11th Harvest Week: Saturday Delivery August 27th, 2011


Vegetable of the Week… Tomatoes
You have received tomatoes for a couple of weeks now and you probably are enjoying them in salad or just by themselves. The Grilled Tomatoes recipe on pg 232 of Farmer John’s Cookbook is fantastic. Check out the whole section on tomatoes, starting on page 228. The cookbook gives you great tips on varieties that we grow, storage and handling information and many tested recipes. Some of you have been concerned about getting unripe tomatoes, so be sure to read what Farmer John writes below.

(If you joined us later in the season, you should receive your complementary copy of Farmer John’s Cookbook in the mail some time later this week.)

Farmer John Writes…
Sweet corn has come to an end… melons, too. You are receiving the first of our fall broccoli, winter squash, potatoes and leeks. Summer crops that will overlap for a while with your fall crops are tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. (Think of it as Cross-Seasonal Eating.) The kale is coming back after a lengthy setback due to flea beetles.

Our Approach to Your Tomatoes
We’ve had a few inquiries regarding the range of ripeness in the bags of tomatoes we’ve been sending you. Tomatoes ripen very quickly once they start to turn color from green to pink. We bag your tomatoes with that ripening speed in mind, in the hopes of providing you with a sequence of ripening tomatoes throughout the week. If we pick the tomatoes from the vine when they are bright red the day before we bag them, some of them will be too ripe to even send to you, and most all of them will be overripe by the time you receive your next tomatoes. Also, picking the tomatoes when they blush or turn makes it much less likely that they will be eaten by pests or will succumb to splitting due to rains. (We harvest our heirlooms at a somewhat more ripe stage.)

Here is an excerpt at
http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/publicat/postharv/tomatoes/tomat.html from the Cooperative Extension Service:
Vine-ripened tomatoes should be harvested at the breaker stage to ensure the best quality. Fruit at the breaker stage, which have some interlocular gel and a pinkish red color on the inside, are sure to be mature. Such fruit can be handled and shipped better than that which has more color…

Note on commercial tomatoes: they are typically harvested green and then ripened artificially with ethylene gas. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomato#Picking_and_ripening , we learn that tomatoes ripened in this way tend to keep longer, but have poorer flavor and a mealier, starchier texture than tomatoes ripened on the plant.

Rudolf Steiner
On page 234 of Farmer John’s Cookbook, note the sidebar regarding Rudolf Steiner’s observations on the tomato, in which he says the tomato can be beneficial to health, or not, depending. Such insights characterized Steiner’s nimble powers of observation.

The Young Farmer Gathering was Great!
As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, Angelic Organics hosted the Biodynamic Initiative for the Next Generation (BING) and Upper Midwest CRAFT, a summer gathering of young (and young at heart) farmers and friends. About 75 people attended this fantastic, inspirational event. I love when farmers visit our farm, and we can talk farming, farming, farming… Many of them planned to camp on the farm Saturday night, but we had tremendous downpours that evening, which turned the campground into a marsh. We were happy to put a lot of the guests up in warm, dry sheds and barns.

Home Delivery Service
About home delivery, we like the idea of your box being protected from the elements on their journey from our coolers to your refrigerator; we also like the idea of the convenience of delivery to your door. If you have home delivery service of your share, we’d appreciate if you send Shelly a note on how it’s going.

New Food Documentary: Farmageddon, the Unseen War on American Family Farms Aug 26th – 31st at the Gene Siskel Film Center. See the movie trailer at FarmageddonMovie.com

I mentioned this film in a previous newsletter. I haven’t seen the film, but the topic is compelling; many well intentioned, well managed and health providing farms have been destroyed by U.S. government policy and intervention. Panel discussions, workshops and great food will be featured during a number of special “Meet the Filmmaker” screening events: http://hartkeisonline.com/food-politics/meet-the-farmageddon-filmmaker-events-in-chicago .

Upcoming Programs at the Angelic Organics Learning Center
September 3-4:  Family Farm Overnight
For the following week, a brand new class, just added!
September 11, 2011 1 PM-5 PM: Cheesemaking 2: Hard Cheeses
Only 5 seats are still available for the cheese making event.
Please register at least 1 week in advance at http://www.learngrowconnect.org or (815) 389-8455.

The following takes you to the Learning Center August calendar, which has links to all of their programs:

Farmer John

Box Contents
Please Note: this summary is written before you receive your box—please be aware that some guesswork is involved. As always, be sure to thoroughly wash all of your vegetables.

Fruiting Crops – Eggplant, Tomatoes -including heirloom, bagged mini bell peppers, Acorn squash, Red Kuri squash
Alliums – Onions, Leek
Cooking Greens – Kale
Salad Greens – 2 Heads of Lettuce
Brassicas – Broccoli
Root Crops – Red & White Potatoes

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