We've been plugging away at farm chores this week in preparation for our upcoming trip out West to visit friends and family for a wedding. Seeds are in the ground and greenhouse, weeds are pulled and piled, and your farmers are pooped! If you happen to run into any farmer during the next month, give them a big hug and tell them it's going to be okay - Autumn is coming!
We are currently in the process of recalibrating our priorities and business plans as we look ahead to next season. It has become clear to us that we need more structure in our life. With the diverse nature of the farm and the multitude of additional projects and responsibilities we have undertaken, we are finding ourselves spread a little too thin with a big lack of direction and purpose. Stay tuned for details, but know that major changes are coming for 2019 and Small Feat Farm/Caswell Farm. It's time to raise the bar in a big way and structure our life so that August does not become the death of us every year. Summers in Maine are fast and intense and it seems like everyone is begging for the heat to end and life to slow down by this time in the season. We want to find a way to embrace the seasonal life while keeping our sanity!
Week #11 Veggies, Herbs, and Suggestion
Eggplant - This variety is called "Galine." It's a traditional Italian eggplant: thick and meaty. It is perfect for eggplant parm (here is a fantastic and easy recipe from Mario Batali: https://food52.com/blog/20533-mario-batali-s-quick-eggplant-parmesan) or cubing and adding to a stir-fry. One of my favorite meals lately is a warm tomato salad. In a deep sauce pan or shallow pot, heat some butter or olive oil. Chop and add one at a time: onion, garlic, eggplant (and any other vegetable you like). Add in some spices and few splashes of soy sauce or a thin balsamic vinegar. Let cook for a couple minutes. Cube a large tomato and add to pan. Let tomato cook down and then add a heaping pile of chopped chard/beet greens/kale along with a healthy pinch of salt. Allow greens to wilt and then turn stove off. Chop and add fresh basil, scallions, and halved sungold tomatoes; stir to combine. Serve in bowls with nuts, seeds, and/or cheese on top.
Fennel - This anise-flavored vegetable can be eaten raw (in thin slices), but is better roasted or sautéed. Grilled fennel is an excellent addition to salads, pizza, or as a side dish to most meats. Try adding it to the salad mentioned above.
Tomatoes - Primo and Brandywine varieties will be available this week. Primo (round red) toms are a classic slicing variety that will do just about any job required of a tomato. Brandywines (unusual and pink) are best savored unadulterated. The flavor and texture are so perfect...we prefer to enjoy these with herbs, some cheese, and a pinch of salt.
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes - everyone's favorite snack! I bet they don't make it all the way home ;)
Rainbow Chard - A nutritious and beautiful green, best eaten wilted because of it's funny raw texture.
Peppers - A variety of hot and sweet peppers will be available. If you're feeling overwhelmed with peppers, try pickling them or creating a pepper sauce by combining peppers, vinegar, salt, and spices in a food processor with onions and garlic. Play around until the ratios taste right to your tastebuds.
Ailsa Craig Sweet Onion - A perfect onion for any occasion. Be sure to eat these relatively quickly as they are not cured and will not keep on the shelf for long.
Potatoes - Yukon Gold potatoes are such a yummy and easy-to-cook variety. They can be chopped and fried (try adding them to the salad recipe mentioned above, but make sure to add them with the onion and garlic first and cook them for a solid 5 minutes before adding other veggies), boiled, and baked! The skins are tender and the size modest, so they can be used a variety of ways.
Summer Savory - This herb can be dried or used fresh much in the same way as thyme or oregano. It is one of the main herbs in the mix Herbs de Provence - if you're feeling feisty, try your hand at making it!
Lemon Balm - This a nerve-soothing herb and can be added fresh to tea blend, refreshing cocktail, or ice cream dessert. It can also be dried and made into tea.
Oregano - this is a classic culinary herb that can be used in most savory dishes. Use fresh or dry by hanging the bundle upside-down in a dry place.
Scabiosa (Pincushion Mix) - Scabiosas are such a precious flower. The plants take a while to bloom but are generally productive well into October. The stems are long and strong and the petals delicate and colorful. The stamen add a lovely bit of texture and the mix hosts a large variety of colors! i love growing these and I think they add a nice touch to bouquets.