This week is a turning point here on the farm. As we start to harvest the high summer crops, we till in the early spring plots and make our final plantings for fall harvests of cool season crops again. Other than planting cover crops to enrich the soil and bulbs for garlic and flowers, we have put our last seeds in the ground for 2015. As we lose sunlight, we anticipate the chill days of fall and the harvest of frost-sweetened cole and root crops. But that's weeks away - there are many harvests of tomatoes and peppers between now and then! And here’s what’s in the box:
Basil – The Japanese beetles have found the basil rows, so the bags are small this week. But we planted a new group on the other side of the farm inside our hoop house, so we hope evade those bugs and keep you in pesto until the end of tomato season.
Raspberries – These little jewels are the first fruits on our loaded vines. Our varieties are fall cultivars, so we should have a lot for you in the coming weeks.
Tomatoes – This early harvest off the tomato vines is mostly little cherries of various colors, but each of you got a bunch of slicers, too. Eat the soft ones first and save the firmer ones. We tried to pack everyone a variety of slicers at different ripenesses so they’d last you two weeks. Remember – color doesn’t count! We’ve got tomatoes that’ll be ripe when green, when orange, when purple, when pink and when red, so go by feel.
Tomatillos – Some years I don’t grow these and some years I do. If you’ve ever grown them, you know they are just such a pain to harvest! They grow in little paper bags, so you can’t see how big they are and you have to feel them to find out if they are full in the bag, which is when they are ready. Often, they fall from the plant RIGHT as they ripen. Frustrating, but SOOO YUMMY. I must say I am glad I grew them this year. We’ve been roasting them and making salsa verde with the lovely big scallions and Hungarian hot wax peppers. We wish we had cilantro in the field, but we are buying it, just like you! The hot dry weather last week sent them all into bolting. Check the Farmer Kriss Pinterest page for recipes.
Yellow Squash and Zucchinis – This is the end of the zucchini and the peak of the yellow squash. We LOVE zucchini as you know, but we love yellow squash even more! We have been making our bed and breakfast guests frittatas with yellow squash and Swiss chard – delicious!
Cucumbers – A GREAT year here for cukes, though bugs have been making their way up the vines this week, and you’ll notice damaged skins. The squash beetles have overcome the zucchini, and that must have kept them distracted from the cuke vines for a while, but now they are everywhere. Still, the vines are producing like crazy. Enjoy!
Peppers – You’ve each got two green sweet peppers and two yellow Hungarian HOT wax peppers. Enjoy – lots more to come! We grew peppers in the our hoop house this year so that we could enjoy a longer harvest season than we usually do – once the nights get often into the low 50s we can close the sides and let the peppers keep ripening.
Eggplant – Just a few little ones this week! Dice and enjoy sautéed with squash and pepper. Don’t peel! At this size they are not bitter skinned.
Herb Bags: Chocolate Mint, Sage, Summer Savory and Rosemary – Mint bunches are ideal for Mojitos on a hot sultry August afternoon. The sage, savory and rosemary will all be great with your new potatoes, squashes, tomatoes and eggplant. Think Mediterranean!
Swiss Chard – We gave these plants a little break for a few weeks and now they are back with gusto! We are using this for our fresh eating greens these days, but use as you would spinach in all cooked dishes. We’ve been pickling the stems, diced, and using them for relish.
Onions – We’ve packed you a handful of special little Red Marble pearl onions. I am super proud of these because I’ve grown them a couple of times and never harvest them small enough to use as pearls. Somehow I always just miss the window between too small and too big – but this year I nailed it! Enjoy! Peel carefully and lightly sauté or steam. We’re serving these roasted with the final green beans at our field to table dinner this Saturday. They are wonderful with mushrooms, too! You also have some yellow shallots. Very tasty.
Scallions – These Nabechan scallions are getting bigger and stronger, but you can still use most of the stem. I clean off the bulb, cut it in half, and then chop on up the stem. Perfect for salsa.
Mini Cabbages – We started growing small cabbages when we packed Shortie Shares and needed to find small varieties of things to fit in the boxes. But we fell in love with these pointy heirloom Early Jersey Wakefield cabbages on the merits of taste and cuteness as well! Plus, now there is room for other things in your box! Try a fresh slaw or sauté with summer squash.
New Red Potatoes – These lovely Dark Red Norlands are terrific both for baking or boiling. Enjoy with toasted sage butter, or roast them with olive oil and rosemary.