August 3 – CSA Journal

***BLUE HERON FARM COMMUNITY HOE-DOWN,
Sunday, August 16th 3:00pm until dark
Tour of Farm at 3:30 on hay wagons and the great blue truck
4:30 music starts(bring your instruments)
5:00 the biggest Potluck in Grand Isle J,
bonfire and more – no work, just play, music and foodJ
Bring your family and friends all welcome***

What’s happening on the farm this week?
We regret to tell our CSA share families and friends of Blue Heron Farm that the “Late Blight” sweeping through and destroying the tomatoes and potatoes crops of farms in the region has struck Blue Heron Farm. We had pulled a few plants that looked ill a few weeks ago, but nothing like what we discovered over the last week. We walked our fields and discovered that the latest humid, stormy weather had helped the fungus rapidly spread through the entire field tomato crop. Throughout Vermont, organic fields have been hardest hit because organic growers do not use synthetic chemicals to prevent the disease from taking hold. We are still in a state of stunned disbelief after we ripped out all of our tomatoes from the field and put them in piles covered with tarps- they became burial mounds of what was looking like a beautiful crop of heirloom tomatoes. We have never had this kind of crop devastation before. We are saddened that we won’t have all of those yummy tomatoes for your CSA baskets as we had hoped and planned. We are also taking a very big hit to our farm income- the tomatoes are the bread and butter of our farm’s direct-market and wholesale income.

ALL IS NOT LOST, HOWEVER!! We are hopeful about our potato crop which we are actively trying to keep healthy, but we know that they too are quite vulnerable to early blight and that we are certainly not out of the woods. Also, we do have about 60 heirloom tomato plants in our hoophouse that are thriving. These plants are protected from the rain and only receive water through their roots, so the fungus has not taken hold of them. We have already decided that we will not sell a single hoophouse tomato if it means holding them back from our CSA families. As a farm, you are our first priority. The SWEET CORN is coming on strong for NEXT WEEK, and we WILL have red potatoes AND beautiful green snap beans next week.

We always hope that the reality of sharing the risk with the farmer is something you never have to experience directly. As CSA members, you sign up for the “good”, but this year, it has come with the “bad” and the “ugly.” We certainly understand any frustration or unhappiness about this anyone has.

We have never had such a great loss like this in farming. We have had the big joke that deer come and eat our lettuce or beets – but we can recover from that in a season. But this loss, is honestly more than we can comprehend or do anything about – this is the biggest loss our little farm has had – something we had no control over – in the 5 years we have been in existence. It meant a lot that friends, neighbors, and csa members came over and helped us on that dreadful day (last Wednesday) and still help us with your kind words.

We decided to dedicate this newsletter to the voices of those who came to help us this past week, and to fried green tomatoes! We have also included a few web-links for more news about the whole blight thing.

* * *

“On Wednesday I arrived at the farm at about 4pm to a devastating sight. All of the tomato plants that had stood so tall and lush and healthy in the back field were piled in one long deep row of tangled stalks. Adam and I unloaded crates of green tomatoes into the barn and raced against the impending storm to get the row into piles and covered with plastic, to try and keep the blight from spreading. The huge plastic covered mounds were a striking symbol of the loss of this crop for you! We are so incredibly sorry your farm has suffered such adversity this year and we were glad that we could help in some small way.” – Andy, Melanie, Ella, Ollie, and Asa

“Wednesday 29th July.
Christine phones to say that the reported tomato blight has hit their heirloom field crop and they will have to act swiftly to try and avoid the spread of the spores to other healthy plants. They want to enlist as many hands as possible to clear the large patch that has been affected, so that Adam can plough the soil before the next inevitable round of rain. I arrive at the field to see that Christine is already trying to salvage a few healthy looking green tomatoes and is in the process of pulling out the first batch of plants – roots and all. It’s a hot,humid and sticky day and the process soon becomes a sad but necessary chore. It doesn’t take long to realise that there aren’t many fruits that can be saved. Most of the plants and the big developed tomatoes get dumped unceremoniously in what Christine refers to as the ‘burial mounds’. The heat and the exhaustion take their toll, and I see Christine quietly weeping as Adam tries to console her. I think of people facing disasters. This is no tsunami, this is no Hurricane Katrina – but in its own way, to these hard-working farmers it’s a devastating experience to see a large proportion of the fruits of their labours being prematurely uprooted and dumped in piles like so much trash. People won’t get the joy of enjoying the lush red fruit that was the promise of the crop just a short time ago.

