June 13 2012, Week 9

Recipes, Produce and Storage Information:

*a quick note about the watermelon....please let us know if we have accidentally harvested one that is not ripe on the inside!

TOMATOES
How to store:  You will want to take your tomatoes out of the paper bag they came in.  Keeping them in will speed up their ripening and we gave you a few that are pretty ripe and ready to eat as is.  Place them on your counter until you are ready to eat them.  They are fine at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.  Do not refrigerate your tomatoes!  The flavor and texture of a tomato is affected when kept at temperatures below 55 degrees.  Say “no!” to mealy, mushy, flavorless tomatoes and set them on your counter top and not in the refrigerator.  

When to eat:  
We generally try to give folks tomatoes of varying ripeness, so that you can enjoy them all week until your next delivery.  Since we have just started harvesting tomatoes, this week we don’t have many to give out.  You have mostly received ripe, ready to eat tomatoes since there aren’t many.  One or two may be less ripe though.  How to tell?  Color!  A dark rich red (or yellow or pink depending on the tomato) means a yummy ripe tomato.  A paler color, and firmer body, means you can let it sit on that counter for a day or two until it is just right.  Tomatoes will keep ripening to the point of what we could call rotting, so pay attention!    

EGGPLANT
Your eggplant is a Japanese variety called Orient Express.  It is tender and delicious, and very easy to prepare.  Unlike the large European globe shaped eggplant, the long slender Asian varieties DO NOT need to be peeled OR salted and drained to remove bitterness.  You can leave the skin on, slice thinly lengthwise, mix with olive oil and grill!  Or leave the skin on, slice thinly horizontally and sauté!  Point being, it’s an easy chop and go vegetable.  Marinate in balsamic vinegar and herbs before using if you would like.  Yum.  

SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI
Recently I have been interested in finding creative ways to cook squash and zucchini, as we have plenty of both this year.  Below is a wonderful recipe from Andrea Reusing’s cookbook, Cooking in the Moment.  Andrea is the owner of the Lantern Restaurant in Chapel Hill.  Although the recipe calls for only zucchini, I venture to guess it may work well with regular summer squash too.  Also, since you have not received squash and zucchini that is all 1 inch in diameter, I encourage you to play around with cutting any larger than that to the desired thickness.  In addition to Andrea’s cookbook, I am enjoying Sheri Castle’s A New Southern Garden Cookbook.  Sheri is also a Chapel Hill local that I have known for years through the farmers market.  Her Squash Gratin recipe is delicious I hear.  

Broiled Baby Zucchini with Parmesan
Andrea Reusing, Cooking in the Moment  

1 pound (about 6) very small zucchini, roughly 1 inch in diameter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan Cheese
 
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees
                Wash and dry zucchini, trimming the blossom and stem ends slightly if necessary.  Quarter each zucchini lengthwise, if they are less than ¾ inch in diameter, cut them in half instead.  In a medium bowl, toss the zucchini with the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Lay them out on a baking sheet, end to end, cut sides up, in a tight row.  Roast for about 8 minutes or until they are just starting to color but are still al dente, or half tender.  Remove from oven.  
               Preheat the broiler for several minutes until it is very hot.  Sprinkle the zucchini with the cheese and broil until the cheese is golden brown and the zucchini are tender, 3 to 4 minutes.

What's growing on???
We have found ourselves in the summer routine of harvesting squash and cucumbers every day.  These crops grow so quickly, that if we didn’t check on them daily, they could easily grow past that ‘good eating’ size.  This is one reason why it is so nice to have a walk in cooler here at the farm.  We are able to store vegetables for a couple of days at a time before they are distributed.  We usually hold Sunday, Monday and Tuesday’s harvest for Wednesday’s delivery and market, then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday’s harvest for the Saturday Carrboro Farmers market.  If we didn’t sell at the market on Saturday, we would have to split the CSA delivery, half of the folks picking up on Wednesday and half on Saturday.  That way we wouldn’t be holding things too long for you.  Freshness is one thing that is so nice about buying local!  
The summer routine also includes our twice weekly tomato harvest, on Monday’s and Thursday’s.  That gives us Tuesday to sort and bag for the CSA delivery, and Friday to sort for the Saturday market.  While the first week of harvesting tomatoes is always pretty light, I predict the next few to be plentiful!  Our plants look gorgeous and are loaded with green fruit.  Tomatoes are by far our most productive crop and number one selling crop.  Last year we earned three times more on tomatoes than we do our next highest earning crop, onions.  Besides how delicious they are, I think that is also the reason why I like to talk about tomatoes a lot ;)

I love to hear from you so please email if you have any comments, thoughts or concerns. Elise.

 

What's in the box?

Full Share
Crop Amount  
 

Tomatoes! (2 lb.)

Summer squash and zucchini (3 lb.)

Cucumbers (2 lb.)

Green Peppers (1 lb.)

Either small watermelon or 1 lb. eggplant

Red Cabbage (larger head)

Half Share
Crop Amount  
 

Tomatoes! (1 lb.)

Summer squash and zucchini (2 lb.)

Cucumbers (1 lb.)

Green peppers (1/2 lb.)

Eggplant (1/2 lb.)

Red Cabbage (smaller head)