Carrots - Bok Choy - Corn - Melon - Grapes (!) - Onion - Garlic -
Carmen Peppers - Hot Peppers - Cherry/Red/Heirloom Tomatoes
CSA FLOWER SHARE DOES NOT GET ENOUGH ATTENTION HERE…
HOWEVER, HERE SHE IS IN ALL HER GLORY, WEEK 10 OR 11 OF FLOWERS
Attention World! We are officially extremely small scale grape growers! These grapes were planted 7 or so years ago. If you’ve ever taken the trip down River Road, you can spot them on the river side of the road headed south just above the first greenhouses. Historically they’ve been surrounded on a sidehill with too tall poison ivy and grass making the tending of the grapes completely unappealing. Please note the poison ivy does not affect the outcome of the grapes, but it does affect where I travel. Anyhow, George has been on top of mowing, and Ray has been on top of daily crop surveillance- and as a result every few days he arrives with a couple flats of grapes and I am completely blown away. These grapes have undergone massive disregard since year three of their life, yielding very little fruit. But this year, on year 7 with just as little work put into them as any year, we got a crop! Boom Shaka Laka!
Bottomline Here: “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
In other news, welcome to mid September- a time in the season when nearly everything we grow is ripe for the picking and all flavors from the field are at peak “oh damn that’s good”. This is also the time in the season where reality sets in and we have no choice but to recognize the change in the seasons. Leaf peepers love this time of year- and I’ve heard lots of light conversation about the cool crisp change in weather. Pooh is ecstatic that he gets to don his nearly 8 month uniform of a navy or black long-sleeve turtle-neck (literally worn every day from now until May 1). But have you all forgotten this cold harsh tundra that we have chosen to live in? Have you forgotten that in just 3 months our sun will start to set just a few minutes after it rises (clearly an exaggeration but you get the point)? Have you forgotten that our January produces 0 fresh foods? Gentle reminder here people: get on cooking large batch tomatoes, peppers, etc… So when we have reached the 1000th day of snow piles and ice sheets, we can pop open our freezer/pantry and remember a time of sunshine and green.
Bottomline Here: THINK AHEAD! order crops in bulk from our farmstand for your preservation/seasonal (winter) depression needs. Think tomatoes (heirloom! Reds! Cherries! plums! ), peppers, green beans, cucumbers, corn, cabbage, broccoli, onions, raspberries, beets, carrots, etc…
ALSO YALL: There is still room in our FALL CSA!! However, we are nearing the cut-off for sign ups so if you are considering joining the party, now would be the time! If you have any questions about how it works, email me or ask anyone at the farmstand. CHEERS!
TIPS - TRICKS - RECIPES:
This past weekend we made the following shakshuka recipe in bulk. It took 4 boxes of tomatoes, 2 bushels of sweet peppers, 1 bushel of onions, and 20 heads of garlic… From that amount we produced 46 qt jars of the following shakshuka sauce to be used in not only its traditional form (with poached egg, crusty bread or pita, salty cheese) but also as a base for the following meals:
Chilequiles - Chicken Tinga Tacos - Tortilla soup - Chili
MAKE THIS (SHAKSHUKA) SAUCE FOR YOUR FRIENDS/FAM/YOURSELF THIS WEEKEND AND CONSIDER HOW STELLAR IT WOULD BE TO EAT IT AGAIN IN THE WINTER BY A WOODSTOVE. NEXT ORDER THE INGREDIENTS IN BULK FROM OUR FARMSTAND, GO STOCK UP ON YOUR CANNING SUPPLIES, AND SPEND ALL OF NEXT WEEKEND SAUCING, PRESERVING AND WONDERING HOW THE HECK DID YOU GET INTO THIS MESS? I GUARANTEE THAT ON SUNDAY NIGHT AT 10:30 PM YOU WILL SIMULTANEOUSLY THANK ME AND HATE ME.
Shakshuka [Eggs Poached in Spicy Tomato Sauce] Serves 4 to 6
1/4 cup olive oil
3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped (OPTIONAL)
3 carmen peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
6 Tomatoes chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pitas, for serving
Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.
Put tomatoes and their liquid into a medium bowl and crush with your hands. Add crushed tomatoes and their liquid to skillet along with 1/2 cup water, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened slightly, about 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt.
Crack eggs over sauce so that eggs are evenly distributed across sauce’s surface. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 minutes. Using a spoon, baste the whites of the eggs with tomato mixture, being careful not to disturb the yolk. Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pitas, for dipping.
Your melon: Gentle reminder to leave it on your counter and allow it to ripen up before cutting in.
SERVINGS: 4 TO 6 TIME: 45 MINUTES
4 1-inch slices bread, country-style
3 large red bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoons capers, drained (rinsed if salted)
4 ounces mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces, or 4 ounces bocconcini
Fresh herbs — snipped chives, basil, or parsley or a mix thereof — to finish (optional)
Prepare vegetables: Place bread, pepper halves, and onion wedges in a large bowl and drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil, then sprinkle 1 teaspoon kosher salt and many grinds (or about 1/4 teaspoon) black pepper. Use your hands to toss everything together until oil coats everything.
To grill: Heat your grill to medium-high, or if yours is small and dinky like mine, high heat. Spread peppers and onions across grill grates and grill, lid down, flipping as needed, until onions are charred in spots (they’ll be done first) and peppers are blistered and blackened in many spots and beginning to soften. Transfer onions to a plate as they’re done; transfer peppers to a bowl. Use bread in bowl to swipe up any excess salt, pepper, and/or oil in it and place slices on grill. Grill until toasted on both sides. Transfer to plate with onions.
No grill? You can do all of the above under your broiler, or in your oven at 450 degrees F. Broilers vary wildly in how robust their heat is, so keep an eye on it. Vegetables tend to take longer in the oven, up to 40 minutes, but check in at 20 to be safe. In both cases, turn vegetables and bread as needed to get an even color.
Marinate peppers: Place foil or a lid over peppers in bowl to trap heat. Once they’re cool enough to handle, remove as much of the skin as you can. This is unquestionably the most annoying part so do only as much as would bother you to have to eat. (For me, this is almost every speck but you’re probably less crazy.) Cut peppers into 1/2- to 1-inch wide strips.
In the bottom of a large bowl, whisk together sherry vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, sugar, about 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (and more to taste), and garlic. Add capers. Add peppers to bowl and let them marinate for as little as 5 minutes or up to a day, even. The longer they souse, the more pickled they’ll taste. After 5 minutes, however, they still have plenty of flavor.
To assemble and serve: Shortly before you’re ready to eat the salad, add onions to the bowl with the peppers. Tear bread into chunks and add to bowl, along with mozzarella. Mix gently, making sure the dressing coats the bread. Taste and add more seasoning if needed. Finish with herbs and serve in big heaps.