Flying Tomato Farms News
A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.
Vol. 4, Issue 13
The Clay County Fair is this weekend, so I am getting ready for that—giving a little extra fish emulsion to see if I can get that first eggplant to grow a half-inch by tomorrow afternoon, picking off the imperfect little pods of okra to try to get 3 of the same size and length, watching the tomatoes ripen to just the right shade.
This will be my fourth year entering my veggies in the fair, and I get excited every time. Last year I won the Open Class Best of Show rosette—a triumph! But the best part isn’t the ribbons—it’s the entering process—standing in line with my cooler full of veggies, my filled-out entry cards, and my white paper plates, listening to all the 4-H ladies oohing and ahhing over all the various entries. Then on Thursday night—the anticipation of seeing all the different entries, unusual exhibits, and lovely crafted items (and OK—seeing how many blue and red ribbons I’ve won).
Especially exciting this year is that the fair looks to have made somewhat of a comeback—all the vendor spaces are full for the first time in a long time, and there are lots of folks from the Farmers Market planning on entering their produce. The Farmers Market will not be set up in its usual spot this week because we’ll have a booth outside the 4-H building (County Extension Office) all weekend. I will likely be there selling produce and kissing babies (if their parents will let me) most of the day on Friday. Saturday is my birthday (35, in case you’re wondering), so I’ll be bringing my son down to ride the rides and eat you-don’t-want-to-know-what’s-in-it fair foods.
THIS WEEK’S DELIVERY:
6 sweet bell peppers, 3 cucumbers, 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, 2 boxes tomatoes, one head of elephant garlic (no partridge in a pear tree, though—but if you know of anyone with a good crop of pears, let me know!).
Gotta love this bell pepper variety called Ace. It really cranks out the peppers! If this is too many for you to use in a week’s time (when you’ll most likely be getting more), remember you can chop and freeze them without blanching.
The cucumbers are a little slower this week, thanks to the extreme heat and humidity. While other crops feel the stress as well, and will drop their blossoms from heat stress above about 95 degrees, you notice the yield reduction faster on cucumber plants because they mature their fruits so quickly.
Members have contributed a number of ideas for cucumbers, including putting slices on sandwiches spread with hummus and queso fresca (a fresh white Mexican cheese), and this recipe from Former PBS celebrity chef Jeff Smith:
Greek Yogurt Dressing:
Mix together 2 Cups plain yogurt, 2 peeled cucumbers in chunks, 2 cloves minced garlic (I’d guess one elephant garlic clove would be sufficient), 2 TB minced fresh onion, 1/4 tsp fresh chopped mint, 1/4 tsp each salt, pepper. Serve with falafel or – for non vegetarians – souvlaki.
Marinate chunks of lamb or pork in olive oil, lemon juice, tons of minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. Place meat on skewers. Broil 5 min. per side, basting with the marinade. Toast oiled pitas (the non-pocket kind, but it doesn’t really matter) in a pan. When nicely toasted, fill with broiled meat, smothered with yogurt/cucumber sauce and topped with lots of chopped, white onions. Roll up. Eat.
Here are the promised potatoes from Wakonda area farmer Vito “Mike” Gaidelis or Red Rooster Farms. These are Yukon Golds, which make excellent mashed potatoes and potato salad. These are grown without chemicals and in a healthy dose of homemade compost. Vito notes that if you see a green spot on a potato, it won’t kill you. Just pare that part off and enjoy the rest of the spud.
The tomatoes are once again Taxi (yellow), Orange Blossom, and the red varieties Oregon Spring and Stupice. Most of the red ones are Stupice now—the O.S. are heading downhill fast.
The elephant garlic is from the crop I harvested about a month ago and have been drying down at my house. This variety of garlic is lacking the heat of regular garlic, and can be used raw in recipes without overpowering the dish. If you use this garlic in a cooked dish, add it toward the end to preserve the flavor.
Because elephant garlic cloves are usually quite large, you might only use part of one at a time. If you do that, put the rest of the peeled, cut clove in a little bottle of oil in your fridge. That way, you preserve the clove, and you’ll have garlic-flavored oil to cook with and/or drizzle on salads.
You’ll be getting more garlic—elephant and perhaps other—as the season progresses—I’ll be sourcing the rest from Vito, who supplied me with the original seed stock (clove stock?) for this crop from my garden.
Next week—more peppers, more tomatoes, more cucumbers, maybe some onions, and maybe some red potatoes, too. Looks like a good year for potatoes, and I haven’t even dug most of the fingerlings yet! The green onions are making a slow comeback after going to seed, so we’ll be seeing those again in a couple weeks.
Come see me and other Farmers Market vendors at the Clay County Fair on High Street Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Hmm. Anyone have a recipe for cucumbers with funnel cake?
WASH YOUR VEGGIES!