What’s in the box this week?
Standard Shares include
- Sungold Cherry Tomatoes – For a simple summer hors d’oeuvres, top crostini with lightly broiled cherry tomatoes and ricotta.
- Italian Globe Eggplant – The star of this week’s recipe!
- American Slicer Cucumber – Having an enclosed seed and developing from a flower, botanically speaking, cucumbers are classified as accessory fruits. Much like tomatoes and squash they are often also perceived, prepared and eaten as vegetables.
- La Ratte Fingerling Potatoes – If peeling, use a vegetable peeler or sharp paring knife and keep the peeling very thin, since many of the nutrients are found close to the skin.
- Nelson Carrots – For some lemony carrots; Heat oven to 425°F. Toss 1 lb carrots (cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces), a sliced lemon, 2 tbsp olive oil, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing once, until tender, 18 - 20 minutes.
Egg Shares include eggs from our certified organic, pasture-raised, happy hens.
Valley Girl Tomatoes, Bianca di Maggio Cippolini Onions, Eggplant, Cucumbers, Mixed Summer Squash
Summer only just started, yet we’re already preparing for our first fall/winter plantings. After planting eggplant tomorrow, we prepare for a round of celery root, lettuces, chicories, and Romanesco. It feels like another instance on the farm that is metaphorically applicable to the rest of life: jumping to the next new thing before we’ve even begun to fully appreciate the best of what’s in front of us. But we don’t have a choice on the farm; dwell on the present and we’ll find ourselves without crops in short time. Good planning and preparation is the key to keeping the farm productive.
Someone told me once that 95% of human activity in the past 10,000 years has been dedicated to weeding. And I believe it. With our organic vegetable crops, having dismissed synthetic herbicides, much of what we do in the field is centered around weed control. To even have a chance of keeping up with the weeds, we need to eliminate as many weeds as we can mechanically using tractors and tools - an activity we refer to generally as “cultivation.”
The foundation of mechanical cultivation is a good raised bed, where all of our rows, plant spacings, and furrows are evenly spaced so that our tools can be setup to maximize efficiency. The field we worked up this week is 9 acres, or about 400,000 square feet. It can be very tricky to have any semblance of accuracy in an area this size. Our simple yet decently effective technique relies on paper lunch bags. Yes, paper lunch bags. We fill them with soil and use them to mark the centers of every third row on each side of the field and then drive with our attention fixed (often one-eyed) on the corresponding bag on the opposite side of the field. Once we have the field marked out ("listed") with our beds on 60" centers, we can then work on our stale bed weed control that I’ve discussed in earlier newsletters, bury our drip tape, and make any adjustments to tilth prior to planting. Who needs GPS when you've got paper lunch bags?!
Eggplant Pasta Salad (Serves 4)
Some people wonder when and where to use eggplant or feel intimidated about how to prepare it. Here is a cool way to incorporate eggplant into a tasty yet easy summer salad that would be great for dinner at home or entertaining. Thank you Real Simple!
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 in pieces
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/4 c tomato paste
- 1/4 c white wine vinegar
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp capers
- 1/4 c pine nuts (optional)
- 1 c fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 lb dried penne
Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the celery and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the eggplant and cherry tomatoes.
In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, vinegar, ¼ cup water, 2½ teaspoons salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and the sugar. Stir into the eggplant mixture.
Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the capers, pine nuts (if desired), and parsley.
Meanwhile, cook the penne according to the package directions. Toss with the remaining oil; let cool. Combine with the eggplant mixture and serve.