I may talk like a Yankee, but I’d like to believe I can cook up a good Southern meal. Everyone knows I really moved to the south to indulge in my love of fried chicken, catfish, sweet potatoes and hush puppies.
August and September are some of the most rewarding months of the year for a farmer. You are literally reaping all that you have sown. Late spring and early autumn have always been the busiest times of year for me. Not only am I spending many hours harvesting but also preparing ground and new seedlings for fall planting. And the fun doesn’t stop there because when I go home at night there are boxes of tomatoes just waiting to be turned into salsa or sauce. The tomato soup dinner that occurred recently was purely the result of trying to find a way to make dinner and tomato sauce at the same time. I am a big fan of multitasking (coffee and breakfast in the bathtub, don’t knock it til you try it).
We are rich in sweet corn this week on the farm. Our earliest variety planted, Ashworth, is ready to be picked and steamed, boiled, sauteed and more! Ashworth is an open-pollinated non GMO yellow sweet corn developed in by Fred Ashworth and marketed by Johnny’s Seeds in 1978. Unlike hybrid sweet corn this variety is less sweet with good corn flavor. Although I will spend the weekend, shucking and freezing corn for the winter for now I am putting fresh corn in every single thing I eat.
After 6 years of farming I have concluded that farming is all about excesses and failures. Lucky for us, that these excesses lead to year round abundance. I started a lot of traditional varieties of sauce tomatoes like Amish Paste and San Marzano but it was a bit too early and they did not make it out of the greenhouse this season. This is totally fine with me because a few years ago I started canning this heirloom variety of tomato called Garden Peach that falls in between a large tomato and a cherry tomato in size. The thick skin peels off easily after being blanched and I’ve enjoyed them for 2 winters now in soups, chillies, stews and braises.
Considering we harvested 50 lbs. of heirloom tomatoes last week and then I harvested 51 lbs. again just today, I think they are here to stay. Every day I find a new one bursting with color, ready to be picked. And the cherry tomatoes are popping off as well. Since I had a bunch of cherry tomatoes piling up in my refrigerator and heirlooms all over the counter, it was time for a fresh pasta sauce.
Farinata (also knows at Cecina in Italy and Socca in France) is an unleavened bread very simply made of chickpea flour and water. People have been eating Farinata WAY before everything that doesn’t contain wheat was dubbed holy and labeled “gluten-free”. And it is upon principle that I refuse to call this “gluten-free pizza” which it actually kinda is. Not eating wheat for every meal doesn’t have to have a label and a special diet and make you feel special. It’s the way a lot of people have been eating for many many centuries. It’s called moderation. I love a good wood-fired sourdough pizza crust bubbling away with little black bubbles all around the outside, but sometimes I like the deep dish feel and nutty flavor of farinata as a pizza crust.
This week, we are giving the CSA a break after 3 steady weeks of summer squash heavy in the baskets. It’ll be there as an optional grab in our walk-in, but not mandatory. Just to mix it up a bit, squash blossoms will make an appearance in the basket. Squash blossoms are so beautiful and delicate and unless you are growing squash or eating out, you probably rarely see them. They are so highly perishable that I can’t imagine any major retailer of food would ever be able to sell them and if they find a way, I wouldn’t trust it. Good, more for me.