Week #12, August 9/10, 2018

Small victory

We have beautiful basil for you, despite the dreaded Japanese beetles.  I’ve spent the last two weeks plucking beetles from our new basil planting (among a few other jobs of course.)  As I explained last week, if you trap the first Japanese beetles to arrive in an area, you can discourage other beetles from congregating.  Each morning, I knock as many as I can into a pail of soapy water.  Morning is best, while they are still sluggish.  

A member said this sounds like a lot of work.  Nope; it’s an easy, quiet job.  We plant the later basil patches near the buildings, where they are convenient for this small job.  If we can keep ahead of the beetles, and if downy mildew doesn’t blow into WI, then maybe I will have some extra basil to sell.  We’ll see.  Beth

There’s still some damage on the leaves but it’s not bad.  The most beetles I’ve caught in one day was about 100.  The photo above was a better day.

Japanese beetles are pretty but the damage is not.

This week’s basil!

Veggie List and Veggie Notes (week #12, Aug. 9/10, 2018)
– weekly shares
– purple EOW
– moon sampler

Plum & slicing tomatoes, ~2.5 lb
Red watermelon
Cucumbers, 3
Silver Slicer cucumbers, ~3
(Pickles, a handful, maybe)
Red frying or bell peppers, 2 – 3
Green beans, 0.7 lb
Walla Walla onion, 1 – 2
Jalapeno chile (HOT), 1
Basil, 2 – 3 husky sprigs
There might be 1 – 2 yellow summer squash.
– One site gets eggplant.
– Sites that didn’t get Sun Jewel melon last week get them this week.

Next week’s box will probably contain tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, cucumbers, carrots, basil and more.

Ripe (top) and less ripe tomatoes (bottom).

Tomatoes – Our large tomato fields are ready.  The plants are healthy and the tomato quality is very good.   We will pack a mix of ripe and less-ripe tomatoes so you can stretch them through the week. The top tomatoes in the photo are ready to eat. The bottom tomatoes need to ripen at room temperature for a few days.  Put on your counter or keep in a brown paper bag.
Storage: Tomatoes retain their best flavor and texture when stored at room temperature, no lower than 55oF.  However, you should refrigerate your tomatoes if they are fully ripe and you don’t expect to eat them right away.  It is better to sacrifice a little flavor and texture than lose your tomatoes to rot.  Also, fully-ripe tomatoes are less sensitive to chilling injury.

Red watermelon – Uncut watermelons can be held at room temperature for one week.  Refrigerate after cutting.

Basil – Have fun with this nice bundle of basil.  Freeze any that you don’t expect to use soon.  Chop by hand (see below) or in a food processor, mix with olive oil and press into a freezer-proof container.  It helps if the basil is dry.  I choose a container that results in a 1/3 to 1/2 inch layer of basil.  I have sets of these containers, and nest an empty one on top of the basil layer, to press it in place while freezing.  You can usually break frozen chunks off a sheet of that size as needed.

Sun Jewel melons (for some sites) – We’re sending Sun Jewel melons to the sites that didn’t get them last week.  This is a sweet, crisp melon that tastes like a very good honeydew.  It’s not a spaghetti squash although it looks just like one!  We’ve figured out how to judge ripeness of this new melon.  

If the stem end of your melon has detached cleanly, or if the melon has small cracks, then it is ripe and ready to eat.  If the stem is intact (rightmost photo) then ripen it on your kitchen counter for 1 to 3 days.  When ripe, it will smell faintly sweet, but not as fragrant as a ripe muskmelon.  I’m soliciting feedback in our Facebook discussion group to find out if you all like this new melon.  That’s how we’ll decide whether to grow it again.  Thanks for any feedback!

Basil chiffonade

A chiffonade is the best way to cut any flat leaf into ribbons.  It works for basil, works for kale.  Wash the leaves.  Remove the mid vein from kale, collards and chard but not basil.  Stack the leaves, then roll the stack like a cigar.  Slice across the roll with a sharp knife.  If the leaves are large, e.g. kale, cut across the resulting pile for the size ribbons you want.  No need to do that with basil!  For basil, it helps to start with dry leaves.  That doesn’t matter much with the larger kale, chard or collard leaves.


Visit our 2018 Recipe Log or our 2017 Recipe Log or join our Facebook discussion group.

LOCAL THYME/ Comforting Classics
Basil Oil
Gazpacho de Sevilla
Marinated Tomato and Cucumber Pasta Salad
Roasted Pepper Salsa

LOCAL THYME/ Outside the Box Recipes
Basil Salt
Hot Process Spiced Pickle
Rosalie’s Padella
Teriyaki Noodle Stir Fry with Peppers and Green Beans 

LOCAL THYME/ Quick and Easy Meal
Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches with Basil Mayo

Recipes from Lauren

Adapted every so slightly from Heartbeet Kitchen
If you are anything like me then you get a little tired of melons after the first couple and get wondering if there is anything fun you can do with it. I made a cocktail with all these ingredients first (watermelon, cucumber, jalapeno, and basil alongside tequila, lime juice and honey) and although absolutely incredible tasting, the pink watermelon juice and green cucumber jalapeno juice combined into a color that was truly unappetizing so I changed course completely. This salad, though slightly less fun then a cocktail, is as beautiful as it is delicious so I really hope you enjoy it!
Oh and if you don’t have watermelon, just leave it out. The cucumber, avocado, basil and jalapeno still work wonderfully together though it will obviously be a much smaller salad. Lauren
Takes 15 minutes.
Serves 2-4.

3 cups uniformly cubed watermelon
1 silver slicer cucumber, cut in half, seeded and very thinly sliced
1 ripe avocado, scooped into small balls with a melon baller (or if you don’t have a melon baller, just cut them into a large dice)
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 lime, juiced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare watermelon, cucumber, avocado and jalapeno and place together in a large bowl. Squeeze lime over the top and gently stir. Add olive oil, basil and a small sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir gently, taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.
Takes 30 minutes.

3 red peppers (a mix of bell and fryers is fine), cores and seeds removed but left in large, easily grill-able pieces
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 pounds ground beef (or lamb)
3 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
4 ounces feta, crumbled

Tzatziki Sauce:
2 cucumbers (could be regular or silver slicers)
1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried dill (unless you happen to have fresh lying around)

For Serving:
6-8 burger buns, buttered and toasted if you’re feeling extra ambitious
6-8 slices Jack cheese
3-4 sliced tomatoes
1/2 large Walla Walla onion, thinly sliced

  1. Preheat your grill as high as it goes. While it preheats, toss your peppers with a couple drizzles of olive oil and some salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Head out to your grill with a pair of tongs and roast those babies over the hottest part of the grill until they are getting quite a bit of char on them (but take them off before they get completely blackened). Return the roasted peppers to a bowl and cover with a plate for 5 minutes to “steep” them so that the skins become easy to remove. Turn your grill off if you don’t have any other grilling to do, but multi-task here if you feel like it because we will turn the grill back on for the burgers in about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare your tzatziki sauce by cutting your cucumbers in half, removing the seeds with a spoon and dicing very small. Combine cucumbers with all other sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well-combined.
  3. Now your pepper skins should be nice and softened. Remove the skins as best you can– if some pieces stay on, it’s totally fine. Chop the peppers up real small and add to a large bowl with ground beef, minced dried onion, salt, garlic and crumbled feta. Mix together with your hands and then shape into 6-8 patties.
  4. Grill burgers over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side depending on the done-ness you like. During the last minute or so of cooking top with the Jack cheese.
  5. Serve burgers on a toasted bun with sliced tomato, sliced onion and tzatziki sauce.


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