Busy week, and we have family visiting next week. Still dry; we got around 0.6″ Saturday but nothing since. Our July rainfall totalled 2.03″. Tuesday’s high of 107º resulted in some sun-scalded tomatoes, but the coming week’s forecast back in the high 80s/low 90s looks quite attractive. Planting/seeding of fall crops needs to happen this time of year, but is hard to get right under these especially hot and dry conditions. Harvest work takes up more and more time as all the summer production really takes hold; the next plantings of cucumbers and beans are growing fast, while squash is about to start yielding again. Add home food preservation of fruits and vegetables, and you have two very busy farmers here.
NEW THIS WEEK
Peppers: Possibly the first few hot and sweet peppers; plants are loaded and starting to ripen.
AVAILABLE THIS WEEK
Cherry tomatoes: Heirloom mix, lots of different flavors and colors. Nearing peak of production right now.
Basil: This is at peak quality right now. There are so many things you can do with lots of basil: make pesto, put leaves on sandwiches, add to Thai/Asian cooking, infuse in sugar syrups for desserts and drinks, etc. It’s also easy to preserve, either by making and freezing pesto, or by packing the leaves directly into olive oil and freezing in small jars. Basil will store well in a jar of water on the counter; it will turn brown in the refrigerator.
Lime basil: We’ll have a limited quantity of lime basil. Lime basil is excellent when infused in a sugar syrup and served over peaches. We’ve also added it to shortbread cookies and served it minced in cucumber salad. All very tasty. Already close to the end of production.
Edamame: Get there at opening bell if you want them. One of the few things we can’t match demand on, but we just can’t handle the picking time and labor it would take to seriously increase our production. If you miss them at market, try Root Cellar.
Tomatoes: Small-medium slicers, red and orange. Dry weather is contributing to very nice flavor and quality, great for all tomato uses. Some of the tomato plants are experiencing an outbreak of what we believe is tomato spotted wilt virus; this isn’t affecting fruit quality but it may cut the harvest short.
Okra: Two varieties, really producing well right now. Fry it in salted cornmeal, add to soups/stews/beans, use in Indian cooking…Okra also freezes very easily; just pop it in a freezer bag (no blanching) for easy use in winter stews. We freeze it by the gallon this way.
Tomatillos: These had a sudden spike in production in our Monday restaurant harvest, so there should be a lot at market this week. For a really easy, excellent sauce, spread tomatillos, tomatoes, garlic, and peppers on a baking tray, coat all with a bit of oil, and roast at 400 for 30 minutes before blending and adding salt. That’s all it takes.
Garlic: All varieties available this week. Roast it, grill it, make salsa, make pesto…what meal doesn’t use garlic this time of year?
Herbs: Parsley, sage, thyme, mint, dill heads, and possibly more depending on what looks good at harvest time.