Hello CSA Members
I don’t know about you, but my personal favorite veggie of all is the tomato. I suppose I love them so much because nothing captures summer in Minnesota better than vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes. What makes heirloom tomatoes so different than the crummy, tasteless, hard, yet perfectly uniform tomatoes you see in the grocery store? Let me explain. Heirloom tomatoes are:
Beautiful - they are very colorful. They come in red, yellow, purple, orange, green, often striped, and blotchy colors.Some are huge, some are tiny.
Ugly - while they are colorful, they are also come in crazy shapes, not uniform, have funny looking scabby-like skin markings, knobby protrusions, belly buttons and other odd physical features.
Split skin - Frequently, the skin will split (as seen in the photo above). When warm weather is here, and they get a good watering, the skin will split. Or after they’re harvested an sit overnight the skin will split. Say harsh words to them, their skin will split. So they are very thin-skinned.
Very fragile - The tomatoes you see in the grocery store have been picked when they were green, boxed up, then shipped to a produce distributer where they are exposed to ethylene gas to ripen them. But vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes are very fragile and would never survive the long-distance transportation. In fact, they are subject to bruising and more splitting even in the short distance that I travel to get them to you.
Unbelievably delicious - They aren’t perfect looking, but WOW what a difference. They may be split, bruised, bumpy, or funny looking, but the flavor is no comparison to what you get in the store.
Why am I making such a big deal about this? Because you’re going to be getting heirloom tomatoes that have split skin, may get bruised in transit, will have some funny looking markings not he skin, are odd shape, and are not at all perfect looking like you see in the grocery store. But they are absolutely delicious. Instead of being concerned about how some may look ugly or marred, lets celebrate the flavor that is incomparable to the crappy things you get in the grocery store.
So…. with that in mind… here is what you’ll find in your box this week.
Vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes - You probably already figured this out, right?? Finally they are ripening up. Last week the full-share members got a small handful of tomatoes. This week, it’s a medium-sized handful, but there are lots more coming in the future. However, DO NOT PUT YOUR TOMATOES IN THE REFRIGERATOR! Putting them in the fridge significantly reduces their flavor, so keep them on the counter. Yes, they may attract fruit flies, but that’s just an incentive to eat them right away.
Onions - You’ll find a couple of onions, big and small.
Peppers - A combination of sweet and/or hot peppers.
Cilantro - Combine this with the tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and fresh salsa is served.
Peas - The best way to eat these is straight from the box, shell and all. The shells are actually the sweetest part of this legume. And I probably ate ate least 3 pounds of peas while I harvested them.
Cabbage - You’ve already had some Napa cabbage (a.k.a. “womboks”) this year. Now you’ll be getting some basic cabbage that you’re probably very familiar with already. Of course, I’ve got some recipes for cabbage on my website if you’re looking for something new.
Broccoli - A nice big head of broccoli.
Cucumbers - yup.
Zucchini - one medium or a couple of small ones… yellow, green, striped, or ribbed. You’ll know for sure when you open up your box.
As always, here is the pick-up and delivery schedule for this week.
St. Cloud offices - Tuesday morning
Good Earth Co-op - Tuesday morning
Plymouth Community - Tuesday afternoon, probably between 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.
Made of Mora - Thursday by noon
Sapsucker Farms - Thursday after noon
City Center Market Co-op in Cambridge - Friday morning by 10:00 a.m.