Tuesday, July 30, 2019

BGF News - July 30, 2019-Vol. XLII, No.9

In this week’s box:

Basil: Genovese or Italian Large Leaf
Cucumbers: Lemon (round, yellow), Marketmore (English-type) or Suyo Long (long, Asian)
Fennel: Preludio
Lettuce: Kiribati or Muir
Shallots: Ambition (tan) and/or Camelot (purple)
Summer Squash: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini) Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)
Turnips: Hakurei

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail..." below)     

Cantaloupe: Minnesota Midget
Cauliflower: Cheddar
Cherry Tomato Mix
Eggplant: Orient Express (dark purple) and/or Orient Charm (neon lavender)
Okra: Bowling Red (dark red) and Candle Fire (light red)

For those with the Egg option [Full & Half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (asst. colors)
For those with the Herb option: lemon basil, oregano, sorrel

Featured Recipes:  ** indicates a BGF favorite 

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 1.50"

Pruning tomatoes
If anyone is asking, we would like to order a full month of this current weather. Sunny, comfortable days, pleasant evenings and about 1" of rain per week. Brilliant! We are taking full advantage of the cooler temperatures to get some big tasks done including pruning and trellising field tomatoes (which includes pounding hundreds of 8' posts, cultivating popcorn and clearing spent beds. We also transplanted the next rounds of head lettuce and fennel and sowed the next beans. The first of the fall sowings also went in before the rain including beets, carrots, daikon and turnips. 

Baby beans!
Minnesota Midget melon
Many of the mid-season crops are finally starting to produce and ripen nicely. The beans are setting and we anticipate those appearing in boxes in the next couple of weeks. The melons are really outdoing themselves both in the high tunnel and now in the field as well. We've picked the first couple of Minnesota Midget cantaloupes to test for ripeness and the crew has deemed them pretty darn tasty! We are sending out the first of those in boxes this week. Don't worry if you don't see one in your box today, they start out slow but there are many yet to come! Speaking of the mid-season crops, our  2nd sowing of 8 Ball zucchini are really cranking out the fruits so we decided it was the perfect time to share our favorite use for them. While they can be used in any recipe called for zucchini or summer squash, because of their shape, they can be sliced into patties and easily placed on the grill. This makes them into our favorite vegetarian "burger." Check out the recipe included below.

We are also starting to see some nice progress in the tomatoes ripening. The cherry tomatoes are starting to pick up the pace and we've gotten the first few slicers this week. We hope to send those out today with MANY more to come soon. Here's a little teaser to whet your pallet for the rainbow of tomatoes that are yet to come:
Azoycha: Lemon-yellow medium-sized fruits with sweet, yet rich flavor.
Black Cherry: Beautiful black cherry tomato with rich flavor.
Black Krim: purple/red slicing tomato with excellent full flavor 
Blondkopfchen: Small yellow 1” cherry tomato with excellent sweet taste.
Cosmonaut Volkov: medium-large red slicer with a full-rich flavor
Dr. Wychee Yellow: Large orange tomato with meaty, rich tasting flavor.
Esterina: sweet, well balanced yellow cherry
Golden Rave: Small 1–2 oz yellow, plum shaped tomatoes with good tomato flavor. 
Green Zebra: Small, 2 1/2" olive yellow with green stripes and a sweet zingy flavor
Jasper: Small red, 1/2" cherry tomato with chewy flesh and full tomato flavor
John Baer: meaty red heirloom slicer
Juliet: Small 1 – 2 oz red mini-roma, perfect flavor and shape for slicing onto pizza or salad.
Mountain Fresh: red slicer with well balanced flavor
Paul Robeson: Large, brick-red fruits with dark green shoulders.  Has a sweet, rich, smoky flavor.
Pantano Romanesco: A large, deep red Roman heirloom. The flesh is very rich, flavorful & juicy.
Porkchop: Bright yellow slicing tomato with sweet tomato flavor with hints of citrus
Redfield Beauty: 3”– 4” flat pink fruits with excellent, full flavor.
Rutgerslarge, red with excellent flavor for fresh eating or canning
San Marzano II: Red paste tomato with old world taste
Sweetie: Bite-sized, sweet red cherry tomato
Toronjina: Bite-sized orange cherry with sweet and tangy flavor
White Queen: Medium-sized, smooth white-skinned tomato with sweet, juicy flesh, low acid.
White Cherry: small, 1" creamy-white to light pink tomato with sweet flavor

A little detail on your produce this week:

Cantaloupe:  If your cantaloupe seems a bit short of ripe, keep it at room temperature for a few days or until there is a sweet smell coming from the stem end. Once the melon ripens, store it in the refrigerator. It is best not to cut a cantaloupe until you are ready to eat it. If you need to return cut melon to the refrigerator, do not remove the seeds from the remaining sections as they keep the flesh from drying out. Use within 3-5 days.

