Watermelon or Melon
Peppers – Cubanelle & Anaheim or Poblano
Beets –Red Ace & Chioggia
Cucumbers –Suyo Long & Marketmore
German White Garlic
Summer is wonderful and so so bountiful. For someone who enjoys food and cooking, this time of year can be overwhelming. Every few weeks new Summer crops are coming to center stage, from squash and tomatoes, to chiles and peppers, okra and watermelon, and then corn and beans. Living in this central Virginian climate really lends itself to warm season crops. Compared to other parts of the country, we have a long and abundant season with tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and squash. That is if we can fend off the diseases and pests that also thrive in our temperate and warm, humid summers. At Tomten Farm, we slowly incorporate the summer crops, due to our limited labor force and therefore limited time. Instead of planting everything in early May, we stagger our crops and successions, this allows us at least a month to get crops planted and also means we can ease into a full summer harvest schedule. Many crops, such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, okra and specialty peppers need to be picked three times a week, while others, such as garlic, potatoes, and watermelon can happen in a few big harvests. By staggering our crops we can more easily manage our harvest loads. So with our schedule we are hoping to have tomatoes and summer squash coming in June; green beans, peppers, and potatoes coming in July, and eggplant, watermelon, and okra coming in August. Depending on the number of successions and crop management many of these crops continue until first frost.
Coming up this week as we are full swing into our three-day a week summer harvest schedule, we will focus for two days on transplanting and direct seeding for our big fall push. This will be our main fall planting. Some will be quick crops that will come on the scene in September, such as radishes, bok choy, and scallions. Others slow crops such as radicchio, carrots, brussel sprouts, turnips, and bunching greens; that will make it onto the scene in October, November, or even December. We continue hoping for slightly cooler temperatures over the next 10 days for better germination results as well as not “too heavy of a rain”, which is impossible to predict during the constant chance of thunderstorm, so that our newly transplanted and seeded crops can set roots and make the transition into soil as seamless as possible. Regardless of the weather we are getting the soil beds prepared and amended as best we can to start the fall and winter out right.
This week’s share screams summer. Everyone will get either a watermelon (sugar baby or crimson sweet) or melon (sun jewel asian melon or halona cantaloupe) with their share and we encourage making beverages out of them, as this time of year we crave beverages all of the time. It must come from constant work in the heat. Not feeling watermelon juice or spritzer, we have included a number of salad recipes, but straight eating is superb as well. Anaheim or Poblano peppers are included, both are excellent added to a pot of pinto beans or sautéed with onions and tomatoes and added to scrambled eggs. Want something a bit fancier? Check out the recipes below. Tomatillos are also just starting to come in strong so we added them in order to encourage salsa verde or even a green chile pork stew eaten alongside some watermelon with lime, chile pepper, and queso fresco. So many ideas, so little time. Enjoy the share….Autumn and Brian
Michoteta (Feta Cheese and Cucumber Salad) – The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
½ lb Feta Cheese
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbls Olive Oil
1 Red Italian Onion, finely chopped
½ large Cucumber, peeled and diced
Crumble the cheese with a Tbls of water, using a fork, and work in the lemon juice and olive oil. Mix in the onion and cucumber, and add pepper.