Tuesday, August 23, 2016

CSA Week 11 and Life on the Farm

A bit of rain came, a few weeds grew and I enjoyed my company immensely the last few weeks. Now Sherry has returned to BC, and Izabell to New Brunswick and I realize that I have to buckle down a bit, do a bit of weeding and seeding and pick all those tomatoes by myself.
When in Niagara....

It has been so nice the last few evenings, with the temperature dropping down and finally a bit of relief from the scorching temperatures and the intense humidity.

My sweet boy Bandit cooling off

Indeed when I think back on this summer, I certainly will remember it as the driest I have experienced in the garden, and one of the hottest to work in.

In a nutshell, it has been a lot of hard work to keep things alive and growing. It certainly has been the talk of growers; the drought, the failures and the exhaustion.

In most cases I have succeeded, but not in all.  But there has been a lot of food, and there still is lots in the garden, although some fall crops have not done as well as they should have.

The ground has some nice moisture in it now from our recent rains, and I will be planting more lettuce mix, turnips, fall radishes with coloured flesh, arugula and mustards this week, and hopefully harvesting them in a month or so.

I really enjoyed having my CSA people out last week! Thanks to those of you who came out, and thanks to those of you who responded to my invite. It was great to show people the gardens, and what I have been working on since-wow- as early as January, when I seeded some of the ultra hot peppers. What a great group of people, and I really enjoyed chatting with you.

Percy has the crowd under control

Today's baskets included: tomatoes, sweet and hot peppers, onions, garlic, beans of some sort-either fresh or shelling, carrots, radishes, ground cherries, NZ spinach, zucchini or summer squash and a whole bunch of herbs. Rosemary, thyme, basil, broadleaf thyme, mint (mojito), parsley. There might be something else I can't think of right now.

Yes, my friends...the tomatoes will keep on coming for the foreseeable future and it appears most of you are good with that, some of you even picking up extra ones at my CSA night here.

On the weekend, I made freezer salsa with some of my tomatoes. You can find the recipe I used here, but I did modify it to exclude the sugar and coriander, and I used the apple cider version. It is superb, but mine was very hot, and I had the unfortunate experience of splashing some in my eye while I was stirring it while it simmered. Advisable not to do this.

Or try this, from Smitten Kitchen
Scalloped Tomatoes with Croutons

3 tablespoons olive oil 
2 cups bread from a French boule, in a 1/2-inch dice, crusts removed 
2 1/2 pounds  whatever good tomatoes you’ve got, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Kosher salt 
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup thinly slivered basil leaves, lightly packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high. Add the bread cubes and stir so that they are evenly coated with oil. Cook cubes, tossing frequently, until toasty on all sides, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. When the bread cubes are toasted, add the tomato mixture and cook them together, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in the basil. Pour into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly. Serve hot or warm with a big green salad, a bean salad and/or a poached egg from a happy chicken.

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