CSA Newsletter: Volume 4, Issue 15

Flying Tomato Farms News

A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.

Vol. 4, Issue 15

GARDEN NEWS:

Our resident lone turkey hen is back—though I haven’t seen her in the last day or two, she’s been hanging out in the yard and garden, and has been causing a little trouble—taking down one of the fence wires and scratching up the new beet and chard row. She doesn’t seem terribly afraid of me—I almost walked right into her last week, she was so well-camouflaged against the grass. We’ve got a couple resident frogs in the garden too—so good to see them happy and healthy with how hard water pollution has stressed their populations in so many places in the world.

I’ve been doing a lot of mowing and weed whacking in the garden this week—cleaning things up a bit and getting ready for fall (and being careful to avoid the resident skinks, toads, frogs, and garter snakes). Can you believe it’s already the first day of school? I’m having a hard time believing my own son is now a first-grader! Soon the college students will return en masse, and I’ll be back at my second profession of teaching English online.

Want to learn some canning basics? Give me a call—I can once or twice a week and I’m always glad to have company. Today I’m doing a little batch of salsa—lots of overripe and blemished tomatoes to make disappear and discourage fruit fly invasions. If you have them, and you have a little red wine, try leaving a little in a glass on the counter overnight—they drown in it. Not such a bad way to go! A bit of vinegar and water works well too—use an old water bottle with a narrow mouth.

THIS WEEK’S DELIVERY:

Tomatoes, potatoes, green onions, hot peppers, sweet peppers, cucumbers, and a muskmelon.

Just one box of tomatoes this week—but a few different varieties in the box. Some Taxis and Stupices, and a variety of bigger slicers including Black from Tula, Zapotec Pleated (a string-purse-shaped Mexican heirloom—you’ll know if you got one!), some big yellow Hillbilly Potato Leaf tomatoes, too. You’ll also see some smaller black Nyagous, Red Zebras, and an assortment of cherry tomatoes to fill in the smaller spaces: Sungold Cherry (yellow-orange), Black Cherry, Red Pear, Isis Candy.

The Isis Candy are supposed to be a large red cherry tomato with yellow stripes, but of the three plants I put in, none of them match that description. Instead I have two plants bearing big red solid cherry tomatoes and one bearing a watermelon pink grape-type tomato. I’ve asked for a refund from the seed company, but I might save the seed from some of those pink grape tomatoes because they’re so interesting-looking.

I’ve been drying cherry tomatoes in my dehydrator at home—I cut them in half, squeeze out the seeds, place them cut-side up on the tray (so they don’t stick) and dry one tray at a time. I find with my low-tech dehydrator (no fan, just a heat coil), this makes the process a lot faster. Then I store the dried tomatoes in a baggie in my freezer.

These potatoes are Austrian Crescent fingerling potatoes. They are smaller than standard potatoes, and have a delicate, nutty flavor. They also cook faster than regular potatoes. They’re the best for roasting with olive oil, salt, and pepper—350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. They also make a really nice vinaigrette-dressed potato salad—don’t smother them with mayo or you’ll miss their fabulous flavor!

The green onions are back! I had thought the row looked a bit ratty, so I went through and pulled all the seed stalks out a couple days ago. Voila! Nice-looking onions—great to include in the above-mentioned potato salad!

The hot peppers are (finally) Bulgarian Carrot peppers. I’ve seen them rated a 4/5 on the heat scale (with 5 being the hottest), but I do not think they’re that fiery. Still, handle with care and avoid touching your eyes when you’re prepping them! If you want to tone them down a little, remove all the veins and seeds.

More sweet peppers this week too—this is shaping up to be a fresh salsa kind of delivery. You can even add a little cucumber to the green onion, hot and sweet pepper, and tomato sauce. I sometimes add a little plain yogurt, too.

Cucumbers again—they’re not letting up. I am eating cukes at home again after taking a brief hiatus. I have been eating a whole cucumber for lunch—soaked a little in cold rice vinegar and water, and dipped in homemade hummus. Jones’ has some good preservative-free hummus, but making your own is simple (and I’m sure a lot of you do).

Simple Homemade Hummus

2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained

2-3 cloves garlic

1 lemon

2 heaping TBSP sesame tahini

Olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Peel the garlic and whiz in a food processor. Then add the drained beans and whiz a little more. Add sesame tahini and the juice from one whole lemon. Then, while the processor is running, add enough olive oil to make a thick paste. You might want to stop the machine and scrape the sides of the bowl into the mix. Taste, and add salt as desired. This makes a big batch—you can halve it easily.

Makes a great sandwich spread or dip, and though not terribly low in fat, it’s high in good fats from the sesame seeds and olive oil, plus fiber and protein from the beans. You can make this in a blender or use mortar and pestle—or even just with a bowl and a potato masher or fork, though it’ll be a little more chunky that way (nothing wrong with that!).

The organic sesame tahini is cheaper right now than the non-organic Krinos tahini at Jones’ Food Center. It’s a little expensive anyhow, but it will last a good long time, making your batches of homemade hummus much cheaper (not to mention fresher) than buying the tubs of it at the store.

The melons are sweet and luscious—Harry and I have had to eat a few that were getting over-ripe, and they were still delicious. This variety is known as Minnesota Midget—not huge like many of the muskmelons grown in this area, but a couple serving-size. If your melon is totally yellow-orange (as opposed to showing a little green), eat it right away! Studies have shown melons stored in the fridge have less nutrients—I have not refrigerated these, but I will chill a melon I’m going to eat shortly before serving (if I can wait that long!).

Come see me at the Vermillion Area Farmers Market! We set up every Thursday from 3-7pm at the Clay County Fairgrounds. Muskmelons (the BIG ones) are in, sweet corn keeps coming, and there’s lots of other fun and tasty stuff, too.

Remember to

WASH YOUR VEGGIES!

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2 responses

  1. Hi Rebecca,

    How do you know when it’s time to pick the Minnesota Midgets? I’ve got some growing in my Minneapolis garden, and I don’t have a clue when to pick them. They’ve gotten past the all-green stage and gotten that nubbly brownish “net,” but still look green under the nubbles. Are they supposed to not be green anymore?

    yours truly,

    a melon novice

  2. Kelly–

    If they’re still green–wait. They will turn yellow/orange. With this variety, the melon will usually “slip”–that is, come easily off the vine when they’re ripe.

    Good luck!

    –Rebecca

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