July 29, 2015

What’s in the box this week?

Standard Shares include

  • Green Bell Peppers – Green bell peppers will continue to first turn yellow and then red if they are left on the plant to mature. 
  • Globe Eggplant –  The star of this week’s recipe!
  • Sungold Cherry Tomatoes – For a perfect sherry-tomato vinaigrette: Heat 1 tbsp of grapeseed oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add 1 c cherry tomatoes and sear, stirring occasionally, until the skins pucker and begin to color, about 2 min. (Be careful: When the tomatoes get hot, some might burst.) Stir in 1 coarsely chopped garlic clove and 1 coarsely chopped shallot and cook until slightly softened, about 1 min more.  Transfer tomato mixture to a small, deep mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp sherry vinegar, and purée with an immersion blender. (You may also blend the tomato mixture in a blender, but use extreme caution when blending hot items, as trapped steam can blow off the lid.  Slowly add 1/2 c grapeseed oil and the 1/4 c olive oil in a thin, steady stream, blending constantly with the immersion blender, until well incorporated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, mix in 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley or chives, taste, and adjust seasoning as desired.
  • Slicer Cucumber – Cucumber and Coconut Salad - yum!  Place 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced lengthwise in a bowl of ice water. Let onion stand 10 minutes, then drain.  Thinly slice 1 large cucumber lengthwise with a handheld slicer or peeler and place in a large bowl. Add onion and 1 c unsweetened large-flaked coconut and gently toss to combine. Add 2 tbsp coconut water, 1 tbsp lime juice, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 1/2 tsp salt and gently toss again to combine. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. Before serving, season with salt and sugar.
  • Charentais Melon - This melon pairs well with dessert wines, like port or sherry! Store it in your fridge and eat within about three days as this is a delicate variety that needs to be eaten fresh. 

Egg Shares include eggs from our certified organic, pasture-raised, happy hens. 

 

Vegetable Forecast

Cherry Tomates, Melon, Cucumber, Summer Squash, Shallots

 

News

Being a small farm allows us the opportunities to experiment with our practices.  As with all things on a farm, none are perfect; there are pros and cons of every practice.  That’s part of what keeps it so challenging and interesting - matching the tool and practice to the situation. 

We just embarked on one that I never envisioned us trying: using plastic mulch for our vegetable beds.  I have always been focused on the negatives, primarily environmental, of adding to the pile of plastic in the world.  Practically, it requires a different set of equipment.  Aesthetically, it isn’t as pleasing to the eye. 

When the situation prodded me to reconsider my aversion to plastic mulch, I conceded when I found out that the plastic used for mulch is actually recyclable now, and, is actually a small amount of plastic relative to the acreage that it covers.  One argument is that you’re environmentally trading diesel we would be using for cultivation for the production of the plastic.

The purported benefits of plastic mulch are many: reduced fuel usage, reduced weed pressure, reduced labor, reduced water usage, better moisture uniformity, and some modulation of soil temperatures depending upon the type of plastic used.  Each one of these is a major benefit. 

So, with the help of our neighbors at Full Belly Farm, who also have experimented with the cost/benefit of plastic mulch, we are attempting our first couple acres of production on plastic mulched beds.  In this case, we are starting earlier fall crops in white-on-black plastic mulch.  The white surface helps to keep soil temperature a few degrees cooler and the black underside provides the opacity to shade out weed seedlings.  

No system is perfect, but we’re going to give it a thorough evaluation as one of the tools in the tool chest and will report back on the experiment from time to time.  Remember you can follow us on instagram and facebook to see our progress. 

 

Recipe 

Eggplant Tricolore  (Serves 4) 

Ooh, this is a good one!  Master chef Yotam Ottolenghi does it again with this excellent summer dish that will impress your friends first with its beautiful colors, and then with its vibrant flavors!  This recipe is straight from Ottolenghi’s vegetarian cookbook Plenty.

  • 3 medium eggplants
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 yellow or orange bell pepper, cored and cut into 3/8-in dice
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 1/2 tbsp capers plus 1 tbsp of the caper brine
  • 5 oz buffalo mozzarella
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro, leaves picked

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Slice the eggplant widthwise into 3/4 in-thick pieces, place them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and brush generously on both sides with plenty of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, then roast for 25-30 minutes, or until golden-brown. Allow to cool down.

Mix together the bell pepper, tomato, vinegar, capers and brine, and add two tbsp of olive oil. This salsa mixture can be kept refrigerated for several days, over which time the flavors will deepen.

To serve, arrange the cooked eggplant slices, slightly overlapping, on a big serving platter. Break the mozzarella into chunks and scatter on top, spoon over the salsa and garnish with cilantro.

 

Pic of the Week

Dusty & Ruben plant celeriac with the "water wheel" transplanter, loaned to us by Full Belly Farm.