October 23rd – 29th

Cushaw Squash
Escarole or Frisee
Radicchio (treviso, lusia, or chioggia)
Seyrek & Cubanelle Peppers
Leutschauer Paprika Peppers
Spigariello or Tuscan Kale
Eggplant
Fennel
Dill

In this week’s share you will receive fresh Leutschauer paprika, a variety of pepper that is traditionally dried and then ground. It makes a deliciously spicy style of paprika. We also use this pepper fresh, deseeding and mincing up the flesh and sautéing with garlic or onions when making a sauce or braising vegetables or meats. Basically we us it to replace ground paprika or cayenne in recipes and although it is not as concentrated as when its dried, it offers a lovely bright spicy flavor to dishes. The green seyrek peppers (long and skinny) are delicious broiled or grilled and served as a side dish or chopped up and added to scrambled eggs or cooked with eggplant. We are including a mess of bitter greens this week, as our fields are bursting at the seams. If bitterness is a bit intimidating, be not afraid, think about balancing acid (vinegar, citrus) and salt ( plus hard cheese, anchovies, olives), when dressing these greens to bring out the flavor without overwhelming the palate. Adding fat is also helpful, which can be achieved with cheese, egg, bacon, etc. Check out the recipes below for some ideas. This week in the share you will get Cushaw squash; which makes the best squash pie I have ever made or eaten (recipe included below) and is fabulous stewed and used for soup. The varieties we grow are an orange cushaw and Jonathon white cushaw. Just like the more popular green cushaw, these squash have a buttery flavor and somewhat textured, stringy meat. The neck of the squash is all meat, whereas the bowl is mostly seeds with a thin layer of meat. The cushaw can grow really large, over 30” long with a bowl over 12” in diameter. Many share members will receive a half cushaw; which we recommend you process within a week. This can mean stewing or steaming big pieces and then freezing for later use in pies or soup. Do not feel overwhelmed to use it all right away. Enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
Radicchio Salad with Oranges and Olives
Moroccan Zaalouk with Roasted Eggplant, Peppers and Tomatoes
Fennel, Kale and Rice Gratin
Caponata with Fennel, Olives, & Raisins (adapted from Epicurious)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pounds unpeeled eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 cups coarsely chopped red bell peppers
2/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh fennel bulb (about 1 small)
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
3 tablespoons pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons golden raisins
½ cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, bell peppers, fennel, and garlic; sauté until eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes. Add olives and raisins, then mix in tomato sauce and vinegar. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and simmer until caponata is thick and vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer. Mix in parsley. Season caponata to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Serve at room temperature.
Stewed Cushaw and Yummy Deliciousness Cushaw Coffee Cake
Rich Squash PieThe Fannie Farmer Cookbook
Basic Pastry Dough for a 9” pie shell
1 cup pureed cooked winter squash
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tbls brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp powdered ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp mace
Preheat the oven to 425. Line a 9” pie pan with pastry dough. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and beat until smooth and well blended. Pour into the lined pie pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 and bake for 45-60 minutes more or until the filling is firm.
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Weekly Share October 16th – 22nd

Carrots
Napa Cabbage
Japanese Red Mustard Greens
Hakurei or Scarlett Queen Salad Turnips
Long Green, Shoyu, or Thai Round Eggplant
Arugula or Mesclun Salad Mix
Shishito Peppers
Garlic

Carrot Napa Cabbage Kimchee
Duck Breast with Mustard Greens, Turnips, and Radishes
Shishito Peppers Tempura
Orecchiette With Mustard Greens
Szechuan Spicy Eggplant and Carrots
Jaw Phak Kat: Northern Thai Mustard Green Soup With Tamarind and Pork RibsPok Pok by Andy Ricker
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
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Weekly Share October 9th – 15th

Okra
Nicola Potatoes
Swiss Chard
Oakleaf or Redleaf Lettuce
Mesclun Salad or Arugula
Poblano & Anaheim Peppers
Various Chiles
Tomatoes
Cilantro

