Ok, so who forgot to pay their heating bill? Saying last week was unseasonably cool would be an understatement. We had nights in the 40s and even a couple that were right below 40. Friends of mine that farm in Cortland County even had a light frost. Yowza! I always look forward to the fall and cooler temperatures but this is definitely too early for me. There’s not too much that can be done so I try not to worry about it that much.
The students doing their internship on the farm this semester had a great week. There’s a lot to get caught up to speed but they seem to be rolling along with it. A lot of what we do for the first part of the semester is harvesting and post-harvest handling of vegetables with a little bit of planting sprinkled in. They seem to be catching on quick and are asking great questions and being thorough with their work. We’ve got a lot of work to do before the farm is put to “bed” for the season, so I’m hopeful that the momentum will continue.
Alright, let’s just dive right into the vegetables that will be a part of this week’s CSA choice. First, there is the return of carrots.
We’ve had a heck of a time growing carrots on the farm in our first 3 seasons, only having small amounts in the late fall, but this year we’ve been able to (mostly) stay on top of the weed pressure. I’m hopeful that we should have them for most of the rest of the season. Another vegetable that is making it’s return, is kale. There will also be a choice of cabbage, garlic, eggplant, lettuce mix, Asian mix, fennel, cucumbers (this may be the last week of them), beans, garlic scapes, tomatillos, green bell peppers, new potatoes (remember to keep them in the fridge) and beets.
The sweet peppers really came on this week and are beautiful. This week we are switching up the frying peppers. There will be Shishitos, which are a Japanese fryer, and Cubanelles, which is another semi-sweet fryer. I love pan-frying the shishitos whole in a cast iron. Just heat the pan with some oil and sprinkle the peppers with a nice coarse salt and cook until the peppers start to blister. They are the perfect little appetizer. Last but not least, there will be tomatoes to choose from. There will be a small amount of saladette and paste, beefsteaks, heirlooms and cherries, which are finally starting to kick it in to high gear. You might be asking, “what to do with all these tomatoes?” Well, at home we start to think about processing them so we have a steady supply of local tomatoes throughout the winter. Canning can be a chore and intimidating for some but there are other options, as well. If you have a dehydrator, it’s a perfect way to store your maters. We like to put them in small jars with olive oil and then use them in soups, crock pot recipes, etc. And if you have the space, freezing them is a super easy option. Tomatoes can be frozen whole, without any prep, and then used at a later date. We invested in a vacuum sealer, or as we call it, “the sucky-freezey thing”. It saves a great amount of space. We will also make sauce and then freeze that in usable quantities. This past weekend we started that process and made some roasted heirloom tomato sauce. Preheat the oven to 400 and halve the tomatoes. On a large baking sheet put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, some minced garlic, salt and pepper and whatever other herbs you are feeling (we topped ours with some fresh pesto). Place the tomatoes on the baking sheet and roast for about 40 minutes or until the skins start to lift.
Pull them from the oven and let them cool. After they cool, you can remove the skin and either use an immersion or regular blender.
Have a great week folks!