Tomatoes Tomatoes Tomatoes!  It’s CSA Week 11

MILLSAP FARMS CSA NEWSLETTER

Over 700 pounds of tomatoes this week – start thinking’ about all those yummy tomato recipes!!

MILLSAP FARM ELSEWHERE

W E B S I T E

Farm News: Heat on the Farm

July 18, 2017

This time of year we get asked a lot about how heat effects the farm, so I thought I’d share some insights about high temperature vegetable growing.   Like many aspects of our farm, we look at this through three lenses; people, profits, and planet.   For the people on the farm, the heat means challenging work conditions;  95 degrees with 70% humidity makes for miserably sweaty weather, so we rise early, starting work at 6 a.m., and get a head start on the heat.  That means that by 1p.m. we are hot, sweaty, and ready for lunch, which is the end of our official work day.  If  we have things what must get done, we will wait until after the heat passes, 6 or 7 p.m., and go back out to work, or work wet (meaning hosing off or taking a dunk every hour or so).   We call this the siesta schedule, and it helps us face the dog days of summer with energy and stamina.  It also helps that most days we take a trip to the creek to dip and cool off, and we occasionally take off a whole day to float a creek and thoroughly relax and refresh the crew.

In terms of profits, hotter days mean a change in what we can grow for sale;  the lettuces and most other salad greens are just too stressed by this heat and bolt (go to seed) before they are large enough to harvest (although we are trying some new things this summer, stay tuned), while some crops like tomatoes and bell peppers and cucumbers shrug off the heat and ramp up production.  If it gets too hot, even the tomatoes can revolt; night time temperatures consistently above 75 will cause tomatoes to drop their blossoms, which means no new fruit being set. This is the sort of problem that has a delayed cost;  4-6 weeks after an extreme hot spell we find that the tomatoes have a gap in fruit supply.  We can deal with this to some extent by sheltering tomatoes from the worst of the suns rays,  planting later successions of heat tolerant varieties (florida 91’s are one such variety), and keeping them well watered,  but ultimately we can only do so much, and high heat decreases yields, leaving fewer veggies for our members and our market stand.  Finally, from the environmental, or planet perspective, we have increased energy use when the temps are high, due to increased water usage and a heavier load on our walk-in cooler.  Our efforts to reduce water and electricity pay their biggest dividends this time of year, and we hope to continue to reduce our footprint this way as we refine and remodel our farm stand space, along with improving our soils, which reduces our need for watering.

All in all, heat is one of the bigger challenges or our climate; it stresses people, the budget, and our commitment to reducing our environmental impact, but over time we’ve developed systems which help us cope and even thrive.  Plus, what would summer be without a few hot days to spend in the creek eating watermelon?

Thanks for trusting us to be your farmers.
Curtis and the crew.

What’s in your share?
Full Share:
Tomatoes
Sweet Corn*
Eggplant
Basil or Rosemary
Cherry tomatoes
Bell Pepper
Squash, Cucumber or Okra
Onions
Jalapeños
Beets

Bread Share:
French Bread by Emma and Anna Millsap

Fruit Share:
Peaches from Bader Farm

Half Share:
Tomatoes
Sweet Corn*
Bell Peppers
Cucumbers, Squash or Okra
Basil or Rosemary
Onions

Sampler Share:
Tomatoes
Sweet Corn*
Bell Peppers
Cucumbers, Squash or Okra

*This is our sweet corn – it DOES have some caterpillars in the ear. 

Sicilian Tomato and Onion Salad Recipe
Serves 4

  • 3 -4 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1⁄2-1 medium  sweet onion, depending on how much onion you like (Vidallia is my favorite)
  • 1⁄4cup  extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon  dried oregano
  • 1⁄4teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1⁄8teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 4 -6 leaves  fresh basil, chopped to garnish (depending on how much Basil you like)
  1. Cut tomatoes into bite size pieces.
  2. Sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper.
  3. Peel a cut onion in half vertically.
  4. Along edge of open side, “sliver” cut onion and add to tomatoes.
  5. Add the rest of ingredients and toss lightly.
  6. Marinate for at least an hour.
  7. Serve with Italian bread, provolone cheese and hard salami (or other Italian meats.).
Fresh Sweet Corn Salad with Tomatoes and Feta
Serves 6

  • 5 ears of corn, husk and silk removed
  • 1 pint sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 green onions, sliced (1/3 cup)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, pressed
  • salt and black pepper
  1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Add corn and boil for 3 minutes. Remove corn to a plate and cool just enough to handle. When the corn is cool, cut the kernels off the cob, cutting close to the cob, and place them in a large bowl. You should have approximately 4 cups of corn.
  2. Add the tomatoes, green onions, cilantro, and feta to the corn.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic. Pour over the salad and toss well to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and chill for 15-30 minutes before serving.
Okra with Tomatoes

Saute 4 smashed garlic cloves in 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat until golden. Add 4 cups okra (halved lengthwise) and 1 small onion (cut into wedges); season with salt and pepper and cook until the okra is tender and bright, 10 to 12 minutes. Add 1 pint halved cherry tomatoes; cook until just bursting, 3 minutes. Finish with a splash of cider vinegar.

Tomato and Eggplant Tian
4 servings

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small eggplant, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 small onions, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 small tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan

Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant slices, season with salt and cook until golden on both sides. Remove to a plate and repeat with the onion slices.

Rub a small baking dish with the garlic clove. Layer the eggplant, onions, and tomato slices in rows in the baking dish. Drizzle a little more olive oil on top. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake until heated through and the tomatoes are soft but still hold their shape, about 20 minutes. Remove the baking dish and set the oven to broil. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the shredded cheese and broil to melt and brown the cheese, about another 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Melissa d’Arabian

Thanks for choosing us to be your farmers!
~Millsap Farm Crew
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This entry was posted in Farm News, Recipes, This week's Harvest, Tips and Tricks, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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