The farm has been quite busy this past week readying for our annual Fall Supper amongst all our usual work. We are looking forward to getting some rain this week, as we have been over a month without any moisture. It feels so dry on the farm coupled with some high early October temperatures; things look pretty crispy. This time last year we had an almost identical share, due to the melding between Summer and Fall crops. We like pairing mild Mexican chiles with potatoes, tomatoes, swiss chard, and cilantro for a variety of delicious dishes. Of course stuffing the peppers is a classic, but poblanos and anaheims are also fabulous cooked down in a pot of beans, with tomatoes in rice, sautéed and scrambled into your morning eggs, or made into a green enchilada sauce. The first recipe below for enchiladas suggests a tomatillo sauce; but try substituting the homemade green enchilada sauce recipe; which uses poblanos and Anaheim style peppers. Whatever you choose please enjoy as peppers season will eventually end. This may be the last time you get okra. If you are at a loss for how to prepare it, try roasting it with a little seasoning or pan braising with tomatoes and onions. This is the last time Nicola potatoes, our favorite golden buttery potato, our stock of them is getting low and we have russets and a red storage variety coming up next. Enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
Swiss Chard And Potato Enchiladas
Papas Con Rajas (Sauteed Potatoes and Chiles)
Homemade Green Enchilada Sauce
Essential Chopped Tomato-Serrano Salsa (Salsa Mexicana Classica)
Martha Rose Shulman’s Roasted Okra
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Weekly Share October 2nd – 8th

Broccoli
Collard Greens
Bibb Lettuce
Escarole or Frisee
Cubanelle & Large Aji Dulce Peppers
Italian & Middle Eastern Eggplant
Plum or Sauce Tomatoes
Basil
Parsley
Garlic

We have a busy few weeks ahead of us organizing and prepping for our fall farm supper next Sunday and processing our Fall batch of broiler chickens the following week. We are looking forward to the more typical Fall weather setting in with cool overnight temperatures; but are desperately in need of some rain (hopefully it will not come during the farm supper), so we continue to water our crops as much as possible; but its not really enough. We have so many successions of lettuces, chicories, greens, roots, etc. that it is really difficult to get them all that they need. This morning got to a low of 40degrees; which signals the descent of the basil crop, as it does not thrive when temperatures get below 50degrees and our stand has had a long season, it is looking a bit tired. We are including a small amount in each share paired with flat leaf parsley, a few tomatoes, and basil for a last hurrah of Summer. Chicories have returned; which makes us really happy. We look forward to making a ceaser style salad with the escarole and with the frisee, a poached egg and bacon salad for breakfast. Included in the recipes below is a fabulous stuffed escarole dish, great in this cooler weather. Try sautéing some minced eggplant to add to the stuffing or serve stuffed escarole with a side of fried eggplant. They make a delicious combination. Broccoli and collard greens are also included in the share, meaning Fall has truly arrived. Have a great week and enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
Stuffed Escarole “ Scarolla Imbottita”
Eggplant Risotto with Tomatoes and Basil
Baked Eggplant Marinara with Basil
Spiced Collard Greens With Bacon And Eggs
Roasted Broccoli With Almonds and Cardamom (Malai Broccoli)
Grilled Eggplant And Greens With Spiced Yogurt
Italian Sausage With Broccoli And Collards (Or Kale)
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Weekly Share September 25th – October 1st

Arugula
Romano Beans or Okra
Lettuce (Red Leaf or Green Oak Leaf)
Spigariello or Broccoli Raab
Red Ace or Chioggia Beets
Heirloom Tomato
Red Creole Onion
Black Arkansas Apples
Fennel
Dill

Spigariello is a traditional southern Italian specialty sometimes referred to as a “leaf broccoli”.  While often likened to rapini in that it does not make a central broccoli “head”, we find it to be much less pungent  than raab an with a much bigger and more heavily branching frame. The narrow, very dark green leaves, develop a wonderful wavy, curvy, twisting form as the plant matures, making for a striking bunch at the market and a beautiful addition to braises, sautés, pizzas, and soups. The hearty flavor is something of a cross between broccoli leaves and Tuscan kale or collards and is perfect for rustic Italian cuisine. Somewhat unusual in the Brassica family, it has white flowers, suggesting that it originally came to southern Italy from Asia as a descendant of gai lan or Chinese broccoli.     – Uprising Seeds
This week’s share includes items best suited to Southern Italian or Middle Eastern cuisine. Arugula, Broccoli Raab, Spigariello, and Fennel are all spectacular on pizza or added to pasta dishes, especially when paired with anchovy, capers, currants, or olives. Beets, dill, fennel, and lettuce are wonderful salad components, especially with a yogurt sauce or paired with fish. We are still harvesting a bit of tomatoes every week, so please enjoy them while they last. One of the first dishes I learned to make while living in France was a salad of chopped up fennel and tomato tossed in a simple white wine vinaigrette or try the recipe below which adds orange and citrus in the dressing. Enjoy the share….Brian and Autumn
Fennel Salad with Red Onion, Tomato, Orange and Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette
Beet Salad with Baby Arugula, Red Onions and Horseradish Vinaigrette
Mario Batali’s Spigarello Salad with Spicy Currants and Fried Eggs
Roasted Broccoli Rabe
Broccoli Rabe With Bulgur And Walnuts  -This recipe could also be made with Spigariello, which has a similar texture to Rabe, although it is a bit milder.
Roasted Fennel, Beet + Romano Bean Panzanella Salad
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Weekly Share September 18th – 24th

