Tomatillos or Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Middle Eastern, Italian, & Long Eggplant
Shishito, Cubanelle, or Seyrek Peppers
German White Garlic
Only five more weeks of the Spring & Summer share, time is really flying by. We had such a long and abundant Spring, which we are very thankful for especially in this crazy pandemic season. This was followed by a slow start to our Summer crops, with some pretty pitiful successions of beans and cucumber (our usual mid season fillers); but starting this week, you will get new and different crops each week. This week and next includes tomatillos and various peppers followed by watermelon and long beans, and then chilies and hopefully more beans. For now though revel in the abundance of eggplant, basil, garlic, and tomatoes. The tomatoes are coming, with new varieties each week and before we know it the sungolds will be done. Summer is the season where successions come and go quickly. Many farms plant multiple successions of every type of tomato and their other nightshades, due to our size and minimal labor, we prefer rolling plantings of tomatoes (with some types getting two plantings but most only one) and only one successions of peppers and eggplant, so we tend to the crops, feeding them to keep them healthy and they run their course a little differently each year. This week’s share includes Shishito peppers (a mildly spicy frying pepper), which can be an excellent addition to a stir-fry, pasta sauce, or even a scramble. They also excel on their own, done in a simple tempera or pan fried/charred in olive oil and finished with a nice flaky salt. These peppers are occasionally spicy; but mostly they have a bright, green, mild flavor. A shishito side dish can accompany steak, fish, or just about anything. Seyrek (also called corbaci) are a very skinny, fresh green flavored pepper with no heat. They are wonderful raw or cooked and do not need to be deseeded as like the shishito, they are picked young with tender seeds. They are a wonderful addition to a shepherd salad or your morning scramble. A cubanelle pepper is yellow green when unripe, has a tender flesh, a bit sweeter than a seyrek and is our version of a non-spicy green pepper for general use. Your standard green bell pepper is an un-ripened sweet pepper and it shows in that it has a strong bitter and tannic flavor, whereas a cubanelle is mild and balanced flavor. Check out the recipes and enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian
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 Romano Beans
Candy Sweet Onions
Parsley or Dill
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.
Red & Orange Tomatoes
Eggplant or Romano Beans
Napa or Tendersweet Cabbage
Daikon Radish or Hakurei Turnip
Thai Basil & Shiso
Fresh Spring Rolls
When we make these we let everyone prepare their own and it makes for a really fun meal activity. As the recipe states, you can substitute various herbs’ we particularly like thai basil, shiso, and mint together. We will add julienned pieces of hakurei turnips, daikon, or even sweet peppers and sometimes substitute shredded pork or shrimp for tofu. For dipping sauces we use a traditional Nuoc Cham and peanut sauce (recipes below).
Nuoc Cham –Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
1/4cup fresh lime juice¼ cup fish sauce
¼ cup water
2 tsp rice or cider vinegar
1 Tbls sugar
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 bird chile, minces
several shreds of carrot (optional)
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to dissolve the sugar completely. Serve in small condiment bowls. Store in a tightly sealed glass container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (after that, the garlic starts to taste tired).
Vietnamese Peanut Sauce –Hot Sour Salty Sweet by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid
¼ cup dry roasted peanuts
2 scant Tbls tamarind pulp, dissolved in 2 Tbls warm water or substitute 2 Tbls tomato paste
2 tsp peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbls fermented soybean paste (tuong in Vietnamese; dao jiao in Thai)
1 cup water
1 ½ tsp sugar
1-2 bird chiles, minced
Generous squeeze of fresh lime juice
Place the peanuts in a food processor or large mortar and process or pound to a coarse powder; set aside. If using tamarind, press it through a sieve; reserve the liquid and discard the solids. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stir-fry until it is starting to change color, about 15 seconds. Add the soybean paste and the tamarind or tomato paste and stir to blend. Stir in ½ cup water, then stir in most of the ground peanuts, reserving about 1 Tbls for the garnish. Stir in the sugar and chiles. Add up to ½ cup more water, until you have the desired texture: a thick liquid, pourable but not watery. Serve in small condiment bowls, warm or at room temperature, squeezing on the lime and sprinkling on the reserved peanuts just before serving. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month. Reheat it in a small pan and simmer briefly before serving.
