Share Notes 7-18-19
CSA Share Notes:
Welcome to a SUPER bountiful week of summer! I want to give you guys a few farm tips about eating and storing your tomato harvest for best results and tastiest flavor:
Tomatoes, like many fruiting crops, ripen from the blossom-end (bottom) first, with the stem-end (top) being the last part of the fruit to ripen. We call the stem-end the “shoulders.”
Since the shoulders area ripens last, it is the sturdiest, and least susceptible to bruising part of the tomato. You’ll see in your box and on our table at the farmers market that we always store all of our tomatoes “shoulders down” and you should, too. When you take your tomatoes out of the box, be delicate with them and place them on a paper towel on your kitchen counter, shoulders down. If your tomatoes need a day or two to finish ripening, you can keep them in a window to ripen up, but continue to keep them shoulders down.
You’ll especially notice on the heirloom varieties that they ripen quite uneaven-ly with the shoulders still pretty green when the blossom end is ripe. If you wait for the shoulders to turn fully red (or orange, or pink, depending on the variety) the blossom end will be over ripe. Generally, your should eat your heirlooms when about 80% of the fruit is ripe, and discard the top ~20% of the tomato, since it will still be under ripe. It’s is really difficult for us to transport heirlooms, as they are such delicate fruits. Enjoy them as soon as you can once your get your share.
Here’s your vegetable line-up:
- Sungolds— This might be peak season for this crop, we had enough to send a nearly-full quart to everyone! We eat these like candy, but you can do anything with them.
- Slicing Tomatoes—These are more of our big beef and other slicer varieties. I fear we’re about to be inundated with an insane amount of tomatoes for the next one or two weeks. We might be offering up some whole boxes of canning tomatoes, so watch for an email about ordering them in the web store.
- Heirloom Tomato—Everyone received either a Valencia orange heirloom, or possibly one of very few of our Striped German, which are pink and yellow striped.
- San Marzano Tomatoes—This is one of our favorite heirloom tomatoes and makes the perfect sauce. They’re a roma type which means they are low in juice with thicker flesh. They perform great in a pico de gallo or a tomato sauce. They need a couple of days to ripen fully.
- Squash—Everyone received a generous helping of our squash, which may be of two different varieties: yellow squash, and zephyr squash, which has some pale green on it. They’re both delicious.
- Zucchini—a small amount to the regular shares, and several to the large shares. These are really enjoyable this season!
- Sweet Italian Peppers—These are not a hot pepper! They are thin walled and delicious, and are excellent pan fried in some coconut oil.
- Sweet Bell Peppers—Purple and green this week. I suggest a pepper, cucumber, sungold salad with lots of cracked pepper, olive oil, and salt. To make it Greek style, add chunky feta and olives. Such a nutritious and refreshing lunch.
- Cucumbers—A few more this week than last week! Large shares received mostly slicing cucumbers, and regular shares received our pickling variety. You don’t have to pickle them, though. They’re excellent raw.
- Onions—a handful of our yellow onions for each share.
- Blueberries—The last blueberries of the season, and they are incredibly delicious-the most flavorful berries I’ve had all summer long! These berries are grown by our friends at Winona Orchards who sell with us at Rose City Farmers Market. They are really skilled farmers, making a high quality product, and while they are not organic, we love offering you these, as they are truly excellent. To wash off any chemical residue, use a bowl of cold water with a Tbs of baking soda dissolved in it and soak your berries for about 1 minute. In a controlled study, a 1 minute baking soda soak was shown to be the very best method to remove chemical residues over using bleach, peroxide, vinegar, or dish soap!
Veggie Storage tips:
Your tomatoes and onions do NOT want to be refrigerated. (Storing tomatoes below 50 degrees will make them mealy) Keep them in a cool place on the counter. Your tomatoes would love to be at around 65 degrees, but under 80 is fine. Berries should be in the fridge. Your squash, zucchini, cucumbers, and peppers, will all last longest if stored in the fridge, although they are fine at room temp for a few days. Everything will need a gentle washing before cooking, but leave the dirt on until you’re ready to use them to prevent spoilage.
We’d love to hear stories and recipes of your culinary adventures this week. Send us a note or post a comment of how you’ve used your CSA share.
Jess & Justin