Salad Mix or Lettuce (Bibb, Butterhead, or Oakleaf)
Japanese Red or Southern Giant Mustard Greens
Eggplant (Thai & Asian long)
French Breakfast Radish
Daikon Radish
San Fan Bok Choy
Shishito Peppers
Khmer Thai, Lemondrop, and Serrano Chiles
Thai & Paneng Basil
Cilantro
Shiso
Garlic

The 2nd Fall share is almost always filled with crops ideal for making Southeast Asian or Japanese cuisine, as we still have late Summer peppers, chiles, and eggplant mixed with our early Fall abundance of radishes, greens, and herbs. This will be the one time you all get Shiso (a native wild herb also known as perilla), this summer we did not have the usual abundance around the farm due to the extremely dry and hot weather in June and July; but with the August rains it began creeping up around our fruit trees and along fence lines. Without getting very big it is already sending up its flower heads, so it will be a bit more bitter than usual and each share will only get a small amount. It is often used in Korean and Japanese food, chopped up and added to a dish just before serving. We also use it in our salad rolls or added to our kimchi recipe. It provides a deep, earthy, herbaceous flavor to dishes. In addition to the shiso, you will receive cilantro, Thai basil, and Penang basil, a Thai lemon basil variety that smells like Fruit Loops.
Both baby daikon radish and French breakfast salad radishes will be included this week. This might seem like radish overload; but remove the tops and store in a plastic bag in your crisper drawer and both styles of radish will hold for a long while, daikon can be stored easily for up to 3 months. The chiles included this week have a varying amount of spice and are on the upper end of what you will receive this season. Even if you do not like spicy food, we encourage you to think about using them to flavor your dishes rather than make it hot. Methods include using the chile whole while stir-frying or sautéing, then remove before eating or slice the chile open lengthwise, remove the seeds and mince very finely or mash before adding to a sauce. If you are unsure add a small amount at a time and continually taste. Khmer Thai are very hot, floral and complex in flavor, Lemondrops have a sweet, citrus flavor with heat equivalent to a serrano, and serranos are a medium-hot chile which make great garnish (chop them up and soak in vinegar or fish sauce for a wonderful sauce), seasoning for dishes using whole or chopped up, for salsa or curry recipes. Once again we have added the eggplant with Thai basil recipe, because it is our favorite. Check out the recipes below, have fun cooking, and enjoy the share…..Autumn and Brian
Thai basil chicken recipe (pad kra pao gai )
Thai Red Curry Eggplant and Mustard Greens
Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Daikon with Crisp Tofu
Herb-Wrapped Shrimp with Lemongrass Dipping Sauce
Agedashi Deep-Fried Tofu and Eggplant
This very traditional Japanese recipe is a great way to combine eggplant, daikon, and shishito peppers. Since we do not have a microwave, we would drain the tofu by adding weight from a cutting board for 30+ minutes and heat up the sauce on the stove. Katakuriko is a potato starch used for thickener, it can be found at Asian grocery stores or cornstarch can be used as a replacement.
Northern Thai Eggplant Salad Recipe
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!)
Daikon and Daikon Leaf Salad Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
1 medium-small daikon
1 TB Sea Salt
2 small or 1 medium Yuzu (or substitute Meyer Lemon)
2 TB Organic Miso
2 TB Organic Rice Vinegar
4 TB Organic Rapeseed Oil
2 TB Slivered Scallions
Slice the daikon into manageable lengths.  Cut those pieces in half vertically and slice lengthwise into fine slabs.  Lay those slabs flat on the cutting board and slice into fine julienned strands about 1.5 inches long.  Put the julienned daikon into a medium-sized bowl as you go.  Chop a large handful of the most tender leaves medium -fine and add to the julienned daikon.  Sprinkle with the salt and massage in gently.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Pare off the yellow zest of a yuzu or meyer lemon with a sharp knife, avoiding the white pith.  Stack roughly and slice into fine slivers.  Muddle the miso with the vinegar and whisk in the oil until emulsified.  Squeeze the daikon and daikon leaves in handfuls and drop into a clean bowl.  Toss with the yuzu peel and onion greens.  Give the dressing a quick whisk and fold into the daikon right before serving.  Ratio: miso:rice vinegar:oil – 1:1:2

