Vol. 15, No. 11, July 20, ‘10 7260 NW 58th St., Johnston 50131 278-4522 (577-9208)
Rain: 7/12, 0.4; 7/15, 0.2”; 7/18, 2.25”
In the Box . . .
Onion ‘Ailsa Craig’
Cucumbers ‘Marketmore’, ‘Armenian’
Tomatoes ‘Sungold’, ‘Juliet’
Summer Squash ‘Dark Green’, ‘Costata’, ‘Zuchetta’ (some sites)
Peppers ‘Islander’ (purple), Banana, Romanian (some sites)
Raspberries ‘Autumn Bliss’ (some sites)
Ala carte options: Lemon, lime, thai, Holy (or Sacred) and cinnamon basil, rosemary, parsley, tarragon, mint, choc. mint ($1 ea.), fennel ($4)
(Please email email@example.com or call 278-4522 to request ala carte or free items.)
It seems strange to be planting lettuce when the temperatures are so high, but now is when we start the fall lettuces. Here’s hoping they can survive the hot greenhouse until transplanting time. The farm crew endured some real heat challenges last week and remained in good spirits despite it all. Sunday morning’s storm brought some needed rain, but it left some destruction in its wake as well. Besides minor problems such as blown-over tomato cages, the farm sign dangling, and some of the sweet potato weed fabric ripped up, which can be repaired, the bigger concern was the breaking off of a number of the most recently planted winter and summer squashes. Their big leaves can act like sails in a stiff breeze, and being whipped about in 60 mph winds can break their stems.
With a July that has brought us rain only 2-3 times a week instead of the constant rains of June, we have been making progress in catching up with our weeding. However, there are areas that we just can’t correct. Our onion crop is one of those. The fast growing early Ailsa Craig onions have sized up early despite the weeds. We’ll see how the later maturing varieties do. Our second succession of green beans is looking good and weed-free and should be starting in a week or so. The cherry tomatoes and the early peppers are ripening, so look for more of those soon, as well. Small amounts of okra will start making an appearance for the okra lovers. (I actually saw a truck license plate this week that read “okra 72”.)
Tracey and Joe Boyles had so much fun digging garlic at our harvest day that they came back to do it again this past Saturday. If anyone else is looking for that kind of “fun”, let us know. There’s plenty left. It will take us a while to get all the garlic in. The farm crew can’t handle too much “fun” at once.
For those new to Turtle Farm, basil buckets are provided at each site for people to take a few sprigs, so help yourself. A bit later we may take orders for basil bouquets.
This recipe which uses cherry tomatoes came to me from Mary Hilliard. It’s from Cook’s Illustrated and is a little bit of work for the dressing, but quite tasty I thought. And I may even be tempted to use it with regular tomatoes when I don’t have enough cherries on hand.
Cherry Tomato Salad with Tarragon and Blue Cheese (Cooks Illustrated.com)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, ripe, quartered 1 T. cider vinegar
(about 4 c.) 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Table salt Ground black pepper
½ tsp. sugar ½ c. coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
2 tsp. Dijon mustard 2 oz. crumbled blue cheese
4 tsp. honey 1 ½ T. chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 T.)
Toss tomatoes, ¼ tsp. salt, and sugar in medium bowl; let stand for 30 minutes. Transfer tomatoes to salad spinner and spin until seeds and excess liquid have been removed, 45 to 60 seconds, stirring to redistribute tomatoes several times during spinning. Return tomatoes to bowl and set aside. Strain tomato liquid through fine-mesh strainer into liquid measuring cup, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Bring ½ c. tomato liquid (discard any extra), mustard, honey, shallot, and vinegar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until reduced to 3 T., 6-8 minutes. Transfer mixture to small bowl and cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Whisk in oil and pepper to taste until combined. Taste and season with up to 1/8 tsp. table salt. Add pecans, cheese, dressing, and tarragon to bowl with tomatoes; toss gently and serve. Serves 4-6.