2016 CSA – Week 5: Cultivating a Tomato Forest

CSA Week 5 Graphic

CSA Newsletter  – Week 5


Cultivating a Tomato Forest

I was walking through one of the greenhouses a few days ago and couldn’t believe the size of our tomato plants. It was like walking through a tomato forest. Plants towering over my head and branches the circumference of a shovel handles. These tomatoes aren’t messing around!

The genesis of these tomatoes began in the early months of the year in our propagation house. When they are about the size of a toothpick, scion stems are meticulously grafted to separate rootstock plants. The seeding, grafting, and healing process of the tomato plants takes about 4 weeks of diligent care in the propagation house.

Once the tomatoes are planted in the high tunnels or in the field, they are “trained” by wrapping the leading stems with twine.  This supports the plants vegetation and fruit as they grow larger. Each week, the plants are pruned and shoots called suckers are removed.

In the high tunnels, the tomato plants can reach the high tunnel ceiling, up to 15 feet high. If the plants remain healthy throughout the season, fruit can be harvested up to the first hard frost, usually into November. That is some serious growing power!

Have a great week and enjoy those veggies.

-Lily, CSA Coordinator

 

Table of Box Contents

Lettuce ($2.00)

Red Scallions ($2.50) – Delicious in eggs, salad, or grilled

☐ Fresh Sweet Onion ($1.50)

☐ Bunch Carrots ($3.50) – Remove tops for storage

Italian Parsley ($2.00) – Substitute for basil in your favorite pesto recipe or try this one from SimplyRecipes.

Radicchio ($3.00) – Delicious in salad or grilled. Pairs well with balsamic and an aged cheese such as parmesan.

Swiss Chard ($3.00) – Sauté with onions and eat with eggs or top over a grilled sausage.

Green Cabbage ($5.25) – Coleslaw is a wonderful summer salad. See recipe.

2-4 Zucchini ($3.25) – Grill, sauté, or make zucchini bread.

4 Cucumbers ($4.00) – Try them smashed! See recipe.

1 lb Tomatoes (2-3) ($3.50)

 

Recipes

Smashed Cucumber Salad

Smashing cucumbers is fun and it makes a delicious salad! I made this last week and it was so tasty, and refreshing. Definitely a new summer staple for me! Use as few or as many cucumbers as you like and season to taste.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-4 cucumbers
  • salt
  • Chili oil or toasted sesame oil
  • rice vinegar (optional)

Add-ons: toasted sesame seeds, scallions, garlic, red pepper flakes

PREPARATION

  1. Smash the cucumbers, one at a time, using a rolling pin. Smash on one side, flip, and smash on the other.
  2. Tear cucumbers into chunks, place in a colander, and salt. Let drain for 10 minutes.
  3. Drizzle with the oil and add any other additional flavorings to taste.

Watch this fun Bon Appetit video for a visual recipe.

 

Quinoa Tabbouleh

This twist on the classic Middle Eastern salad is delicious using quinoa but you can also use the traditional grain, bulger. This is one of those dishes that just taste better the longer the flavors meld so make a large batch and eat it all week!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • Scallions, thinly sliced

PREPARATION

  1. Bring quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice and garlic in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Spread out quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet; let cool. Transfer to a large bowl; mix in 1/4 cup dressing.
  6. Add cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, and scallions to bowl with quinoa; toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle remaining dressing over.

Read More: Epicurious

 

Coleslaw with Mint and Golden Raisins

This is one of my go to salads. The mint is so fresh and the raisins add a hint of sweetness. Make a day ahead to let the raisins plum up and for the flavors to meld. Quantities are flexible depending on how you like your coleslaw. Season to taste.

INGREDIENTS

  • Green or Red Cabbage
  • Mayonnaise (or veganaise)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Golden Raisins

PREPARATION

  1. Chop Cabbage into long, thin strips. Chop mint.
  2. In a large bowl, mix cabbage, mint, and golden raisins.
  3. Add enough mayonnaise to coat. Enjoy!