Friday, August 2, 2013

BGF News 7/30/13

Volume XXI, Number 9    July 30, 2013 

In this week’s box:
Cucumbers: Suyo Long (Asian-style, long & bumpy) or Diva (English-style, torpedo-shaped, smooth)
Eggplant: Orient Express (long, thin, dark purple), Listada (purple/white striped) and/or Ping Tung(neon purple)
Hot Peppers: Wenk's Yellow Hots (lt yellow to bright orange) and/pr Georgia Flame (dark red)
Lemon Balm
Tomatoes: asst varieties (see descriptions below)
and perhaps one of the following:
            Beans: mix or Romano-Marvel of Venice (long, flat, light yellow)          
            Broccoli florets
            Melon: Cream of Saskatchewan (lt green with dark green stripes)
            Summer Squash: Patty Pan(dk green/yellow/ round, flattened),Yellow (bumpy, pear-shaped) or                          8-Ball (small, round, green)

For those with the Cheese option: Cheesemaker's Choice Chevre
For those with the Egg option [full & half]: one dozen free-range eggs (assorted colors)
For those with the Herb option: Basil: Sweet, mountain mint, oregano

 Featured Recipe(s) (see below): BGF Fresh Garden Salsa
Purslane Cucumber Salad
Broiled Eggplant with Crunchy Parmesan Crust

Precipitation in the past week: 0.24” (experienced rain dancers welcome!)

What’s up on the farm?

It has been a busy and varied week on the farm. The biggest focus has been on weeding, clearing spent beds and sowing fall crops. The peas are done for the season, so we are halfway through their "evacuation plan" as are the turnips. We also did some tiller "4-wheeling" as we began working the cleared garlic beds to prep them for future crops. We discovered (entirely on accident) that the way to get the crew to weed faster is to "chase them with the tiller".  Never fear, no one was harmed and there was much hysterical laughter and weed flinging that ensued, but most importantly, the gnarly garlic beds have been tamed and are ready for the next stage of preparations.
 Wednesday, while the farm crew held down the duties at the farm, the farmers "went to town" and represented BGF & Farm Crawl at the
Knoxville overnight for RAGBRAI. What an amazing event with riders from all over the world…crazy and fun to share a little bit of our lives with them.  We've also had more visitors this week (with more to come) and it is always interesting and rejuvenating to see the farm through their eyes. In addition, Jill had a chance to judge vegetables at the Lucas County Fair, which is always fun and we spent Sunday on a road trip to visit a wonderful new farm in western Iowa that we are pleased to mentor this year (though we will undoubtedly be learning as much from her as she will from us!) Whew, what a week!
So what's happening now? The first sowing of beans are waning, and unless we get some good rain, they are done for the season and the 2nd sowing is just barely starting to produce, so most of you will notice a lack of beans in your box today. We anticipate we will be back in the bean business in the next week or so. The Romano beans (flat, Italian-style beans) are slow to produce this year but we have start picking them and some few will go out this week. They are a wonderful tasting flat-pod bean that we love for adding to stir-fries or roasting, but you can use them in any bean recipe.
We were pleasantly surprised to discover a couple of ripe melons in the field yesterday, so they will be going out in a lucky few boxes today as well. These are a small (6-8" diameter) heirloom, green melon with creamy-white flesh. Enjoy them as you would any watermelon. Don't worry, if you don't get one today, there are many more to come and we will continue harvesting and sending them out as they ripen over the remainder of the season.

We are getting the first real start of the tomato harvest this week.  For today, everyone will be getting just a taste of what is to come. We anticipate putting lots of tomatoes into the boxes for the foreseeable future, but there are so many, that instead of listing each variety every week, here is a full description of all the tomatoes we are growing this year.  You should anticipate seeing the majority of them over the course of the season.  As there is such a rainbow of colors (including green), the best way to tell if an individual tomato is ripe is by touch.  A ready-ripe tomato will yield to gentle pressure.  We try to send a range of ripeness in each delivery, so that you can enjoy them throughout the week, so do try to notice which are the most ripe and dig into those first.
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.
Federle: Long, pointed red paste-type tomato with rich flavor
Golden Rave: Small 1–2 oz yellow, plum shaped tomatoes with good tomato flavor. Perfect snacking tomato.
Green Zebra: Small, 2 1/2" olive yellow with green stripes and a sweet zingy flavor
Isis Candy: Small, red-striped cherry tomato
Japanese Black Trifele: A dark maroon, pear-shaped tomato with green shoulders and sublime, rich flavor.
Juliet: Small 1 – 2 oz red fruits that are the perfect flavor and shape for slicing onto pizza or salad.
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.
Red Zebra: Smallish red tomato with irridescent green stripes with a bright, citrus-y flavor
Redfield Beauty: 3”– 4” flat pink fruits with excellent, full flavor.
White Queen (Beauty): Medium-sized, smooth white-skinned tomato with sweet, juicy flesh, low acid.
The farm crew finds the range of tomato names quite inspiring and has been entertaining themselves while weeding by making up a "Farm Drama" using those names. If we are lucky, they will commit some of those entertainments to paper and we will share them with you in a future newsletter.

A little detail on your produce this week:
Tomatoes: Store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. Once cut, tomatoes can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Hot Peppers: Place whole, unwashed peppers in a plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for a week or more.
Melons: Handle watermelons carefully. When harvested at their peak ripeness, they can crack or split easily if
bumped or roughly handled. Refrigerate watermelons right away. (Watermelons do not ripen off the vine and
do not emanate a ripe smell.) Cut melon should be covered in plastic wrap, chunks or slices should be kept in an airtight container, and both should be refrigerated. Eat all melons within a week.

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 at our blog at and on Facebook (just search Blue Gate Farm) and “Like” us.

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 Blue & Luci)

BGF Fresh Garden Salsa

2 to 3 medium tomatoes, finely diced (or 10 to 12 mini tomatoes, what ever you are growing!)
½ cup scallions, finely chopped
1 hot pepper, seeds removed (and set aside) and diced
½ - 1 cup purslane leaves
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
1 TBS flat leaf parsley minced
1 TBS lemon balm, minced
1 tsp oregano, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Combine all of the ingredients. If you are a spicy kind of person, add leftover jalapeno seeds to add more of a kick especially if using Georgia Flame peppers
2. Serve in your favorite way of eating salsa and ENJOY!

Purslane Cucumber Salad

Purslane and cucumbers are a match made in heaven.  Don't hesitate to add purslane to any good cucumber recipe.
3 medium sized cucumbers, sliced
1 cups Purslane leaves
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tsp Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped mint
coarse black pepper, to taste
1. Slice cucumbers and mix together with Purslane in a salad bowl.
2. In a blender, mix together the rest of the ingredients for your dressing.
3. Coat the cucumber-purslane mixture well with the dressing.  Serve chilled.
Note: It's best to put the dressing on just before serving.  The salad becomes watery if prepared too much in advance. Makes about 4 servings.
Recipe Source:

Broiled Eggplant with Crunchy Parmesan Crust
This is such an easy way to make a crunchy-crusted eggplant appetizer that you may even feel guilty about the raves it receives. Try with a marinara sauce for dipping.

eggplant, cut into 1/4-inch slices
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup)

Preheat the broiler. Lightly oil a baking sheet.

Spread mayonnaise sparingly on both sides of each eggplant slice, then dip the slices in the grated Parmesan cheese, thoroughly coating both sides.

Arrange the slices in a single layer on the oiled baking sheet and place under the broiler until golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Flip the slices and broil until golden brown and crunchy on top and the eggplant is soft, about 3 minutes more

Recipe Source: Angelic Organics Kitchen