Squash (Zephyr, Zucchini, and Cousa)
Tomatoes (determinate and heirloom specialty mix)
Onions (Tropea or Bergamo Cippolini)
Beets (Chioggia, Red Ace, and Early Wonder)
Romano Beans or Shishito Peppers
Escarole or Frisee
No rain. That is the first thought for the week. We have had almost no rain for the past month, just small amounts every 10 days or so. So we irrigate as much as we can; but with a limited well our crops are all pretty thirsty. We are lucky to have the irrigation setup we have for these dry spells, so that the crops can get some respite, but we also have to cross our fingers that the fruiting plants will adjust to the dry conditions. There are upsides to dry weather though, our onions and garlic cure faster both in the field and then in the barn. There is less fungal and bacteria diseases affecting our nightshade and curcubit crops, and the weeds grow a bit slower as well. Despite the heat and dry conditions, we planted a whole new succession of tomatoes; which went into our covered portohoopie structures. We hope these tomatoes will produce into early October. We also planted our last succession of cucumbers in our small hoophouse. In order to protect the seedlings from cucumber beetle and squash bug damage, we dunked them in a Kaolin clay mixture before planting them. The clay produces a film that acts as a deterrent for the bugs. It is bright white and makes the seedlings look like something on the moon, but the short window of protection is enough to help the little seedlings set down roots and grow a bit before being decimated by pests. Another big task this week was starting our first round of fall seedlings such as cabbage, kale, collards, broccoli, brussel sprouts, fennel, scallions, and of course lettuce. Over the next four weeks we will be starting thousands of seedlings for fall, winter, and even early spring crops. So as we all begin our hot summertime weather, we are planning and beginning for the rest of the year. In these hot conditions growing healthy fall seedlings is a challenge, but each year we get a bit more saavy with our techniques.
In this weeks share everyone will get either Romano beans (a flat poded green bean) or Shishito peppers (a mildly spicy frying pepper). Both of these are specialty items for us, as they often don’t yield a lot, so we are excited to get them into the shares. As the summer crops take over, you will notice less salad and cooking greens, but we do aim to include items when we can. Currently we have two different successions of arugula, salad greens, and lettuce heads growing; but due to weather fluctuations, pest issues, and infrequent watering, they don’t always amount to quality product. So now is the time for beet, tomato, onion, potato, and cucumber salad instead. Check out the recipes below and enjoy the share… Autumn and Brian
Sautéed Shishito Peppers – This recipe gives you an idea for the simple preparation for both shishito and padron peppers. Be aware some of these have been quite hot. Adding lemon over the peppers is not necessary, sometimes they are best just with salt.
Below are three recipes from our friends Tim and Caroline of The Kitchen Garden in Massachusetts. They have an abundance of recipes on their website and they run an amazing farm. Check it out. http://kitchengardenfarm.com/
Salad with Beets, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
This is my favorite way to eat beets. The combination of the bitter greens, the sweet beets, the roasty nuts, the creamy cheese, and the sharp dressing is one of the most sublime flavor combinations ever contrived.
Leafy greens such as lettuce, arugula, escarole, frisee, spinach, or radicchio
1 bunch small beets
Small handful walnuts or pecans
4 oz fresh goat cheese
Shavings of sweet onion or shallot, scallion or chives
For the Dressing:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Wash and dry the greens and add to your favorite salad bowl. Trim and wash the beets and steam until tender. (Peeling is not necessary, but if desired, they slip right off after cooking.) Toast the walnuts either in the toaster oven or in a dry frying pan and set aside. Be careful not to scorch them. Decorate the salad with pats of the goat cheese, onions and slices of beet.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking together the mustard, vinegars, and the salt and pepper. Drizzle in the oil as you continue whisking and the dressing should emulsify into creamy brown substance. Just before serving add the toasted nuts, and toss with the dressing.
Romano Beans with Red Onion, Oil & Vinegar
1 lb or so beans
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
salt & pepper
This is a very simple, delicious way to prepare any type of string bean, and it makes a great summer salad or cold vegetable side dish. When Tim was working at a farm in Tuscany, this dish was on the table every single day, and everyone would add the oil and vinegar to their own liking. Simply wash and trim the beans (cut into bite sized pieces if you wish) and boil in heavily salted water for 5-10 minutes. They should be fully cooked but not disintegrating. Drain the beans and immediately plunge into cold water to arrest the cooking. Drain and toss with the red onion, salt & pepper, oil and vinegar. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Fritatta with Swiss Chard and Roasted Garlic
4 cups washed, stemmed swiss chard
2 medium heads garlic (8 cloves)
6 large eggs
1/4 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the top off the garlic head to expose the tops of the cloves and drizzle with olive oil. wrap the head in foil and bake 20 minutes, or until soft. Squeeze the garlic out of its skins into a medium sized bowl.
Boil the swiss chard in salted water until just tender, about 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water, drain and finely chop.
Preheat the broiler. Add eggs, chard, cheese, salt and peper to the bowl with the garlic and beat with a fork. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet and add the egg mixture to the pan. Cook over medium-low heat, occasionally sliding a spatula around the edges of the pan to let the uncooked egg run to the sides. Continue cooking until fritatta is set but still runny on top. Place the pan directly under the broiler and cook until golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Invert onto a cutting board or platter and cut into wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature.