Verona Saladette Tomatoes
Anaheim, Cubanelle, Seyrek Peppers
Radish or Salad Turnip
Salad Mix or Arugula
Well it is beginning to really feel like Fall, with the nights getting cooler and the days getting decidedly shorter and our greenhouse is emptying out slowly but surely. Our outdoor crops for Fall and Winter are mostly seeded or transplanted and should be finished up this week. We are beginning to clear space in our high tunnels for winter greens, roots, and salad crops; which will be planted over the next month. So lots of planting left and the fields are beginning to look full again. Most of our fall crops look good and are growing well, although we had some failed seedings last month. Carrots will be the one crop we will not see until November, as our initial seedings of them failed and got too weedy to manage. Our seeding last week was successful though so we will have carrots and will continue seeding in our tunnels to grow over the winter. There is nothing better than winter carrots and spinach. Right now though the greens, beets and winter radishes are going strong and getting big.
This week’s share is great for making braises, stews, curries, and more. We have included a few mustard recipes, as these seem to be some of the hardest for CSA members to cook. We love them, as they have so much robust flavor and do really well cooked with lots of spices and some good fat to round out the sharpness of the greens, such as with a traditional saag or masala where they can be paired with potatoes. The verona tomatoes are wonderful raw in a salad; but also fabulous cooked. Using just a few with some braised okra or in sauteing peppers and greens. Check out the recipes below and enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian
Mustard Greens Saag Paneer (use some arugula, turnip greens, and more mustards to replace the spinach)
Salad Mix or Arugula
Khmer Thai or Jyoti Indian Chilies
Romano or Asian Long Beans
Shiso Granita – Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
15 green shiso leaves
¼ cup granulated sugar
Place the shiso leaves in a medium-sized bowl or 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Heat the sugar and 3 cups water to boiling in a medium saucepan, stirring the sugar to dissolve. Pour the boiling sugar water over the leaves and steep until cool. Set a strainer over a plastic container large enough to hold 3 cups and strain out the leaves. Cover and transfer the shiso-flavored sugar water to a freezer shelf. Let sit, undisturbed, in the freezer for 1 hour. Remove to the countertop, open the lid, and gently stir in the crystals that have formed on the perimeter. Repeat this operation every 30 minutes, breaking up any larger crystals as you go. The finished granita should be flaky. Serve alone in a glass bowl or goblet. This is also wonderful served alongside Fig Ice Cream and Plum Sorbet. Keeps frozen for several weeks.
Welcome to our 2023 Fall CSA season. We are thrilled to have you all join us for these 10 weeks. There will be an overwhelming diversity of crops, as the Summer always holds on for a long while and the Fall creeps in with new crops every week, so by mid to late October there is a ton of abundance. It is a fun time of year, if you like cooking with a lot of different crops. This week’s share is showing off the Virginia summer, which will not quit. We will see the last of this season’s cucumbers along with fresh crowder peas (similar to a black eyed pea), eggplant, okra, and peppers. This has been one of the best tomato seasons we have ever had and so they will keep on coming at you, with this week’s being a mix of our red all-purpose celebrity variety and our smaller plum verona. Both of these tomatoes are wonderful raw or cooked, so we have included recipes with many preparations. The calico crowder pea is a first for us, although we have made many attempts at black eyed peas and other field peas throughout the years. This seed variety comes from a friend down in Georgia, so we were very excited to plant a little out in the bean patch, with little expectations. Over the past 10 years, field peas are the most likely crop to be eaten and demolished by pests for us. This year has been one of the best bean seasons we have ever had (thanks to some bizarre weather and almost not pests); but we also think this variety is a winner, as it is seriously prolific. All that being said, each share will end up with a very small amount of peas, to shell yourself, and at the end of the day it will amount to a precious small amount of food. Perhaps next year we will allot a bit more space and cross our fingers. Dried legumes and field peas are so wonderful and provide great protein; we always want more of them, for us, for you, for market; but they require an intense amount of labor and for us that is always what we are shortest on. So even though you will not get much and it will be some work, enjoy them all the same. A fresh field pea is fabulously delicious. Cook them in a little water or broth, it won’t take long and add to a tomato, pepper, and cucumber salad or make some traditional beans cooked in chicken stock, with bacon, hot chilies, and onions. Check out the recipes below and enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian
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.
Anaheim or Poblano Peppers
As we wrap up the Spring/Summer portion of our 2023 CSA, we want to thank you all, our members, for committing to our farm. So far 2023 has been a strong growing season with lots of diversity. Some standouts have been our early spring escarole, a large garlic harvest, an epic tomato year in terms of quality and yield, and some really strong bean crops. It seeming like an excellent pepper year, but it’s still early in the season and all the fall diversity is yet to come. Enjoy this best of summer and check out the recipes below. Enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian
Tam Taeng Kwaa (Thai Cucumber Salad) –Pok Pok by Andy Ricker
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Romano Beans or Tomatillos
Italian Sauce Tomatoes
Mild & Sweet Peppers
Two more weeks of the Spring/Summer CSA share. It has been a good season so far and overall quite mild, even though we have had some very hot bouts with lots of humidity. Although the heat is not over, August always seems less intense than July and as it comes to an end, we usually take 3 days away from the farm for a little much needed break. So, two more weeks and then a little break; but there is a lot to do over the next couple of weeks. A huge block of fall brassicas transplants are in the ground plus the 1st fall successions of beets, salad turnips, mustards, carrots, and raab. All these rainy storms has brought a ton of weeds alongside our intended crop, so everything is literally germinating and must be hoed this week. We also have our fall fennel, swiss chard, kohlrabi and the first huge radicchio, lettuce, and chicory plantings to get into the ground over the next few weeks. Some Winter squash varieties are ready to harvest and we are still plugging away at trimming our garlic and onions and getting them into refrigeration. Lots to do that is very timely, so we hope for nice temperatures and easy rain.