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes
Summer Squash Mix
German White Garlic
So much going on at the farm lately and everything is growing, fruiting, and ripening so quickly, thanks to the longest days of the year. The tomatoes are poised to overwhelm us, but right now the plant vegetation is just enormous with tons of green fruit, so the twine and posts holding them up are drooping or leaning towards the ground. We also planted the last succession in our high tunnel this past week. They are our smaller red varieties for fall, good for cooking, drying or long storage. The peppers, which were planted weeks late this year, are getting trellised and tied. We harvested the first of our romano beans on Friday and weeded and trellised the long beans which should come on in about a month. Our okra and eggplants are knee high and super robust this season. Eggplant harvest begins this week, so you will see them soon. We just began harvesting from our third succession of squash, so this week will be the last harvest of our first succession (yes they are all running together) and we will plant our 4th & final succession. Winter squash and watermelons are coming along; but we let the weeds in the pathways get out of control, so that is a bummer; but nothing to be done. Early potatoes will be harvested for storage later this week, the beginning of many hours this month of potato harvest for storage. Onions were all pulled and laid out to cure this past week and the garlic is just about ready to come out of the barn for long term storage (meaning clipped of their tops and sorted for damage). In the midst of all of this, our greenhouse has 75 new trays of fall brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards), fennel and scallions and this week we add to that with our late radicchios, fall chard, chicories, lettuces, beets, and napa cabbage. It is always funny to be finishing spring crops in the field as we begin the same crops for fall. In some climates up north or out west they plant cabbage once and harvest early varieties for summer eating and later varieties for storage. Here though the season is longer and the summer too hot; compounding disease and bug pressure. So these crops are grown twice. Due to a mild May, we still have kale, cabbage, and chard in the field. We will be finishing them in the next week or two and hopefully the 3-4 weeks without these crops in the field will starve out some of the bugs; but we will see.
This week’s share is the last of the regular greens (Kale and Frisee) you will see, except for an occasional head of lettuce or cabbage, until September. The sungold tomatoes are on point this year and we hope you are excited for the tomatoes to begin, they should be a regular feature in the coming months.
Enjoy the share….Autumn and Brian
Photographs by Alexis Courtney
Red or Chioggia Beets
Red Gold New Potatoes
Dill or Parsley
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.
Cabbage: Tendersweet (Tues) or Napa (Sat)
Suyo Long & Slicer Cucumbers
Cousa & Zephyr Squash
Tropea Spring Onion
Things like cabbage, escarole, kale or summer squash can become more delicious as you cook them in fat and finish with a good dose of salt & acidity. If your feeling like your fridge is full and the abundance is too much to handle, take a few lbs of squash or half a huge head of cabbage and slice thinly. Saute over medium high heat onions and/ or garlic in your fat of choice (butter, bacon grease, olive oil, or a combination) and then add whatever veggie single layer, salt and cover for a few minutes to sweat (remove the liquid) as well as get a little char, uncover stir it up and move to the side, add fat if needed and add another layer of veggie. Do this 3-5 times and the initial stuff will be confit with the latter ones having some texture. Finish with lemon, vinegar, or the like. Enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian
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.
Cabbage: Napa (Tues) or Tendersweet (Sat)
Hakurei Turnip or Daikon Radish
Spicy Asian Mix
The weather has been so unusual this Spring. We are looking forward to this upcoming week with mild temperatures and light rain, as the Spring crops will be loving it and lets be honest so will we. The summer crops on the other hand will pause for a minute, at least we will see a little less flowering and slower growth later this week. Anyhow overall it has been a pretty easy season as far as the weather goes, although there are always extreme temperature shifts here in Virginia. This past week we harvested the majority of our garlic, the German white variety and it looks pretty good, we have a substantial crop this year. We were a week or two late to be honest; as all the overwintered crops came on slightly early due to the mild winter and spring but time and weather constraints kept us from harvesting earlier. Pulling hardneck garlic out a little later means the skin layers have died back a bit more and so their can be more mold presence which can eventually manifest into rotten cloves. We have sorted the garlic to avoid storing the more susceptible garlic too long; but it is something we are learning from year after year and hopefully honing our skills a little. Mid-May to June is so busy for us and due to the unusual May frost, we got 10 days behind in our planting schedule, which in turn puts us 10 days behind in our larger June projects.
The biggest struggle on our farm is that during the main season we have only Wednesdays and Thursdays for big projects (potato, garlic, onion harvests, large plantings of summer crops, root crop or herb succession weeding, processing chickens, etc.), because we have such a small crew and many days are focused on harvest, pack, and markets. On those project days if the conditions are ill suited (i.e hot and sunny we cannot work too long in the tunnels or wet and overcast we cannot cultivate or weed effectively), we have to push off certain tasks; which can manifest as mismanagement of crops. It is a norm for us. We have a great small crew this year, with a experienced farm hand three days per week and two awesome 1 day per week all season helpers; but between May and August there are always weeks where we need so much more help to really get it all done. Again we are slow learners but eventually we will get our staffing more in place or just grow a little less. Just wanted to explain the behind the scenes, as we never skimp from the harvesting, washing, packing side of things so from a CSA and customer stand point it can be hard to tell the difference. Sometimes I think we should just take half a harvest day and get more done around the farm and take less to sell; but once you’re in a harvest cycle, it is very difficult to step away. Fruiting crops have to be harvested like clockwork or they will not be sellable. The same goes for getting cutting greens, lettuce, quick roots, and other greens picked when they are ready, they sit too long and they get tough, bitter, bug eaten, and on and on. Enjoy these last spring like days making some delicious Asian cuisine inspired food or ferments and welcome in the coming heat and humidity of Summer which is just around the corner. Enjoy the share….Autumn & Brian
Recipes Below From Japanese Farm Food by Nancy Singleton Hachisu
Bitter Greens with Dashi
2 small bunches (1 1/3lb) Bitter Greens: mustard, turnip, or komatsuna
1/3 cup Dashi
2 Tbls Soy Sauce
2 Tbls freshly shaved katsuobushi or 3 Tbls hanakatsuo
Bring a large pot of hot water to a boil and place a large bowl of cold water on the kitchen sink. Hold the bunches of greens by their tops and lower the stems into the boiling water. Count to ten or twenty, then drop the greens into the pot and cook an additional 1-3 minutes. Scoop out the greens with a strainer and dump them immediately into the cold water. Turn on the tap and plunge your hands into the water, lifting the greens up directly into the stream of cold running tap water to cool them. Pull out a few connected strands and squeeze down the length of the greens to express the excess water. Ley the greens on the cutting board, cut off the end tips, and slice into 2” lengths.
