[CSA]: Week 14

Around the Farm

As I said earlier, Keren has returned from Africa but, now our lovely Miss Jackie (a faithful helper and teacher) is getting married and the farm is all a-twitter!

We've had two helpers get married this year (not to each other) and helping with wedding flowers is always such a joy, helping to make the seasonal "wall" September creates, a little easier too. (Even though we'll really miss Jackie's help).

A fellow farmer in Stockbridge recently remarked that they face many "walls" throughout the year and, I'm beginning to relate. There's nothing particularly difficult about September that is any more difficult than any other time of the year, it's simply that it comes at the end of a long season. You can see the end is near but, there's still a great deal of harvesting to come before you can (kinda) relax a little more. 

September marks a time when we transition our hoophouses and farm into the fall and winter so, there's always a lot to do. We're seeding, ripping things out, planting, planning, marketing and still harvesting along the way. 

These super hot days don't make it any easier either. Oh well- it's so rewarding to see the tasty things coming from everyone's hard work and enjoying tomatoes everyday! 

Coming in October: -Winter Squash -Broccoli/Cauliflower -Brussels Sprouts -Rutabagas -Sweet Potatoes

The Menu

Please Choose 8

  • Regular Red or Cherry Tomatoes

  • Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Garlic

  • Red or Yellow Storage Onions

  • Hot Peppers

  • Shishito or Padron Peppers

    • Make these into a simple appetizer or snack by sauteeing or grilling these whole until they blister then, sprinkling them with salt and serving.

  • Sweet Bell Peppers and Carmen/Escamillo

  • Eggplant

  • Kale

    • Hopefully, it's the return of the Lacinato/Dino Kale plus, Curly and Red Russian

  • Rainbow Chard

  • Savoy Cabbage!

    • a sweeter, nuttier and slightly thinner-leaf version of regular cabbage. They're huge too!

  • Green (Unripe) Tomatoes!

    • We're clearing out the hoophouse and making way for the fall crops. 

Maybe List

  • Kossack Kohlrabi

  • Broccoli

  • Tomatillos

  • Leeks

Recipe Ideas: Tomatoes!

I'm sure you've found at least a few tasty things to enjoy with tomatoes!

Whether is the a perfectedTomato Sandwich (NYT version is seriously good), or, a Simple Raw Tomato sauce that is good on anything, there are endless ways to use tomatoes.

It seems like once a week, we make some sort of grainy salad that will be great in lunches for the coming week.

This One-Pan Farro with Tomatoes from Smitten Kitchen is going into the rotation soon, with simple ingredients and method.

Shakshuka...
if you're not sure what the heck it is, you've been missing out.

I like using fresh tomatoes (just a mix of whatever I have on hand) to make an extra spicy sauce, then, just as this recipe from Tori Avey indicates, we crack some eggs into it and cook them until they're still a little runny and luscious in the yolk. This dish is great served with a light salad and some crusty bread for dinner, or, at a family breakfast table.

You'll notice there's also green tomatoes in this week's share! These are tomatoes that are picked before their prime, in this case, because we're pulling out the hoophouse tomatoes to make way for winter plantings of lettuce and spinach.

Green tomatoes can be made into relishes and cakes (yeah, I know, that one surprised me) but... let's start at the beginning. 

If you're new to green tomatoes, you've got to start with the classic. It takes a few tries but, you'll find a fried green tomato recipe that speaks to you. Here's a super simple basic recipe from Southern Kitchen. I almost always add a little thyme to mine... and alternate using and not using buttermilk. 

If you're ready for the next level green fried tomatoes, try these from Vivian Howard.

The whole recipe is pretty involved but, the methods and attitudes are solid. I love her idea that this little tomato disc should be a vehicle for other flavors! In this recipe, the tomato is basically just a crouton for an apple salad.

 

[CSA]: Week 13 🍀

Around the Farm

The season of transition is upon us!

For those who read our plea last week, we've found a few farm-friends to help us out this week and save the day. However, we've also chosen the menu items carefully so that we can still provide you with what is ready to harvest on the farm and what our small crew can accomplish.

While people are transitioning in and out, so are the crops. The summer fruit is heading out, while the root crops begin to size up and show up on our plates. The fields are being flipped from melons and cucumbers to spinach and lettuce for fall harvest. 

