Heirlooms are Pretty

You’ll see these bigger cherry tomatoes in your box which is a swirled mix of colors.  It’s an heirloom variety  from Seed Savers called Isis which sometimes produces a  yellow fruit, sometimes a red fruit, sometimes a swirl.  Sometimes the tomato has a pear shape, although it’s usually round.  Anyway, it’s this kind of inconsistency you’ll find with heirlooms that I love because there’s a real beauty to the mix of colors and shapes, but it is also the reason these varieties are not widespread commercial varieties  If you’re growing 40 acres of tomatoes, you’re bound to go with a standard hybrid.  These varieties are consistent in size, shape, and texture, which is just what you need if you’re promising a buyers at the terminal market in Chicago you’ll ship him a semi of tomatoes.  At our scale, we can play around with a wide mix of varieties and ones which are a bit more adventurous.    

In the box:
Cherry tomato mix
A dozen corn (mainly a yellow variety called Bodacious)
Earlygirl Tomatoes
Fresh Thyme
A mix of Summer Squash
A couple Sweet Onions
Swiss Chard
Green Beans

Basil Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
From The St. Paul Farmers Market Produce Cookbook
I know I’ve included this recipe in the past, but it’s perfect for this week’s box.

2 cups green beans, steamed
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 T. olive oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t. salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 T. fresh basil, finely chopped
Cut steamed beans into 1 inch pieces.  In a large bowl, combine cherry tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add hot beans along with the basil.  Mix well.  Makes 4 servings.

Bugs for 2011

Every year we generally see the same kinds of bugs, however, every year brings new variations and the 2011 season is no different.

The big change this season that I have never seen before is grubworms in the potatoes.  Yes, the same ugly white grubs that you may find in your sod when you tear up your lawn.  A potato or two may have gotten past me and into your box where a crater is eaten into the side…that’s the grub’s signature handiwork.  My neighbor of 70-plus years has never seen this, so it makes me wonder what’s going on.  Is it just the hot soil temps which cause them to thrive?

The potato bugs are worse than usual, but cucumber beetles are just not to be seen.  This is a situation I can live with since the cucumber beetles are very tough on a large family of produce from melons to winter squash.  Slugs, on the other hand, have been taking their toll.  It’s strange though, since this is the first year I’ve ever seen them.  They messed with the strawberry crop a bit and I see them in the tomatoes too, but nothing we can’t manage.  I hope it stays that way.

News: We’ll be hosting a work day for members this Sunday afternoon (anytime between 1-4 – weather permitting).  This is by no means mandatory, but a chance to visit the farm and get your hands dirty.  Come if you can.
In the Box:
Purple pepper: always the first pepper for some reason.
Sweet corn: not a dozen yet, but it was typical “hunt and peck” exercise when a crop first comes in.  I always think there’s more there than there actually is.
Cherry tomatoes: most are an orange variety I really like called “sungold,” but there are also some Isis ans traditional red cherry tomatoes in the mix too.
Yukon potatoes
Red onions