good this year. I wish we had a better handle on controlling the weather and in particular the heat. Broccoli just doesn’t like it as hot as it has been. The cauliflower also does not like the heat but it has been surprisingly good. I wish I could figure that out! And just to let you know we are still working on the first of four varieties of cabbage. This is not the time to stop finding uses for cabbage.
Sweet corn. The early corn has been quite good, small but good. We will finish the early corn this week and then move on to the main season crop – Bodacious – sometime next week. The good news is we haven’t seen any corn earworms yet.
What will there be this week? Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, green beans, yellow beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, sweet corn, basil, cucumbers, onions, eggplant, some tomatilloes, some summer squash/zucchini, hot peppers if we ever get around to harvesting them, the last of the fennel, and maybe something else I am forgetting.
FruitShare: The next FruitShare will be Colorado peaches. These have been wonderful in the past and I suspect they will be equally wonderful this year. If you would like to order them a la carte please let me know. They are $41 for a 10 lb box or $69 for a 20 lb box.
MeatShare arrives Friday August 3rd.
CheeseShare came last Friday and is being distributed.
InsectShare this week is tomato hornworms. They are quite big this year!