Basil – Not a lot, but you've gotta have it with tomatoes! From our new planting in the hoophouse.
Raspberries – We could pick these twice a day and still miss some. The vines are LOADED and the berries are bursting with flavor. Doesn’t get fresher than this. My favorite are the golden ones. Eat soon, store in the fridge, and don't actually store sealed in the clamshell. They'll mold.
Wild Plums - We've never put these in the boxes before in all our 8 years of CSA growing. Sometimes our little plum grove produces nothing, other years it makes something. When we were lucky enough to get some fruits, we've just eaten them up ourselves! But we pruned the prickly little trees heavily last year, and this year the fruits are big and juicy and tart and terrific. Not sure you'd call them pretty - but we don't spray at all, even organically allowed pesticides and fungicides, so they are rather rough. If you don't like the tartness of the skin, you can slip it off, but I think it's the best part!
Melon! – We don’t always see these ripen in our chilly valley, but we do our best, starting the plants in our little greenhouse while it’s still cold, and then putting the vines on black plastic out in the field to increase the heat the ground will hold beneath them. This year it worked! Lovely cantaloupes for you this week, though some have a bit of bug damage where the skin stayed damp on the black plastic. Oh, well – tradeoffs! The bugs only munched into the rind, and left the sweet inner flesh for us! Eat these SOON - we pick them ripe in the field, rather than picking them early and letting them ripen in the cooler. It means more daily checking and harvesting, but MORE flavor for you! You can store this in the fridge, as it is ripe and doesn't need to ripen further on the counter. If you can't eat it within a week, consider freezing chunks to throw into smoothies, or see the Farmer Kriss Pinterest page for some great recipes, including a sorbet! See our photo essay on the FULL SLIP method of harvesting.
Tomatoes! – This could be peak week for tomatoes – you’ve got a TON in these heavy boxes. 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. And the cherries - wow! Mostly Sun Golds, these are sweet and juicy. Check out the wonderful recipe for Tomato Jam given to us by a lovely bed and breakfast guest this week. BTW - don't store your cherry tomatoes closed in the clamshell. They'll mold from all the moisture of their respiration. Dump into a pretty bowl and enjoy nibbling right off the counter!
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.
Sorrel - So fresh and so delicious with new potatoes. But great with eggs, too!
Cucumbers – It has been a great year here for cukes, though the bugs are getting the best of the plants now. Ah, the ravages of August. You've got a few here, but you might not next week. Looks like the little lemon cukes may last a bit longer than the greens.
Peppers – Not a lot of ripe color yet, but lots of lovely greens. Blocky peppers are sweet, long peppers of all sizes are hot. Tiny peppers are FIRE-Y hot.
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.
Herbs: Thyme and Chives - We've been getting lots of requests for MORE CHIVES PLEASE, so here they are. And by the way - just ask if you'd like some plants of your own. We've got more than we need and we are moving our perennial herbs this fall. There will be lots of chives for the taking!
Kale – Beautiful, robust leaves are so delicious with fresh tomatoes. Tonight for dinner I had a simple saute onions, chopped tomatoes, green pepper and kale. Seasoned just with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. No olive oil necessary!
Aronia Berries - Yay! These are a wonderful, nutritious, native berry that is being grown by our close neighbors at Barham Gardens in Blanchardville. Kim and Roberta have been nurturing these pretty bushes on their place for several years and now they are selling them at the Dane County Farmer's Market, at HyVee and other Madison locations. And you've got some, too! They aren't really to be eaten raw, but cooked into muffins, desserts, chocolate treats and breads, they are delicious. Like rhubarb, they play well with other fruits. I've been making Aronia goat cheese - you can get it this week at the Argyle Farmer's Market, and I'll have more berries there, too. Oh, and Aronia muffins and scones for sure! We've put some great ideas for you up on the Farmer Kriss Pinterest Page, but also we've got an easy Aronia Lime Jam over at the Recipe Blog.
Onions – Lovely mix of shallots and yellow sweet onions, some squat cippollinis. We had trouble curing our onions after harvest this year - bad timing with rains and intense humidity - so many of these are already trying to re-sprout. We are storing them in the fridge to inhibit sprouting, and you should, too. Use within a few weeks - before the next box!
Scallions – These awesome Japanese scallions are big, beefy, flavorful and just a joy to use in salsa, eggs or on tacos. So little washing for so much onion!
New Potatoes: Peter Wilcox and Red Norland - Both of these are colored on the outside and white or cream on the inside. Great salad potatoes, wonderful for frying into breakfast hashbrowns. Both varieties are bigger and beefier than the last time we dug and packed, but the skins are still soft, so scrub gently, skip the peeling, and enjoy the extra vitamins!