August Eighteenth

It’s mid August and the tomatoes are here in full force, right on schedule! I have so missed their juicy, ripe flavor. There are few vegetables that I long for in the off season as much as I long for tomatoes. I have a love for them that I cannot compare to many other vegetables. Their highly perishable nature only adds to the esteem.

Heirloom tomatoes, in particular, deserve an introduction. Heirloom plants are usually open-pollinated plants. Heirlooms are cultivars that were commonly grown during earlier periods in human history. By open pollinated, I mean plants that were allowed to be freely pollinated by bees, birds or wind and their seeds were saved from the female parent plant that may have had slightly different characteristics from the plant we are eating from now because the male parent plant is usually unknown. Conversely, a hybrid plant comes from controlled pollination where the female and male parent plans are known and are deliberately bred so that the seeds they produce contain desirable characteristics from each parent plant, such as the right shape from one plant and the right color from the other, for example.

(Yawn) – Us nerdy farmers get into this sort of thing.

Open pollinated or heirloom cultivars preserve genetic diversity (this is what is cool about them). Since they are open pollinated, from year to year they are naturally bred to ‘evolve’ so to say, with the times, the farm’s soil conditions, and other fancy things like the ability to resist blights. Who knows what kinds of things these mysterious plants are adapting to from year to year. Heirloom plants are usually continuously bred by seed savers because of their hardy nature and the superior flavor, color, shape and textures that the fruits themselves possess.

Oh, and one other thing about heirlooms, they usually look really funky. I’m a funky sort of a gal, so I dig funky vegetables. They are usually in-consistent in their shapes and their colors sometimes vary, you can see how this would annoy your average grocery store produce buyer who wants all the tomatoes on their shelves to look the exact same. Heirloom vegetables have a superior flavor as they are bred primarily for flavor and their genetic adaptability. Enjoy your Heirloom Cherokee Purple and Brandywine tomatoes. We are also sending you some heirloom San Marzano Romas (paste tomatoes for sauce). Salsa anyone?

Sooo, What's in the box???

Red Norland Potatoes-  You woudn't believe this, be we actually dug all of the potatoes this week with a pitch fork!!!  The ground was too wet for us to pull our digger through and the machine kept getting clogged and the tractor tires were spinning.  Arrgh!  But we know that potatoes are a must-send item, so alas, potatoes in the bag with dirt and all!  We don't actually wash our potatoes because it's too much extra work and the potatoes actually keep their firmness and will store better with the dirt on. 

Purple or Green Cabbage-  We tried to give everyone a purple cabbage, but when we came up short we supplemented with some green cabbages.

Lemon, Asian and/or Slicing Cucumbers-  Lemon Cukes are the round, yellow/lime-green, prickly looking things.  The Asian cucumbers are the gnarly, long and skinny cukes and hopefully you know how to identify the regular slicing cukes by now.  The Cucumber harvests are beginning to wane.

Zucchini, Summer Squash and/or Patty Pan Squash-  Squash harvest is waning quickly now!  Another week or so, but then we'll be out of summer squash.  Enjoy it while it lasts!

Carrots-  These carrots were dieing back really fast from all that moisture.  They weren't quite as mature as we had hoped, but it was an urgent harvest.  I'm willing to bet they won't last long in your fridge.  

Basil Leaf-  For everyone that didn't make it to the pesto party, we're sending the pesto to you!  Remember that basil does not like to be put in the refrigerator or it will turn black.  These Basil stems can be trimmed and stood upright in a glass of water.  Basil will keep best like fresh cut flowers.

Lacinato Kale or Redbore Kale- Dark green lacinato kale leaves are a little holy this week from all the heavy insect pressure during the heat.  The insect pressure usually goes way down when the nights get cooler and they all slow down on their munching.  Just hold onto the stem and strip the leaves off when you're ready to cook with them.

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes or Eggplant- We tried to give those who got an eggplant last week cherry tomatoes this week and vise versa.  The eggplants are taking a bit longer to flower this year.  We're expecting more fruits in a couple weeks.  We'll continue giving eggplants as long as we have them.  I trust that it won't be long before everyone has had plenty of eggplant;)  Sungold Cherry Tomatoes are ripe when they are bright orange.  Some of the large cherry tomatoes are red.

Heirloom Tomatoes, Roma Paste Tomatoes, Regular Slicing Tomatoes- Slicing Tomatoes are mostly Heirlooms such as brandywine or Cherokee Purple.  The Cherokee Purple Tomatoes are ripe when they are soft and they are actually purple.  Yum!  Some of the San Marzano paste tomatoes look like hot peppers.  Note the difference between a paste tomato (for making salsa and sauce and they contain less juice) and slicing tomatoes (juicy tomatoes for sandwiches, eating raw and whatever else you want them for (I'm putting them on everything I eat).


Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Sesame Kale Salad

Roasted Eggplant and Garlic Hummus