Thursday, July 21, 2011
Red Springs Family Farm
July 21, 2011 week 9
Lettuce Onions Cucumber Bell Peppers Garlic Tomatoes Eggplant Fennel
Purple Ruffles Basil Basil Tulsi
We're thankful that we didn't get too much more rain this week and that the garden has dried up enough to get out there again. Our mornings start early so we're out there before the heat really gets going. The heat is oppressive though. It's a good time of year to spend some time in the creek each day.
Some of you may have heard that Paul has been out of commission for a while now due to a back injury. He's starting to get better but still not much of a help. Branden has picked up the bulk of the field work with a bunch of help from Coree and Lulah and other friends too. It's been a trial all around, but it looks like we will make it through.
It's been a hard year for the summer squashes with the stress from the wet spring and now they are getting devoured by the squash vine borers. This is a moth that lays an egg on the stem of the vine which, when it hatches, eats its way into the vine and devours it from the inside out. It's hard to catch them until it's too late. We always lose a few vines to them, but this year it seems that we may lose all of the first planting. We put out a latter planting and working to keep them un-infested.
The eggplant is the best stand that we have ever had. Every plant looks great and big too. They were so big in fact that they tumbled over in that last heavy storm. We reinforced them with bamboo stakes this week and they will be much the happier for it. They have a heavy set of fruit on them and there will be more coming in over the next few week. Summer crops are all starting to roll. We were hoping for water melon this week but they should be perfect next week, and there will likely be cantaloupe too. Tomatillos will be beginning soon, as well as okra. A long row of beautiful cucumbers will be fattening up now also – get ready!
There is an amazing sounding recipe from allrecipes.com involving steamed mussels, fennel, tomatoes, ouzo, and cream. I can imagine making it work with a few substitutes, but I can't imagine substituting the ouzo and I'm not sure how many people will have that in their cupboard. This is a simple one from the same site:
Carrot and fennel
1 teaspoon olive oil 3 carrots, shredded 1 fennel bulb (2 small), trimmed and diced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds 1/3 cup heavy cream
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the carrots and fennel, and season with coriander and fennel seeds. Cook until lightly browned. Mix in the heavy cream, and reduce heat to low. Simmer about 5 minutes until the cream has been absorbed into the carrots and fennel. Serve hot.
I can also imagine omitting the carrots and using thinly sliced eggplant instead. I'd up the oil some as eggplant absorbs so much. I'd also consider omitting the cream and adding garlic.
You might notice that there is an abundance of tomatoes in your basket this week. The tomato stand looks great this year and it should continue awhile. We looooove tomato salads – with basil and garlic chopped in and a liberal dousing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and nutritional yeast. Feta or Parmesan or fresh Mozzarella really compliment this well. The salad dressing/tomato juice soup left at the bottom of the bowl is sublime. Here’s another way to use these tomatoes. The recipe called for plum tomatoes, but I feel certain that any fairly firm tomato could be treated in the same fashion with great results.
12 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise, seeds removed 4 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm or at room temperature.
We’re in a basil crazil dazil today – you have three kinds of basil in your herb bag. The smallest fuzzy one is Tulsi – loved in Indian and Thai food. It also makes a lovely iced tea with lemon and honey. Or you can just dry it and use it in sachet or potpourri. The purple basil is highly aromatic and flavorful – excellent addition to pesto – edible garnish – object de art!
Please feel free to refuse what produce you cannot use. But also please do TRY to use this good food. Peel the tomatoes and pop them into freezer bags for the winter. Freeze or dry your basil. Peppers need only be washed and chopped to your size of choice and frozen as is. This is the time to put things by for winter.
Speaking of winter… we’re about to start planting for Fall. It feels strange to be trying to think about Fall when it’s 100 degrees out, but that’s the reality of gardening. We are planning for a beautiful season extension with a huge diversity of greens, roots, and goodies to share.
Please remember to do us the kindness of placing your blueberry orders ahead of time – it helps with the flow of veggie pick ups. Thanks a million.
It’s too hot to think anymore right now – time to pack it up and bring you all this harvest.
With best regards,
Paul, Coree, Lulah, Levon and Branden
Sowing the seed, my hand is one with the earth.
Wanting the seed to grow, my mind is one with the light.
Hoeing the crop, my hands are one with the rain.
Having cared for the plants, my mind is one with the air.
Hungry and trusting, my mind is one with the earth.
Eating the fruit, my body is one with the earth.
-Prayers and Saying of the Mad Farmer, IX
by Wendell Berry