Farmers are are creative people. We take a mish-mash of variables every year (weather, plants, labor, etc.) and fit it together into an odd creation that this time of year we can stand back and look at. Every year is different and parts of the picture that we’re proud of one year may be embarrassing the next. Many of you may remember the great tomato blight of 2009 where almost every tomato plant in the northeast was destroyed by mid-August. We all survived, but after that year most farmers took evasive action to try and prevent a repeat. For most of us that meant moving tomato production into greenhouses or plastic field tunnels. These structures are closable and allow growers to control the temperature and most importantly the moisture on the leaves of the plants where blight get started.
We’ve been quite lucky up to this point with a summer as warm and humid as it has been to avoid the dreaded tomato late blight. All summer there have been sporadic outbreaks of blight around the region and the state but most of us have avoided infection. This disease is amazing in it’s ability to rapidly take down large numbers of plants and their fruit. It’s a fungus that creates spores, like a mushroom, and these spores travel freely on the wind for miles and miles. The spores that by chance land on tomato plants then wait for a little moisture and germinate, making an ugly green lesions that look like the plant has been spattered with hot grease. These lesions grow, make more spores and in a very short time the infection spreads to every available host around. On Saturday I found five infected plants in two of our three tomato houses. By Monday all three houses had widespread infection. The crew quickly went to work and we picked heavily, harvesting over a ton of tomatoes during the morning. We picked fruit that had color of any kind knowing that the will ripen in the barn and a tomato in hand is worth two in the field. We hope the infection won’t spread to the remaining fruit right away and these tomatoes will get some color on the vine. It’s not all doom and gloom as we have a great tomato share for you this week and hope to have another next week as well. If we had been hit two weeks ago it would have been a sadder story….
Sauce Recipe to Try
This recipe calls for golden tomatoes but the ones you are receiving in your share will work great. This comes highly recommended by CSA member Liz Pierson from the website 101 Cookbooks http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/golden-tomato-sauce-recipe.html
Golden Tomato Sauce Recipe
I don’t bother peeling the tomatoes here, but you certainly could. You can also do a double or triple batch. The sauce will keep refrigerated for about a week. Also, the color of your tomatoes will dramatically impact the color of your sauce. I like to choose tomatoes that are bright yellow in color, like you see here. Alternatively, yellow tomatoes with a hint of orange make a striking sauce as well.
1 1/2 pounds / 24 oz / 680g ripe yellow tomatoes, cored and halved
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Run your finger along the inside of each tomato to remove and discard the seeds. Chop the tomatoes into 1/4-inch chunks, reserve any juice, and set aside.
Combine the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper flakes in a cold medium sauce pan. Now, heat the ingredients, stirring occasionally, until the garlic begins to sizzle and take on a bit of color. Stir in the tomatoes and reserved juices, and bring to a simmer. Cook for just a couple minutes, long enough for the tomatoes to start breaking down a bit. Remove from heat, taste, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Makes 2 cups / 475 ml.
Prep time: 10 min – Cook time: 5 min
Potatoes Arrive in Force
Here’s the first share of potatoes. These are our ugly but tasty rose golds and they are amazing. Our favorite was to prepare them is to preheat the oven to 425, have the potatoes and pre-boil them until they just begin to soften. Drain the spuds toss them in butter/oil and add salt (a little more than you think you should) and bake them in a single layer in a cooking sheet until the begin to crisp around the edges.
Shallots are the Best
Shallots arrive this week as well and they do well anywhere you would use garlic or onions…
Willow Pond Farm Apples
Paula Reds are for sale by the 5 lb bag -this is a great early fall apple -crisp and sweet.
What’s in Upic…
What’s in the share this week….