Interesting project


DSCF0176 tom juice 1.8

Last season, our tomatoes produced a bumper crop and we debated what to do with them.  We sent 5 lb bags in the CSA boxes week after week.  We sold bulk cases to you folks for preserving.  We couldn’t bear to let them rot in the field but they were ripening very very quickly.  I hunted up a small processor in East Troy called Contract Comestibles to bottle the ripe tomatoes as juice.  It’s just pureed tomatoes seasoned with salt and organic onion, garlic and black pepper.  We planned to send the juice in an early CSA box this year but those early boxes were full with spring crops.

This is a good moment to include it in the CSA box because you can use it as a base for soup.  I made soup with sautéed zucchini, diced Walla Walla onion and minced oregano, simmered together with the juice, and topped with feta cheese.  It was a quick and tasty meal with pasta.  I am eager to see what Pat at Local Thyme does with it.  Of course, the easiest approach is to simply drink it.

It was an interesting project for me.  Farming is endlessly varied but it’s fun to tackle something new.  I know a lot more about food processing now.  We are curious if you consider this a valuable addition to your CSA box, and whether you think we should do this again in a bumper tomato year.  Please let us know your thoughts.  We’ve spanned an entire year in this box, from last year’s bottled ripe tomatoes to this year’s cherry tomatoes.  I love it.  Beth

Email brown-out

I am taking our children to visit family on the east coast.  Steve will stay here at the farm.  We ask that you limit communication with us from July 25 through August 4.  Please contact us no later than noon on July 25 to ask questions, cancel a box, etc.  This is an email brown-out, not a black-out.  Steve will check my emails but won’t have much time to respond.  I’ll be back and ready to communicate on August 4.  Thanks for your help with this.  Beth

Why did we sell basil last week instead of putting it in the CSA boxes?

We offered basil for sale to members last week.  Several members wondered why we sold it instead of putting it in the CSA boxes.  This is an excellent question.
Answer #1.
Both parsley and basil were ready to harvest, with oregano looming.  We chose parsley for the CSA boxes last week because we had sent basil the week before.  It takes a long time to pick those little bunches so we send one herb per week.  Our expected herb sequence is basil (July 3), parsley (July 10), oregano (July 17), basil (July 24), basil (July 31).  Let’s see if the plants cooperate.
Answer #2.
We have promised to sell extra basil, tomatoes and peppers to you members for preserving, when we have enough to sell.  It’s a benefit of being part of our CSA.  Our first priority for any crop is to provide it in your CSA boxes.  When we have an abundance, we’ll offer extra for sale to members.

How do the extra produce sales work?
I will send an email to everyone when we have extra produce to sell.  The email has instructions plus a link to place your order online and pay via credit card.  Please order online instead of sending a request by email.  It streamlines the process for us.  Regular season CSA members (weekly or every-other-week) can order extra produce.  A few members have asked that we give more advance warning when offering extra produce for sale.  I will try to do that.

When are the next basil sales?
I hope to offer basil for sale next week (July 24/25) but won’t know until I’m sure we have enough for all the CSA boxes.  Watch for an email from me mid-week.

DSCF0128 carr harv
First carrot harvest of the year!  From left, Larry drives the tractor, Steve guides the root harvester, John manages the carrots on the wagon and Edgar picks up missed carrots.  Steve was very pleased with this first harvest.

Veggie list and veggie notes (7/17/14, week #9, green EOW)

These are our first harvests of bell peppers, oregano, carrots and beets.  A few sites will get cherry tomatoes, while others will get broccoli.  The cherry tomato pints are not completely full; we wanted to share these first tomatoes as widely as possible.  Soon we’ll have cherry tomatoes for everyone.

    • Tomato juice, 1 quart
    • Carrots, 2 lb
    • Beets, 1.5 lb
    • Romaine lettuce
    • Snap peas, 0.6 lb
    • Green bell pepper, 1
    • Walla Walla onion
    • Zucchini & summer squash, about 2.5 lb
    • Cucumbers, 2
    • Oregano, 1 bunch
    • Broccoli OR cherry tomatoes


Next week’s box will probably contain green beans, broccoli, carrots, kale, zucchini and summer squash, cucumbers, Walla Walla onion, garlic, basil and more
.

Tomato juice – Store out of sunlight at room temperature when unopened.  Refrigerate after opening.  The juice is already seasoned so don’t add salt if you cook with it.  I’ve listed the ingredients and nutritional information here.

Beets – Beets are excellent cooked or raw.
Storage: Cover and refrigerate.  Beet roots will last for weeks.  For all the cooking methods below, wash and scrub the beets but do not peel.  The skins slip off easily once the beets are cooked and cooled.
Cooking beet roots on the stovetop: Slice or quarter, cover with water in a pot, and simmer until tender.  This will take from 25 to 45 minutes depending on how large the beet pieces are.  Drain.
Roasting beets: Wash beets, but do not peel.  On a sheet of aluminum foil, put beets (halved or quartered if large), salt, pepper and a few sprinklings of water.  Seal the foil packet, and roast at 400oF until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Slip off skins once cool.  Microwave: Slice beets in half and place in a large microwave-proof bowl.  Add ¾ inch water and cover with a plate.  Microwave on high until tender, about 9-20 minutes, depending on your microwave’s power.  Drain and slip off skins.
Raw:  Grate raw beets for marinated salads.
Uses: Use cooked beets in cold salads, or dress simply with vinaigrette, onions, salt and pepper.  Beets are also good tossed with sour cream, minced onion, fresh herbs and walnuts.

Oregano – Cover and refrigerate.

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