CSA Newsletter: Volume 4, Issue 23

Flying Tomato Farms News

A newsletter for members of Flying Tomato Farms C.S.A.

Vol. 4, Issue 23


I ran out this morning in my robe and fuzzy pink slippers to check on the temperature. There was a bit of frost on the windshield of my truck, but the plantings around the house were not affected. The gardens in the country did sustain some frost damage—a few tomatoes and peppers in the lowest areas have gone down, and the tops of all the sweet basil plants were looking sodden. They weren’t entirely killed, though, so I lopped off all the damaged parts to see if they’ll re-grow. I’m not that hopeful about a big basil comeback—it is getting colder—but who knows? I did go out yesterday afternoon and fill my 102-quart marine coolers full of green tomatoes and peppers, plus collected a bucket full of chili peppers to ripen indoors.

Next week is the final delivery! Please make sure to return all extra bags this week and next. Next week’s final delivery bag is yours to keep if you like, or you can drop it off at my house anytime: 117 Forest Avenue.

Now is the time to be stocking your pantry with local produce for the winter months. There should be a few vendors at the farmers market for the next couple of weeks, weather permitting, and Morse’s Market (down Dakota Street hill and across the Vermillion River bridge) has some good prices on long-keeping squash. There are lots of apple trees heavy with fruit in the area—you might ask a landowner with a particularly productive fruit tree if you can share some of their bounty.

I’m guessing next week’s delivery will include a little kale, some tomatoes and peppers, leeks, and maybe a surprise or two from my gardens or the gardens of my other farmer friends.

Speaking of farmer friends, I have been talking to some of them about the possibility of doing a collective CSA next year, with several local farmers contributing produce toward the shares. I have gotten to the point that I can’t do the whole thing myself, but there are a few other local farmers who are interested in getting in on the act. Patti Bancroft (whose red onions grace this delivery as well as gracing last week’s) has indicated she’d like to supply potatoes, eggplant, onions, and possibly garlic for a collective CSA. I will be talking to other local farmers (especially those with an emphasis on organic and/or sustainable methods) to see if we can get something together that allows us to share the burden of production while sharing the bounty with the community.

At this point, if the collective comes together (and we can get forty or fifty members committed in late winter or early spring), my interest would be in providing spring and fall greens for shares—including the Goddess salad mix, nettles, stir-fry greens, chard, kale, arugula, bok choy, broccoli raab, and possibly romaine lettuce. That would help justify my keeping one of my prize garden tools—the humungous orange five-gallon salad spinner!

Please let me know if you are interested in being contacted about a collective CSA, and I will keep you informed of the planning progress.


Mixed stir-fry greens (with nettles!), red onions, sweet peppers, hot peppers, and tomatoes.

The mixed greens are a blend of arugula, tatsoi, Osaka purple mustard, mizuna, spinach, red Russian kale and other mixed kale varieties, multi-colored chard, and stinging nettles. Handle with care! This mix should be lightly stir-fried or braised until the greens are just wilted (unless you feel comfortable identifying nettles and removing them from the mix before eating the other ingredients raw). I’d go for cooking myself—these wild kales are a little rugged in their raw state. You could also roughly chop these greens and use them to top a homemade pizza.

These “Mars” red onions are again from certified organic grower Patti Bancroft. Some of these have formed double bulbs, and will not keep as well as last week’s onion—so try to use them up within a week or two. Here’s a good way to do just that:

Balsamic-Roasted Red Onions

Adapted from Fields of Greens

By Annie Sommerville

2 big red onions

olive or grapeseed oil

salt and pepper

½ cup water

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

sprig of rosemary (optional)

Cut the ends off the onions and peel off the papery layers. Rub each onion with oil and salt and pepper it. Roast them whole at 375 degrees in a small pan until absolutely tender. Remove from oven, and remove onions from the pan. Add water to the pan and scrape to remove drippings. Pour drippings into a small saucepan and add balsamic vinegar. Reduce liquid by half over medium heat.

Cut onions in quarters or eighths and place in serving dish. Drizzle with balsamic reduction, salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm or hot. Leftovers are great as a pizza topping, in omelets, or on salads. You can snip a little fresh rosemary over the onions if you have it.

The little green chili peppers in your delivery are Bulgarian Carrot peppers. They will most likely turn orange (ripe) sitting on your counter, but you can use them green, too. They’re very hot! You can tame them a little but cutting them open and removing the seeds and white membranes, but exercise caution nonetheless.

Don’t forget the Vermillion Area Farmers Market’s Harvest Soup Supper on November 1st from 5:30-7:30pm at the Extension Building on High Street! Interested in making a soup (with an emphasis on local ingredients)? Contact me! Soup-makers get into the event for free.



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