Please give a thought to the Blue Heron farmers, and all the other hard working farmers who are facing the same sort of problems as the rain continues to fall and more crops continue to fail during this difficult growing season.” -Roy

“I was so glad that I was there to help you on Wednesday to pull all those plants! What a lot of work and what a terrible waste. I reminds us that we are not in charge as people, and that mother nature will always win out – in order to survive you have to be adaptable and go with what comes or be lost forever. I like working on the farm, not being a country girl or a gardener, it makes me feel a connection to the land and to the food that is produced. I can hardly eat veggies from the store anymore – they don’t have the same flavor, and I really like knowing that the food raised on the farm is produced by people who love what they do and work VERY HARD at it too! I just want to thank you for letting Joe and I be a part of your farm.” –Gale
Further Reading on Late Blight Epidemic:
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20090731/NEWS02/90730067/Blight-wiping-out-tomatoes–potatoes&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/18/nyregion/18tomatoes.html

http://www.uvm.edu/extension/?Page=News&storyID=14464
Thanks for being part of our farm – Adam, Christine and Sadie
PS – Sadie went on the potty for the first time today and went peeJWahhoooo!
What’s in the share this week: Beautiful, Hierloom Green Tomatoes! Tomatillos, Peppers (sweet/hot), Red and Yellow Onions, Summer Squash, Zucchini, Eggplant, and Cucumbers. Pick-Your-Own Sungold Cherry Tomatoes (they are still holding on).
http://www.blueheronfarm-vt.blogspot.com/ CHECK US OUT ON THE WEB and LEAVE COMMENTS TOO

Wool Roving for Sale:
From our sheep – we have Border Leicster Romney Crosses, Icelandic and Shetland Sheep. It is $15 for 6 ounces (special price for CSA members).

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:
To help plant, trellis, and weed – please call us 372-3420 or email harmonyvt@yahoo.com.

Rose’s Café Fried Green Tomato & Egg Sandwichrecipe by Marc Gordon of Rose’s Cafe in San Francisco
4 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive Oil 8 @ Slices of Green Tomato ¼ ” Thick 1 cup Organic Corn Meal Coarsely Ground 4 lg Organic Eggs 4 @ Ciabatta Rolls 4 Tbls Garlic Mayonnaise 2 Large Handfuls of Arugula Salt & Pepper to Taste
Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a non-stick pan. Salt & pepper the tomato slices. Dredge them in the corn meal. Slowly sauté the tomatoes in the olive oil until just soft & golden brown. Remove the slices from the pan & keep warm. Clean the pan. Add a little olive oil to the pan & heat to medium. Add the eggs, season with salt & pepper & cook until the whites are set & the yolks are runny. Cut the Ciabatta rolls in half. Spread the garlic mayonnaise on the top side, place the tomato slices on the bottom side. Top the tomatoes with the egg and arugula.
Fried Green Tomatoes Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison
4 medium sized green tomatoes 3/4 cup fine cornmeal 3-4 Tablespoons vegetable oil salt & pepper Green Chile Mayonnaise
Slice the tomatoes crosswise 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Press each piece into a plate of cornmeal and coat on both sides. Heat oil in a wide skillet over high heat until hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add tomatoes, reduce heat to medium and fry on both sides until golden. Remove to plate, season with salt and pepper. Green Chile Mayonnaise Add several minced and seeded jalapeños or 1-2 unseeded poblano or serrano chiles to 1 cup homemade or purchased mayonnaise.
Green Tomato Fritters
Ingredients:
2 cups peeled chopped tomatoes
2 cups fresh scraped corn kernels with juices
sugar
salt
pepper
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
flour
Preparation:
Combine tomatoes and corn. Season with sugar, salt, and pepper. Add the beaten eggs, milk, and enough flour to hold the mixture together. Drop cakes into deep hot fat, at about 360° to 370°.
Green Tomato Cake
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil or melted shortening
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pecans or walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 1/2 cups diced green tomatoes
coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°. In mixing bowl, beat sugar, vegetable oil or shortening, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg; slowly beat into egg mixture. Blend well. Stir in pecans, raisins and tomatoes.Pour into greased 9×13-inch pan. Top with coconut if desired. Bake for one hour, or until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Serves 12.
Baked Green Tomatoes
4 large firm green tomatoes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup coarse buttery cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter

