Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Welcome to Week 10!

Tomatoes, yes, we are still talking tomatoes.  Last week we painted the gloom and doom of late blight, a fungus lethal to tomatoes.  This week we will paint a slightly brighter picture.  Yes, our field tomatoes are blighted and many of our plants are dead and dying in our fields, but we do have some plants which are still showing some life and we are harvesting from these tomatoes.  Our sungolds and a variety of other tomatoes in our greenhouse seem to also be producing nicely.  We will continue to harvest what we can and get these tomatoes out to members.  You may still get some blemished tomatoes and you may also get some more green or not quite ripe tomatoes.  For these greenish tomatoes, please allow them a few days on your kitchen counter for them to ripen.

Some of you who ordered red potatoes this week received white potatoes.  Sorry for the confusion.  We thought we had another bed of red potatoes to dig, but when we started to harvest on Monday, we found white potatoes!  Beautiful white skinned new potatoes, but unfortunately not red as we expected.  We should continue to have white potatoes available, with possibly some reds becoming available again in a few weeks.

Hasn't this weather been crazy.  Beautiful fall weather, the middle of August?  Perfect weather for lettuce!  And a great crop of lettuce we have available right now.  Beautiful red and green leaf varieties available as head lettuce and some of our best salad mixes of the season are going out in boxes right now.  Here on farm we are ready to transition from cucumber salads nightly to green salads! 

This week we are featuring basil.  We have several varieties of basils available at this time.  Most everyone is familiar with sweet basil.  We grow two varieties of sweet basil.  The traditional smooth leaved and an Italian sweet or Genovese basil, with a larger frilly leaf.  These sweet basils are a favorite for pesto and pair well with tomatoes.  Another sweet basil we grow is Red Opal basil.  This basil has distinctive deep red leaves and can be used in place of sweet basil in most recipes.  Red basil pairs well with salmon and here on farm we often add it to the foil packets of salmon we cook on the grill.  Speaking of salmon, another basil which pairs well with fish is Mrs Burns Lemon Basil.  This heirloom basil has a distinctive lemony scent and pale green leaves.  I love the aroma of lemon basil and use it in salads and with fish.  Lemon basil also makes a great simple syrup for use in lemonades, iced tea or fruit popsicles.  I recently came across a recipe for a lemon basil pound cake which I will cut and paste below. I haven't tried it yet, so if anyone does, please send some feedback our way.  The final basil we grow is Thai Basil.  Thai basil with it distinctive purple stems, holds up a bit better to cooking than sweet basils so is a good addition to soups, stir frys and curries.  Here is a website from a farm in California with some really good recipes.  http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/basil.html   If you need larger quantities of basil, please contact us for availability. 

This time of year is filled with good-byes here on farm as our summer interns return to school.  Last week was Lydia's last week.  Many of you who shop at the Back Mountain Library market know Lydia as she helped out at this market for the last 2 years.  Lydia will be returning to Mansfield University for her last semester.  Good luck Lydia and thank you for all of your help this summer.  Our other farm intern, Ellen, will be working a few more days and then heading to California for graduate school.  Ellen has worked on and off for us over the last 4 or 5 years and we wish her good luck with her next educational challenge!  Thank you Ellen for your continued dedication to our little slice of sustainability.

This Saturday is the second Saturday of August, so Forks Farm will be hosting their farm market from 10 am to 2 pm.  We will also once again be at the Back Mountain Memorial Library market on Saturday.  If you come to either market, please be sure to stop by our table and say hello.  Often the highlight of market for us is meeting and chatting with CSA members.

Another gentle reminder to please return our wax share boxes each week.  Boxes can be left at your pick up site, returned to the farm or given to us at market.  If you receive home delivery, simply leave your empty box on your porch and we will take it with us each week. 

Let's see, market reminders, box reminders, both complete, must be time to wrap up things up.  As always in Farmer Don's words:  "be safe, be well and enjoy those veggies".

And here is the lemon basil pound cake recipe:
Lemon Basil Poundcake

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs
2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 cup lemon basil leaves, measured then finely minced

Preheat oven to 275°F. Grease and flour a tube or bundt pan. Set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. Add flour and mix just until incorporated. Add lemon extract and fresh basil and fold in thoroughly. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for approximately one hour and 15 minutes. The top of the cake should be well-browned but the center should remain moist. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

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