After a great late summer of vegetables, it really feels like fall in the garden now. Looking out into the field, it’s all beautiful blues and greens and purples of the the fall cabbages and their relatives, vibrant green carrot tops, dark purple beet tops, and earthy yellows and browns of summer’s foliage gone by. Some onions are bowing their tops over in deference to the change in season, others are already neatly laid out the greenhouse to cure for storage. The fall roots – beets, carrots, rutabaga, radishes – have all reached a good size and hanging out in the soil until we can harvest. We picked our first winter squashes out of the corn field yesterday. We’ll have butternuts on Monday, and some other great heirloom squashes and pie pumpkins are coming soon. The summer crops are still hanging in there, but it’s the beginning of the end for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and summer squash. Maybe a couple more weeks on tomatoes, but we’re past the peak season.
Our last Douglas market is tomorrow, and then there’s two more weeks in Grafton. The farmer’s market season may be coming to a close, but the local food season has a ways to go yet. We count on your support through the fall – we will have tons of great fall greens and roots right up to Thanksgiving and beyond!
It appears that we have at least a few more summer days in store before some fall weather finally arrives. And I’m willing to bet there will be a few more summer-like days before fall decides to commit. In any event, it sure looks like summer in the garden, and we are still hauling in loads of summer produce. The summer squash refuse to quit, dutifully producing a respectable amount of fruit for each harvest. Tomatoes are really coming into peak production, especially the beautiful crimson Cosmonaut Volkovs. All tomatoes are still $3 / lb or $50 for 20 lbs. There’s still time to do some canning! Peppers and eggplants are doing great, too. It’s only a matter of time before autumn arrives in earnest, so get your fill of this summer bounty while you can.
Check out Smitten Kitchen’s caponata recipe. I haven’t made this one yet, but it looks like a great way to use a bunch of late summer vegetables. We don’t have any basil, so use parsley instead.
Some fall favorites are making their way onto the harvest list, too. New additions this week include Gilfeather rutabaga, kohl rabi, and red and green fall cabbages. I’ll leave it at that, as there will be plenty of time in the coming months to wax poetic about the virtues of a good rutabaga. And you know I will. More than once.
Finally, don’t forget about Pastured Pork and Grass-fed Beef CSA shares. Both are available in limited quanities, especially beef shares. Get your deposit in now to make sure you can fill your freezer with Potter Hill/Short Creek pork and beef.
This is by far the most abundant time of year for New England gardens, and ours is no exception. The stand at the farmers markets is bursting at the seams. We continue to bring in the summer bounty while fall produce starts creeping in.
Sadly, we got washed out on Thursday at the Grafton Farmers Market. Thanks to everyone who came out in the couple of hours before the real rain hit. If you didn’t make it before the downpour, check us out in Douglas on Saturday morning or put an order in for Monday! We have all the same great stuff in the barn on Monday as we have at the markets.
Speaking of abundance, we have a problem. A big problem. And it’s the best kind of problem to have. At least for the time being, we have waaayyyy too many tomatoes. So, until further notice, all tomatoes are $3.00 / lb. And if you buy 20 lbs or more, we’ll give you the restaurant wholesale price – $2.50 / lb. I don’t think you’ll find organic heirloom tomatoes for less anywhere, so now’s a great time to to make some sauce. Stock up on local flavor, you’ll be glad you did once winter hits.
Cabbage is back on the list – I’m pretty sure there’s some fall cabbages that are ready to pick. All the fall greens look great, so don’t forget kale, chard, mustards, and tatsoi as dinner time gets darker and the nights get cooler.
Coming soon – winter squash!
We’re switching things up a bit for Labor Day this year. We’re doing an early pickup from 11AM – 1PM so you can grab some Potter Hill groceries and still have time to get things ready for the grill. The veggie list is pared down to focus on salad fixings and grilling goods. Ground beef and sausages will be available, of course – these are vacuum-packaged and frozen, and will thaw easily in time for an afternoon BBQ.
If that’s the case, then why is kale still on the list, you ask? Kale salad! The Red Russian kale is very tender and perfect for raw eating. Just wash, trim out the thick stems, slice in 1/2″ – 1″ pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, your choice of vinegar (or lemon), feta cheese, toasted walnuts. Dried cranberries? Just a bit of fresh minced chili pepper? Sure, what the hell, you are the master of your own destiny.
Some more ideas….
- Burgers (duh) with nice thick slices of sweet Ailsa Craig onion.
- Grilled sausages and Jimmy Nardellos peppers. Cut the peppers in half, ditch the seeds, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and grill until just tender.
- Salad. Just salad. I know, I’m so clever. But if your friends have never had our heirloom lettuce, they’re in for a treat. Dress with plenty of olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Throw in some sliced French Breakfast radishes if you’re feeling fancy.
- Wallet feeling a bit thick (with cash, not receipts)? Steak, then, for you and yours. We have NY Strip steaks and tenderloin steaks. The tenderloins didn’t make it on the website, but they’re in the freezer and can be yours for $30 / lb.
- Grilled summer squash, an easy favorite. Just toss with salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and grill until tender.
- Green bean salad with herbs. Blanch the beans, just a couple of minutes in boiling salted water. Toss warm with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, fresh minced chili, fresh minced garlic, and plenty of fresh chopped parsley or cilantro. Don’t be stingy with the herbs – it’s in the title, darn it! Serve cold or at room temperature.
- Salsa! Chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh minced chili, lots of cilantro. This makes a fresh salsa, which is very delicious and very soupy. Sometimes I like to let it sit for a while and let the salt draw out the juices. Strain the juice into a sauce pan, set aside the fresh veggies. Cook down the salsa juice until it’s nice and thick, remove from heat, stir the concentrated juice and veggies back together. Good stuff.
- Tomato salad. Really this is whatever you want it to be, as long as there’s fresh tomatoes involved. Here’s mine. Slice some sweet onion, put it in a bowl, add plenty of salt and balsamic. Now really squish up the onion/salt/vinegar with you hand, mashing the onion and the vinegar all together. Lay some thick-sliced tomatoes out on a platter. Spread the onions out over the tomatoes, and pour on any leftover juice. Grate some Parmesan on there (use the large shred side of a box grater), or maybe feta or sliced fresh mozzarella. Chopped fresh cilantro on top, and then plenty of olive oil over every thing. Serve with good toasted bread for soaking up the oil and tomato juice.
Have a great holiday weekend!