As August winds down, life at Tompkins Cortland is beginning to pick up with the new semester starting this week. It’s been a fairly quiet past few weeks on the farm but a new “crop” of student interns will begin their college journey with me in two short days. It’s always a little crazy having new folks start when the farm is in full swing but it’s a great reset for myself. I’m in full autopilot mode this time of the season and having new students this time of the year is perfect for me to pause, take a few deep breaths and slow down to bring folks up to speed. In addition to the new students that will be starting their internship, I’m excited that I will be co-teaching a course with Chef Amanda from the Culinary Arts program called Intro to Food Preservation. This course is geared toward students in both the Sustainable Farming and Food Systems and Culinary Arts degree programs. I’ll be giving updates throughout the rest of the season but one of our goals of this course is to develop a couple of value-added products for the TC3 Farm.
Last week was fairly quiet on the farm. This time of the year, a lot of the time is spent harvesting. The tomatoes are really cranking right now and we are harvesting them multiple times a week. There was some weeding done and our last lettuce transplanting of the season got in the ground. I even took a half day off on Friday so my family and I could head up to Oneida Lake to visit with some friends for the weekend. That was a much needed and enjoyable little break.
This week’s CSA pickup marks the beginning of our Fall Only shares, so you may some some new friends at the barn. Welcome to the new folks starting this week. The choice this week is again all about tomatoes! There will be lots of beautiful heirlooms, beefsteaks and cherry tomatoes. Lettuce mix is back in the share. There will also be some cucumbers (they have slowed down significantly but another planting is on its way), basil, black radishes, hot peppers, eggplant, thyme, sage and dandelion bunches. The garlic that has been curing for the last month is ready, so say goodbye to the tiny bulbs. There was also some head lettuce and mini cabbages that needed to be harvested. They will be grouped together because there wasn’t enough of each to be on their own. I’m excited to announce that sweet peppers are finally here. Most of what is ready are these really cute mini bell peppers that I was intrigued to try this season, along with some beautiful frying peppers. I’ll have to double check in the morning but there may also be some green frying peppers in the share, as well.
My wife has been making a super simple, yet delicious fried eggplant at least once a week. She peels and slices the eggplant about 1/4 inch thick and then soaks them in salt water for about 10 minutes. While the eggplant is soaking, in a bowl she rips up some fresh basil, adds some garlic powder, panko bread crumbs, crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese and mixes that all together. After the eggplant is done soaking, it gets dipped in some flour, then a beaten egg and then the breading mix. She fries them in a fresh layer of olive oil for every 6-8 pieces. They’ve been so tasty that we just have them as a little side dish.
Have a great week!