This week’s box:
Tomatoes- See the following note. Please wash produce. We are trying to keep the tomato plants healthy and happy despite the rain and late summer blight. We have sprayed a copper solution that is used in organic methods. While it is approved for organic farms, you should make sure to wash your tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. (Always wash produce!)
Cherry Tomatoes-See the note above. Please wash produce. Some of the most flavorful tomatoes are the little ones. Try them sliced in half with basil and chopped cucumbers (also good with diced large tomatoes).
Red Peppers- They’re here! Red and sweet and delicious. Did you know that it takes an extra 2 weeks for a pepper to go from full size green to ripe and red? During that time, the darling pepper must hang on the plant and avoid being scorched and softened by the August sun.
Cucumbers-We have a young succession of plants that have started producing cucumbers. We are lucky to have them. Usually this time of year it is too hot and humid for the plants and they die of disease. Enjoy the bounty this year!
Beans-mix of green and yellow bush beans. Enjoy the crisp sweet beans. This will be the last distribution for them.
Basil-Oh the wonderful scent of basil. I love harvesting it for you all.
Garlic- More delicious heirloom garlic for you this week.
Eggplant- The eggplants just aren’t in full swing. But, there is enough eggplant to add to tomato sauces or supplement other dishes. Try simmering cubed eggplant in lightly salted water for a few minute before adding to tomato sauce or a vegetable sauté.
I looked for recipes that include a variety of summer vegetables: peppers, tomato, eggplant and others. Be creative as you use these recipes and others! You can always trade out vegetables that aren’t available for ones that are. For example, you could leave the squash out of the grilled vegetable pasta salad and use more peppers and tomatoes.
Also don’t forget the good ol’ option of eating vegetables raw. Sweet red peppers can be sliced for a great healthy snack. Diced pepper, tomato, and cucumber tossed with your favorite vinaigrette makes a great, easy to prepare salad.
Late Summer Bruschetta (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
2-3 large tomatoes
1 crunchy sweet pepper
1 medium sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Small handful fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Crusty bread (like baguette)
Shredded mozzarella or grated parmesan (optional)
Chop the vegetables into a midsize dice. Combine with garlic 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, and optional basil. Slice baguette down the middle and lay the two sides cut side up. Brush with additional 1-2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle on cheese, if using. Broil bread for several minutes until bread or cheese browns a bit. Top the sections (you may cut them smaller, if desired) with some of the vegetable mixture. Makes 4 servings
Grilled Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
This great pasta salad recipe can be made with a variety of summer vegetables. It is easy to mix and match ingredients based on seasonal availability.
1 yellow squash
4 portobello mushrooms
1 red bell pepper
Olive oil spray
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound penne, cooked, rinsed, and cooled
4 oz. mozzarella, sliced
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
Approximately 1 cup vinaigrette made with balsamic vinegar
Heat/prepare an outdoor grill. Slice zucchini, squash, and eggplant into long ½ inch thick “planks.” Cut tomatoes in half. Remove stems from mushrooms. Cut pepper into quarters; discard core and seeds. Spray veggies with light coating of oil. Sprinkle with minced garlic; season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly charred and barely tender. Chop and place in large bowl with pasta, cheese, nuts, and basil. Toss with vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper. 6-8 servings.
Southwestern Strata (lasagna) (from From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to Cooking Farm-Fresh Seasonal Produce)
1 ½-2 cups cooked beans (wither form dry or canned)-a red or black variety is best
½ cup chopped sweet red pepper
½ cup corn kernels
¼ cup minced green onion
1 2/3 cup milk
1 cup tomato salsa (can be made fresh by dicing tomatoes and seasoning to taste with cayenne pepper, garlic, salt, jalapeno, cilantro, onion)
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
5 6-inch flour tortillas
1/2 -1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Combine beans, red pepper, corn, and green onions in bowl. Wisk eggs and milk in a second bowl. Combine salsa, sour cream, cilantro, and cumin in a third bowl. Oil a deep, round, baking dish that’s about the width of a tortilla. Place a tortilla in dish. Spread a quarter of the bean mixture. Pour on a quarter of the milk mixture. Repeat layers three or more times and end with a tortilla. Spread sour cream mixture over top. Refrigerate 3 or more hours. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle cheese over strata. Bake until firm, 45-55 minutes. Makes 6 servings.
The Farm this week
We’ve been seeding fall crops! It is exciting to get back into the soil and prepare for greens! Late summer grasses and weeds can be a problem competing with small vegetable seedlings. But some of the drier afternoons make for great weeding weather. When we pull one out it actually dies! In wet weather many weeds easily re-root, making the Sisyphean task of weeding seem even more futile. Arugula and lettuce mix are sprouting now!
Speaking of weeds, the sweet potato patch had gotten a little out of control. The sprawling sweet potato vines had blocked out many of the weeds, but a few got through. We have one weed that seems to be related to tomatillos. When it develops seeds they are covered in a papery husk. They look like small paper lanterns hanging from the branches of the weed-pretty, but not what we want! When this plant gets through the sweet potato canopy it goes wild turning into a sprawling shrub 4 feet high with braches flopping 5 feet wide in all directions. Fortunately, there aren’t many. Went through the other day and pulled them all out. Now the sweet potatoes should have a great final month or so to really get ready. Look forward to sweet potatoes in some of your September boxes!
As always enjoy the bounty!
Your farmers William and Marie