Share Notes July 29 & 31
CSA Share Notes:
This summer season is strange, y’all. Have I said that enough, yet? All our tomato plants, the Romas, the Slicers, and the Cherries are simply covered in the most gorgeous full size green tomatoes, but they seem to just be hanging out, not ripening. We’re hoping they hurry for you so we can start sending out loads of them. We don’t know why they are taking their sweet time. This along with several other factors has us really scratching our heads, as it’s far outside of our decade of experience. Every year brings new lessons with it, so were hopeful to gain a lot of knowledge from new struggles we’re facing.
And the slow summer crops keep rolling in little by little! This week we are harvesting our very first eggplant. Okra should be right around the corner, too.
Here’s this week’s vegetable line up:
- Eggplant— The mini shares received our very first picking of beautiful eggplant. The Fairy Tale variety and the Japanese variety are the first to mature, so you’ll have a couple of those this week. Soon the large, dark purple Italian will be ready, too.
- Slicing Tomatoes — For the Mini shares. You may have received Orange Valencia or Big Beef. Some of these will need a few days on the counter to complete ripening. We always recommend you store them “shoulders down” (or upside down) as the bottom/blossom end of the fruit ripens first and is most susceptible to bruising. The stem end ripens last and is sturdiest to support the tomato’s weight.
- Cherry Tomatoes — We have enough sungold cherry tomatoes to send them to all the large shares. Waiting still for the abundance that we still think is coming soon from these tasty plants.
- San Marzano Tomatoes — for all the Large shares. These ripen unevenly, from the bottom up, as do many of the heirloom varieties. And it can be a bit tricky to find the sweet spot of when to eat heirlooms. You’ll likely need to give them a couple of days to ripen on the counter if you have a good amount of green on the top of the tomato, but know that you should not expect them to be fully red, tip to toe. There will likely still be a little bit of under-ripeness near the top when the majority of the tomato is at perfect eating ripeness, and you’ll just cut that part off and discard. If you wait until they are fully red at the top, the bottom half may be over ripe.
- Bell Peppers— For everyone! loads of purple and green. Make stuffed bell peppers for dinner this week, or whip up a batch of hummus for dipping, or go with our favorite salad this time of year, a whole mess of chopped bell peppers, cucumbers, and tomato, with lots of fresh crumbled feta, olive oil, and plenty of salt and cracked pepper. Olives are a great addition, or capers, or sun dried tomatoes, or herbs de provence…go wild.
- Italian Peppers— For the Large and regular shares. These ultra long slender peppers are sweet, like a bell, though they resemble certain spicy pepper types. We love these in fresh salads like we mentioned above, or atop a home made pizza.
- Jalapenos— A nice handful for everyone this week.
- Peaches! —These were grown by our friends at Winona Orchards. They are at the veeerrry tail end of their season, so we’re so lucky to have a few to send you this week. Eat them quick before they’re over ripe! Remember that while our friends at Winona grow a high quality crop, they do not grow according to organic standards, so we suggest you wash them well, or even soak them for a few minutes in baking soda water to remove any residues.
- Zucchini— Just enough for the Mini shares this week.
- Summer Squash— yellow squash for the regular and large shares. There are two different types, crook neck, and Zephyr, which is half lime green, half yellow.
- Cucumbers— plenty for everyone.
- Basil—Lots of basil for ya this week. Plan ahead to make a big batch of Pesto! You traditionally need Pine nuts, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil, but we like to sub out the nuts sometimes, opting for walnuts or local pecans which are both more economical options. Sometimes we roast the garlic first, too and that’s a really nice touch. If you don’t have a food processor, no worries! The traditional preparation simply requires super fine chopping with a cleaver, leaving your pesto with a coarse texture. **READ BASIL STORAGE TIPS BELOW** Refresh your basil in a sink of cold water for a couple of hours if it’s wilty when it arrives.
- Onions— A few for everyone!
Veggie Storage tips:
Remember, treat basil like flowers, not vegetables: *do not store it in the fridge.* It prefers to be in a nice cool spot in your kitchen, away from the sun, stem down in a fresh glass of water. Trim the stems and refresh the water each day, and your basil will last at least a week or more. If it’s wilty when you receive it, fully submerge it in a sink of cold water for an hour or two to help it perk up, then trim the stem before putting it in a glass of water.
All your eggplant, peppers, squash, zucchini, and cukes will keep longest stored in the fridge sealed up in produce bags. Peaches will last longest in the fridge, but eat them soon as they’re quite ripe. Tomatoes do not want to be stored below 50 degrees or they turn mealy, so keep them at room temp or in the coolest area of your kitchen. Onions prefer a dry, room temperature spot. Everything will need a thorough 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.
Your farmers, Jess & Justin
Regular Share top left to right: Basil, yellow squash across the top, (middle row) Italian Peppers, Jalapenos, green and purple bells (3rd row) onions, cucumbers, and peaches