The appearance of kohlrabi, as well as storage onions, also seems to mark the beginning of true fall.

What's a storage onion?

While we grow a lot of different kinds of onions, they can be easily broken down into two categories: sweet and storage.

Sweet are those that are great for raw eating, are sweeter but, tend to go bad more quickly. For Titus Farms, these are the white and light yellow (Ailsa Craig) onions. Think Vidalia (which btw, can only be grown in Vidalia, Georgia).

Storage onions are those with stronger flavors, harder and heartier than the sweet, that keep much longer. (Think Spanish onions or any onion that has ever made you cry). The presence of the extra sulfur in their flesh gives them pungency but, also staying power. 

Typically, these are the darker yellow onions for us but, I also consider red onions to be better suited for storage. These onions will last for months if stored properly (see below) and, actually mellow in storage. 

Not all onions, turns out, are built the same. 

For a little primer, see the Taste of Home article here.


The Menu

Please Choose 7

  • Cherry Tomatoes

  • Regular Red or Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Garlic

  • Shallots

  • Kossack Kohlrabi

    • A sputnik-like veggie that is sweet and crispy, even when mildly huge. 

  • Red or Yellow Storage Onions

    • We've ventured into the "hotter" onions that are great for storing through the winter!

  • Hot Peppers

  • Spicy Stuffing Peppers

    • Anaheim or Poblano

      • Anaheim is lighter green, long and, close to a Hatch Chile. 

      • Poblanos are spicier and darker green.

  • Sweet Bell Peppers and Carmen/Escamillo

  • Eggplant

    • Mini, Long-skinny or some smaller Italian

  • Kale!

    • Red Russian, Siberian or Green and Scarlet Curly Kale

  • Rainbow Chard

  • Fresh Herbs

    • Parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, mint and more!

Maybe List

  • Tomatillos

  • Leeks!

Recipe Ideas: Onions

As stated above, we've begun to make the switch to the heartier onions!

For best storage results, keep them in a cool, dry place, out of sunlight. Granted, these storage recommendations are really if you intend to store them for a month or more.

Otherwise, the fridge is fine or, in a bowl on the counter is great too.

If you're not sure about storing a ton of onions for any amount of time... there's always pickling!

We love having pickled onions throughout the winter, to add a little something extra to sandwiches, roasted root veggies or a pickle tray. 

If you're not ready to commit to the canning process yet, try this simple, spicy, Yucatan-inspired pickled onion recipe from Pati Jinich here. You can keep these red onions in the fridge for a month or more and they are perfect on tacos (especially fish tacos).

If you are ready to commit to canning, try this Sweet and Sour Pickled Onion recipe from Food in Jars

I usually prefer to prepare this French Onion Tart from Smitten Kitchen in the winter, when we're counting down the days until garden tomatoes are rolling in... but, after this cold snap, we've been eating waaay to much cheese, soupy things and carbohydrate laced veggies. Right about now, this tart seems dreamy. It's buttery and ooey-gooey that goes great with some chard or spicy salad.

And, of course, there's the classic French Onion Soup (this one is from Epicurious). If you've never actually made it from scratch, it's a bit of effort but, the results are far less salty and much more delicious. 

However, if you happen to have an instant pot, try this Serious Eats version that is still loaded with flavor. Using the instant pot really, really, helps cut down on the time it took to caramelize the onions so, this was a win!

[CSA]: Week 12

Around the Farm

The summer crops (mainly the Solanaceae) are finally rolling in! Peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant are all making a strong appearance at CSA so, we thought now might be a good time for a little pepper review:


Sweet Peppers At CSA, this could include:

Bell Peppers The classic lobe-y pepper, thick walled and great for raw eating or cooking.  These primarily start green and ripen to red, yellow and orange. Exception: purple and white peppers, which start those colors and ripen to red and pink. In their "green" stage of purple or white, they taste just like a green bell.

Carmen and Escamillo Peppers These long, tapering, thinner walled peppers look much like a hot anaheim but, are incredibly sweet and flavorful. Carmen is a classic red corno di toro (bull's horn pepper) and Escamillo is its yellow counterpart.

Shishito Peppers A new and wonderful addition to the farm! A Japanese frying pepper with incredibly thin walls and complex flavor. They are small, green or red and very wrinkly.

Hot Peppers With a love of hot peppers since childhood, you can find our carefully curated varieties at CSA, including:

Chilaca (Pasilla): commonly dried but, mild and smoky. Anaheim: a light green, tapered pepper, much like a Hatch chile. Poblano: a larger dark green pepper, great for stuffing. Garden Salsa: red and narrow, beautiful flavor and perfect heat level (not ready yet tho) 'Capperino' Cherry Bomb: a sweeter version of a cherry bomb, meant for stuffing. Jalapeño: classic, medium heat and nice flavor. Hungarian Hot Wax: bright yellow with a wonderful flavor and appearance. Serrano: a little hotter than a jalapeño and similar in shape. Cayenne: great for drying, red. Thai: small and hot, yellow, orange or red in color Habanero: ouch. They are small, wrinkly and come in yellow, orange, red and chocolate. Necessary for proper jerk though. Ghost: double ouch. Be prepared... but they apparently have a good flavor.

These peppers are listed in order of heat but, keep in mind that all peppers have a range of Scoville units (Scoville units are used to measure heat in peppers). Thus, sometimes the mildest serrano is more like a jalapeño and a really hot anaheim is hotter than a jalapeño. These heats vary from pepper to pepper even within varieties.

When in doubt: consult the sign at CSA.

The Menu

Please Choose 7

  • Cherry Tomatoes!

  • Regular Red or Heirloom Tomatoes!

  • Garlic

  • Basil

  • Red Onions

  • Daikon Radishes

    • Slightly hotter than a regular radish, these purple and white beauties are great raw or cooked.

    • These will be WITH the greens so, prepare for some awesome spicy-ish greens. Try them just like kale... for some advice, look here.

  • Hot Peppers

  • Spicy Stuffing Peppers

    • Anaheim or Poblano

      • Anaheim is lighter green, long and, close to a Hatch Chile. 

      • Poblanos are spicier and darker green.

  • Fennel

  • Sweet Bell Peppers and Carmen/Escamillo

  • Eggplant

    • Long-skinny or some smaller Italian

  • Kale!

    • It's back! It just needed a little break.

  • Fresh Herbs

    • Parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, mint and more!

Maybe List

  • Tomatillos

Recipe Ideas: Hot Peppers

I don't think our family would do well without a little spice in our lives! There's always a hot sauce or chopped chili someplace within reach.

When peppers just come rolling in and, we're short on time, we rinse them, dry them and simply throw them into a plastic freezer bag to be handled later.

Here are some of the things we like to do with fresh (or frozen) chiles.

You'll find hot stuff-able peppers at CSA this week so, this is a perfect opportunity to try your hand at Chiles Rellenos!

Typically, this involves stuffing a poblano with cheese then, dredging and lightly frying it. Try this "traditional" of Chiles Rellenos from Food Network here.

Often though, we don't go to all the fuss of frying, and instead opt for a lighter version using our grill. This Crisper Whisperer recipe, involves much less prep and oil. The addition of beans really amps up the value of these too!

Pepper Jelly
When you have a TON of peppers (and love spreadable things on crackers), try this little treat.
For whatever reason, the first pepper jelly my mother ever tried to make, had cherry juice in it and now, that's our favorite. We love a version close to this one from Ball but, there are lots of variations on this classic.

Except, we throw whatever peppers we have in it! Each jar is then a little surprise, as it varies in heat and flavor.

Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try making your own hot sauce. This version of Fermented Hot Sauce is now a family fav. Do see out the achiote though... the flavor profile is so much different without them.

One last little quick mention: if you happen to have a mountain of Habaneros or, love Jamaican food, Jerk Chicken (or Jerk Anything) is the way to go!

We do this version of (probably Americanized?) Jerk Chicken at least once a month and, freeze habaneros specifically for it. 

Vegetarian? No problem... we love the marinade spread on grilled veggies or, slathered on eggplant and grilled. I've never tried it with tofu or TVP but, it's worth a try!

[CSA]: Week 11 of 19

Honey from our farm is available on the webstore plus...

We're taking orders for Bulk Tomatoes!

To get on the list and help us plan, please either email Rebecca with dates or, fill out this form.

What's the deal with bulk tomatoes?  These are "canning quality" or, "second" tomatoes, sold in large quantities for canning, freezing, dehydrating or whatever! They are uglier, often with bruises, cracks or spots, and they also tend to be pretty darn ripe. We try to avoid anything oozing or moldy ones but, you don't want these tomatoes sitting around too long or it's bound to happen.

Types Regular: the classic red tomato, variable in size. San Marzano Roma: great for sauces or drying Heirloom: our multi-colored heirlooms with a little too many splits or spots for table-use.

Prices/Size Offered in 1/2 bushel increments. Each 1/2 bushel box is approx. 25 pounds. Assume some loss too (if you're following a recipe).

Regular: $15 per 1/2 bushel San Marzano: $18 per 1/2 bushel Heirloom: $25 per 1/2 bushel

How to Buy? Fill out this form to let us know you're interested

We will email or text you the day-of to make sure you're ready. If not, we'll move down to the next person on the list and try to get you next time. No worries, we hope to fill all orders by October.

In order to keep costs the same, we will only be accepting cash or check at CSA, the day you receive the order.

Thanks!

Around the Farm

We've been rushing around like crazy, getting things ready for fall planting, weeding and the construction of a new hoophouse, all of this in-between harvesting for CSA, of course.

2018 has been more than a little disappointing but, we find it best not to dwell on what we should have done and instead, look to a new year. Still, taking note of the things gone wrong this year is the only way to change our farm for the better. Sadly, it's becoming clear that as my parents slow, simply from the march of time, we'll need more people to do a variety of tasks. I have hope that the future will be bright but, staring at failed corn and string bean plantings make it harder to peer through the haze of doubts.

Maggie (our dog), Rose and Paul (my parents) and all the kitties (Ned, Gretta, Hugh and Jon) are all doing marvelously so, I cannot complain. We have a sufficient amount of field-hands for the work that needs doing and friends that help the time pass too quickly.

As you might be able to tell, planning has already started for next year so, hold onto your hats!

What's to Come? More tomatoes! Fall Broccoli More onions, shallots and leeks!  

 The Menu

Please Choose 7

  • Tomatoes!

    • Cherry and/or regular red plus a few heirloom.

  • Garlic

  • Shallots!

    • We've had a great harvest of copper and red shallots.

    • They have a gentle onion flavor.

  • Basil

  • White or Red Onions

  • 'Sugar Cube' Muskmelons, Watermelons or Piel de Sapo melons

  • Hot Peppers

    • Jalapeños, Serranos, Thai, Anaheim, Habaneros, Cayenne and more!

    • They are easy to freeze whole or chopped. Or, roast and freeze.

  • Fennel!

  • Green (Unripe) Sweet Peppers

    • some are starting to ripen to red, orange or yellow!

  • Eggplant!

    • Mini, Long-skinny or Italian

  • Rainbow Chard

    • Our second planting has come in and going strong!

  • Fresh Herbs

    • Parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, mint and more!

Maybe List

  • Tomatillos

  • Zucchini/Summer Squash/ Patti Pans

  • Cabbage

Recipe Ideas: Eggplant

Eggplant is probably one of my favorite things to cook or, to eat. However, when it is underdone... it can be horrible!

Eggplant comes in many sizes and types: the mini eggplant is meant to be small and tends to be thinner skinned while the large, Italian eggplant, is great for slicing and frying.

We end up making a great deal of Eggplant Caviar to help use up tomatoes and eggplant during the season and even freezing it for a winter treat. 

Try this Eggplant Caviar recipe from Michael Symon. 

And of course, I cannot mention eggplant without mentioning ratatouille. Not just a movie... (although I was also recently informed that there's a cookbook that goes along with the Disney movie?) Ratatouille is not a fancy thing, rest assured... it's more of a peasant stew with lots of squash, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes cooked down together. Think of it more as an inspiration than recipe too, ratios are important but, feel free to substitute and play!

Here's a lovely version from Once Upon a Chef.
 

When eggplant is cooked, it should be silky smooth but, for some that might find it "mushy" here's an idea:

The flesh of eggplant also pulls into really nice strips. Recently, I came across this Pulled Eggplant BBQ recipe that replicates pulled pork. I'm always looking for vegetarian BBQ favorites so, we're going to give this a try!

