Tuesday, August 4, 2020

BGF NEWS - August 4 , 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 10


In this week’s box:

Basil: sweet
Beans: Empress, Fortex and Golden Goal
Chard: Bright Lights Mix
Chinese Pink Celery
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix (see 7/21 newsletter for details)
Kohlrabi: Vienna Purple & Vienna White
Scallions
Sorrel
Summer Squash: see descriptions below
Tomato: Slicers (see 7/28 newsletter for details)

and at least one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cantaloupe: Minnesota Midget
Cauliflower: Goodman
Cucumbers: Suyo Long, Marketmore or Striped Armenian
Eggplant: Orient Express
Okra: Bowling Red & Candle Fire
Snap or Snow Peas

For those with the Egg option [Full Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: purple basil, lemon balm & anise hyssop

Featured Recipes:  
Pesto Squash Noodles and Spaghetti with Burst Cherry Tomatoes
BGF Baked Eggs and Cherry Tomatoes **see recipe below
BGF Favorite Pesto **see recipe below



What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.3"
We got another little shot of rain on Sunday, which was delightful, but not enough to stop running the irrigation. Still hoping for more later this week.

The dry conditions are allowing us to move forward on some big field chores. All of the onion and shallots have been harvested and are now in the barn to cure which is a relief. Once they are completely dry they'll be cleaned, trimmed and moved to crates for storage. We also harvested our two varieties of early potatoes. They were not very impressive harvests but we still have 4 beds of later varieties that we hope will have better results.  With these crops done we are now mowing down the spent beds and will start sowing our fall cover crops to prepare the soil for winter and next spring.

straw much (L) vs fabric (R)
Now that tomato season has begun in earnest we are spending time each week tracking our harvests on 8 varieties as part of our field trial for Practical Farmers of Iowa. We are comparing labor and productivity on plants grown on both straw mulch and reusable landscape fabric. So far the landscape fabric is getting our vote! We are also testing peppers and eggplant on the same fabric, though not as part of the formal trial. Those too are performing well. 
The eggplants are going into more and more boxes each week and the peppers are soon to follow.

Later this week we will continue clearing out spent beds and preparing for our fall crops. The seeded crops will go in first with the transplants nearly ready to move to the field. On cool days like today (Monday) it almost seems possible that fall is just around the corner.

We hope you enjoy the kohlrabi in today's delivery. We have been trying since early spring to get this crop to produce and it just monkeyed about. As that is one of the beds that need to get replanted, we are sending out the small amount that we have and hope you can make the best of it. Remember the leaves are as tasty as the bulb so don't just toss them in the compost. We are also sending out the very first cantaloupe in a few of today's boxes. They are a small variety called Minnesota Midget and are the tastiest variety we've ever found. It will take a while for us to get them into everyone's boxes as they are a bit slower than normal this year, but we hope you will think they are worth the wait!

Finally, you might have noted that there is a lot of work that goes into running a produce farm. So much, in fact that it takes a whole team of dedicated folks to make it happen. My parents get a lot of the credit for their years of dedication and efforts on the farm's behalf. But the day to day tasks of planting, weeding, harvesting ect fall to our dedicated farm crew. These four women are what make the farm go and how we get a box full of produce out to you for 20 weeks. They are our team, our cheerleaders, our lovely vegetable models in photos and an integral part of the soul of the farm. It has taken me 10 weeks to get around to it, but I thought you might like to meet them over the next few newsletters so I asked each of them to write up a little introduction including their favorite and least favorite tasks on the farm.

Meet the Crew: Danielle, Crew Chief.
If there is anything unpleasant about being the " Crew Chief" of Blue Gate Farm, it could very well be initiating the crew section in the newsletter. Known as "Dan" on the farm, I am the eldest of the three sisters that work for Jill & Sean.
I have very much enjoyed learning the horticulture cycle over the last five years and apprenticing under Jill's tutelage.
My favorite things to do on the farm are tilling, planting potatoes, hunting ramps & mushrooms and the "Squash Toss" game. I also really enjoy hanging garlic in the barn. Packing CSA boxes each week is also one of my favorite weekly tasks. Conversely, the hardest part on the farm is seeing how destructive ill conditions, deer and insects can be by ruining hours of labor and product.

A little detail on your produce this week:


Basil hates the cold and will turn black with exposure. Keep long stemmed basil in a glass/vase of water on your counter top (out of direct sunlight). Stems that are too short (trimmings/tops) should be placed in a plastic bag or clamshell, with a dry paper towel. Then put inside of a paper bag (for insulation) and put in the warmest part of your refrigerator (usually the door) or on the top shelf towards the front.

Beans:Fresh beans are an easy "store."  Just leave them in their plastic bag and keep them in the produce drawer.  Can last up to 2 weeks.

Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

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.

Kohlrabi: If you plan to use it soon, wrap the whole unwashed kohlrabi—stem, stalks, leaves, and all—in a plastic bag and keep it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, remove the stalks and greens from the bulb and use them within a week. Store the bulb in another plastic bag in the fridge and use it within two weeks. Rinse kohlrabi under cold running water just before use. Unless the skin seems particularly tough, kohlrabi does not have to be
peeled. Just trim off the remains of the stalks and root. Grate, slice, or chop kohlrabi as desired. There are lots of great kohlrabi recipes out there, but our favorite is the most simple, just slice and serve chilled with a sprinkle of sea salt. Don't forget that the leaves are a tasty vegetable in their own right, with a mild, cabbage-y flavor. They would be lovely cooked with your chard or added to a salad.
 
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."

Peas: best kept in a plastic bag or glass container in your refrigerator. Use within a week.

Scallions (green onions): are best kept upright in a glass with about 1" of water in it. Loosely cover the tops with plastic and you will be amazed at how long they will keep. We like to throw a handful of chopped scallions into nearly any savory dish, right near the end of the cooking time.

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! Our varieties: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini),  Patty Pan(scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)

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)

Indigo, Luci & Sky

Baked Eggs and Cherry Tomatoes

2 cups (about 16 ounces) sweet cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
¼ cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced (optional)
Sea salt, preferably of the flaky variety (like Maldon)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrange the halved tomatoes in an even layer in 4 ramekins. Bake the tomatoes for 12 minutes, then remove from oven.

Top the tomatoes with all of the Parmesan, drizzle on the olive oil, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons basil and season with salt and pepper. Stir the garlic into the mixture, if using. Gently crack an egg over the tomatoes, keeping the yolk intact. Repeat with the remaining eggs.

Return the ramekins to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Check at 8 minutes—you're done when the egg whites have set but the yolks are still soft. They should still jiggle in the centers when you shimmy the pan. (Keep in mind that they'll continue cooking after you pull the dish out of the oven.) Sprinkle the cooked eggs with salt, pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon basil.
Serve right away with toast.

Adapted from a recipe at: http://cookieandkate.com

Blue Gate Farm Pesto

2 Tbs Sunflower seeds-toasted (can substitute pine nuts)
2 cloves Garlic (garlic lovers can add more) green garlic or garlic scapes are also good.
2 c. Basil (any variety, a mix is particularly nice)
1-2 leaves Sorrel (optional)
½ c. Olive oil
6-10 oz fresh tomatoes,
1 tsp Salt (if using pre-salted sunflower seeds, can reduce salt amount)
½ c. Parmesan cheese, fresh grated (not the stuff in the can)

Place sunflower seeds and garlic into food processor then pulse several times. Add basil and sorrel, drizzle with half of oil. Pulse several times.  Add remaining oil, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and salt if desired.
Pesto should be stored for a week or less in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  If storing longer, freeze in snack-sized, zip-top bags (about 1 1/2 TBS per bag), pressed flat. Once frozen, they can be stored upright in a larger plastic bag. To use a little, just break off the amount needed and return the rest to the freezer.
Also, if we are making a large batch for the freezer, for best quality, we omit the cheese and seeds. Freeze as is and then add those items in when we are ready to use.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

BGF NEWS - JULY 28, 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 9


In this week’s box:


Cucumbers: Suyo Long, Marketmore or Striped Armenian
Fennel: Perfection
Head Lettuce: assorted varieties
Golden Oyster Mushrooms
Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix see 7/21 newsletter for details
Leeks
Potatoes: Red Gold
Purslane
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)


and at least one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Beans: Empress, Fortex and Golden Goal
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Okra: Bowling Red & Candle Fire
Snap or Snow Peas
Tomato: Slicers (see description below)

For those with the Egg option [Full shares and Half Shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: sweet basil, rosemary, par-cel

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 0.4"

Winter squash also prefer cooler temps
A little bit of rain and a lot more color on the farm this week. Now that the high temperatures have settled down a bit our crops can get back to the business of pollinating and ripening. Did you know that pollen sterilizes above about 95°? So when the temps rise above that, the flowers go unpollinated and no fruits develop. Fruiting crops also tend to slow down the ripening process when it is hot, so tomatoes and peppers stop coloring and just seem to take a break until the temperatures fall again. So everyone on the farm, crew, crops and livestock alike all appreciate the more moderate weather this week.

We dug the first of the early potatoes this week and it was less than impressive. About 250 row feet, dug by hand only yielded about 55lbs of potatoes. Ah well, we're hopeful for better yield with the later varieties. In the meantime, everyone gets a little taste of fresh potatoes.


Leek harvest
We also started the onion harvest, which looks much better than the potatoes! It was a bit of a muddy morning, after the rain, but such is the way of things. Then we layered on the mud with the leek harvest. It's a good thing our crew has such a great attitude!

I wish our cucumbers had as good an attitude as our crew. Unfortunately they are increasingly grumpy and when cukes get grumpy, they die. The cause is a serious pest called the cucumber beetle. It causes some surface damage to the fruits due to chewing, but the real issue is that they spread a disease called Cucumber Wilt. Wilt is a rather bland way of saying "death". There is no effective, chemical-free defense for this insect, so we just plant multiple varieties in multiple locations (and extra plants) hoping to slow down the loss. So enjoy whatever cucumbers we can get into your boxes in the next couple of weeks as their season is quickly coming to an end.


 So let's get back to some happier news, the tomatoes are coming!!
While we "met" the cherry tomatoes last week, Here's an introduction to the rainbow of slicing tomatoes that should appear in your boxes this season:

Azoycha: Lemon-yellow medium-sized fruits with sweet, yet rich flavor.
Black Krim: purple/red slicing tomato with excellent full flavor 
Cosmonaut Volkov: medium-large red slicer with a full-rich flavor
Dr. Wychee Yellow: Large orange tomato with meaty, rich tasting flavor.
Granadero: Red plum tomato with thick-walled fruit; ideal for fresh tomato sauces, salsas, and salads
Green Zebra: Small, 2 1/2" olive yellow with green stripes and a sweet zingy flavor
John Baer: meaty red heirloom slicer
Marmalade: round, orange fruits with sweet tomato flavor
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
White Queen: Medium-sized, smooth white-skinned tomato with sweet, juicy flesh, low acid.

 As you can see, we raise a variety of colors of tomatoes, so color isn't your best indication of ripeness, touch is. A ripe tomato should yield to a gentle squeeze of your fingertips. If it feels hard, it's probably not quite ripe. Just leave it out on your counter for a day or 2 and try again. 

Finally, I want to circle back to our crew. Last week I was "informed" that the crew wanted to have a potluck at lunch on Monday. They were pretty dismissive about the details and let me know I could bring the plates and silverware. Those of you who are native mid-westerners know this is almost a painful assignment because we aren't really "doing our part". Regardless, I did as requested amid mild grumbling. It turns out that the gathering was a plot by our fabulous crew to celebrate the farm's 15th anniversary season. They had asked earlier in the season if we were planning a big gathering like we did for our 10th year, but given the current "situation" it wasn't to be. So this was their solution. Have I mentioned how amazing our crew is and how lucky we are to have them? 

A little detail on your produce this week:


Basil hates the cold and will turn black with exposure. Keep long stemmed basil in a glass/vase of water on your counter top (out of direct sunlight). Stems that are too short (trimmings/tops) should be placed in a plastic bag or clamshell, with a dry paper towel. Then put inside of a paper bag (for insulation) and put in the warmest part of your refrigerator (usually the door) or on the top shelf towards the front.

Beans:Fresh beans are an easy "store."  Just leave them in their plastic bag and keep them in the produce drawer.  Can last up to 2 weeks.

Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

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.

Edible Flowers: store in a sealed plastic or glass container in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days. Calendula and bachelor buttons should be petaled before using, throw away the centers. Violas, nasturtiams and nasturtiams leaves can be used whole, though I usually petal my nasturtiams as well.


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.


Green top onions:  not the pencil-thin scallions, but nearly grown (though not-yet-cured) onions are an early summer treat. Keep sweet mild onions in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or two, but beware the fatal moisture accumulation that causes them to spoil. To prolong their storage, wrap in a paper or cloth towel before storing in plastic. Also, don't just toss the tops, several years ago a CSA member taught us a great recipe to use them! See recipe below.


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."

Peas: best kept in a plastic bag or glass container in your refrigerator. Use within a week.


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)


Indigo, Luci & Sky

Tuesday, July 21, 2020


BGF NEWS - JULY 21, 2020 - VOL. XLV, NO. 8


In this week’s box:

Basil: Genovese or Italian Large Leaf
Cabbage: Golden Acre or Jersey Wakefield
Cucumbers: Suyo Long, Marketmore or Striped Armenian
Head Lettuce: assorted varieties
Root Bouquets: Beets (asst) & Baby Turnips: Hakurei
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)
Sweet Onions: Cipollini

and at least one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail...)     
Beans: Empress, Fortex and Golden Goal
Broccoli: Gypsy
Cauliflower: Goodman
Eggplant: Orient Express
Okra: Bowling Red & Candle Fire
Snap or Snow Peas
Tomato "Snack Mix":
Golden Rave, Blush, Black Cherry, Juliet, Red Torch &/or Sweetie

For those with the Egg option [Full shares]: one dozen free-range eggs
For those with the Herb option: Thai basil, edible flowers, chocolate mint

What’s up on the farm?

