Elysian Fields Farm
Wednesday July 16th, 2003
|Sungold Cherry Tomatoes|
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Tomatoes. Otherwise known as Lycopersicum esculentum. "Thousands of varieties of tomatoes are known and hundreds actually cultivated. The commercial tomato industry tends to utilize newer hybrids genetically selected for such traits as sphere shape (to pack into boxes efficiently), thick skin (to survive mechanical harvesting and shipping), and slow ripening (for picking green and gassing with ethylene when redness is desired.) Smaller, local market growers choose old and new varieties emphasizing flavor, disease resistance, and nutritional content" says 'A Guide to Farm- Fresh Produce', Madison area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. In fact, you usually can only find the low acid sweetness typical of heirloom tomatoes locally, since most heirlooms have very thin skin and do not last long.
You have received a variety of Heirloom and hybrid tomatoes. Most of the red tomatoes are one form or another of hybrids, but tasty ones. The dark pink, or light depending on how ripe it is, is a German Johnson. These tomatoes are a well liked and respected tomato here in the Piedmont. Most old timers won't eat any other kind. The purplish tomato is a Cherokee purple. This tomato has gained a lot of popularity locally for its slight smokey flavor. Some of you may have received a bright orange tomato, this is called Kelloges Breakfast. Another low acid, sweet and tasty heirloom. Green Zebras are green with darker green zebra stripes, turning to yellow when the fruit is ripe. These tomatoes are smaller in size than most and have a sweet but zesty tang taste to them as well. If you have received a big red tomato in your heirloom bag (for full share members), this tomato is called Zogola, a first time trial for me.
Aside from tomatoes, the farm has been pretty busy with blueberries. We have just sold a bunch to Maple View Ice Cream shop so that they can make blueberry ice cream, so all should look for that soon there. All are still welcome to come out and pick berries at any time, just make sure to stay on the right side of the driveway. In fact, I encourage you all to come and pick this Sunday, since it will also be the first CSA FARM TOUR.
The CSA open house/farm tour will be held here at the farm on Sunday July 20th from 1pm to 5pm. Please come to the farm anytime between these hours. I will be on hand to walk folks around and to answer any questions. The farm is located a few miles down the road from the blueberry patch. The directions to the patch are in the July 2nd newsletter. I encourage all members to pick berries prior to coming to the farm. You can bring a picnic either to the farm or at the berry patch if you would like. Here are directions to the farm: Head up Hwy 86 North or Hillsborough. From the intersection of Hwy 86 and Hwy 70 at the Northern end of Hillsborough, you want to continue another 10 miles north on Hwy 86 into Cedar Grove. Once you come to the blinking yellow light, you are almost there. To get to the farm, turn left onto Efland Cedar Grove Road off of Hwy 86 about a mile after the blinking yellow light. Continue on this road until you pass the Cedar Grove Ruritan Club on your right. Take the first right after this which is Lee's Chapel Road. Continue maybe a quarter mile on Lee's Chapel until you reach your first right Oakley Rd. Oakley is a gravel Road, turn right onto it and the farm will be on your right at #5925. Now, once you pull in the driveway there will be parking across from the green house, a small area covered with Chapel Hill grit. There will be addition parking if you pass the greenhouse and continue down the driveway towards the field. Once you come to the end of the tree line on your left turn left and you will see more grit and flat ground to park on. Careful not to take your car into the fields, it is very easy to get stuck with all the wet weather we have been having. I look forward to seeing you all!!!
Okay then, recipes. First off I want to give you some info on how to store tomatoes, in case I have given any one member too many this week. Once again, tomatoes should not be refrigerated, but rather placed on the counter out of direct sunlight. I have given folks tomatoes with varying degrees of ripeness. This is so that as they sit out, the will not all be ready to eat at the same time, but rather you will be able to enjoy them all week long. Interestingly enough, Alice Waters writes in here cookbook "Chez Panisse Vegetables", "Experts say the very best way to ripen them is to pick them off the vine just as their color is starting to change from orange to red, and to keep them inside for four or five days, ideally at 59-70 degrees. This will maximize their sugar and acid content, which actually decreases if the fruit is left on the vine to finish ripening." Interesting.
If you would like to freeze your tomatoes you have two main options. You can simply put the whole tomato in a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer to be used for sauce or cooking sometime this winter. Otherwise, you can make sauce and then freeze the sauce. Canning is a great way to preserve tomatoes, and if anyone is interested in more information on how to do this give me a shout out and I can send you more information. In the meantime, I am encouraging all of you to think the following: Gazpacho, Tomato Sauce, and Salsa!Salsa Fresca: 4 lb. tomatoes, 1 cup chopped onion, a couple of serrano peppers, chopped and seeded, 1 bunch cilantro, 1 tbl. salt, 2 tbl. sugar, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1/3 cup fresh lime juice. Plunge tomatoes into boiling water for 1 minutes. Remove tomatoes and run under cold water until cool. Chop tomatoes or pulse in food processor. Combine with remaining ingredients.
Elysian Fields Farm: Community Supported Agriculture