Last week we harvested 200 watermelon and they have really been delicious. This week you will get your 2nd one for the season. We have some great salad and other recipes below; but as always, if your feeling overwhelmed juice ½ in a blender right away. Add lime and soda water and it is a perfect refreshment for a hot day. Enjoy these midsummer crops while they are thriving. Tomatoes have been delicious, this week you will get a mix of heirloom Italian types, most great for cooking but also delicious raw. Definitely stew the romano beans with tomatoes, or make salsa, or saute peppers and summer squash with the tomatoes, and a lot of basil, delicious. So many options. Check the recipes below and enjoy the share…..Brian and Autumn
Green Beans in Tomato Sauce – The New Book of Middle Eastern Cooking by Claudia Roden
1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
2 Tbls olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ lb ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ lb green beans, topped and talied and cut into 2-3 pieces
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
juice of ¼ lemon
Fry the onion in oil till soft and golden. Add the garlic, and when the aroma arises, add the tomatoes and beans. Season with salt, pepper, and sugar, add water as necessary to cover the beans, and lemon juice, simmering 15-20 minutes, or until the beans are tender and the sauce reduced a little.
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.
Romano Beans or Tomatillos
Khmer Thai or Serrano Chilies
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!)
Sugar Baby Watermelon
Red Candy Onion
This past week was a heavy one. After a very mild June, July brought all the summer temperatures with a ton of humidity. It seemed to culminate over the past week, with temperatures in the upper 90’s mixed with heavy, stagnant air that brought the heat index above 105. This past week was also our heavy tomato week (happens every July) in which we harvested 870 lbs of tomatoes, a record for us. We knew with the cool May and June that likely when it got hot, our first two successions of tomatoes would pop off all at once and indeed it happened very quickly. We will continue to have a lot; but hopefully it will slow down a bit. The tomato deluge coincided with beginning to harvest watermelon and okra as well as a big uptick in our early peppers such as poblanos, serranos, and anaheims. So there is a lot out in the fields needing continual harvests. With the cooling temperatures this week, looking like low to mid 80’s, we are going to be able to get some initial seeding and transplanting in the ground, right on time. This is good as our greenhouse is overflowing and the transplants are looking just about ready. Around our farm has been missing the summer showers as of late that most people in this region have been getting and we are in need of some moisture, especially when we plant out tender new seedlings,. Over the past week when a storm has passed through, the amount of rain has been negligible, so we are looking for some windows to plant when it is cooler and perhaps we will get some rain. Although we irrigate all the crops regularly, the rain does a much better job and really cools the soil in a way that our irrigation cannot.
This week’s share has our first watermelon. So far what we have tasted has been delicious. If watermelon seems big and overwhelming to you, we encourage making watermelon juice, as easy thing if you have a blender and a sieve. We remove the rind, put huge chunks, seeds and all, into a blender with some lime juice and blend. Then we strain out the seeds and any thick pulp, add more lime to taste and chill our drink over ice. Fabulous made into ice cubes or added to a cocktail. This is an easy way to use it up fast. This items in this week’s share are all perfect for summer salads. The jalapenos have a wonderful crisp texture with a concentrated flavor and a little heat. Our Nicola potatoes are a floury, creamy golden potato. Delicious boiled and then pan fried or roasted in the oven for a crisp salty potato treat. The carrots, grown through this heat still have some sweetness and are great on their own or as an accent with other veggies. The heirloom tomatoes have hit their stride and they are really delicious this year. Maybe because of the huge temperature swings? Who knows. Check out all the recipes and enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian
Mild Green Peppers
Celebrity Red Tomatoes
Italian & Dancer Eggplant
Chioggia & Red Beets
Zaalouk (Spicy Eggplant Salad) The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
1 ½ lb eggplant, peeled and cubed
5 cloves garlic, peeled
3 large tomatoes (about 1 ½ lbs)
4 Tbls argan oil or mild extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbls wine vinegar
½ tsp harissa or a mixture paprika &ground chili pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Boil the eggplants with the garlic in plenty of salted water, in a pan covered with a lid, for about 30 minutes or until they are very soft. Drain and chop the eggplants and garlic in a colander, then mash them with a fork, pressing all the water out.
Put the tomatoes in the emptied pan and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until reduced to a thick sauce, stirring occasionally. Mix with the mashed eggplants and the rest of the ingredients and add salt.
Variation: Add the juice of 1 lemon (instead of the vinegar) and 1 tsp ground caraway or coriander.
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.)
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.