 

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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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Weekly Share September 4th – 10th

Black Twig Apples
Chioggia Beets
Summer Squash
Nicola Potatoes
Okra or Romano Beans
Celebrity or Verona Tomatoes
Cubanelle, Seyrek, or Anaheim Peppers
French Breakfast or Round Red Radishes
German White Garlic
Basil

We hope you all had a wonderful week. During our “off week”, we were able to take two days away from the farm and get some much needed rest followed by lots of on farm work getting full swing into our fall crops. All this rain has been welcome; but also gives weeds a big push. September is our last month of intense weeding and hoeing, so with the help of our interns Tyler and Magena we are trying to keep up the good fight against weed takeover. This week we caught up in all our fall bunching greens (Kale, Mustards, Collards, etc.), lettuce, beet, and carrot beds, so it was a good start and as the fields dry from all this rain, we will continue on to other crops and successions. This week marks the final Spring/Summer share of the season. Next week we will begin our 10-week Fall season, which brings lots of new crops as the weather cools and the season shifts. This is Virginia though, so we expect continued flashes of warm weather and great production with our peppers, chiles, okra, eggplant, and green beans into October. This is what makes Fall so special. This week will be the last you will see of Summer Squash, so enjoy. It has been three years since we have had a substantial Apple harvest from our ancient Black Twig trees. While the apples you will get look rough and have blemishes, these trees are special and produce fruit that are intensely flavorful with a bright tartness and a crisp texture. We feel lucky to have these old heirloom trees established on our farm long before we came here. Check out the recipes below and enjoy the share…..Brian and Autumn
Beet-and-Apple Salad
Pan-Roasted Potato And Radish Hash With Crispy Fried Egg
Easy Stewed Okra, Tomatoes and Peppers
Orzo with Summer Squash and Pesto
Crispy Italian Fried Potatoes And Peppers
Middle Eastern salad
When I was a child, my father, who rarely cooked, would sometimes prepare a chopped salad that he had eaten in the US. It comprised several ingredients – often crunchy lettuce, sweet tomatoes and cheese or some form of meat – chopped into small pieces and tossed with a good dressing. This is more a Middle East version, without meat or cheese. It is almost the consistency of gazpacho, but laced with plenty of cool, crunchy cos lettuce.
2 very ripe tomatoes
1 small cucumber
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 red pepper, cored, deseeded and chopped
6 radishes, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
A small bunch of dill, leaves only, finely chopped
A bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
A bunch of mint, leaves only, chopped
½ tsp dried mint
1 tsp red wine vinegar
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ tsp pomegranate molasses
Salt
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 pomegranate
1 small cos lettuce
1 Chop the tomatoes into small dice and place in a large bowl. Halve the cucumber lengthways and scoop out the seeds, then cut into pieces the same size as the tomatoes and add to the bowl. Add the red onion, red pepper, radishes, chilli, chopped fresh herbs and dried mint. Stir well to combine.
2 In a separate bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, a good pinch of salt and the extra virgin olive oil. Stir well and pour over the chopped vegetables. Toss gently and leave to macerate for 10 minutes.
3 Hold the pomegranate in one hand and gently tap it all over with a rolling pin to loosen the seeds. Now cut the fruit in half and extract the seeds with your fingers – do this over a bowl to catch them and any juice. Pick out any strands of bitter pith that have dropped into the bowl.
4 Just before serving, shred the lettuce and toss it through the salad. Taste and season with a little more salt if necessary. Pile on to a serving plate and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds. Serve with warm flatbread, or as an accompaniment to grilled fish.
My Favourite Ingredients by Skye Gyngell (Quadrille)

All photography generously provided by Alexis Courtney

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Weekly Share August 21st – 27th