Cut green tomatoes in 1/2 inch slices; arrange green tomato slices in a greased baking dish. Season sliced green tomatoes with salt and pepper and spread each with about 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar. Cover sliced green tomatoes with crumbs and dot with butter. Bake at 350° until green tomatoes are tender but still firm, or about 25 to 35 minutes. Recipe for baked green tomatoes serves 6.
Green Tomato Rice
4 slices bacon, diced
1 bunch green onions, sliced, with most of green (6 to 8)
4 medium green tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup long-grain rice
dash dried leaf thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
dash Tabasco sauce, optional
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, optional

In a medium saucepan, saute the bacon over medium heat until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain. In 1 tablespoon of the bacon drippings, saute green onions for 1 minute. Add green tomatoes and saute for 1 minute longer. Add garlic and jalapeno pepper; saute for another 30 seconds. Add the chicken broth, rice, thyme, pepper, and Tabasco sauce. Bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Stir in Parmesan cheese just before serving, if desired. Sprinkle with the cooked bacon. Serves 4.

Preparing Tomatillos
Before using, peel off the husks and rinse to remove the sticky residue. Other than peeling off the husk, do not peel the green skin.Tomatillos are traditionally used in three ways — raw, boiled/blanched, or roasted/grilled:Raw – Uncooked tomatillos add a fresh, tangy citrus-like flavor and are often used raw in Mexican table sauces. Finely dice or puree them.Blanching – Mellows the flavor. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and boil for about 5 minutes, until soft. Drain and crush or puree as directed in a sauce recipe.Fire roasting – Leaving slightly blackened skins on enriches a sauce with a smoky, woodsy flavor. Can roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or over an open flame such as a grill or a gas burner. Make sure the heat is quite hot, otherwise the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred.Dry roasting – Produces an earthy, nutty flavor. Place the tomatillos in a heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron). Turn heat to low. Roast for about 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally, letting each side take on a rich, burnished golden color before turning.Finally, tomatillos can be quite inconsistent in flavor, with some being intensely sour and others tasting mild and sweet. Some cooks use a pinch of sugar to balance the taste of very tart tomatillos. The recipes below are typical Mexican tomatillo recipes, but the lively flavors of this perky little fruit lend themselves well to rounds of experimentation, from stir-fries to soups to salad dressings. (from Kate’s Global Kitchen)

All about Tomatillos
from Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini by Elizabeth Schneider
Basic use of tomatillos:
Tomatillo is traditionally cooked, but the raw fruit, chopped or diced and used in moderation, adds freshness to vegetable salad, guacamole, and sandwich fillings.
Storage: They should keep at least a week or three in the fridge.
Tomatillo Salsa
2 pounds Fresh tomatillos 1 cup Onion — chopped 1 Or 2 hot peppers, cored Seeded and chopped. (you can also use dried chiles, leave seeds in either dried or fresh for more heat)1 cup Fresh cilantro — minced 1/4 cup Fresh lime juice 1-2 cloves garlic salt to taste
Remove husks from tomatillos, wash throughly, dry and halve or quarter. Combine tomatillos, onions, chiles, and garlic in a non-reactive pan. Over med-high heat bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 mins. Cool a little or a lot then put into blender with cilantro and lime juice, blend away, salt to taste, and you have some GREAT salsa verde Mexicano.

LOOSE TOMATILLO SALSA RECIPE:
I roast them, along with onion, garlic, tomatoes and poblanos to make a roasted chile salsa, with toasted then soaked dried chiles (guajillos, anchos, negros, chipotles–mix ‘n match). Puree it all with some cider vinegar, lime juice, salt and cilantro, then slow cook the puree for a couple of hours. Awesome

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply