Thursday, July 15, 2010

Red Springs Family Farm
July 15, 2010 week 8

Tomatoes Lettuce Green Pepper
Garlic Summer Squash Melons
Green Beans Sweet Corn
Herb bag: Basil & Parsley

We are SO grateful for that rain. It was a good pleasant soaker, some a little fast, but not so fast that the ground couldn’t hold it. The cloud cover gave us a much needed break from the heat and the plants have all responded immediately. We are very glad, very grateful. Now, back to pulling weeds!

We took the rainy day opportunity to start the Fall garden. On trays in our living room and out in the shade shack in the yard are now many thousands of soil blocks with broccoli, Chinese cabbages, kales, collards, and kohlrabis sprouting within them. They are germinating well and we will be dedicating time in the next dry spell to preparing space for them in the soil.

Meanwhile, the gardens are exploding. As usual, there are booms and busts. There won’t be any more knowing what will come in the baskets for the next few weeks. We’ll just be taking up the harvest as it comes, and bringing you the best we’ve got. Peppers and tomatoes are thriving. Melons have ripened faster than usual in the heat, and threaten to explode after the rain. Some of the smaller eggplants that we thought were goners seem to be sending new growth up. We’ll hope for an extended harvest from those. Bean beetles are hard at work on the green beans, so we’re hard at work on the bean beetles.

Sweet corn news flash: Paul went to check the sweet corn Saturday morning and found three unripened ears stripped and chewed in the patch. Because of the rain, the empty rows around the corn had to be hand-weeded before we could put up electric fence. So, he spent a good part of the day doing that. Sunday he went to put the fence up and found a carnage of 60 ears chewed on the ground. Don’t fret, there’s still more, but it was loss. We’re sending you the first pick this week. We can’t even pretend to supply those of you who are corn enthusiasts with ALL your corn needs for the season, but we do hope to provide you with an exceptional corn experience while it lasts. This week’s pick is small – there will be more next week.

The sugars in corn very rapidly deteriorate into starches. We try to bring you corn at its very freshest, and hope you will enjoy it almost immediately (like, tonight!). If you can’t get around to eating your corn right away, it might be a good idea to cook it right away and store it so those sugars are preserved at their peak. Really fresh corn required very little heat to make it tender – just a few minutes (four) at a boil, or a few more than that if you steam it. We like it raw, too, and you could just cut some of the corn into a salsa or stir fry with the peppers, tomatoes, or green beans.

These little pint sized watermelons are called Petite Yellow. YES, they’re supposed to be yellow inside. The cantaloupes are mostly a variety called Halona, which we picked up after some of our friends grew them last year with beautiful success. There are more of these to come as well.

For those of you enjoying this luscious blueberry harvest, we thought this recipe might suite you on a hot day…

Blueberry Granita
2 ½ cups fresh blueberries ½ cup sugar ¾ cup water
1 tsp grated lemon rind 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Combine blueberries and sugar in a food processor and blend until smooth. Strain through the sieve, stirring with a spoon to extract the pulp and juice. Discard seeds. Add water and lemon rind and juice to blueberry puree. Pour mixture into a shallow dish or pie plate. Place in freezer and freeze 8 hours or overnight. Scrape with a fork until mixture is like shaved ice. Serves 4.

As for these tomatoes – aren’t they grand? We’re so glad to be able to give so many so early in the season. So far the vines are holding well and the rain has certainly helped them along. Alice Waters shares pleasant and useful comment and recipes on tomatoes in her book on vegetables:

“The first ripe, locally grown tomatoes still come as a shock. They stimulate all the senses at once, and place us firmly in summer. And they are a reminder of how far agriculture has drifted away from seasonality. When tomatoes are available in the supermarket year round, we lose that keen anticipatory yearning for the juiciness of summer. Instead, we accept a pale approximation of a tomato, a tomato completely severed from our daily reality, grown by farmers thousands of miles away.
Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator; cold temperatures kill their flavor. Keep them at room temperature. Perfectly ripe ones may keep only a day or two, but less ripe ones should keep for a few days to a week. If you find yourself with too many ripe tomatoes at once, make them into a quick sauce.”

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta
Slice large ripe tomatoes into thick slices and season well with salt and pepper. Fry thick slices of crusty country bread in a heavy skillet in 1/8 inch of olive oil until they are golden brown on both sides (or grill it). As the bread fries, you will need to add more oil to keep the pan from going dry. Remove the bread slices form the pan and drain them briefly on a towel. Rub the bread slices generously with garlic. Top each slice of bread with a thick tomato slice and a basil leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle a little extra-virgin olive oil over the tomatoes and serve.

Pasta with Tomato Confit
Allow about 2 tomatoes per serving. Make a bed of basil leaves in the bottom of an ovenproof dish that will hold the tomatoes snugly in one layer. Peel and core the tomatoes and place them core side down on the basil. Lightly salt and pepper. Pour in enough extra virgin olive oil to come halfway up the sides of the tomatoes. Bake for 1 ½ hours in a preheated 350 degree oven, until the tomatoes are soft and lightly caramelized and have infused the oil with their perfume. Season to taste and serve spooned over cooked and drained fresh noodles.

Remember, we need your cheese order no later than next week. Colby-Chipotle and Farm Jack both for $8/lb ($4 for ½ lb). Cheese will come to delivery August 5. Kenny’s Cheese only comes once a month!

Have a great weekend! Paul, Coree and Lulah Entwistle

“A good end cannot sanctify evil Means; nor must we ever do evil, that good may come of it.”
~William Penn~

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