Around the Farm:
Yesterday was a perfect day to hitch the tractor to the discs and continue preparing the soil for fall transplants. Lettuce and scallions are already planted in the garden. The kale, collards, and Swiss chard plants will have a place in the garden in just a couple of days. And there are so many seeds to sow including radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, and arugula.
The tomatoes are glowing with beautiful shades of crimson, scarlet, deep rose, burgundy, and gold. They are finally ripening- a full month late! They really are solar powered. Did you know that tomatoes are close to impossible to grow in the Pacific Northwest because it is too cloudy and cool?
The other day William rode his bike up to the Broughton Hospital Reservoir, which is along the Salem side of the South Mountains, and is now a part of the South Mountains State Park. When he returned, he had realized something that both of us knew, but hadn’t thought or talked about very much…The grass is still so rich and lush in August. The trees, hillsides, and pastures are all so verdant. Typically our grass starts to grow slowly and the countryside has more golden and brown colors in it starting in mid June. There is still even a covering of clover all across the pastures.
Farm Fresh Harvest
Tomatoes- The tomatoes have full ripe flavors since we grow them under the hoophouse, which keeps the rain from watering the flavor down.
Basil- Store your basil in a little glass of water on the kitchen counter. Basil does not like to be refrigerated. What a welcome fresh, aromatic bunch of basil. We won’t have very much basil this year unless the weather dries out a bit. Make sure to rinse it well before using- the rains are splashing sand on the leaves. Chop it up and sprinkle it over your summer dishes that include peppers, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers. The flavor is so fresh and aromatic.
Bush Beans- The same plants are still producing! These tender bean are tender and juicy. You can eat them raw too since they’re so sweet. We sauté them in olive oil with some garlic and onion for about 10 minutes. Then I add a splash of lemon juice and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Bell peppers- Crunchy!
Summer squash and Zucchini- We’ve got a beautiful harvest this week. The green and yellow squashes are called Zephyr and they have a nutty flavor that is somewhere between squash and zucchini. Zephyr is well known for its unusual appearance and its great taste.
Cucumbers- Cucumbers come in all shapes and sizes. We grow little mini cucumbers, large crisp American slicers, and delicate slender European cucumbers.
Eggplant- Our long, slender Asian eggplants are very tender and never bitter. They cook very quickly.
>>>Check out this photo story about building our tomato hoophouse.<<<
>>>Check out this photo story about building our tomato hoophouse.<<<
Sweet Basil, Tomato, and Summer Peach Salsa
1. Mix equal parts chopped slicing tomatoes and chopped fresh peaches in non-reactive bowl. (no metal bowls, they can make it taste funny)
2. Finely chop approximately 4 big leaves of basil or 8 small leaves of basil for every peach that you use.
3. Measure out approximately ½ teaspoon lime juice for every peach that you use.
4. Sprinkle basil and lime juice over tomatoes and peaches. Add salt to taste. Let salsa rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Keeps about 2 days in the fridge.
Greek Style Green Beans
This recipe is a new favorite here at the farm. The dish does take a while to cook, but requires hardly any attention.
Try this eggplant recipe! At the very least, let it inspire you to find another recipe with eggplant.
Baked Eggplant with Sweet Peppers and Rice
Hearty and comforting, baked eggplants in a casserole are a pleasing late summer dish.
1 eggplant (about 1 or 1.25 pounds, you can use 3-5 long, slender Asian eggplants)
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped fine
1 large sweet red pepper or 4 small ones, diced
1 cup cooked rice
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
Oregano, 1 tablespoon dried or 2 tablespoons fresh, crumbled or chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped fine
12 basil leaves, chopped
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg, well beaten
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cube the eggplant and steam for 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile saute the onion and red peppers in the butter until soft. Gently mix the eggplant, onion, red pepper, rice, and tomatoes, herbs, and egg together. Add salt and pepper to preference. Spoon into a buttered baking dish and bake for 35-40 minutes. Add grated Parmesan if you’d like.
We like to serve spiced lentils with this dish to provide protein for a balanced meal without meat.
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.
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
Fresh flavor! This is a great salsa, salad or pita stuffing.
1 medium cucumber, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely diced, remove as much of the spicy ribs and seeds as needed
1 bell pepper, diced
1 bunch parsley, finely diced
2/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup pitted kalamata olives
Juice from 1-2 fresh lemons
Combine all ingredients and toss well. Let marinate at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
How about some green bean recipe ideas? Martha Stewart provides inspiration again…
Healthy Green Bean Recipes
Three Bean Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
If you don’t have watercress or mache on hand (and you won’t, because mache doesn’t grow here when green beans grow), you can use arugula, lettuce, or any other salad green,