Week Five Farm Share News
Greetings farm share members. It seems we are getting a break from the heat and temperatures are back down in the eighties this week. For us at the farm, this means we can get some more transplanting done, along with continued seeding of more summer faster crops like lettuce and ones that will new harvested this fall and even through the winter and spring, such as sprouting broccoli. The heat has proved to be great for certain things and a bit detrimental to others. Greens in Oregon are not quite used to sustained ninety plus days. Even tomatoes, which are hot weather plants, got a little too hot and began ripening a bit too early. However, this means that we are beginning our tomato harvest earlier than expected and share members are getting fresh heirlooms and this week mixed cherry tomatoes. The heat has made the tomatoes very sweet and flavorful, perfect for a snack and great on salads, pizzas and pastas.
Katie, new this year to the farm from Iowa, is harvesting some Striped German tomatoes. This variety has been ripening early, along with many others and at times will have extra growth coming out the bottom of the tomato. Sometimes early season tomatoes will have this happen due to the plants sending extra energy to the fruit to get the plant to mature it’s offspring right away. The growths, though a bit unsightly, do not really harm the fruit at all. Sometimes they are large enough to be an extra little tomato. If ever one of these shows up in your shares or you encounter them at a farmer’s market, simply cut the extra off and enjoy the main body of the tomato. A bonus to these kinds of tomatoes is that they usually contain very few seeds.
The heat makes it kind of a race to harvest everything in time before it gets too hot. Items like greens and beet bunches are harvested first before they have the chance to wilt. Here the whole crew is out bunching beets. Usually we have a few people pulling up beets and placing them in piles for the others to gather, check for any damage and bunch before washing.
There will be beets again this share. Though strong in flavor, we find beets to be quite versatile at the farm. We love roasting them and putting them in all sorts of salads, they are good grated fresh on salads, they are good thinly sliced on some toasted bread with cream cheese and basil leaves as a snack or appetizer, they are good juiced and are can be used in baked goods. For this, try using a recipe that calls for zucchini or carrots and replace it with grated beets. Beets are especially good in bran muffins.
Another familiar face in the lineup will be summer squash. Again, these are quite versatile in terms of culinary use. Try them as noodles, in eggs, on the grill, in baked goods, in soups or try this easy squash chip recipe:
1 large summer squash
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 225°F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Slice summer squash into rounds and place the slices on a sheet of paper towels. Place another paper towel on top of the squash slices and press on them to draw out the liquid.
Place the squash slices on the baking sheet tightly next to each other in a straight line, making sure to not overlap them.
In a small bowl, pour olive oil in and using a pastry brush, brush the oil on each squash slice.
Sprinkle salt throughout the baking sheet. Do not over-season as the slices will shrink in the baking process; so if you over-season, it will be way too salty…..You can always add more salt later.
Bake for 2+ hours until the slices start to brown, aren’t soggy and are crisp.
Let cool before removing and serving.
If you have a dehydrator, this is a good recipe to try. Dehydrate at 110 degrees till crisp. They can also be flavored with herbs, chili powder, nutritional yeast, tamari, garlic powder or any combination of these things. Be creative!
Other items this week are cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, kale, collards, salad, cabbage, fennel and onions. Try adding some shaved fennel into your coleslaw. Omit any sweetener in your dressing recipe and add a tablespoon of capers and a few tablespoons of chopped olives. Mix thinly sliced cabbage and fennel with dressing for a new take on the picnic and barbeque standard. Please let us know of any recipe ideas you have by posting a comment on the blog.
As always, we hope you are enjoying your summer and your vegetables.
-The Simington Gardens Team