Butterhead Lettuce
Flat Leaf Parsley
Dancer Eggplant
Highlander Onion
Danvers Carrots
Celebrity or Red Pear Tomatoes
Sweet Italian & Green Seyrek Peppers
Crimson Spineless Okra or Romano Beans
Crimson Sweet Watermelon or Halona Cantaloupe

Happy Solar Eclipse everyone. We hope you can take some time out on Monday to partake in this rare natural phenomenon. With our crazy non-stop schedule it is rare that we get to partake in holidays or midnight lunar eclipses or what have you; but this phenomenon is perfect for us; it’s in the middle of the day, outside and we luckily have a big open space to view the sun. Sometimes farming pays off. Being that its mid-August we are in the midst of our busiest time. We have long harvest days now that the eggplant, okra, long beans, peppers, and chiles are producing at full blast. We are working as fast as we can each week to keep up with our fall and winter planting, which requires seeding and transplanting on a very tight schedule. Every 2-3 days off schedule now can mean 10-14 days off harvesting especially for our long crops such as carrots, broccoli, or spinach. We also have to look for windows of opportunity when the weather will be a bit cooler to get appropriate germination and as always try to keep all our crops (summer, fall, and winter) properly hydrated for good growth. To get all this planting done also means getting rid of old crops quickly so Brian can prepare land for the next round. Between June and September we have to flip about 1/3 of our crop fields a little less than one acre, in order to have enough space for all the things we want to grow. It’s like a Tetris game trying to appropriately rotate certain crops, finding the right conditions for particular crops (light enough soil, good drainage, not too windy in the Winter), and keep blocks of crops together 4-6 months from now for irrigation and cold protection purposes. So while we harvest, plant, manage crops, week by week; we are also quickly clearing those things that need to be done (such as Sungold cherry tomatoes) to make room for the new.
A reminder, we are taking our annual week off the CSA shares next week August 28th – September 3rd. So no shares next week; but this week we have a great big share highlighting the Summer bounty in Virginia. With peppers ripening we can finally get you all some sweet peppers along with a few Turkish Seyrek peppers that are long thin light green delicious peppers, with no heat, but a fresh green, bright flavor. The last of the melons will be doled out this week. We hope you have enjoyed them as thoroughly as we have. We are finally bringing you all okra and/or beans, which have been slim this season up until now. These two crops pair nicely with onion, tomato, green peppers, and carrots to make some delicious bayou food. And then there is the illustrious ever-bountiful eggplant. We imagine that some of you might get your fill of eggplant long before the season quits and for this reason we try to be reasonable about how much we dole out to our CSA members. A funny thing is that since our second year we have never increased our eggplant plot size, growing the same number of plants on the same square footage; but every year the eggplant crop produces larger numbers of fruit and we take this as a positive sign of our slow baby steps towards learning to be better farmers. We hope that we can help those of you who are not in love with eggplant learn to appreciate it a bit more each year with recipe suggestions and diversity of varietals, as it is a truly abundant crop in Virginia. Likely it is one of the few crops that actually makes us a good profit when we can sell it. The plants truly love the humidity, the bouts of drought, the deluge of rain, and the heat. So this is the 4th week of 7 with eggplant and in September and October there will likely be at least 3 more times it is in the share; we hope you can revel in its bounty. Check some ideas below for using this amazing hearty fruit. Enjoy the share…..Brian and Autumn
Cajun Shrimp Eggplant Casserole #SundaySupper
Shrimp And Okra Gumbo
Griddled Eggplant With Meyer Lemon Parsley Vinaigrette
Creole Smothered Green Beans With Andouille Sausage
Spiced Peppers and Eggplant
Rice Pilaf With Carrots And Parsley
All photos are generously provided by Alexis Courtney
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Weekly Share August 14th – 20th

Suyo Long, Marketmore, or Diva Cucumbers
Red Noodle or Oriental Wonder Long Beans
Asian Long and Thai Round Eggplant
Cantaloupe or Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Heirloom Tomatoes
Shishito Peppers
Thai Basil
Scallions
Chiles

Long Bean & Eggplant Coconut Curry
Sichuan Style Stir-Fried Chinese Long Beans
Long Bean, Cucumber, and Tomato Salad
Sweet Spicy Eggplant & Shishito
Stir-Fried Chicken with Hot Basil
Cantaloupe Salad with Thai Basil and Chile
Cucumber-Watermelon 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!)
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