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As another month passes by, we move closer to the first frost date. It looks like next Sunday could bring low temps in the mid-40's, so the cold weather is certainly on the way! For the past two years, we actually had very light frosts at the end of September. Well, this is looking to be the last week of (ripe) tomatoes, which is actually the latest we've ever been able to grow them! They're really only trickling in now, so there's no guarantee that we'll even have enough for each of you, but we're hoping that we do. We will soon have green tomatoes for you though, along with some recipes to help you figure out what to do with them.
One major plus of this cooler weather: fewer bugs! This was a bad year for ticks and mosquitos out here, and both seem to be almost gone. Along with them, the daily buzz of the cicadas is fading, though the nightly cricket chorus is still going strong. The cows have been grazing through our early summer fields, providing much-needed organic matter and fertilizer for next season's crops. We are transplanting our last starts from the greenhouse and are beginning to plant a few things in our hoophouse, which will allow us to grow fall crops like lettuce and spinach through the winter. Our zinnias and basil are barely hanging in there, looking a bit rough due to our wet summer. As long as we've got 'em, though, you'll get 'em.
Delicata or Sweet Dumpling Winter Squash: These delicious winter squash are both green and yellow striped. Sweet Dumpling is more upright, like a small pumpkin with an indention at the top. The Delicata is oval-shaped. There is a slight flavor difference between the two, with the Delicata being slightly sweeter but the Sweet Dumpling having a longer shelf life. They are great roasted and halved. The seeds can be toasted like pumpkin seeds. The skin is also edible and nutritious if you cook it long enough.
Greens Mix: Use for salad or toss a handful in with a stir-fry or omelet!
Kale/Tatsoi/Radish Greens: These are thinnings from our fall plantings. The Kale and Tatsoi can be used either raw or cooked while the radish greens are better cooked. See radish green soup below, which is quite tasty.
Onions: We’ll be giving out our bulb onions, which can be stored like garlic.
Peppers: These sweet peppers will either be the bell shape that most people are used to or the "bull nose" shape, which are longer and used just the same. Stuff and bake them, eat them in salads, cut them into long pieces for dipping, pickle them, etc. We have greens, reds, oranges, etc.Okra: This southern crop is delicious and underappreciated by many. A favorite way to cook it is to slice pods in half, toss with salt and spices and oil, and roast in the oven. We grow "Red Burgundy", "Hill Country Red", "Clemson Spineless", and "Star of David". Try boiling, pickling, stirfrying, etc.Tomatoes: Unfortunately, they're almost done for the year, but they've had a good run! We’re growing many varieties of both heirlooms and hybrids: Pink Beauty, New Girl, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Garden Peach, Nebraska Heirloom, Italian Heirloom, Amish Paste, San Marzano, Trucker’s Favorite, etc.
Potatoes: It has been a while since you've gotten these, and we think it might be time to bring them out again. Bake 'em, fry 'em, saute 'em, or mash 'em.
Okra: You're not tired of okra yet, are you?! In a couple of weeks, it will likely stop producing, so enjoy it while you can!
Hot Chili Peppers: We will not include these in our boxes, so be sure to let us know if you want some. We have red serranos and both green and red (ripe) jalapenos.
Basil: The basil has been struggling with the cool/wet weather, but hopefully we'll have some for you. It is the classic summer herb! Goes great with tomatoes. Blend up with garlic, nuts, and oil to make pesto. To maintain freshness for longer, store at room temperature in a jar with an inch of water in the bottom.