Tomatoes are here!
The rolling waves of thunderstorms continue to move through our little valley, sporadically enough that we are able to get plenty of work done! The tomato harvest this week has taken us all by surprise. We set out early in the week to plan for the CSA: lots of things to do, harvests to bring in, potatoes, eggplant, beets, and zucchini, berries, melons, cucumbers and basil. And probably to grab a few tomatoes along the way, maybe enough to toss a ripe red one or two into everyone’s boxes to complement their sungolds. Four hours later, we are all still knee-deep in tomatoes, running out of buckets, carrying them out by the ton, and wondering when we’re going to get to everything else on the list? Every year this moment comes and takes us like a red storm and we’re reminded of what a bounty farming can really provide us with. As July slips away we’re still trying to get caught up, a little, on the weeding and planting, so that we can stay productive into the fall, but the tomatoes keep knocking at our door. Like a particularly persistent salesman they have arrived and don’t intend to be delayed for long. So hopefully we are ready for them! – hopefully our crew knows their tasks and can work long hours together in harmony, bending, picking, sorting, packing, pound after pound, bushel after bushel, of fresh tomatoes. August, here we come!
Produce and Cooking Notes
Basil – The intoxicating smell of fresh basil continues to fill up our greenhouses and our lives.
Cucumbers – Cucumber harvests have fallen off recently but I think (as I write this) that we will have enough for everyone. Zucchini, on the other hand, are in a lull; you might get one as a surprise but don’t expect it.
Hot Peppers – We will have a selection of hot peppers available today, from mild Hungarian Hot Wax to red hot cayennes.
Sungolds – The sungolds continue to rise as reliably as their namesake.
Eggplant – Everyone can get an eggplant today, although some are admittedly not as big as others!
Beets A few weeks later than the carrots they were planted alongside, our summer beets have started to come in nicely.
Onions - The onion harvest continues to come in, so we should keep having them in your boxes.
Tomatoes –Lots of tomatoes for everyone today – you’ll get a mix including regular red slicing tomatoes as well as a selection of heirlooms.
Bell Peppers – Everyone is getting some bell peppers today, either yellow or purple sweet peppers. In addition full shares are getting the big, skinny, red Jimmy Nardellos, a sweet frying pepper (not a hot pepper!), and the bright orange Yummy Peppers which are a tasty snack for lunches or after work.
Community Tomato Canning Days! “Many hands make light work.” We’ll be canning whole tomatoes at the FoodShed on Wednesday, August 8 and Wednesday, August 22 starting at 9 am and would love for you to join us! Working together, we hope to be done by lunch time or soon after. Space is limited to four additional persons, but there is the possibility of adding more days. Purchase canning tomatoes from Village Acres, bring your jars and lids, and we will all work together on the large six burner stove to get our combined tomatoes canned in one fell swoop. Whole tomatoes are quick and versatile. Canned whole tomatoes make great pasta sauce, can be blended for tomatoes soup, added to stews, or chopped into a wintertime salsa. They are one of the most energy efficient ways to store tomatoes as well! If find there are more folks interested in community canning at a different time, let us know and we’ll try to make it happen. Register by emailing Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org First come, first serve.
Luscious Beet Salad
– from Feeding the Whole Family Cookbook
• 4 large beets
• 1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds, toasted
• 1 bunch beet greens
• 2 scallions, finely chopped
• 1/4 lb. feta cheese
• 3 tbsp. olive oil
• 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 3/4 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
• 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
Cut cooked beets into cubes. Tear greens into bite-sized pieces and steam lightly (30 seconds or less), if you like, though it’s not necessary. Squeeze excess water out of greens if you steamed them. Toss beets and greens with seeds and scallions. Shake dressing ingredients in a jar and pour over salad. Toss again and sprinkle cheese on top.
Easy Cherry Tomato and Cucumber Salad
From From Asparagus to Zucchini
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 small cucumber
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
pinch of sugar
salt to taste
1 tbsp minced cilantro
Stem the cherry tomatoes; slice in half. Cut cucumber in half crosswise, quarter the halves, and slice. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or so. Serve at room temperature.
from The Farmer’s Market Cookbook
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed, peeled, and chopped
• 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
• 2 lbs ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped, juices reserved
• 4 tbsp best olive oil
• 1 cucumber, chopped
• 1 ½ loaves day-old Italian bread
• 25 basil leaves, cut in strips
• 1 small jar capers, rinsed and drained
• 1 small jar anchovies, rinsed and drained
• In a mortar and pestle, make a dressing with the garlic, vinegar, tomato juice, and oil. Or chop all ingredients as finely as possible and mash them together.
• Tear the bread into bite-sized chunks and toast it lightly. Put it into a salad bowl and toss it in the dressing. Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil. Scatter over the capers and anchovies and marinate for at least 1 hour. Season to taste and eat at room temperature.