Monday, August 27, 2012

We Pick, You Pick!

Directions to harvesting your you-pick vegetables: The farm crew and I have started joking that our lives would be a lot easier if we just made the whole CSA share you-pick. Imagine all the weeding we could do!  While you-pick scallions sounds tempting to us, being very labor intensive vegetables to harvest, clean and bunch, we hope you are enjoying the balance of ready-to-go vegetables on the CSA table, and the participatory you-pick vegetables offered as part of your share. This year we have more you-pick options than ever before, and I must say I think our you-pick section is looking better than ever before as well! Most people pick at the end of the row that is closest to the main, central pathway. Try picking from the other end, near the sheep pasture to find some under-harvested plants. Soon to come in the you-pick section: purple beans!
Read over the following instructions as you decide what you want to pick this week:
This is the first year we have ever (successfully) grown edamame, also known as soy bean.  Thanks to the volunteer day two weeks ago, these beds are ready for harvesting. Select the largest, plumpest bean you find. If you can’t see the outline of a bean inside the pod, its underdeveloped and you should leave it on the plant. Snap the bean off the plant by using your thumb to break the stem, using the same motion you would use to flick a coin into the air for a heads or tails toss. Be careful not to yank the bean, you will pull the whole branch off!
Paste Tomatoes
All the tomatoes are coming in strong right now. Despite the large quantity of heirloom tomatoes in your share, I encourage you to pick the past tomatoes in the field. Paste tomatoes, also known as plum or Toma tomatoes, have less water in them and are therefore great for making tomato paste. The regular heirloom tomatoes that you are receiving in your share are tasty and beautiful, but very watery and will take hours to cook down into sauce (although this has not stopped me from turning them into sauce in the past!). Pick paste tomatoes when they are three-quarters to fully red.
Cherry Tomatoes
We are offering cherry tomatoes in the field, the ones in the hoop house are finished. In the field we have many different colors. Generally, choose the brightest colors you can find. They come in red, pale yellow, orange, dark purple and a bicolor that is red and orange.
bowl of ice water for 5 minutes
Remove the tomatoes and easily peel off the skin
Place the tomatoes in a freezer bag, squeeze out excessive water
Tomatoes can be frozen for about a year

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