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Farmer Joel's Blog Week 14

21 Sep 2017 10:27 AM | Ffynnon (Administrator)
The Tomato Apocalypse is on Hold...

Here's what happened. Last Sunday, the rains began. The tomatoes soaked up the new moisture, and, as their skins didn't expand with the rain, they split--some from stem to blossom end, some in a circle around their waists, some both ways.  This reduced the number of tomatoes available by almost half.  There are still a lot of tomatoes on the vine, but this may be the last week for regular deliveries of tomatoes. Here's what I propose:  I will pick as many tomatoes as I can for next week's delivery, but I will make them available at each pickup site in bulk bins.  People can take as much out of these bins as they want, so, first come, first served. It would help, if you're interested in large quantities, to let us know either by return email or by text.  This way, we can distribute the tomatoes to each site in proportion to the anticipated desire.  Remember, again, that these will be tomatoes for cooking and processing, and that there will be splits, bruises, some not fully-ripe fruits, and (particularly in the case of the Brandywines) mis-shaped fruits that you will need to cut down, so there will be waste. But there will also be a lot of good tomato flavor.

Another unexpected gift of the rain...

...is the green beans in your basket this week.  I had been in the field on Sunday, moving the onion harvest from the beds where they were drying into the greenhouse to get them out of the rain, when I took a walk around the rest of the field, seeing how things were coming along.  My last planting of beans was showing some that were almost harvest-sized, but a lot of small ones and a lot of blossoms as well.  I figured I had until at least next week to get these picked and out to you.  And then the rains came.  By the time I got back into the field yesterday, I had two rows of very meaty, mature green beans.  These are Provider, a larger and more uniform variety than the Caprice that you got earlier this year.  And, as they are somewhat mature, these are not for stir-fries or other almost-raw preparations.  I would either steam or boil them, even if you are then going to further cook them in a casserole or other mixed dish.  In fact, Michael and I made a test batch last night and ate them all with relish.  We found that steaming them for about five minutes renders them tender, and they have a hearty, beany flavor, one that a white sauce (with mushrooms?) or a cheese sauce would certainly complement.

And the rest...
There are, of course, tomatoes, and their cousins, the bell peppers.  We also are releasing our well-cured garlic this week. Everyone gets one each of two varieties: Deerfield, a purple-skinned hardneck variety, and Desert Late, a white softneck. Both are pretty robust, but I'd call the Desert Late the hotter of the two. We also have a big handful of chives in your baskets.  If you want, you can preserve the chives by cleaning and chopping them, then portion them out by the tablespoon into the compartments of an ice cube tray.  Then, cover the chives with olive oil and pop the tray into the freezer.  You can then put the cubes into a freezer bag, and then use them whenever you would use plain olive oil--as the fat in a saute, or in a vinaigrette.  This method works for just about any herb, by the way.

Be well and eat well,
Farmer Joel, Michael, Tasha, and Neal 


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56965 Pebble Creek Rd
Vernonia, Oregon 97064

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