These lovely vines are LOADED with fruit. Mostly white, still, but you've got the first fruits in your box this week. Enjoy!
Yippee! First tomato box and it includes the first raspberries, first collards and first peppers – it is high summer now! Everything we harvested this week seemed covered in honey bees – which was lovely, friendly and reassuring, and reminded us that we aren’t the only ones busily hustling out in those fields in August. This box represents the beginning of hot season fruits that in our little cool valley are not easy to grow – when they appear we always feel so victorious because our chilly nights tend to work against us. Of course, those nights in the 60s give us good sleep and great greens, so we aren’t complaining.
In addition to harvesting this past week, we also spent some time filming here on the farm with Inga Witschre, host of the delightful PBS series “Around the Farm Table.” We talked and played a bit too much, so we didn’t finish filming the episode yet, but we did whip up a great breakfast for some of my bed and breakfast guests. Inga made a frittata with veggies from the gardens, and I, of course, made Chocolate Zucchini mini bundt cakes served with jam and berries. Head over to the Recipe Blog for the instructions. We’ve got a bit more to film, but stayed tuned and I’ll let you know when the episode is going to air!
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 to 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 first harvest off the tomato vines is primarily little cherries of various colors, but each of you got one ripe Black Prince slicer. They are our first to ripen every year and we just love them.
Yellow Squash and Zucchinis – This is the end of the zucchini and the beginning of yellow squash. We LOVE zucchini as you know, but we love yellow squash even more! We wouldn’t think of baking with these – the flavor is so creamy and nutty and incredible lightly sautéed with garlic, onions, or whatever you want! Egg hash is a staple here in summer squash season, and we of course, have been serving it to our bed and breakfast guests a lot. Last week we had guests from France, Holland and England, and they all call zucchinis "courgettes," which I find soooooo pretty! Almost makes them sound too pretty to eat.
Sprouting Broccoli – Have we already said a millllllllion times how much we love sprouting broccoli! These lovely plants are like shrubs in the garden now and they just keep producing sweet, tender stalks. Where head broccoli is now bolting in the heat, these plants are delighted to keep making us food. Thank you, pretty plants!
Cucumbers – A GREAT year here for cukes. The squash beetles have overcome the zucchini, and that must have kept them distracted from the cuke vines, which still just have a reasonable amount of cucumber beetles on them. A blessing. This might be a year for you to try refrigerator pickles, if you never have. Look for some nice recipes on our Farmer Kriss Pinterest page.
Peppers – Yay! You’ve got one each of a chartreuse sweet pepper, a green pepper and a HOT Hungarian wax which is long and skinny. 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 reliably into the low 50s we can close the sides and let the peppers keep ripening.
Chocolate Mint – These bunches are ideal for those Mojitos on a hot sultry August afternoon. Also great blitzed and blended into chocolate cakes and brownies this time of year, and perfect to garnish your fruit salads and tarts. Keep in a jar with a little water in the fridge and you should be able to pick off these for a couple of weeks.
Swiss Chard – we gave these plants a little break for a few weeks and now they are back with a terrific vengeance! We are using this for our fresh eating green these days, but use as you would spinach in all cooked dishes. We’ve been pickling the stems, diced, and using them for relish.
String Beans – What a BUMPER crop this year! Delicious! Sautee just lightly to preserve flavor and crunch. We included Red Marble onions in this box, because if you peel them and half or leave whole, they look and taste great cooked up with the multi-colored beans. Treat them like pearl onions – which they are, only prettier! The purple beans will stay purple if you barely cook them, too.
Parsley – The first harvest off of our plants, which we grew in the shade so they wouldn’t bolt in the heat. But since it’s a cool year, they just took forever to grow!
Fennel – Our fennel bulbs were looking like they wanted to bolt and flower, so we are going to let them. So pretty and so loved by butterflies and bees! But we harvested some nice baby bulbs for you to enjoy. We’ve been chopping the bulbs thinly and using like celery in potato salads. The fronds make a great herb to season and top when plating the salad.
Collards – YUM! I am a fan off every single brassica that is grown on the face of the earth, but I must say that collards are at the top of the list. A southern favorite that is basically a cabbage that never heads up, this green is perfect chopped and cooked in the skillet from your morning bacon. For some reason, collards pair so very well with all smoked meats. I like them with cubed salami, and ham hocks, as well. Drizzle after sautéing with a little balsamic vinegar reduction and you will swoon!
Onions – We’ve packed some nice mild yellow globe onions, and some very special 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! We served a gorgeous dish at a party this week with lightly sautéed string beans, Red Marble onions, halved, and mushrooms. Lightly seasoned with olive oil and salt, they were perfect at room temperature.
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.
Garlic – Our garlic bulbs are very small this year. Not quite sure why, but we grew them in two spots and both made diminutive little clumps. Tasty, tho’. Enjoy!