Lastly, a recipe I tried when I was around 10... my first foray into wild eggplant experiments, submitted to the county fair as a 4-Her.

I attempted something like this pickled eggplant recipe and well... I wasn't ready for the technical challenges. But, I now l-o-v-e pickling the mini eggplant! Try it!

Try this PBS Food version of Pickled Eggplant.

[CSA]: Week 10! 🍅

Canning tomato season is upon us! We're not quite ready to start taking orders yet but, if you're thinking about canning or freezing some sauce, whole tomatoes or what-have-you, now is the time to begin considering things like jars/bags, quantities and types of tomatoes you'd like.

Our season may not be as plentiful as previous years but, we're still pretty confident we can fill all orders.

Around the Farm

Tomatoes are finally coming in! They won't be perfect at first, but, we hope they'll taste divine.

We grow quite a few different kinds of tomatoes. Here's a little help with what you might find at CSA:


Titus Tomatoes: Storage

Cherry, Regular, Roma and Heirlooms

Previously, we'd recommended that they not be stored in the fridge... then we saw this primer from Cook's Illustrated come across our email account. Apparently, in their testing, refrigerating a whole tomato did not affect their flavor. However, it does seem to be crucial they are stored in an air-tight container to avoid off-flavors (especially if they're already cut). 

This small change could extend the tomato's life by up to 5 days! (Again, all according to Cook's Illustrated). 

Mind. Blown.

If you're not sure about Cook's Illustrated's methods, do store them on the counter.

Heirloom and cherry ripen more quickly so, use them first. Roma and regular are the work-horses of the tomato world and can last 5-7 days just sitting out.


Titus Tomatoes: Use

Cherry, Regular, Roma and Heirlooms

All are great for cooking and fresh eating but, each has a specific use or intent.

Roma are excellent for sauces since they tend to be drier.
Heirloom are great for raw use, since their delicate flavor can be lost when cooking.
Regular Red are nice for canning whole, eating raw or cutting up for almost any recipe.
Cherry tomatoes are excellent lunchbox fare! Also lovely roasted or sauteed until they burst.
'Juliet' are a cross between a cherry and roma, great for salads or roasting.

How to tell if they're ripe?
All tomatoes are usually pretty ripe when distributed at CSA... Feel them for a slight squishiness that indicates they're ready to be sure. But, don't squeeze our tomatoes hard or we get cranky. Feel is really the best way to know if what you've received is ripe.
 

Titus Tomatoes: Preserving the Harvest


Rinse and freeze them whole or in pieces, peeled or unpeeled. No blanching necessary. Just be sure to label them.

Consider canning them as sauce, salsa or whole tomatoes, but, be sure to do your research. The Ball Blue Book shall become your bible.

Often, we freeze our tomatoes to can later, when the season has finally calmed down.


About Heirlooms


Heirlooms are selections of tomatoes from long ago, who's seeds are then saved and replanted by farmers generations thereafter, virtually unchanged from the original. They are selected for flavor, not for appearance or their ability (or lack thereof) to be shipped across the country. So, use them quickly and expect them to be softer and meatier or juicier or more acidic than the average hybrid tomato.


Heirloom Varieties by Color:

Green
These varieties stay green, with green flesh and green seed cavities. They're not used for frying but instead, all have a highly acidic, beautiful sweet flavor.

Green Zebra: the standard for green tomatoes. The 3 oz. fruit is sweet, with a sharp bite and beautiful chartreuse color when ripe.
Cherokee Green: a larger green tomato, with a yellow tint and thicker, firmer flesh.
Evergreen: a tricky tomato. It is truly evergreen as it maintains a more subtle dark green color when ripe. A richly flavored heirloom to say the least.


Reds
All a rosy pink color with a balanced sweet/acidic flavor.
Brandywine Red: The standard for heirlooms. Larger fruit that are fleshy and sweet.
Omar's Lebanese: Huge pinkish fruit with a good flavor. A rare heirloom from Lebanon.
Pruden's Purple: A little deeper pink color, very similar in taste to Brandywine, but bearing fruit a little earlier.
 

