CSA Newsletter: Volume 4, Issue 12


Flying Tomato Farms News
A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.
Vol. 4, Issue 12

GARDEN NEWS:
Not too much to report on the garden news front this week. I’ve planted a couple fall crops—fennel, daikon radish, and rutabaga. Those crops get water daily, but the rest of the crops are doing pretty well with the rain we’ve had.

Lots of little melons on the vines in the cantaloupe patch—although one of the vines suddenly died! Probably a vine borer got in there. The rest of the patch looks good and strong, so we should have a few melons sometime in August.

While I said I hoped to get one or two tomatoes in deliveries this week, it turns out the early tomatoes are ripening like crazy. The indeterminate plants are not terribly healthy, though, and do not look to be producing much more fruit besides this first heavy set. That’s OK—there are plenty more heirloom tomato plants out there to take up the slack. I blame these first few plants’ lack of health on the over-abundance of water early in the season, combined with their early planting date that may have set the stage for disease. I won’t plant tomatoes back in that spot for a couple years after those plants come out.

I had planned on delivering Yukon Gold potatoes from Vito at Red Rooster Farms this week, but he called yesterday to report that he was baling hay and couldn’t get them to me on time. However, you should be getting a 2lb. bag of potatoes in next week’s deliveries—plus more deliveries of fingerling potatoes, which are slower to mature, a little later in the season.

THIS WEEK’S DELIVERY:
Cucumbers, a fresh dill head, sweet peppers, cauliflower, tomatoes, and onions.

Wow, those cukes are producing a lot of fruit! I am picking about 10 fruits every day now, and still the second planting has not started producing—but they do have flowers. Don’t worry, I won’t fill the whole bag with cukes!

Try tossing your sliced cucumbers with plain yogurt, a little mayonnaise or salad dressing (I like Vegenaise), and some of the fresh dill seed, crushed with the flat of a knife blade. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Adapted from: MACSAC. From Asparagus to Zucchini 3rd Edition, Jones Books, 2004.

Another salad to try:
Scandanavian-Style Cucumber Salad
1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
salt
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 TB white wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 TB mustard seed
2 TB crushed fresh dill seed
freshly-ground pepper

Put the cucumber slices in a sieve or colander and sprinkle with salt. Set a weight on top and leave for 30 minutes to remove excess moisture. Then squeeze the slices and pat dry with towels.

Put the cucumber in a bowl with the onion, vinegar, sugar, mustard and dill seeds, and pepper. Stir well. Marinate at least two hours before serving.
Adapted from: Rose Elliot’s The Complete Vegetarian Cuisine, Pantheon Books, 1996.

If you have or come up with a great cucumber recipe that you think others would enjoy, please e-mail it to me at the address below. We’ll be eating cukes for quite awhile, so I’ll need some help finding good recipes!

Sweet peppers, onions, and tomatoes mean one thing to me—fresh tomato pasta sauce! Fry up some of the peppers and onion slices with some olive oil, rosemary, oregano or marjoram, salt, and pepper, then turn off the heat, add a splash of red wine, and a bunch of fresh tomatoes cut into chunks. Stir well and serve over pasta or chill and mound on slices of French bread.

The tomatoes are a selection of early varieties—some are completely ripe and some nearly so. The red ones are Oregon Spring and Stupice, both heirlooms and both tending to have a touch of green on their shoulders when ripe. Judge ripeness by how soft they feel in your hand. The yellow tomatoes are Taxi—not quite old enough to be an heirloom, but not a hybrid. The orange tomatoes are a hybrid called Orange Blossom. Do not store ripening tomatoes on your windowsill—they can sunscald. Put them in a bowl on your table or counter instead. Don’t refrigerate un-cut tomatoes either—it kills their flavor.

The cauliflower is called “Snow Crown,” though the crowns aren’t quite as snowy as I’d like them to be. While this variety is what’s called “self-blanching,” I should have tied some of the leaves around the heads to get that perfect white curd.

Try sautéing onion, cauliflower florets, and peppers with a liberal dusting of curry powder (or your favorite selection of curry spices like coriander, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, etc.), then adding fresh cut-up tomatoes toward the end. They will release their juices into the dish and make it just right to serve over brown rice or couscous. You can add a cup of chickpeas to the vegetables to make it more hearty, and a little vegetable broth if you want a thinner consistency.

I also sell produce at the Vermillion Area Farmers Market every Thursday from 3-7pm on the Clay County Fairgrounds, corner of Cherry & High Streets. We’ve been getting lots of new, great vendors (including SWEET CORN vendors), so please stop by and check it out! Get there early for the best selection.

Remember to
WASH YOUR VEGGIES!

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Here’s a secret about what you can do for your heirloom tomato plants that can help curb disease and stimulate flowering and fruit set: remove diseased leaves, leaves within a foot of the ground and thin out leaves and suckers so there’s better air flow in the plant.

    This may be more practical for home gardeners than farmers due to the larger number of plants on a farm. But even taking a few leaves will stimulate more flowering and fruit set. Removing some leaves tells the plant to get busy and reproduce!

    Try it!

    Cynthia Yockey
    author,
    Heirloom Tomato Secrets (where you can find sources of seeds and plants for over 1,000 rare heirloom tomatoes)

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on July 31, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Cynthia–

    Thanks for the comment.

    It’s actually not my heirlooms that are suffering, it’s mostly the determinate bush tomatoes–some hybrid, some o.p. Alas, they are too far gone to save at this point–but at least still ripening the heavy set of fruit they have now!

    I have a good amount of heirlooms to back up their loss once they give up the ghost, so to speak.

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