Siena Farms Blog
The fields are dry! This time of in New England water becomes a farmers most valued resource as dry weeks can stretch to dry months. Last season’s drought lasted from June to September and this season hasn’t been as tough but our summer’s precipitation has yielded little accumulation. We have devised several alternatives to well-run irrigation, which is not yet a permanent fixture in many of our direst fields. Max and Avi built a water truck using a hay truck to supply our fall carrots with water during this crucial germination period. Keeping a close eye on the weather is always part of a farmer’s daily routine, but now we watch with anticipation of rain and wet weather patterns moving from farther parts of the nation. Luckily for many of our already growing plants, hot and dry weather is exactly what we want this time of year. “Hot crops;” our tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are established enough to reach for water deeper in the soil and revel in the intense sunshine and warm temps. Weather aside, these next few days will determine the fate of those crops as we work hard to keep up with pests and rigorous cultivation schedules that can stunt growth or cause failure. So , needless to say this is a very exciting time of the year! We are so thankful for what we have already accomplished so far and couldn’t have higher hopes for tomato season and our heavy fall crops. The crew has been fun-loving, hard working and knowledgeable enough to take us to a new level of productivity this season. Lets pray for rain!
A few days ago Janice requested a recipe she saw on the Victory Garden show featured on PBS… and, as we’re always happy to share, here it is! (What a perfect timing, by the way, as green tomatoes are just the perfect thing right now.)
Green Tomato Fondue with Feta & Summer Herbs
3 green tomatoes, cut and quartered
1/2 cup ouzo
1/2 cup dry, white wine
1/2 cup extra virgin, Greek olive oil
2 cups of Goat’s milk feta
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup mixed, chopped herbs (like summer savory, basil, thyme, sage, and oregano)
3 pita breads, torn into halves
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the green tomatoes into a casserole dish and season all sides with salt and pepper. Add ouzo, white wine and olive oil and turn tomatoes so that the cut side is down. Place in hot oven.
2. Roast for about 20 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool for ten minutes. (This will help them release more of their juices.) Pour off the released juices into a separate bowl and reserve.
3. Crumble the feta into the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the juices from the roasted tomatoes as well as 1/2 cup of water.
4. Blend until smooth and creamy (approximately 2 minutes). Pour into the bottom of the baking dish with the roasted tomato quarters.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until soft and bubbly. Sprinkle with chopped herbs. Serve with grilled shrimp or pita bread.
There you go, Janice! Happy cooking!
Every now and again a nice summer weekend will use up every last drop of energy you have – fitting in all those “fun” activities can make a Monday morning feel like a chore! On Mondays we like to think about having a simple, quick supper filled with delicious veggies that gets you in and out of the kitchen quickly. Try this simple recipe for Zucchini Fritters from Ana’s cookbook, Spice.
It great with just about any type of squash or even kohlrabi… we love cousa squash because they’re farm-perfect this time of year!
Zucchini Fritters with Nasturium Aioli
For the fritters –
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (about 1 lb.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium red onion, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or mint
1 tablespoon chopped nasturtium leaves (2 or 3 leaves depending on size)
Black pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup olive oil for frying
1. Place the grated zucchini in a colander, sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of salt, mix it, and allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
2. Remove the excess moisture from the zucchini by squeezing it between the palms of your hands. Place the zucchini in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the onion, dill, nasturtium leaves, pepper, flour and eggs. Mix the ingredients well to form a thick batter.
4. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, drop heaping tablespoons of the zucchini mixture into the oil and fry the fritters until they’re golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side. Drain the fritters on paper towels.
5. Serve immediately with a small spoonful of aioli (see below) on each fritter.
To make the aioli-
2 large cloves garlic
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup packed, washed, and dried nasturtium blossoms
2 tablespoons Greek-style or plain whole-milk yogurt
Black pepper to taste
Place the garlic in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and chop until the garlic is very finely minced. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl once. Add the egg yolks, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and mustard and puree for a minute until smooth and creamy. With the motor running, slowly pour in 1.2 cup of the canola oil . Add the lemon juice and continue to puree with the motor running. Add the remaining 1/2 cup canola oil little by little until you have a mayonnaise that is slightly thinner than the consistency of commercial brands. Add the nasturtium blossoms and yogurt and blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
**If you’re not up for making aioli, try taking some Greek style yogurt and adding some lemon zest and salt to taste. After you top your fritters, you could even sprinkle some Aleppo chilis on top for a little kick. Serve with hearty, veggie filled salad for a great Monday night meal!
Happy Friday from the farm crew! Do you know why we love Fridays? We get to pack up our trucks and head into town for the Copley Market downtown. It gives us a great chance to meet with you, our happy food enthusiasts, and to show you all the great things that happened in the last week!
We know (very well!) how hot it has been and that the mugginess has been getting everyone down… but how could you not be just a bit more smiley when you look at our Joker Sunflowers?
We’re well into the their growing season – and what says “summer” like a bunch of these guys in a nice pitcher on your counter?
Also, it’s that time of year when herbs are really taking off and if you’re anything like us, sometimes time passes too quickly and it’s hard to use a whole bunch by the end of the week. Take a cue from our friends at Sofra and put handfuls of picked leaves in your next salad for a nice punch of flavor with your crunch of greens! Try adding cilantro, parsley, or basil leaves into your salad with nice cuts of fresh scallion tops. Toss with your favorite dressing (or make your own) and top with some finely shredded raw beets. It’s a great, fresh way to add a burst of color and taste to a great summer time staple.
Any way you use them, carrots are always a crowd pleaser! If you’ve got kids who refuse to eat their veggies, our rainbow varieties may just do the trick. Siena loves them straight from the ground with just a wipe before crunch, crunch, crunching into ’em.
Sure, you can easily get carrots year round from California growers, but California gets pretty jealous of New England carrots come fall! During the summer enjoy the subtle sweetness, the bright colors, fresh flavor and crunch… and come October, just wait to see what happens. When the air gets crisp and there’s a chill left in the morning, our carrots are hard at work storing sugars to prep for what they think will be a long winter in the ground. Fall carrots in New England are an amazing treat because of all stored, intense, sweet, special FLAVOR!
Grab some carrots at our farmstand or pick ’em straight out of your CSA boxshare and get snacking. After all, they’re good for your eyes and for your tastebuds!
Sometimes we forget how amazing vegetables fresh from the ground really are. We’re here every day rolling in the dirt and basking in the sun – working hard to make sure we’re stocking our farmer’s markets with the freshest of the fresh! Each field is special to us, and we get easily spoiled by snacking on tasty stuff.
It was just last week we invited out the staffs of Oleana and Sofra to see and understand where all their tasty wares start out… in the dirt! We spent a few hours showing eager folks why we’re so passionate about what we do and a conversation came up. Do you know that most people have never tasted a “just dug” potato? When they come straight out of the ground the skins are thin and soft – you can wipe ’em off with your fingers! The starches also haven’t developed yet so they are more sugar and sweetness than the in-store varieties that have been sitting for who knows how long.
If you love potatoes like we do, try a “just dug” potato this summer. For us, potatoes are a kin to tomatoes – you can surely get them year-round, but when it’s summer and still warm from the sun, well, they’re the best!