In your box:
–Broccoli shoots or summer squash
–Eggplant or sweet pepper
As we come around the halfway point of the growing season, it’s time for my annual plug for Minnesota’s stinkiest celebration, the 10th annual Minnesota Garlic Festival. If you’ve never been this is a great day-long celebration of our favorite smelly vegetable held at the McLeod County Fairgrounds in Hutchinson (about an hour west of the Twin Cities). The big day is this Saturday, August 15th. For more information, please check out: http://www.sfa-mn.org/garlicfest/, And don’t forget to scroll down the right-hand sidebar for your printable 2-for-1 ticket!
Paying half price still not good enough for you? You can get in for free AND get a t-shirt AND get a free meal voucher if you volunteer for just a two hour session. This year I have somehow signed up to be the admissions coordinator, in charge of our volunteers who handle the admissions fees. I need a few more volunteers between 1:30-3:30. All you have to do is stand in the shade and collect money from people as they enter (no, you don’t get to keep the money….) If you’re interested in helping out, please let me know!
This week’s sweet corn has ripened two weeks ahead of schedule, which is great news as we continue the flow of summer. It does mean, however, that we’ll be done with sweet corn by the middle of August. This has been the most consistent crop of corn I’ve ever had, and I’ve only lost three ears to raccoons. I try to let them know they can take up to ten ears without me getting too mad, so I think they’re still feeling poorly about eating a hundred ears last summer.
Tomato harvest has become a full-time job, I’m happy to say. This looks to be one of our best tomato seasons ever, at least this early in their season. I’m already ready to take extra tomato orders. If you are interested in freezing or canning or making salsa, we offer 10 pound boxes of tomatoes for $25. We try to give a mixture of meaty paste tomatoes along with a few heirlooms as well. If you are interested in purchasing surplus tomatoes, please let me know what date works best and how much you would like. I only offer a surplus for sale when I have enough for 1.5 lb for half shares and 3 lb for full shares that week—our CSA boxes come first, of course. But we already have more than that, so you can request extra starting next week through early September.
This week we launch our harvest of Eggplant. What’s that? You don’t like eggplant? Well, I’m not the biggest fan either. But we can all eat a few eggplant each year. This is good for us. And then we can celebrate all through the winter that we’ve eaten our eggplant and don’t have to for nine more months.
Eggplant are in the nightshade family, closely related to potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers. They are so close to potatoes that the treacherous Colorado potato beetle will wander over after a meal of potato greens and happily munch on an eggplant leaf.
- Eggplant may be peeled, but this is not necessary.
- To bake: Prick all over the skin with a fork and bake it at 400 degrees until the flesh is tender—about 30-40 minutes. Baked eggplant can be pureed.
- To stuff: Bake 20 minutes, scoop out seeds, replace with stuffing, and return to oven for 15 minutes
- To saute: Saute in hot oil until light brown, preferably with herbs, garlic, cheese, etc. It may also be sliced and then dunked in flour, eggs, or bread crumbs before sauteeing.
- To steam: Steam over one inch of water for 15-30 minutes.
- To grill: Slice into thin strips and grill with other veggies (squash, peppers, etc.) and skewer it for a shish kabob.