Lida Farm Journal: Week 7

Well, high season has finally arrived to Minnesota! It has been a long wait, which is something we are pretty good at around here. And no wait seems longer than the one for tomatoes to ripen. I think it’s so frustrating because we feel like the summer is already slipping away from us and only then do the tomatoes turn red. Heck, it’s already the beginning of august, and, from experience, a mid-september frost is par for the course—sorry, I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade.

Tomatoes are funny though. Today I spent a good amount of time hunting and pecking in the tomato patch to find a couple for each box. Every time I saw another with good color, it was like finding buried treasure. Every year I go from the excitement of the first ones coming in to being completely over-whelmed by a sea of tomatoes in about 2 weeks. By the end of August I am usually completely burnt out on picking and packing tomatoes, I just can’t stand to look out our back door towards the field—I suppose this is just how it is when you have 700 plants. Still, I’m happy now to just bask in that great feeling you from finding the first of the season. And there’s nothing sweeter than that.

IN THE BOX:

Cherry Tomatoes

These are mostly Sungold (an orange variety) with a mix of standard red cherries.

A couple early Tomatoes

The yellow one is named Taxi and the red one is Early Girl.

Red Bull Onions

A couple Summer Squash

Fresh Italian Parsley

Fennel

I’m throwing you for a loop on this one. I think fennel is really one of those “left-field” vegetables for most people, so I’ve included a recipe. I also know people grill it as well and add it to Italian sauces.

Bunch of Carrots

Corn

Green Beans

Fresh Basil

Cukes

Eggplant

Braised Fennel with Parmesan

From Deborah Madison, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2 to 3 fennel bulbs and halfed or quartered lengthwise
2 to 3 T butter
Salt and pepper
½ cup dry white wine or water
1/3 cup grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 225 degrees. Rub a baking dish large enough to hold the fennel in a single layer with butter. Steam the fennel for 10 minutes, then arrange in dish. Dot with butter or drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and add the wine. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the cover, baste the fennel with its juice, then add the cheese and continue baking until the fennel is completely tender, about 10 minutes more. Serve with chopped fennel greens or parsley.


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