Packing boxes for members on Tuesday, it was remarkable how red the box was. The Italia peppers, the tomatoes, the cherry tomatoes, the radishes…. Reflecting on the season, produce comes in waves of color as we move from the solid greens of spring to the yellows and purples in high season eggplant, corn, and Islander peppers. And, certainly, we still have before us the wonder and vibrant oranges of fall, maybe a brilliant red of fall salad mix and the golden mix of winter squash.
The kaleidoscope of a produce season is nothing short of a miracle, that even in this harsh climate of the Upper Midwest, we have such diversity in our eating. With this potential in our gardens, it’s all the more depressing that the typical Midwestern diet consists of many shades of tan and brown. I’ve been selling and talking produce for a long time now and it never ceases to amaze me that fresh produce for MANY people is some kind of special, once or twice a year kind of thing. Lots of people buy sweet corn twice a year and then go back to their slumber of fried foods and frozen dinners…maybe they’ll indulge in a stuffed acorn squash or buttercup in the fall. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised; it is the Midwest after all and starches and meat rule.
But I’m not one to give up. I have seen plenty of good changes in the diversity of diet we ought to celebrate. Thirteen years ago I literally gave away kale and heirloom tomatoes at our farmers market and today people often request them. My outlandish references to kimchi and Caprese salad don’t elicit as many blank stares. I consider this progress.
In the box:
- Italia Peppers: These are sweet, not hot (lots of people think long peppers are hot for some reason)
- Watermelons: I grow a mix of red, yellow, and orange varieties. It’s the luck of the draw for what you received.
- Fresh Oregano or Marjoram: Random little bunch in the box.
- Sweet Onion
- Fresh shallot(s): A shallot look like a small red onion and you’d use the same as you would a red onion.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Hurrah, we finally got these in the box! That took a while.
- Eggplant: Most got a Japenese style, but some received these cute little variety called ‘Fairy Tale’ and some traditional Italian style. Don’t worry, it’s just an issue of shape and they will all taste like eggplant.
Ratatouille Recipe via video
Looking at this box and thinking about what might still be in your refrigerator, please consider making ratatouille. It’s kind of the french way to use up a bunch of veggies in season this time of year. I’m getting lazy with typing recipes, so below is a youtube of this French guy walking through a recipe – please substitute things, it’ll turn out. For example, you could use the sweet onion or fresh shallots instead of the red he suggests.