Week 11, 2015

Field Notes Farm CSA Newsletter
Week 11: August 25, 2015

week 11Cherry Tomatoes:  Please save and return your wooden pint containers

Slicing Tomatoes: Mixed varieties and colors

Ground Cherries: Peel away the paper husk and enjoy their sweet-tart flavor!

Cucumbers: Slicing cucumbers.

Zucchini:  Our second planting of zucchini.

Yellow Carrots:  Sweet carrots

Summer Leeks:  Smaller and more tender than winter storage leeks.

Cabbage:  Tender arrowhead cabbage with thin, sweet leaves.

Kohlrabi:  Round, purple, knobby vegetable in the broccoli family.  Last kohlrabi of the season!

Purple Beans: Purple on the outside, green on the inside. Eat them raw if you like the color as they will turn green when cooked.

Arugula: The first taste of late season greens.

Eggplant: There are 3 varieties of eggplant, you may have classic purple eggplant, long Thai eggplant, or striped Italian eggplant in your box today.

News from Field Notes Farm:
Oats and clover are slowly shading in the empty plots as we prepare for Winter. We planted late roots in a hoophouse and are working to change over some of the summer crops to prepare for spinach, lettuce, and other greens for October and November.

The late blight (I incorrectly wrote early blight last week) is taking its toll. We will be giving generous quantities of tomatoes for the next few weeks but may not have tomatoes past mid-late September. Early blight is present in the soil everywhere and can be controlled well with cultural practices such as trellising, mulching, drip irrigation, etc. Early blight causes the characteristic ground up die-off of tomato leaves each Fall. Late blight, in contrast, requires a living host to overwinter and easily becomes airborne. Cultural practices have an impact on late blight but take a back-seat to soil and plant health. We will focus primarily on improving soil and plant health to hedge against late blight in the future. Of course, we would have done that anyway!

If we can find a dry stretch soon we will be turning in a good portion of the farm to plant more end of season and overwintering cover crops. The last onions will be harvested and set up for curing next week. Our first winter squash are almost ready to harvest and we are patiently watching the parsnips.

We are happy to report that the ground cherries are faring exceptionally well in the hoophouse. Expect a consistent supply!


Tomato Pie with Biscuit Crust

This is one of our favorite summer tomato recipes!  With the cooler weather this week we hope you don’t mind heating up the oven for this delicious tomato pie.  

1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornmeal
1 recipe Buttermilk Biscuit Crust (recipe below)
All-purpose flour, for rolling
3 to 4 medium ripe tomatoes (1-1/2 lb. total), cored and sliced ¼ inch thick
Kosher salt
2 oz. coarsely grated sharp cheddar or Gruyere (about 2/3 cup using large holes of a box grater)
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, and chives
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh oregano or marjoram
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.  Sprinkle a 12×17-inch sheet of parchment with 2 Tbs. of the flour. On the flour, pat the biscuit dough into a 5-inch round. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 13-inch round, lightly dusting with all-purpose flour to keep the dough from sticking, if necessary.

Transfer the dough on the parchment to a large rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle the 2 Tbs. cornmeal over the dough, leaving a 1-1/2-inch border. Arrange the tomatoes over the dough in two flat, slightly overlapping concentric circles.  LIghtly sprinkle the tomatoes with salt.

Combine the cheese, mayonnaise, herbs, and 1/8 tsp. pepper in a small bowl. Dollop in generous tablespoons over the tomatoes. Fold the dough border over the edges of the tomatoes, pleating the dough as necessary.

Bake until the crust is golden-brown and the tomatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until warm, about 30 minutes, before cutting into wedges and serving. You can also serve it at room temperature.

Biscuit Crust
8 oz. (1-3/4 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more as needed
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup cold, well-shaken buttermilk

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size lumps.

Stir in the buttermilk just until the flour mixture is moistened. Do not overmix; the dough should just come together, and it will be sticky.  Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and gently knead 6 to 8 times, dusting lightly with flour if needed to keep it from sticking.  Place in a covered bowl and refrigerate until needed.

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