Celebrity & Orange Blossom Tomatoes
Italian & Middle Eastern Eggplant
Zephyr & Magda Squash
Red Creole Onions
Basil & Flat Leaf Parsley
Summer Crisp & Butterhead Lettuce
I am trying to write a bit more of a farm update this week, as we have been relatively quiet for the past month. As you all know we have been extremely under staffed this season, meaning less time or opportunity for communications. As we mentioned last month, the heavy rains in late May postponed some of our transplanting of crops; but here they are now as we head into the middle of July, all coming on at once. Over the past 10 days we have seen a true shift into Summer on the farm. We have cleared a majority of our Spring crops out of the fields, except for carrots, beets, swiss chard, and a small patch of summer lettuce. All the spring crop areas are getting prepped or cover cropped, so they will be ready for our fall and winter crops; which will go into the ground beginning in August and continuing through September. All of our Summer crop successions are in the ground now, except for a final bean, cucumber, and summer squash planting; which we will plant this coming week.
This has been a very strange season, overall pretty problem free, yet our early summer crop successions, specifically summer squash and tomatoes have produced fruit very slowly and irregularly. We speculate that this had to do with the cold snap in early May (we got down to 36 degrees) and the ensuing mild temperatures through most of month. For the squash this manifested in lower yields and a lot of irregular fruit development. For the tomatoes it has meant extremely slow ripening and blossom production; which has been compounded by early blight weakening the plants, likely coming from the intense rains we received in late May. We are currently curing all of our garlic and storage onions in the upstairs of our big barn. The storage onions were all grown in our high tunnel, so we could regulate irrigation and keep the greens dry, an attempt to keep them from getting black mold or neck rot diseases which affect our outdoor onions once in storage. The onion crop looks amazing and we are proud that this year we will be able to have onions for you all into the fall months. Over the next two weeks we will be harvesting all of our potatoes, beets, and carrots so they can be stored and we can get the land ready for fall crops. We like storing carrots and beets to add some roots to our August and September shares for a bit more diversity.
This week’s share screams summer, with cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, eggplant, squash, and more. It’s the earliest we have ever given the share eggplant, which we are excited about. This year’s crop looks very healthy and productive. This will be the last of the swiss chard until Fall as the plants seem a bit tired, so enjoy the last of the bunching greens for a few months. Swiss chard braised with eggplant, onions, and tomatoes makes for a delicious dish paired with pasta or on its own. We have also included a Italian swiss chard salad recipe. If you like frittatas, think about a zucchini, basil, and onion frittata. The cucumbers are some of the best we have grown. Tender skins and sweet in flavor, they would be delicious with a little salt, or paired with some fresh tomatoes. Check out all the recipes below and enjoy the share…..Brian and Autumn
Eggplant Caviar – The New Book of Middle Eastern Cooking by Claudia Roden
¾ lb Eggplant
2 Tbls Olive Oil
Juice of 1/4lemon, or more to taste
Broil the eggplant: prick the eggplants in a few places with a pointed knife. Turn them under a broiler until the skin is black and blistered and they feel very soft. When cool enough to handle, peel, letting the pieces fall into a colander with tiny holes, then chop with a pointed knife and mash to a puree with a fork or a wooden spoon, so that the juices escape through the holes of the colander.
Transfer the eggplant to a bowl and beat in the oil and lemon juice and some salt.
Syrian – mix in 1 Tbls pomegranate molasses instead of lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove and 2 Tbls chopped flat-leaf parsley.
Moroccan – 1 crushed galic clove, ¼ tsp harissa or a pinch of cayenne, and a ¼ tsp paprika, ¼ tsp ground cumin, and a ½ Tbls chopped cilantro
Eggplant Salad – add 2 Tbls chopped parsley, 1 chopped tomato, 2 chopped scallions, and a 1/2finely chopped chile pepper.
Eggplant in a Spicy Honey Sauce –The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
The sauce is a splendid example of the hot, spicy, and sweet combinations; which are a thrilling feature of North African cooking. Serve it cold with bread.
2 medium-large eggplants
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 inches fresh gingerroot, grated, or cut into pieces
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
large pinch cayenne or ground chili pepper, to taste
4-6 Tbls honey
juice of 1 lemon
2/3 cup water
Cut the eggplants into rounds about 1/3” thick. Do not peel them. Dip them in olive oil, turning them over, and cook on a griddle or under a broiler, turning them over once, until they are lightly browned. They do not need to be soft, as they will cook further in the sauce. In a wide saucepan or skillet, fry the garlic in 2 Tbls of the oil for seconds only, stirring, then take off the heat. Add the ginger, cumin, and cayenne or gorund chili pepper, honey, lemon juice, and water. Put in the eggplant slices and cook over low heat –either in batches, so they are in one layer, or together, rearranging them so that each slice gets some time in the sauce –for about 10 minutes, or until the slices are soft and have absorbed the sauce. Add a little water if necessary.
Salata Horiatiki (Greek Country Salad) –The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
1 head summer crisp lettuce, cut into ribbons
2 large firm ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 cucumber, peeled, split in half through its length, and cut into thick slices
1 green pepper, cut into thin rings
1 large mild onion, thinly slices, the rings separated
8 oz feta cheese, cut into small squares or broken into coarse pieces
1 dozen or more black Kalamata olives
For the dressing
A good bunch flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
6 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt & pepper
Put all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Just before serving, mix the dressing, pour over the salad, and toss.
Boiled Swiss Chard Salad – The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan
1 bunch Swiss chard leaves
1 or more Tbls lemon juice
Pull the leaves from the stalks (reserving the stems for another use, such as Swiss Chard stalks with Parmesan Cheese) and wash in a basin of cold water, changing the water frequently until it shows no trace of soil.
Put the chard in a pan with whatever water clings to the leaves. Add 1/2 tsp salt, cover, and cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes from the time the liquid starts to bubble.
Drain in a pasta colander and gently press some of the water out of the chard with the back of a fork. Place in a salad bowl.
Serve cool (not refrigerated) or lukewarm, seasoning with salt, oil, and lemon only when ready to serve.
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
German White Garlic
Nicola New Potatoes
Happy 4th of July! This year the holiday falls on a Tuesday, so many of you will receive your 4th of July share. As always the farmer schedule carries on regardless of the day. Many of the included items could be used in your holiday fare, but in our opinion this share lends itself towards simple Japanese Summer dishes. The Sungold tomatoes and new potatoes are excellent as tempura. Included below are recipes from Nancy Singleton Hachisu’s book Japanese Farm Food, one of our favorite books here at Tomten Farm. Her curry rice recipe reminds me of a staple dish I grew up with, although I never realized what I was eating was based on a Japanese style curry, rather I thought it was akin to British style curry. Recently it has come to my attention that curry rice (kare raisu) is a very popular national dish in Japan and has been for almost 150 years. For more on this history check out this article: http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2011/08/26/food/curry-its-more-japanese-than-you-think/#.WVhJxzOZOV4 and for Nancy’s recipe check out her blog post: http://www.indigodays.com/2009/08/curry-rice.html
Japanese-Style Potato Salad – adapted from Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Sweet-Vinegared Daikon and Carrots – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
1/3 cup organic rice vinegar
1 Tbls organic granulated sugar
1 cup julienned daikon (1 ¾” thin matchsticks)
1/3 cup julienned carrots (1 ¾” thin matchsticks)
½ tsp sea salt
Zest from 1 yuzu or ½ Meyer lemon cut into fine slivers
Heat the vinegar and sugar together in a small saucepan over low heat to melt the sugar. Cool to room temperature before using.
Keep the daikon and carrots in two separate bowls. Sprinkle the daikon with 2/3 of the salt and the carrots with the remaining salt. Massage the salt in gently and let sit for 10 minutes before squeezing out the excess water and dropping into a clean medium-sized mixing bowl. Toss the daikon and carrots with the slivered yuzu or meyer lemon zest and cooled sweet vinegat. Chill for 1 day before serving.
