Week #12; Abundance

We are wealthy in watermelons.

Wow, the farm is incredibly productive right now.  This is common in a drought year on a vegetable farm IF you have irrigation.  Everything is growing strongly, probably because diseases are low during the dry weather.  Insect populations can go either way in a drought but seem to be at normal levels right now.  It was great to get rain over the weekend but it soaked in quickly and we are irrigating again already.  

I’ll be honest.  We’re pretty whipped by the extra work, so I don’t have much to share tonight except a beautiful evening sky over the barn and silo.  The farm is absorbing all our attention and energy right now.
Take care,

Tomato Care

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

We are heading into peak tomato season.  Yeah!  Ripe tomatoes are delicious but highly perishable so let’s talk about their care.

Ripeness:  Each delivery, we pack a mix of ripe and less-ripe tomatoes so you can stretch them through the week.  In the photo above, the top two tomatoes are ready to eat.  The bottom two tomatoes can ripen at room temperature for a few days.

Storage:  Tomatoes retain their best flavor and texture when stored at room temperature, no lower than 55 F.  I encourage you to spread your tomatoes on plates so you can watch them.  Eat the ripest ones first, or any showing flaws.  
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 to let your tomatoes spoil.  Also, fully ripe tomatoes are less sensitive to chilling injury.

They might need washing:  We handle the ripe tomatoes as little as possible to avoid bruising.

(Left)  The yellow arrow shows small inconsequential flaws that will grow with time.  Eat now!
(Right) The purple arrows show leaf residue bits stuck to the tomato.  Wet the tomato and the residue will come right off.

Veggie List & Veggie Notes
Week #12, August 3/4, 2o23

– Weekly shares
– BiWeekly/ green
– Sampler/ D group

Sweet corn, 9 ears
Carrots, 2 lb
Slicing tomatoes, ~2.5 lb
Cherry tomatoes, 1 pint
Green beans, 0.8 lb
Cucumbers, ~2
Silver Slicer cucumbers, 2 or 3
Green bell pepper, 1 large
Zucchini &/or yellow squash, ~1 squash
Walla Walla onion
BY SITE: muskmelon OR Yellow Doll watermelon

Next week’s box will probably contain sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, melons, onions and more.

Sweet corn – There are far fewer caterpillars than last week.  This is good news.  If you see browning at the tip, cut off the tip before shucking the corn.

Green beansStorage: Store in the warmest part of your refrigerator.

Cucumbers – We’ve begun harvests from our second cucumber field.  These are beautiful, beautiful cukes.  You’ll notice less scarring now, which is typical as we move from an older to younger planting.  We are sending both green slicing cukes plus a special variety called Silver Slicer.  These smaller cucumbers are thin-skinned, like pickling cucumbers, and have delicious flavor.  No need to peel these ones.  For that matter, there’s no need to peel the green cucumbers either, unless you receive an unusually large one.  We will distribute the green and Silver cucumbers by site over the coming weeks, as we harvest them.

Walla Walla onion – Please refrigerate your Walla Walla this week.  They are not storage onions, and the recent hot weather is not good for them.  Keeping them cold is your best option.

Muskmelons (some sites) – Refrigerate or let ripen at room temperature for up to two days, max.

Yellow Doll watermelon (some sites) – Watermelons can be refrigerated or stored at room temperature until they are cut.  Once cut, they need to be refrigerated.

You’ll get a mix of slicing cucumbers (green) and Silver Slicer cukes (white) over the coming weeks.


summer stir fry with peanut sauce
Photo by DebsLunch

Summer vegetable stir fry with peanut sauce

You can adapt this recipe using what you like and have on hand. You need about 8 ounces of protein, plus 4-6 cups chopped vegetables (not counting onions and garlic!) to serve four. I used ground turkey, but you can sub ground pork or chicken or tofu. My stir fry has green beans, carrots, yellow summer squash, and bell pepper, but again use what you have. The peanut sauce recipe makes about 2 cups and you’ll only need one so will have extra for another purpose. This is a plain & simple peanut sauce that you can jazz up by adding Siracha or other hot sauce, and is great as a dip with cucumbers or steamed broccoli, and on sauteed chicken, or to make cold noodle salad. You can also top your stir fry with marinated cucumbers – here’s a pic; method in the week 11 newsletter (in the headnote for the Spicy Peanut Noodles with Cucumber recipe).

Serves 4-5
Takes about 45 mins. to 1 hour

Peanut sauce:
1 cup peanut butter, natural smooth or crunchy or commercial will all work fine
3 tablespoons lime juice or rice or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar, maple syrup, or honey
approximately 1/2 cup coconut milk or hot water or a combination to thin

Stir fry:
1 cup white or brown rice
kosher salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces ground turkey or pork, or firm tofu, crumbled
2-4 cloves garlic, minced or put through a press
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sliced onion
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 to 1 1/2 cups green beans, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces – measure after cutting
1 medium yellow squash or zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into chunks
1 green or red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup of the peanut sauce
1 tablespoon Siracha or other Asian hot sauce, optional
Optional toppings: salted roasted peanuts, more hot sauce, cucumbers tossed with a little rice vinegar and salt, as discussed last week under Spicy Peanut Noodles with Cucumber.

