I hope that everyone had a great week. It was a busy one at the farm. The new crop of Sustainable Farming and Food Systems students have jumped right into the thick of things and are working their tails off. And boy, has the weather been on the warm side. No, I’m not complaining about having 80+ degree days in early September. I truly hope that it stays as warm as possible for as late as possible but I was having a conversation with the vegetables (yeah, I do that sometime) in the field and they could really use some water. This lack of rain for the last month or so has really put a damper on some of our fall crops. (It looks like there is some rain in the forecast for later in the week but at this point, I’ll believe it when I see it.) A lot of what we plant for the Fall really enjoys the cooler weather and that hasn’t happened yet. They also enjoy some water to help keep them cool and to grow and that hasn’t happened either. In fact, some of our crops that we intended to harvest later in the season have needed to be harvested sooner. See, at the moment we are dry farmers and by that I mean, we have no irrigation (except for our greenhouse and hoophouses) and we rely on Mother Nature to help us.
It hasn’t been all bad, though. Remember when I was talking about Late Blight and how it affected most of our field tomatoes? Well, when it’s dry, the disease doesn’t spread as quickly and that has been good for our remaining tomatoes and the potatoes we still have in the field. We’ll be working hard over the next few weeks to get our potatoes out and the dryer it is, the better. One crop that we got out last week was our storage onions. I feel really good about our yield. Last year our onions were pretty lame but they were one of the first crops we got in this season and they performed well. They are in the greenhouse curing and in a few weeks they will be ready for distribution.
In other farm news, we represented TC3 at the State Fair last Wednesday during one of their SUNY days. I had some great conversations with folks about the farm and the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems degree during my time there. We also had another great farm stand last week, so don’t forget to tell your colleagues to come on down and support the farm on Wednesdays from 1-3 outside TC3’s main entrance.
Ok, on to this week’s CSA share. This week, we’ll have the return of eggplant. They have really enjoyed the heat and the weeding we gave them in the hoophouse. There will also be more summer squash/zucchini and if you haven’t gotten your zucchini bread/muffin fix this summer yet, this may be the week to do it. We’ll have a bunch of large ones available in the extras bin. Other vegetables that will be available are beans, more new potatoes, cucumbers (they’re not super pretty), basil, parsley, baby tat soi and tomatoes! Our heirloom varieties really took off this past week and are super yummy! There will also still be beefsteaks and cherry tomatoes. We’re taking a break from swiss chard this week, as well as lettuce. The latter really hasn’t done well in this heat. On the horizon are fall peas, kale, fennel and peppers.
This week’s recipe comes courtesy of our very own Deb Mohlenhoff. She posted a picture on Instagram and I immediately started salivating. I read the recipe to my wife and my stomach started growling. My favorite part of the recipe is the first line because my wife is the same way 🙂
I don’t use recipes. I’m Italian. LOL
Here’s what I generally do when I make a tomato pie:
Cube 3-4 large tomatoes. Put paper towels in the bottom of a colander. Generously salt the tomatoes. Place another paper towel over the top of the tomatoes. Sit for 20 mins or so. This takes the water out of the tomatoes. If you don’t do this the pie will be soup.
Press a pre-made pie crust into a deep dish pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes just to get it started. While it’s baking cut up 2 onions and 3-4 cloves of garlic. Sauté in olive oil with a couple shakes of Italian seasoning. Set aside.
Mix 3-4 heaping spoonfuls of part-skim ricotta cheese with 1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and about 1/2 a cup of Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of garlic salt.
When the crust is pre-baked spread the cheese on the bottom. Press the paper towels down on the tomatoes to squeeze out the water but not so hard that you crush them. Combine the tomatoes, the sautéed onions and some basil that you chop up.
Pile the tomatoes on top of the ricotta mixture.
Generously sprinkle shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese on top.
Bake 25-30 minutes until the cheese starts to brown.
I served it with some sautéed green beans also from the CSA.
CSA veggies used: onions, basil, tomatoes, green beans
Bon appetit and thanks Deb! Can’t wait to try it.
Have a great week everyone!!