Napa Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
half a napa cabbage
½ Tbls fine sea salt
2 Tbls mild citrus juice (yuzu, Seville orange, Meyer lemon)
2 Tbls rapeseed oil
1 Tbls unhulled sesame seeds
Slice the cabbage crosswise into fine strands and toss lightly in a large bowl with the salt. Measure the citrus juice into a small bowl and slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. Pour over the cabbage, mix gently to distribute the dressing. Toast the sesame seeds over medium-high heat in a dry frying pan until they are fragrant and start to pop. Toss into the salad and serve immediately.
Heirloom Red Lettuce Salad with Soy Sauce – adapted from Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
3 heads heirloom red lettuce
1 Tbls soy sauce
1 Tbls rice vinegar
2 Tbls rapeseed oil
Clean lettuce, keep leaves in large 3” wide pieces and wash only if necessary. Make sure the lettuce is dried between two towels if wet, prior to dressing.
Whisk the soy sauce and vinegar together in a small bowl before drizzle-whisking in the rapeseed oil to emulsify. Take care to rewhisk the vinaigrette if you do not dress the salad immediately after making. Spoon enough well-emulsified dressing on the salad to film the leaves and gently toss with light hands. Save any extra dressing in a jar in the refrigerator. It keeps for several weeks.
Sungold Cherry or Early Red & Orange Tomatoes
Swiss Chard or Russian Kale
Red Ace or Chioggia Beets
Tropea Spring Onions
Escarole or Frisee
Tomatoes are finally coming on a bit stronger, so we have enough to give the whole CSA. It has been such a strange year, as we got our first tomatoes planted 10 days earlier than expected and they began to ripen right at the beginning of June, but ever so slowly only putting off a little at a time. Anyhow we are excited to begin getting them to you. They have been delicious. We are pairing the first tomatoes of the year with young fennel, chicory greens, basil, garlic, and lovely red spring onions. You should be able to make a plethora of delicious salads, sandwiches or sides. Enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
Red Gold New Potatoes
Zephyr Summer Squash
Russian Kale or Swiss Chard
Bibb & Butterhead Lettuce
Cornmeal-Fried Pork Chops with Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes – Heritage by Sean Brock
New Cabbage with Scallions – The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis
The first time we would cook and serve our newly grown garden cabbage was on a wheat-threshing day. We would cut up many heads and cook them in a large iron pot with liquid from the pork shoulder and a small amount of fat for seasoning. Cabbage cooked that way was a hearty fare, good sustenance for hardworking men. We children usually had the food that was left over from the midday meal that night for supper and thought it was just great. No other food in the world seemed to have quite the good flavor of what was left over from a wheat-threshing dinner.
1 2-pound head new cabbage
1/3 cup tender green scallion tops, cut into ¼” slices
2 cups boiling water, or preferably stock from boiled pork shoulder
3 Tbls freshly rendered fat from bacon or ham
salt and freshly ground pepper
To prepare the cabbage, trim away the outside leaves and cut the head into quarters. Cut away the core, leaving just enough to hold the leaves intact. Place the pieces of cabbage in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes or so to wash out any dust or bugs, particularly if it has come straight out of the garden. Remove, drain in a colander, then place in a 3-quart saucepan and add the scallion tops to give added flavor and color. Pour the boiling water or stock over and toss the cabbage with two spoons to make sure that each piece is scalded. Add the fat so that it coats the cabbage, then turn the burner low so that the cabbage boils briskly but not too rapidly for 25-30 minutes –any longer and the cabbage will become too soft and its taste will change. Drain. Toss the salt to taste and a good grating of freshly ground pepper to heighten the flavor. Serve hot.