  Cucumber: Store unwashed cucumbers in a sealed plastic bag in the vegetable crisper bin for about a week. Keep cucumbers tucked far away from tomatoes, apples, and citrus—these give off ethylene gas that accelerates cucumber deterioration. You can do a lot of fancy things to the skin of a cucumber, but when it is young, fresh (and unwaxed), it really only needs to be thoroughly washed. However, if the skin seems tough or bitter you can remove it; if the seeds are bulky, slice the cucumber lengthwise and scoop them out.

Eggplant: Eggplant prefers to be kept at about 50° F, which is warmer than most refrigerators and cooler than most kitchen counters. Wrap unwashed eggplant in a towel (not in plastic) to absorb any moisture and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. Used within a week, it should still be fresh and mild.  The shape of an eggplant determines how it is best prepared. Slice a straight, narrow eggplant into rounds for grilling or broiling, and cut a rounded, bulbous eggplant into cubes for stews and stir-fries.

Fennel: Cut off the stalks where they emerge from the bulb. To use the feathery foliage as an herb, place the dry stalks upright in a glass filled with two inches of water, cover the glass loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. The unwashed bulb will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least a week. To use, remove any damaged spots or layers. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and check the inner core. If it’s tough, remove it with a paring knife. Fennel should be washed carefully, because dirt can lodge between the layers of the bulb. Chop or mince the leaves.

Head Lettuce: We prefer to store heads wrapped in a cotton or linen dish towel, then placed in a plastic bag. This helps maintain a little bit of moisture, while keeping the leaves from touching the plastic to extend their "drawer-life".  Wash lettuce just before using. The inner-most leaves of the head are the sweetest, so save those for salad use and take advantage of the bigger, outside leaves for use on sandwiches or wraps.

Okra: These lovely, dark red, horn-shaped vegetables are a warm weather treat. Extremely cold sensitive, store in their plastic bag in the warmest part of your fridge, or place the plastic bag in a small paper sack and store in the crisper drawer and use within the week. Traditional southerners will cut into rounds, bread in cornmeal and fry, but our favorite version is our dear friend Annie's method, "All I do is rinse off the pods and lay them in a saucepan with a little water in the bottom. Ten to fifteen minutes is all it takes...twenty if the pods are really big and "woody" feeling. I put salt on them and eat as finger food. It reminds me of young sweet corn."

Shallots:  These are freshly harvested shallots that haven't had time to cure yet.. You can use them in any recipe calling for shallots or onions. If your shallots have greens attached, you can use them like you would scallions. Store  loosely wrapped in the refrigerator for best keeping quality. Shallots have a rich, more delicate flavor than most in the onion family and are particularly tasty with vegetables, eggs and salad dressings.

Summer Squash/Zucchini: Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go!'
Tomatoes: always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

A few other details: All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Luci, Indigo & Sky)

Grilled Zucchini “Burgers”
(2 servings)

Eight Ball or other zucchini, sliced in slices 1/2 to 5/8 inch thick.
1/2 cup your favorite Italian salad dressing
1 tsp. finely minced garlic
1 -2 tsp. Italian seasoning (optional)
4-6 fresh basil leaves
2-4 slices provolone cheese
Crusty bread or large rolls

Cut zucchini into slices, making sure the slices are the same thickness. Combine salad dressing with garlic and herbs, if using. Put zucchini slices into ziploc bag, pour in marinade and let zucchini marinate 4 hours or longer, can be as long as all day.

To cook zucchini, preheat grill to medium-high.

Place zucchini on grill. After about 4 minute, check for grill marks, and rotate zucchini a quarter turn. Cook 3-4 more minutes on first side.
Turn zucchini to second side, place 1-2 basil leaves on top side and cover with provolone. Cook about 4 minutes more, or until zucchini is starting to soften quite a bit, with the outside slightly charred and browned. Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper and serve hot on bread or rolls.

This recipe is also tasty with eggplant.

Recipe Source: BGF, adapted from http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com

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