Squeeze the greens one more time and arrange the clumps attractively on a medium-sized saucer with the cut sides face up. Season the dashi with soy sauce, pour over the greens, and sprinkle with shaved katsuobushi right before serving.
Variation: Also nice with some slivered citrus peel, such as yuzu or meyer lemon. Although in this case I would cut back, or omit the katsuobushi.
Daikon and Daikon Leaf Salad
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
Napa Cabbage Salad with Sesame Seeds
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.
Summer Squash Mix
Red Ace or Chioggia Beets
Hakurei Turnips or Red Radishes
Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
Mashed Zucchini Salad (Ajlouke Qura’a)– The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
In this Tunisian salad the blandness of zucchini is lifted by the very rich flavoring.
1 lb zucchini
Juice of ½ a lemon or more
3 Tbls extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp harissa (or a little chile flake)
1 or 2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp caraway seeds
Trim the ends of the zucchini and cut into large pieces. Boil in water for 10-15 minutes, until very soft. Drain then chop and mash in the colander to get rid of excess water. Beat the rest of the ingredients together and mix into the zucchini. Serve Cold.
Zucchini Salad With Raisins and Pine Nuts – The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
The combination of raisins and pine nuts was brought by the Arabs all the way to Spain and Sicily.
1 lb Zucchini
4 Tbls Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbls Pine Nuts
2 Tbls Black or Gold Raisins or Currants
1 clove Garlic, crushed and chopped
Salt and Pepper
2 tsp dried mint (optional)
Juice of ½ Lemon, or more
Saute the Zucchini quickly in the oil with the pine nuts, raisins, and garlic. Add salt and pepper and dried mint, if using, and cook, stirring, over moderate heat until the zucchini slices are just tender. Serve hot or cold with lemon juice squeezed over the salad.
Turnip and Orange Salad –The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
This Salad is Tunisian. Wash 1 lb young, tender turnips and slice them very thinly. Macerate for an hour in a mixture of 3 Tbls olive oil and the juice of one bitter Seville orange or a mixture of orange and lemon juice (the dressing needs to be sharp), with a crushed clove of garlic, salt, and pepper. A pinch of ground chile is optional (aleppo pepper is amazing). Serve as it is with a few sprigs of parsley or add a chopped up orange (my favorite).
Roasted Beets, Avocado, and Sunflower Seeds from Six Seasons by Joshua McFadden
1 lb beets
kosher salt & black pepper
extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbls red wine vinegar
¼ cup salted roasted sunflower seeds
½ cup lightly packed roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 scallions, trimmed, (including ½” off the green tops), sliced on a sharp angle, soaked in ice water for 20 minutes, and drained well
½ cup lightly packed, seeded, chopped pickled peppers
2 firm-ripe avocadoes
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Trim the tops and bottoms of the beets. Wash the greens and spin dry in a salad spinner. Rinse and scrub the beets to remove any mud and grit. Cut up any larger beets so that they are all about the same size.
Put the beets in a baking dish that’s large enough to accommodate all of them in a single layer. Season with salt, then pour ¼ cup water into the dish. Cover tightly with foil and steam roast until the beets are tender when pierced with a knife. Depending on the size, density, and age of the beets, this could take between 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Meanwhile, if you have beet greens to cook, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add a glug of olive oil, add the beet greens, and toss them until they are wilted and a bit stewed, about 5 minutes. Set aside until cool, then chop through them a few times.
When the beets are tender, let them cool until you can handle them, then rub or pare away the skins. Cut into ½-inch wedges or chunks and pile into a bowl. Add the greens.
While the beets are still warm, sprinkle with the vinegar, ½ tsp salt, and many twists of pepper. Toss to distribute the seasonings and let the beets absorb the vinegar for a few minutes. Add a healthy glug of olive oil and toss again. Let the beets sit at room temperature until you are ready to serve.
To assemble for serving, add the sunflower seeds, parsley, scallions, and pickled peppers and toss gently. Peel the avocadoes and cut them into neat chunks that are about the same size as the beet wedges, and add them to the beets too. Toss thoroughly but very gently, so you don’t mash the avocado too much. Taste and adjust with more salt, black pepper, vinegar, or oil. Serve right away.