Weekly Share August 9th – 15th

Heirloom Salad Tomatoes
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Shishitos or Mild Green Peppers
Long Beans or Asian Eggplant
Jalapeno or Thai Chilies
German White Garlic
Thai Basil

August on our farm is a very crazy time. We have still not figured out how to keep up and fit everything into the days we have.  We focus on having a large diversity of crops from Fall through Winter and often are adding things we want to grow to that part of the season (for example we are growing more radicchio, lacinato kale, collard greens, & overwintered broccoli & cauliflower this year), meaning more seeding of trays, more transplanting, more field prep & coordination. As I’ve stated before we plant more in August than any other month besides May; but in addition we are harvesting much more food plus managing our early storage crops. For example we cure onions and garlic in our barn; but have to move them into a climate-controlled space pretty quickly in order to keep them in good shape. These tasks can take many hours, as we are clipping necks and roots , packing into bins, and moving into tight spaces, shared with many other crops. So late July and August are always a balance of harvesting, managing storage crops, and getting new crops in the ground; which includes properly irrigating, weeding, and overall management.
This year all of this has been magnified due to the particular weather patterns we have had, making for an insanely good tomato year (this crop takes a huge chunk of our time), as well as for many other crops. We harvested over half our Winter Squash last week (a month earlier than we expected) and we are seeing 5-6 times the yield as in previous years. Some of this is due to changes on our end with timing, method of planting and managing; but a majority is because this is a great summer crop season. I cannot state that enough, this is probably one of two great summer growing seasons in the 9 seasons we have had. So at the end of the day we are so happy to have all the yields we do; but recognize that our system cannot always handle the abundance. So for now we put our heads down, seed and transplant as much as we can as quickly as possible, and look forward to 4 weeks from now when we can breath a little. Every other farmer we know is in the same place we are right now, maybe not planting as much for Winter as we do, but inundated with so much food. So please do what you can to get those you know out to markets not just now but through the Fall, as markets tend to slow down in early September and there is really no reason as it can be the best time of year to shop in Virginia. With this cool weather this past week you can bet on seeing a return of salad greens and early fall crops coming in early September. Pair these with the Summer bounty and you have the best in cooking.
This week’s share includes the first of our long beans (a wonderfully versatile bean) and has a few of our favorite recipes, ones which we list every year; because they are so so good. This week has a number of things which lend themselves towards thai cooking. Find some cucumbers and you will be all set for a spicy long bean cucumber salad or pair tomatoes with watermelon and thai basil for a fabulous herbaceous and sweet salad. Grill or blister peppers and eat alongside the spicy eggplant with thai basil recipe(you’ve got to use all the thai basil for this recipe, don’t hold back). All of these recipes go well eaten while its hot and steamy, perfect for this upcoming week. Enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian

Spicy Corn and Shishito Salad

Sichuan Style Stir-Fried Chinese Long Beans

Long Bean, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad

Marinated Chinese Long Beans with Peppers

Watermelon, Feta and Charred Pepper Salad

Watermelon Tomato Salad

Eggplant with Thai Basil
1 lb eggplant, cut into ½-inch slices
4-5 cloves garlic
1-2 medium sized fresh red or green chilies (or sweet bell pepper for the meek
1 Tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp palm sugar or dark brown sugar
1 bunch Thai basil
Slice the eggplant into ½ inch rounds and fry them over medium high in a wide skillet with ¼ inch of canola or other frying oil. When things get going, the eggplant slices will absorb the oil and you will gradually see it penetrate through to the top.  Make sure that they don’t get too brown on the bottom before this happens.  If the eggplant slices absorb all the oil and still don’t look wet, you must add more—but don’t worry, because they will release much of it as they cook.  When they look like they have absorbed enough oil and they start to get nice and brown on the bottom, flip them over and brown them on the other side.  If the pan is dry at this point, don’t add more oil because the slices have absorbed enough to fry themselves.  When they’re done, drain the slices on paper towels
Meanwhile, cut the garlic into slices and the chilies into diagonal rings.  When the eggplant is ready, remove it and add 2 Tbsp of fresh oil to the pan, add the garlic and half the chilies, and stir-fry until the garlic is golden.  Add the soy sauces and sugar, stir for about 30 seconds until the sugar starts to bubble, and return the eggplant to the pan.  Add torn basil leaves, stir and serve, garnished with the rest of the chilies (if you dare!)

This entry was posted in weekly share. Bookmark the permalink.