Photo Courtesy of Alexis Courtney
Mustard Greens or Hakurei Turnips
Lettuce (Iceberg or Canary Tongue)
So busy, so busy, so busy; that is how June is for us. We are trying to take advantage of the mild May weather and get you all as much cool season vegetables as we can while they are healthy and abundant; before we really jump into Summer. This week’s share includes the first of our 2017 garlic crop. The heads are still sizing up in the field and will be harvested in a couple of weeks for curing; but for now we are taking them fresh. They are sweet and delicious, plus peeling the cloves is simple and easy, as the skins have not dried down yet. The garlic goes great with broccoli, mustards, turnips, and especially bok choy, so enjoy.
We are still playing catch up from the deluge of rain a few weeks ago; which halted our field prep and planning. Finally though this past week we were able to get a lot of planting done, seeding our 2nd succession of corn, okra, and more cilantro, dill, and cut greens. We transplanted the rest of our peppers and chiles, more squash, cucumbers, our last succession of summer lettuce and our 2nd and last succession of sauce tomatoes. We are still pretty far behind with planting, and can only do so much each week; but in the next few days we will get our melons and watermelon starts in the ground (better late than never) plus our 2nd succession of basil, more field tomatoes, beans, scallions, celery, celeriac, long beans, borlotto beans, and that should be it. Whew. Basically we are almost done with our summer plantings, in the next few weeks we will get more successions of squash, cucumbers, the winter squash, and the last tomatoes in the ground. The craziest thing about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel is realizing that in 10 days we begin seeding starts for our fall crops and unlike most other farms in the area, we focus a lot of our volume on the fall and winter, so it is a huge push for us. So over the next few weeks we work fast and furious; hopefully getting a lot done and then begin harvesting summer crops while thinking about fall and winter crops. So busy, so busy, so busy….Enjoy the Share, Autumn and Brian
Broccoli with Tofu and Yuzu Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Carrot Slivers Stir-fried with Soy Sauce– Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
3 Tbls rapeseed or light sesame oil
2 small dried peppers, torn in half
4 cups julienned carrots
2 Tbls soy sauce
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the peppers and warm until fragrant. Turn the heat up to high and throw in the carrots. Toss several minutes over high heat until the carrots have softened but not wilted. Test for doneness by sampling a piece or two. Splash in the soy sauce and toss for a couple of seconds to draw the soy sauce flavor into the carrots. Ratio: vegetable: oil: soy sauce- 1cup: 2 tsp: 1 ½ tsp
Fried Zucchini Slice with Yogurt – The New Book of Middle Eastern Food pg.86 by Claudia Roden
For this Arab and Turkish way of serving zucchini, the vegetables may be deep fried, grilled, or broiled.
1 lb Zucchini, cut into slices lengthwise
Olive or vegetable oil
1 ½ cups plain whole-milk or thick strained greek-style Yogurt
Deep-fry the zucchini in hot oil till lightly browned, turning the slices over once, then drain on paper towels and sprinkle
lightly with salt. Alternatively, brush the slices with oil and grill or broil them. Serve hot or cold with yogurt spread over each slice.
Variations: The yogurt may be flavored with crushed garlic, mint, or dill.
Salad with Beets, Walnuts and Goat Cheese – from The Kitchen Garden
This is my favorite way to eat beets. The combination of the bitter greens, the sweet beets, the roasty nuts, the creamy cheese, and the sharp dressing is one of the most sublime flavor combinations ever contrived.
Leafy greens such as lettuce, arugula, escarole, frisee, spinach, or radicchio
1 bunch small beets
Small handful walnuts or pecans
4 oz fresh goat cheese
Shavings of sweet onion or shallot, scallion or chives
For the Dressing:
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Wash and dry the greens and add to your favorite salad bowl. Trim and wash the beets and steam until tender. (Peeling is not necessary, but if desired, they slip right off after cooking.) Toast the walnuts either in the toaster oven or in a dry frying pan and set aside. Be careful not to scorch them. Decorate the salad with pats of the goat cheese, onions and slices of beet.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing by whisking together the mustard, vinegars, and the salt and pepper. Drizzle in the oil as you continue whisking and the dressing should emulsify into creamy brown substance. Just before serving add the toasted nuts, and toss with the dressing.