Flying Tomato Farms News
A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.
Vol. 4, Issue 16
This may be the last week for the cucumbers—or at least the last big week for them in deliveries. A few days ago we had a pair of chilly, forty-degree nights, and that, along with the inevitable invasion of the cucumber beetles, has taken its toll. The Mideast Prolifics are down for the count, and the Summer Dances are no longer dancing so vibrantly.
The good news is that these chilly nights spell the beginning of fall greens season. Now that it’s getting colder, I’ll be able to sow some of the shy-of-heat seeds, such as salad mix, lettuce, and spinach. Also on tap—stir fry mix. The demise of the cucumbers also spells more sun for the wild garden kales growing beneath their vines, so we should be having some greens in the deliveries again in a couple of weeks.
I think I’ll finally be able to get beans in next week’s deliveries. I was a little short this week, but a couple of judiciously-spaced pickings late this week and early next week should provide enough of the Marvel of Venice and Northeasters for a full delivery.
Also on tap if it doesn’t get too cold too fast: eggplant. I have a nice row of them, but they haven’t been setting on a lot of fruit. I gave them a shot of Earth Juice “Bloom” last week—an organic seaweed-based fertilizer—and I’ve already noticed more flowers setting on as a result.
After this week, we’ll have eight deliveries left in the season—with October 21st being the twenty-fourth and final delivery. You’ll see a couple deliveries of leeks yet, plus the aforementioned greens, and hopefully a bit of squash. I’m still holding onto the Peruvian Purple fingerling potatoes (maybe next week), as I keep getting nice potatoes from Red Rooster Farms.
THIS WEEK’S DELIVERY:
Tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers, basil, and potatoes.
More of the heirloom tomatoes this week—especially more of the Zapotec Pleated. Not everyone got one, but many of you did. More Red Zebras, too. Any small yellow tomatoes you’ll be getting at this point are no longer Taxi—they’re Yellow Perfection (though I’ve never found this variety to live up to its name and probably won’t grow it again next year). You’ll also see a few San Marzanos and even a couple of the massive Polish Linguisa paste tomatoes (you’ll know if you got one of these—they’re about three or four times bigger than normal paste tomatoes).
You’re also getting a box of mixed little tomatoes—Isis Candies, Red Pears, Black Cherries, and Sungolds. You can always eat these fresh—but I find the cherry tomatoes dry pretty well. If you have a dehydrator (or a pilot lighted gas stove), you can slice them in half, squeeze out the seeds, and dry them on a rack, cut side-up, so they don’t stick. It’s a little tedious to do a lot of them—I only do one tray at a time and then stash them in an ever-filling bag in the freezer.
As mentioned above, this will be the last good-sized delivery of cucumbers for the season after a couple of cold nights have just about done them in. There are a couple of the heirloom “Lemon” cukes in this delivery, too—though not quite enough so everyone got one. They are the best-looking of the cukes in the garden right now, so if there’s any in the coming weeks’ deliveries, these are likely the variety you’ll see.
More peppers this week—a combination again of the sweet bells and the Italian Sweets. I should be getting a few red peppers in the next few weeks as the plants give their final push of the summer. Here’s a recipe from former CSA member Betty Smith, who related that every restaurant in French Basque country has a version of this versatile sauce, served in crepes or omelettes, over chicken or fish, or on thick toast:
Saute a thinly-sliced onion in olive oil over medium-high heat for a few minutes. Add an assortment of about six peppers and 6 tomatoes, chopped, 6 cloves of minced garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for half an hour until the vegetables are a soft, jammy consistency. Adjust spices to taste.
This keeps well in the fridge or freezer, and the amount you make is infinitely adjustable. You can also add some chopped, fresh basil toward the end.
If you don’t use the basil (or all of it) in the Piperade, how about a Caprese salad: layers of fresh mozzarella slices, fresh sliced tomato, and a little sprinkling of basil, drizzled with a bit of fruity olive oil? Yum. A note of warning though—fresh basil doesn’t keep. Use it up as quickly as possible.
The potatoes this week are once again from Mike (Vito) Gaidelis of Red Rooster Farms. These are russets, and should keep well. The funny thing about these russets is that they’re not actually russeted (brown, semi-corky-peeled) like the big bakers you see in the grocery store. But they are still great for baking or for making your own homemade French fries.