Eggplant or Shishito Peppers
Thia Basil & Kkaennip (Perilla)
Being that it is already mid-July, seems like time is flying, we are deep into the summer heat and humidity, as we begin our 11th CSA week of the season. We keep hoping that like most seasons, we have only about 4 more weeks of this intensity; but because it stayed cool and temperate into June this year, who knows what to expect. Even though it stays warm into September, usually it becomes less heavy with humidity and hence feels less oppressive, less like a steam room, during the 2nd half of August. With slightly cooler nighttime temperatures, more wind, and low 80’s temperatures we can successfully germinate direct seeded crops such as carrots, beets, rutabaga, and broccoli raab. We look to weather patterns so we can schedule our plantings accordingly and in late summer and fall the timing of these seedings is crucial to getting a good stand. Wait too long and they will not have long enough days to mature properly. All this is to say that we hope this is indeed the middle of the hot period and that a month from now we will have some respite, so the peppers want to ripen, the fall crops can adjust during transplanting, and we can get some properly seeded fall beds. As our greenhouse gets close to full and the cabbage and cauliflower starts grow big, we hope that we don’t have to wait too long. As for summer crops, they are thriving at the moment; but we are a little nervous with all these rain storms and heavy humid conditions about disease; but we can only hope our continued efforts at better crop ventilation is working and that there are some health benefits to sweating every ounce of water out of your body every hour of the day. We feel exceedingly lucky that we have not had any devastating effects from this unstable weather, like our friends and fellow farmers in Vermont this week. What people all over Vermont are facing from these monumental floods: with the loss of their livelihoods or a whole season of farm income or for some their homes is absolutely horrific. As we put our heads down, our thoughts are with those struggling up north.
In the share this week we have a few more peppers, more tomatoes, more cucumbers, and delicious summer herbs. Feeling hot, salt some cucumbers, add some rice vinegar, and chopped perilla and thai basil, voila a delicious dish. Or try the Dai Mint and Tomato Salad recipe below, so refreshing. Take care in this heat and enjoy the share…..Autumn & Brian
Dai Mint and Tomato Salad – Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
The Dai, like the Chinese, prefer their tomatoes a little green, just before their fullest sweet ripeness. Perhaps it’s an aesthetic question: The mix of green and red is more interesting to the eye than the uniform red of ripe tomatoes. Or perhaps it’s beacuase tomatoes enter the regional cuisine as a slightly sour vegetable, rather than with the sweetness and ripeness as their prime characteristic. All of which is to say that you should, as we do, use the tomatoes that please you. This salad is simple to make and delicious. It’s like a half-pounded Mexican salsa, ideal for scooping up with Thai-Lao Crispy rice crackers or sticky rice or pork cracklings.
2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp salt
a little minced chile, jalapeno (optional)
1 cup tender mint leaves or Thai basil, coarsely torn
2-3 scallion, trimmed, sliced lengthwise into ribbons and then cut crosswise into 1-inch lengths
5 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 Tbls hot chile oil
Place the garlic and salt in a large mortar and pound together. Or place them in a large bowl and use the back of a flat spoon to mash them against the side of the bowl. Add the fresh chile, the mint, and the scallions and continue to pound or mash to soften and blend. Add the
tomatoes and gently pound or mash until broken up a little. Add the chile oil and toss well.
Serve the salad mounded in a shallow bowl, with the juices poured over.
Note: If the mint is coarse or rough, finely chop the leaves; or substitute Asian basil leaves.