Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

CSA Pickups -- Week 15 -- Tomatoes

Roots Farm CSA Week 15: August 9 & 12

This Week:
-Tomatoes!: Arkansas Traveller, Pink Beauty, Sunny Goliath, Whopper, Big Beef, Trust
-Eggplant!: Nadia, Nubia, Pingtung Long
-Peppers: Carmen (sweet red bullhorn), Red Bells, Golden Bells, Mellow Star (sweet frying pepper)
-Beans: Red Noodle
-Okra: Burgundy, Clemson Spineless, Burmese, Star of David
-Watermelons: New Orchid, Sorbet Swirl, Sugar Baby
-Butternut Squash

On the Farm . . .
It’s transition time. We’re taking out old spent Summer crops--mowing, tilling, removing old trellises, making up beds--and getting ready to plant new Fall babies. This week: arugula, beans, squash, carrots, beets, cilantro, dill, and more! And we’ve got our first round of transplants coming in this week--broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. It’s time to turn over and begin again.

Saturday Workday, THIS SATURDAY, August 13
That’s right, folks, we’re already bumping up on the second Saturday of the month, and that means our monthly Saturday workday! Let’s beat the heat--from 8-11am we’ll be out getting the good work done. We’ll be preparing beds, seeding, transplanting, weeding, pulling old trellises, and more! Come join us for a lovely morning on the farm. Followed by a farm-fresh BRUNCH, as always. Can’t wait to see you out!

Fall CSA!
Yay! Right now, we’ve got a September CSA to offer you. Four weeks of tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, and okra. Stock up on your late summer produce. One size share only, same two pickup options. The two pickups cost slightly different prices since we’ve added a small fee to the in-town pickups to cover our costs for processing, packaging, and delivery. Here are the details:

Tuesday On-Farm pickups $21/week for 4 weeks = $84
Friday In-Town pickups $23/week for 4 weeks = 92

Pickups will continue to be from 4-7pm both days and both locations. Full payment is due upon checkout, and you get a 3% discount for paying by check or cash. SIGN UP TODAY! We’re only offering 60 shares, so get yours now. Click here to sign up online. Or go to We’re excited to continue to offer you the best summery goodness we can produce. Hope you join us.

This week’s spotlight is on tomatoes, since we’re offering a lot of them. Tomatoes are native to Peru and were first cultivated by the Incas and the Aztecs in the 8th century. Eight centuries later, they made it to Europe where the Italians were the first ones brave enough to consider them food. By 1850, most folks agreed they were worth eating. In the U.S. we now produce more than 2 billion pounds of tomatoes annually and import another 700-800 million pounds from Mexico. There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes out there, 8 of which we’re offering this week. We’ve got pink Arkansas Travellers (Heirloom, very tasty), pink Pink Beauties (Hybrid, also tasty), yellow Sunny Goliaths (Hybrid, very low acid and mild flavor), red Whoppers and Big Beefs (Hybrid, big slicers), purple Cherokee Purples (Heirloom, green shoulders, amazing flavor), yellow SunGold cherry tomatoes (so sweet!), and red Roma Juliet tomatoes (yum!). Hope you enjoy the rainbow of tomato options.

Storage: Keep your tomatoes at room temperature for up to 1 week, longer if still ripening. Do not refrigerate them. An underripe tomato will continue to ripen stored out of the sun at 60-75 degrees. Tomatoes can be frozen whole or made into sauces, salsa, and purees that also freeze or can well. Usage: um, in almost anything? Everything? We’ve got some tomato-centric recipes for you, but you can make a tomato into most any dish. Appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, sauces, stews, even desserts and wine aren’t out of the question. I like them sliced, raw, with salt and pepper. Enjoy.

4 large tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, minced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt to taste
1 jalapeno pepper, minced

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, cumin, and salt to taste. Mix well. Add 1/2 of the jalapeno pepper, and taste. If you desire your salsa with more of a kick, add the remaining 1/2 jalapeno. If you are satisfied with the salsa's heat, do not add the remaining jalapeno pepper. Cover the salsa, and chill until ready to serve. Makes 4 servings. From

2 cups diced tomatoes
2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 baguette, sliced and toasted (slices 1/2-inch thick)

Mix the tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and garlic together well. Spoon onto toasted baguette slices. Serve immediately. Makes 4-6 servings.

4 tomatoes
4 small balls of fresh mozzarella
1 bunch of basil
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes and the cheese and tear the basil leaves from their stalks. Arrange the mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes into overlapping, alternating layers on your serving dish. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and add salt & pepper to taste. Makes 2 servings.

1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, & coarsely chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
2 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, & coarsely chopped
1 cup tomato juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced, or a dash of hot pepper sauce (optional)
2 tsp salt

Finely chop, but do not puree, in a food processor or blender, the cucumber and bell pepper. Remove to a large bowl. Finely chop in the processor the onion and parsley. Remove to the bowl. Add to the processor and finely chop the tomatoes. Remove to the bowl. Add tomato juice, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, hot pepper, and salt. Stir well. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve in chilled bowls. Makes about 6 cups.

Gazpacho is a cold summer soup popular in Spain. Classic gazpachos are thickened with bread and are best the day they are made. For this one, use half the jalapeno if preparing the soup for the next day, as the heat increases with time.

Basic Blender Italian Tomato Sauce
Lots of tomatoes
Large amount of oregano
Small amount of basil & parsley, dried or fresh
minced garlic cloves
1-2 carrots, finely chopped
salt & pepper
olive oil

In Italy, no one follows a recipe for tomato sauce, so use your imagination fro quantities. A couple of guidelines Do not underestimate the amount of garlic; when in doubt, put in lots. Also, carrots are often the sweetener in Italian tomato sauce. Blend or process the tomatoes to an almost pureed texture. Gradually add herbs, garlic, and carrots. Slowly cook the mixture in a deep skillet (cast-iron is best). When sauce has reduced about halfway to the texture you want, add salt and pepper. Add several tablespoons of olive oil before reheating for serving. Makes any quantity. From the From Asparagus to Zucchini cookbook.

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