Dear Members and Friends,
Welcome to Week 11, or, Holy Tomatoes, What Happened to Summertime?!?!?!
We are a little stunned by the sudden transition into fall-like weather over the past week. It has us dreaming of roasted winter squash and hearty soups. Things look like they will warm up again soon, but a combination of events has conspired that will keep a few of our summer crops from making a come-back with the warm weather:
Eggplant: As you heard last week, out of the 300 some eggplant plants in the ground, we’ve gotten a whopping total of 5 or 6 eggplants this year. Apparently this mysterious phenomenon is affecting other farms in our area as well and is assumed to be weather related.
Sweet Corn:We planted 6 different successions of sweet corn this year, each 7-10 days apart in when they were supposed to mature. They all matured fast, and three of them came to maturity at the same time. So unfortunately six weeks of sweet corn has now been condensed to four.
Tomatoes: Say it ain’t so, not you too, tomatoes! Well, not quite yet, but the plants have been hit hard by all the excessive moisture. Rain spreads early blight on tomato plants (a disease that gets a lot of tomatoes in this part of the world even before the frost does) and the conditions for spreading have been ripe this year. There are some plants still hanging on, but not for much longer.
Summer Squash: Nothing unusual about summer squash ending this time of year. The plants usually start fizzling out around early September–see you next year Zucchini!
And so it goes: The highs of summer end sooner some years than others. And while some of our favorite summer crops ride into the sunset, cherished fruits of fall start coming into focus. There is plenty of good stuff on the way!
In the boxes this week:
- Sweet Corn: Silver Queen (4 small, 6 medium, 8 full)
- Spring Greens (1/2 lb everybody)
- Tomatoes (1# for small shares, 1 1/2 for medium shares, and 2# for full shares
- Bell and/or Sweet Peppers (2 for everybody!)
- Hot Peppers (1 med & full)
- Potatoes (3 lb medium, 4 lb full)
- Broccoli (1 lb small & medium shares, 2 lb full shares)
- Oregano (1 bunch for full & medium shares)
- Cilantro (1 bunch for small shares)
- Melons (some smalls & the mediums who didn’t get melons last week)
We are continuing to rotate melons through the membership in order to make sure everyone gets some of the limited supply. Mediums who did not receive a melon last week will be getting one this week. Small shares will be starting to get them, too. If you’re a small share and did not receive a melon this week you will likely be getting one next week.
A special note about your Broccoli
Broccoli is back! We recommend that you cut up your broccoli as soon as you get it. The core of their main stems have been hollowing out as they are growing, removing the core once you get it will keep it from decomposing prematurely in your crisper and ruining the whole head. By cutting the head in half lengthwise you will easily be able to tell what’s good to keep and what’s not.
A lot of the tomatoes that have held up well in the wet weather are Aunt Ruby Greens or Great Whites. There is a good chance you might get one this week–lucky you! They are two of my favorites! Both green and white tomatoes have a rich and sweet flavor with very low acidity. So if your tomato is green or whitish yellow, assume it is ripe or close to ripe. Go by touch not color–it should feel slightly soft and giving when gently (gently!) pressed.
This week I’ve really focused on the pepper. They’re so user friendly, and make a great snack raw, but I encourage you to explore some of the wonderful recipes we’ve gathered using cooked peppers. Cooking peppers enhances the sweetness. Many of the recipes use a broil technique that is really, truly, quick and easy, and produces a fantastic result. Start with the simple marinated pepper recipe, or go a few steps further for a great Farro and Pepper Salad or a Spanish Pepper, Tomato and Cheese Salad. Not coincidentally, they feature oregano, too! There’s also this recipe for a lovely little Broccoli, Pepper and Portobello Tartine, (a.k.a. French-style open faced sandwich) which we can’t get enough of.
Broccoli is one of the stars of the tartine mentioned above, but this cold weather also has me making soups again. You might like this Broccoli Soup with Cheddar Toasts on one of these incredible 40 degree nights forecasted for this week. This hearty Pasta with White Beans and Broccoli Pesto would be equally satisfying and warming for a weeknight supper.
Melons really don’t need anything but a knife and some eager eaters, but if you’d like to mess around with this beautiful fruit please try the Melon Sangria and give a toast to a lovely but all-too-brief summer!
Sneak Peek at Next Week:
- Romano Beans
- Cilantro (?)
- Summer Savory Herb (!)
Here’s to hoping that we get a little more warm weather and a little more time with our summer friends!
All the best from all of us,
Heather, Brandon, Frank, Maybelle and the crew