*Announcement: We will be canceling deliveries for next week and resuming deliveries on August 31st. This means we are only skipping one week which will be made up at the end of the season.
Woohoo! Now this is more like the North Carolina I know. I welcome the sticky wet film that envelopes me all day in this kind of weather. Nice and hot, just what we need. Thus far, after the record setting wet June and the six inches of rain we received last week, we have lost both plantings of green beans, both plantings of watermelon, a good bit of the field peas we were trying new for you all, and the tomato harvest has been shortened by two weeks, which is not nearly as bad as I was worried about. Okay, no more talk about rain and loss!
As you can see we have had a great year for our potatoes, garlic, onions and eggplant. Our sweet peppers are just starting to show signs of turning, which means we should have them for you in your shares on the 31st. The peppers look fabulous as does the second planting of tomatoes, which we hope to start harvesting sometime around the first of August. The two local, Cedar Grove Organic Blueberry U-Pick’s are starting to get weighed down with blueberries. As you all may remember from last year, we told you we were going to try to harvest some and put them in yours shares. We hope to do so in two weeks. We have a few blueberry plants at the farm, yet nowhere near enough to provide all of you with berries. The sweet corn we planted for harvest in August is still looking good and we have our fingers crossed for it.
Specifics on each item:
Fairy Tale and Japanese Eggplant: With both varieties of eggplant the skin is edible. We recommend cutting the Fairy Tale in half lengthwise, mixing with olive oil and whatever other flavoring you would like (balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic) and throwing them on the grill or roasting them.
Shitshito Peppers: The Shishitos are going to be handed out to a few members each week as we don’t have enough plants to give them to everyone who wanted them in the same week. If you received Shisitos, they are in a small plastic bag, and are a pint or so worth of small light green peppers. They are not hot. They are best cooked, not raw. The easiest way to cook them is to heat oil in a pan, then throw them in, uncut, stem and all, and stirring frequently, until the skins have blistered. This should only take a few minutes. Add some salt. They make a great appetizer. We recommend using the stem as a way to pick them up to bite!
Green Tomatoes: We are going to be handing these out intermittently to members who requested them, like the shishitos. Some folks received them today, others who requested them will receive them sometime in the remaining deliveries.
Tomatoes: You don’t want to put your tomatoes in the refrigerator, as temperatures below 55 degrees affect their flavor and texture. The best way to store them is to take them out of the paper bag (the bag encourages them to ripen quickly holding in the gases they emit), and rest them on your counter. This applies to the cherry tomatoes as well. We have given you mostly ripe tomatoes, but some that need a couple of days, so you can enjoy them all week. A tomato is ripe when its color is deep, and it feels just a little soft to the squeeze. You have received Pink Girls (a pink tomato), Lemon Boys (a yellow tomato) and Big Beef (a red tomato).
Onions: Remember that these store for a very long time as well. These you can store on your counter or in your refrigerator for months.
Garlic: You can store this on your counter, as it continues to dry, and eat as you wish. Garlic also stores for months.
Basil: Surprisingly, I have found keeping the basil in the plastic bag on the counter in an air-conditioned house set at 72 degrees to be totally sufficient for the basil to last more than a week. Temperatures below 55 can cause basil to turn brown, so the refrigerator can be a dangerous place for it depending on how cold yours runs.
A member sent me the following link to a yummy sounding recipe:
This one is from Emily Geizer, a Health Coach in Chapel Hill. She made this recipe for sampling at the farmers market a few weeks bag, and I LOVED it. You can learn more about Emily at www.emilygeizer.com
Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Salad
1 lb. eggplant
Salt and pepper
¼ extra virgin olive oil
2 dozen small cherry or grape tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
½ cup basil leaves, chopped