Weekly Share July 29th – August 4th

Tomatillos or Sungold Cherry
Heirloom Sauce Tomatoes
Middle Eastern & Italian Eggplant
Cubanelle & Seyrek Peppers
German White Garlic
Summer Squash
Yaya Carrots

We are finally getting into harvesting most of the Summer crops, better late than never. Remember how we wrote about our tractor being out of commission in April and being very short on help this season, well the affect of those things are being felt right about now. It meant we planted a lot of our Summer crops 1-3 weeks after we intended too and then some of our Spring crops came and went quickly, leaving us with some limited diversity right about now. All of this coupled with that 14-day stretch of hot weather in mid-July, compounded the issue. The hot weather ripened all the fruit set on tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, etc very quickly; but it paused flowering. Finally this past week, with some much needed rain and cooling temperatures, we are seeing a lot of plant growth and flowering meaning the plants are getting into their groove. We are also seeing really extensive bug pressure this year, really since late spring, but right now crops such as our bean successions, late cucumbers, and squash are suffering a bit. The main effects are damaged or deformed pods or fruit and pretty stressed plants, yielding very small volume. Having less labor means more weed pressure and this leads to an increase in bug pressure, as they are attracted to the weedy environment. We are also seeing intense worm pressure on our greenhouse starts for our fall crops. While they are in the greenhouse this problem can be manageable; but once out in the field it can be somewhat devastating.  Every fall we struggle with worms (army and cut worms) and aphids, so we try to be diligent and aware from the start. With last week’s cool Summer temperatures, we were able to get a head start direct seeding our first fall succession of beet, carrot, dill, and cilantro, so that feels good. Beginning this week, we will direct seed and transplant crops every week for harvesting in the late summer through next spring. Our first radicchio starts are looking great, and the fennel and cooking greens are close to ready to go into the ground. In addition we were able to get some Sorgham Sudan cover crop planted, also a little late, but a necessary aspect of our crop fields long-term soil health; which directly effects the plants.
This week’s share is meant for cooking, like cooking on the stove. The first of our tasty sauce tomatoes, paired with mild peppers, garlic, some summer squash, and lots of eggplant. So don’t avoid making a delicious fresh pasta sauce, a ratatouille, an eggplant parm, or whatever you are feeling. We included carrots, in case you needed a fresh grated salad, try the classic french carrot salad recipe below, its tasty. Enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brian

Alice Waters’ Ratatouille

Chicken Cacciatore with Cubanelle Peppers

spiced carrots and eggplant

French Grated Carrot Salad with Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette

Caponata from The Kitchen Garden
Lots and lots of olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 head garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp chili flakes or fresh hot peppers, to taste
1 pound peppers, cut into large chunks
1 pound eggplant, cut into large chunks
1 or 2 ripe plum tomatoes, chopped
salt & pepper
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp capers
3 Tbsp chopped Kalamata olives
Few sprigs chopped basil and parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat about 4 Tbsp olive oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven with a lid that can go in the oven. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the pepper flakes and peppers and sauté over medium heat 5-10 minutes.  Add eggplant and sauté another several minutes. You may want to add more oil to make sure everything is generously anointed.  Add the tomatoes.  Cover the pot and put it in the oven to bake for 20-30 minutes.  Everything should be very, very soft.  Season with salt, pepper and the other seasonings.  Adjust sweetness, salt and acidity to taste.  Serve it warm on fresh crusty bread or at room temperature the next day.  Makes a great pasta sauce, too. (The original version contains chunks of celery, too.  If you like celery, you can add it when you add the tomatoes.)

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