Precipitation in the past week: 1.3"

The rain on Tuesday evening was glorious, exactly what we needed plus just a little extra wind. No damage and the perfect amount of rain. The crops (and the farmers) are all feeling much better about things... except the weeds! It's amazing what rain when it's needed can do. It also gave us the opportunity to get some indoor work done since it was too wet to work the soil. So Wednesday marked the start of Fall transplant sowing. We now have 35 flats of fall crops growing in the high tunnel including cabbage, broccoli cauliflower, chard, kale, lettuce and I'm sure something else I can't think of right now. It's always a bit ironic to be sowing cool weather crops in mid-July but that's the way vegetable farming goes.
'Thelma Sanders' acorn squash

'Minnesota Midget' melons
Since the rain we are seeing some good progress in the mid season crops. The squash and melons are developing nicely and the eggplants added some nice growth. We are finally seeing the start of ripening (color) on our tomatoes and peppers! 
'Striped Armenian' cucumber
Our newest crop development is the Striped Armenian cucumbers. This is the first year for this crop and we have been eagerly awaiting their harvest. Yesterday was the day and we harvested exactly one! But we anticipate it is the first of many. They are a smooth, sweet member of the cuke/melon family and we look forward to hearing how you like them.

The popcorn is growing like crazy and we are finally tassled and pollinating. This indicates that the kernels are beginning to form. Did you know that each silk strand at the top of the ear is connected to a "potential" kernel on the cob and if that silk isn't pollinated individually, the kernel won't develop? It takes A LOT of pollination to produce a full ear of corn!

Finally, it's time to start talking about the most important subject, TOMATOES! Though we sent out a very few of the first "snacking tomatoes" last week, this week we are finally seeing the real start of tomato season. While still not quite enough for everyone, most members will get at least a taste of several of our small tomato varieties this week so it's time for the official introductions.  These are our smaller varieties and tend to ripen earliest. As you can see, we raise a variety of colors of tomatoes, so color isn't your best indication of ripeness, touch is. A ripe tomato should yield to a gentle squeeze of your fingertips. If it feels hard, it's probably not quite ripe. Just leave it out on your counter for a day or 2 and try again.
 Here are the tomatoes that go into our "Jubilee Cherry Tomato Mix" also referred to as snacking tomatoes:

Black Cherry: Beautiful black cherry tomato with rich flavor.
Blondkopfchen: Small yellow 1” cherry tomato with excellent sweet taste.
Blush:yellow fruit with orange blush when fully ripe. Very low acid, meaty, and super sweet.
Glitter: sweet, brilliant orange mini-roma
Golden Rave: Small 1–2 oz yellow, plum shaped tomatoes with good tomato flavor. 
Honeydrop: sweet, fruity, yellow bite-sized tomatoes
Juliet: Small 1 – 2 oz red mini-roma, perfect flavor and shape for slicing onto pizza or salad.
Red Torch: Yellow-striped red mini roma 
Sunrise Bumblebee:  Bite sized swirls of red and orange, inside the fruit and out with a sweet, fruity taste, 
Sweetie: Bite-sized, sweet red cherry tomato
Tommy Toe: Large round red cherry with big tomato flavor
 


A little detail on your produce this week:


Basil hates the cold and will turn black with exposure. Keep long stemmed basil in a glass/vase of water on your counter top (out of direct sunlight). Stems that are too short (trimmings/tops) should be placed in a plastic bag or clamshell, with a dry paper towel. Then put inside of a paper bag (for insulation) and put in the warmest part of your refrigerator (usually the door) or on the top shelf towards the front.

Beans:Fresh beans are an easy "store."  Just leave them in their plastic bag and keep them in the produce drawer.  Can last up to 2 weeks.

Broccoli & Cauliflower: Wrap loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli/cauliflower in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and too wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

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.

Edible Flowers: store in a sealed plastic or glass container in the refrigerator and use within 3-4 days. Calendula and bachelor buttons should be petaled before using, throw away the centers. Violas, nasturtiams and nasturtiams leaves can be used whole, though I usually petal my nasturtiams as well.


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.


Green top onions:  not the pencil-thin scallions, but nearly grown (though not-yet-cured) onions are an early summer treat. Keep sweet mild onions in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a week or two, but beware the fatal moisture accumulation that causes them to spoil. To prolong their storage, wrap in a paper or cloth towel before storing in plastic. Also, don't just toss the tops, several years ago a CSA member taught us a great recipe to use them! See recipe below.


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."

Peas: best kept in a plastic bag or glass container in your refrigerator. Use within a week.


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)


Indigo, Luci & Sky