  1. If using brown rice, start cooking that first. Start white rice after you make the peanut sauce. Combine the rice and two cups water in a sauce pan with a lid. Bring to a boil, uncovered, add a pinch or two of kosher salt, then cover and turn the heat way down. Check after about 45 minutes to see if the water is absorbed and there are steam holes through the rice indicating it’s done.
  2. Make the peanut sauce: Combine all the ingredients except the coconut milk or hot water in blender or a bowl, and either blend or whisk to combine. Add coconut milk and/or hot water until you get a good pourable consistency.
  3. Cook the stir fry: Pour the oil into a deep wide skillet with a lid and heat over medium. Add the turkey or other meat, or tofu crumbles, and cook stirring, and if using meat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and salt and pepper, and stir until fragrant. Add the onions. At this point add the veggies in order of the length of time they take to cook, and cover the pan for a few minutes to steam the veggies a bit – add a few tablespoons of water if things start sticking. In this version, start with the carrots, then green beans, and finally squash and bell pepper. Total cooking time will be about 15 minutes.
  4. When all the veggies are cooked to your liking, add the peanut sauce and Siracha. Mix to coat everything with the sauce and once it’s bubbling, cook for a few minutes uncovered to meld. Taste to see if it needs more salt, peanut sauce, or Siracha, and serve over rice with optional toppings.

corn and green bean salad with cherry tomatoes and nuts
Photo by DebsLunch

Corn and green bean salad with cherry tomatoes and nuts

You can cook the corn for this salad using any method you like: steaming, as Beth suggests (Veggie Notes/ Sweet corn), boiling, or even roasting, on the grill or in the oven (see this link for oven roasting in the husks) or on the stove in a grill pan. You’ll need about 4 ears of corn, so if you cook up a bunch of corn to eat on the cob, you can use the leftovers!

1 large clove garlic, minced or put through a press
2 tablespoons white wine or cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons grainy or Dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil or vegetable oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

3-4 cups corn kernels, cut from about 4 ears of corn
2/3 to one pound green beans, cooked and cut into 2 inch lengths
3/4 cup toasted nuts, coarsely chopped – I used whole almonds but walnuts or pecans would also be good
9-10 cherry tomatoes cut in half

  1. Make the dressing: Combine the garlic, vinegar, sugar, and mustard in a small bowl or spouted glass measuring cup. Whisk in the oil until emulsified. Season with salt & pepper. Alternatively, combine everything in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine.
  2. Add the corn and green beans to a large mixing bowl, and toss with most of the dressing. Add the nuts and cherry tomatoes, toss again, and taste to see if it need more dressing or seasoning. This salad is good right away, but can also be chilled overnight – bring to room temperature and add the nuts right before serving.

corn salsaPhoto by Christy Denney

Corn Salsa Recipe | The Girl Who Ate Everything

From The Girl who Ate Everything
This corn salsa recipe also provides a few more suggestions for how to cook your corn. I suggest saving the cobs for veggie stock; see this 2020 Tipi newsletter for tips on corn cob stock, under ‘Sweet Corn Risotto with Corn Cob Broth & Cherry Tomatoes’.  Feel free to omit cilantro, and sub Walla Walla onion for the purple onion – place the chopped onion in a strainer and rinse with cold water if it seems strong, then drain and add to salsa. You can also omit the jalapeño or use jarred or canned chiles, or a few dashes of red pepper flakes if you don’t have fresh.
roasted carrot hummus

Roasted Carrot Hummus | Foolproof Living

From Foolproof Living
There are plenty of versions of dips with roasted carrots out there; this hummus from Foolproof Living is gluten free (if served with gluten free dippers) and vegan – and will surely appeal to any hummus lovers.
marinated cuke tom salad
Photo by DOTDASH Meredith Food Studios

Marinated Cucumber, Onion, and Tomato Salad | Allrecipes.com

Recipe by BogeyBill from Allrecipes.com
This marinated salad only takes a few minutes of chopping, and because it’s marinated, it’s actually better made ahead.
creamy roasted tomato sauce

Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce | Midwest Foodie

From Midwest Foodie
As this recipe says, you can use whatever kind of tomatoes you have for this sauce – the roasting process concentrates even the juicier slicers. It calls for 3 pounds of tomatoes, which is about what we got this week, but it makes 5 cups of sauce, and that’s more than you need for a pound of pasta. So, if you don’t want to devote all of this week’s tomatoes to sauce, you could halve it and still have enough for a pasta dinner. You can simply omit the fresh basil if you don’t have any, or substitute dried.
smashed cucumber salad
Photo by Tieghan Gerard

Smashed Cucumber and Watermelon Feta Salad | Half Baked Harvest

From Half Baked Harvest
This recipe from Half Baked Harvest combines the watermelon & feta salad that’s been popular for years, with the smashed cucumber technique that’s we’ve been hearing about much more recently. Muskmelon can sub for watermelon if that’s what you get in your box – or try this cantaloupe and feta salad, with fresh mint. The salad will taste good without the fresh herbs, or you can sub small amounts of dried – about half a teaspoon of dill or basil. Like all Half Baked Harvest recipes it calls for avocado, which you can omit. Persian cucumbers are small and seedless, and a combination of 2-3 of our silver slicer and regular cucumbers will work fine here, and you can seed the green cucumbers if you wish.

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