In your box:
–Cucumber, summer squash, or eggplant
–Garlic, “Lorz Italian”
This week is the end of the second third of the farm season, which for my purposes means that “summer” is over and the advent of fall crops (root veggies, cabbage, squash) is upon us. We’ll start seeing some new crops in the boxes over the next few weeks, even as tomatoes and summer squash continue to trickle in. It’s also time to start thinking about our annual fall celebration, held out at the farm on Sunday, September 25th from 3pm until dark. We’d love to have you out to the farm for farm tours, a potluck, guest appearances from celebrities from reality television, yard games, and a great evening of community here in the country. More details to come. Mark your calendars—we hope to see you here!
This week marks the final harvest of beans after a very prosperous green bean season. After six weeks of picking and one week of mud that kept me out of the bean patch, the bean plants are tired and starting to die off. None of the plants have flowers on them, meaning that there won’t be any new beans forming in the near future. Since we’ll probably have a frost by then, I’m officially making this the last picking so that I can get a cover crop seeded into these beds to keep the soil happy for next year.
Once again we have the ever-dependable beets in your box. I really hope I’m not overdoing it—I know beets aren’t a favorite for everyone, and I’ve even heard of someone (who will remain anonymous) who thinks beets taste like “dirt.” I decided not to take that as a slight on my beet-cleaning abilities here at the packing shed, but rather as an insult to beets in general. We will have beets for at least one more week this season before the great fall root veggies reach maturity for the last few weeks of the year. If you’re not a fan of beets and beet greens, know that we’re getting more than I usually give this year due to about 1,000 carrots still in the field turning to orange goo after such a wet summer. Also, I’ve had a few questions about the orange ones. These are indeed beets and can be used in all the same ways as the red ones. The advantage with them is that they don’t “bleed” like red varieties.
An easy way to use beets is just to boil them. First cut off the greens and set them aside for use later in a quiche or, of course, guinea pig food. Rinse off the outsides and scrub off any dirt that I might have missed and cut them roughly into halves or quarters. Add them to a pot of boiling water and cook for 45-50 minutes. At that time, stop the boil and take the beets out of the pot. The skins should peel right off with a fork or a finger. If they don’t peel easily, cook them for another 10 minutes and try again. The beets can then be eaten plain, with butter, or mashed and added to mashed potatoes. I’ve also included a recipe for roasted beets, below.
The one new crop this week is Tomatillos. First of all, let me make it clear that I support the spelling of this word with an “-oes” ending. If Tomato gets the “e” added to the plural ending, why not tomatillos? But try googling Tomatilloes with my preferred spelling and you’ll be redirected by someone thinking you mean Tomatillos. But I digress. A lot.
Tomatillos are close relatives of tomatoes, in the same family as peppers, eggplant, and potatoes. They resemble most closely ground cherries, which I plan to have in your box next week. Tomatillos are often associated with Mexican cuisine, and are the key ingredient in salsa verde. To use them, first remove the husk and compost it. The tomatillo inside can be eaten raw like any tomato, but most people prefer to sautee, grill, or stir-fry them.
I’m trying out a different variety of tomatillos this year than what I’ve grown in the past. These are an heirloom called “Purple di Milpa” and was probably named by someone who didn’t bother to look up the Italian word for purple. Most tillos are green with green husks, but these are a variety of purple, yellow, and green. They are much smaller than other tillos, which led to a long harvest time, but the plants are very productive and they’re mighty tasty. I’ve included a recipe for fried green tomatillos, below.
Expected next week: Potatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, celery, red onion, fennel, sweet pepper, ground cherries, garlic, and tomatoes.