Purples/Black
These are often more of a deep purple to brick red sort of shade. All are a little more mellow in flavor, sweet with less acid. They're sometimes described as "smoky" in flavor too.
Cherokee Purple: A pre-1890 heirloom variety and a favorite among purple tomato lovers. 
Paul Robeson: A tomato with a history, whose sweet, smoky flavor is highly sought after. Named in honor of the famous African-American opera singer.
Black from Tula: A rare Russian heirloom with a deep purplish-brown color. Very rich, old-fashioned flavor, sweet and spicy.


Yellow/White/Orange
Great varieties if you like low-acid tomatoes.
Garden Peach: A fuzzy little tomato that, when ripe, has a little red blush resembling a peach. 
Persimmon Orange: A medium-sized orange tomato that is a little more firm than others.
Amana Orange: A big, glowing beefsteak. Named after the Amana Colonies in Amana, Iowa.
Manyel: A lemony-yellow variety that's a little juicier than others.
Great White:  Larger fruit with a creamy white flesh. Described as having a fruity flavor reminiscent of a mixture of pineapple, melon and guava.


Striped Tomatoes
Big Rainbow: A huge beefsteak type that's best known for its size and meaty flesh, turning from yellow to red at the base.
Elberta Peach: Also called Tigerella, it is a smaller fruit that is bright red with orange stripes.
Striped German: A larger tomato with a sweeter flavor and insanely dense flesh. Similar in color to Big Rainbow or Pineapple.
Berkeley Tie-Die: medium fruit with a very sweet, rich, dark tomato flavor. Port wine colored beefsteak with metallic green stripes. It becomes very soft very quickly though. 

The Menu

Please Choose 7

  • Tomatoes!

    • Cherry and/or regular red plus a few heirloom.

    • We're not sure how varieties will shake out... we're just glad things are finally ripening!

  • Garlic

  • Basil

  • Summer Squash/Zucchini/Golden Zucchini/Patti Pans

    • probably for the last time until the fall planting comes in.

  • Sweet 'Sierra Blanca' Onions

  • Personal Size 'Sugar Cube' Muskmelons

    • We've grown this delightful variety for many years. 'Sugar Cube' is consistently sweet and delicious and can often be eaten in one sitting, as it only gets 2-4 pounds at maturity.

  • Piel de Sapo Melons

    • Lovely, tropical melons that are green on the inside. Also referred to as a Christmas melon.

  • Hot Peppers

    • Jalapeños, Serranos, Thai, Anaheim, Habaneros, Cayenne and more!

  • Fennel!

  • Sweet Peppers (Bell and Carmen)

  • Eggplant!

    • It's really going now! The big ones are still slow but, we should have plenty of mini eggplants.

Maybe List

  • Tomatillos

  • Watermelons

  • Greens!

    • They need a little break to recover from an army-worm infestation.

Recipe Ideas: Fennel

The most intense anise-flavored veggie around! If you love (or even tolerate) black licorice, fennel is something you should seek out!

Fennel can be used raw or cooked. Raw, it is crunchy and celery-like with a nice distinct anise flavor. Cooked (especially roasted) it sweetens but, loses some intensity and gains a lovely, silky texture.

If you want a little help figuring out how to cut the dang thing, I recommend this slideshow from the Kitchn. 

Once you have it all figured out... thinly slice it using a mandolin or a sharp knife (which we prefer for raw salads) or, slice/chop it into bigger chunks for grilling or roasting.

For whatever reason, my taste buds like the combo of citrus and fennel. Try thinly sliced fennel with your favorite orange vinaigrette or, something like this Orange and Fennel Salad from Robin Miller.

Or, from a favorite food-blog, smitten kitchen, her Shaved Fennel and Blood Orange Salad.

I've tried to grow artichokes so. many. times.

Anyway, roasted together... they are spectacular. Go for a high heat to get the nice caramelization. Try this Roasted Fennel and Artichoke Hearts recipe from Martha Stewart.

 

[CSA]: Week 9 of 19! 🍉

Melons are in!

Also, if you subscribe to any monthly shares,   (fresh chicken, handmade soap or coffee): this is the week! The next monthly distribution is September 11/12/13. 

**We're looking for farmhands again!** Most of our intrepid crew has returned to school or, for some, found jobs more closely related to their education.

