Weekly Share September 11th – 17th

Arugula or Lettuce (Bibb or Panisse Oakleaf)
Russian or Lacinato Kale
Yellow Onion (Highlander)
Eggplant (Dancer, Antigua, Rosa Bianca)
Romano Bean or Okra (Clemson Spineless)
Sweet Peppers (Giallo di Asti, Corno di Toro Rossa, Topepo Rossa)
Cubanelle Pepper
Jalapeno Peppers
Green Tomatoes
Tango Celery
Italian Parsley

Welcome to Tomten Farm’s fall CSA season! You might be enjoying the recent change in weather almost as much as we are. It is amazing how pleasant the workday becomes with temperate conditions. It also feels like we are keeping up with our plantings and crop management for the first time in many months. We are getting ready to plant our outdoor overwintered crops, as well as cover crop our open fields and clean up our covered spaces to make room for seeding and transplanting our winter greens. Now we just hope that we can avoid the extreme rains that sometimes come with the Fall hurricane season. Over the past few weeks we have realized how lucky we have been in our six years here. Although the climate is extreme at times and we cannot handle too much rain at once without significant crop loss, due to our heavy soil, we have not had to experience the devastating weather that farmers closer to the coastlines do on a semi annual basis. The devastation in Texas and quickly approaching the Southeast, makes us realize how quickly everything can be turned around if nature so desires.
Right now we are beginning to harvest our early, or quick, fall crops, like lettuces, radishes, and bunching greens alongside our long season summer crops such as okra, green beans, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. This is the beauty of the Virginian climate, we get a rich and diverse fall season with many different crops coalescing making for wonderful cooking opportunities. We are excited to bring you all the makings for the “holy trinity” of Cajun and creole cooking: celery, onions, and green peppers. It can be a challenge to have celery for the CSA, as it is a crop that is difficult to grow in our soil and climate conditions; but its even more of a challenge to have it at the same time as we have green peppers, onions, parsley, okra, and more. We have shaped this week’s share to take advantage of this so you can make delicious Cajun and creole dishes if so desired. A few weeks back we posted some relevant recipes: gumbo, smothered green beans, and a Cajun eggplant casserole and below we have added more including a great article explaining the “holy trinity”. Enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
The Holy Trinity of Cajun and Creole Cooking
Recipes: ‘Real Cajun’ (Lake Charles Dirty Rice & Smothered Greens)
Seafood-Stuffed Eggplant
Green Tomato And Bell Pepper Delight
Homemade Focaccia + Roasted Red Pepper & Arugula Sandwiches
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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