So, if you know anyone who would like a little experience on a small/medium-sized farm, even intermittently, from now until December, please send them our way! We're hoping to secure 2-3 folks before tomato season kicks in...  

Around the Farm

The Menu Storage Help: Melons Around the Farm It still doesn't really feel like summer around here, as the tomatoes haven't truly begun to ripen regularly. The cherry tomatoes are finally starting to kick into high-gear but, the regular-red tomatoes are taking their sweet time (even in the hoophouse- ugh!).

Mostly, I feel we've suffered a setback in our yields due to water stress. If you have garden tomatoes or, peppers and have ever seen a fruit become black and inedible on the bottom, often before it reaches its full potential, you've experienced "blossom-end rot."

Blossom end rot is a water and heat-related condition that is due to a lack of calcium availability. That darn molecule just doesn't want to cooperate when it's hot or dry! 

So, as a result, we've lost a lot of the first round of fruit for the bell peppers, larger eggplant, and tomatoes.

Still, things are bouncing back with incredible vigor! The fall squash and cabbage have finally started to show signs of growth and the onions and melons sized-up nicely with these well-timed rains.

Now- off to mow down some weeds that have suddenly sprung back to life!

What's to come? -Tomatoes (cherry first then regular, paste and heirloom) -More melons (for at least 1 more week)

On the way out? -Summer squash/zucchini -Cucumbers


The Menu

Please Choose 7

  • Garlic

  • Greens!

    • Scarlet/Green Curly Kale

    • Rainbow Chard

    • Collard Greens

  • Basil

    • it's back in full force!

  • Summer Squash/Zucchini/Golden Zucchini/Patti Pans

    • the squash is starting to wane.

  • Salad Cucumbers

    • these guys are also on the way out.

  • Sweet Onions

    • these should be dried enough to set on the counter top.

  • Icebox Watermelons!

    • Sweet, red-fleshed with seeds.

    • Icebox refers to their size, making them easy to store in the refrigerator.

  • Muskmelons aka cantaloupe!

    • Sweet and orange-fleshed with the distinct flavor associated with late-summer.

  • Hot Peppers

    • still not in their full glory but, the amount is building. Jalapeños, serranos, Hungarian hot wax and more!

  • Sweet Peppers and/or Shishito

    • some sites will see a few of the ever-growing sweet bell and bull's horn peppers, while others will see shishito peppers.

    • Shishito is mostly sweet but, can occasionally be hot. They are often cooked whole and served as an appetizer.

Maybe List

  • Mini or Japanese Eggplant

  • Tomatillos

  • Fennel

Storage Help: Melons

You'll see both watermelons and muskmelons at CSA this week! Each has their own little quirks:

Muskmelons aka Cantaloupe
It may be an old-fashioned term but, I argue it is still the most horticulturally correct way to ID these melons. 

Muskmelons are sweet, orange-fleshed and well, musky in the intense aroma they produce.

How to tell a good muskmelon?
SMELL! At the market, we have signs that read "Good Smellin' Means Good Melon"

Roll the melon around (it should be heavy for its size) and find the stem end, (the part where the fruit attached to the plant), now, sniff. If the aroma is intense, it's ready. If it smells sour: too ripe. If it doesn't really smell yet: leave it on the counter for a few days, it will ripen "off the vine."

If the melon is ripe and you don't want to eat it within 1-2 days, stick it in the fridge. If you think you'll get to it within a couple days, leave it on the counter... the flavors will stay more intense.

Watermelons!
Ours are mostly red, with the occasional yellow-fleshed but, with seeds. 

How to Choose a Watermelon? 
Sadly, this one is mostly on our (the farmers) end.

There is a 3-step verification for watermelon ripeness around here:
1. Count the days to maturity of the variety planted.
2. Check to make sure the spot on the ground is yellow or peachy colored, not green.
3. Check if the first tendril (a stringy twirly thing) is dead.

From your end: it should be heavy for its size and free of major bruising or defects. That's it.

Unfortunately, unlike muskmelons, watermelons do not ripen after they've been harvested. You have to time it juuuust right and trust that whoever harvested it, knew what they were doing.

Storage: best long-term storage for watermelons is cool but, not cold. If you plan to use it within a week though, stick it in the fridge.