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Monday, August 17, 2015

Spirit of the Tomatillo



Here at Powisset Farm, spirit vegetables are a kind of big deal.  On the first day of the season when the full-timers and the part-timers started working together, Meryl broke the ice by asking “What is your spirit vegetable and why?”  We all gave various answers- some serious, some hilarious, and some vague and uncertain.  Conversations like this have brought us together over the summer, creating a beautiful crew of 8 dedicated farmhands.  Fast-forward 12 weeks and we have already started to say heartbreaking good-byes to each other as some of us begrudgingly go back to school or work for the fall. Luckily for me, I spent a good chunk of my last week here at the farm participating in my favorite vegetable harvest: tomatillos. 

direct seeding some fall crops!
For those of you who have shied away from the tomatillos on the share tables this past week, a tomatillo is a bright green tomato-wannabe that grows inside of a husk, from which it bursts when it is ready to be harvested.  When harvesting tomatillos on Thursday, I crawled through a jungle of plants that formed a wall around me, rising high up above my head.  It is easy to get into a trance when harvesting tomatillos; the buzzing of bees sucking the pollen from the tomatillo flowers muffled my fellow crew members’ chatter.  Pushing my bucket forward, I scanned the rows surrounding me for the perfect fruits- the ones begging to be harvested by splitting their husks.  As I grabbed an extra hunky tomatillo, I had a realization: this is the vegetable (fruit… if we’re getting technical) that most encapsulates the spirit of my fellow farmers!  

Like a harvest-ready tomatillo, the 2015 Powisset Farm crew is bursting with life.  I have never before met a group of people who are as upbeat, witty, and hardworking as these lovely farmers. The vitality of my teammates is due in part to our coach, whose incredible spirit and joyfulness is both palpable and contagious.  I am so thankful to have been a part of this amazing team and my heart aches that I will soon be leaving this place that has given me so much strength, laughter, and life.  This is truly the best place on earth.

From the fields, 

            Becca and the Powisset Farm crew

**becca has been a full-time 2015 crew member since April! Her last day is this Wednesday, as she prepares to head back Vermont next week to complete her final year of undergraduate education at the University of Vermont.  We will miss her!!***


What's in the Share this week:
in the barn: tomatoes, peppers and/or eggplants, lettuce mix or greens choice, cukes & squash, basil and/or cilantro, sweet corn from sunshine farm, carrots and/or beets, watermelon!  (and i guess we should probably put tomatillos out there too, now that becca told you how special they are...we'll see if there's enough)

in the fields: cherry tomatoes, string beans,  the start of the husk cherries, flowers



Special Barn Dinner: Meryl's Send-Off & Thank You Party
Sunday, November 1st

Mark your calendar for a special barn dinner event to honor Meryl, our wonderful farm manager for the past nine years. Meryl will be departing Powisset Farm at the end of this season and we want to send her off with love and gratitude. We will be gathering on Sunday, November 1st starting at 4pm in the barn and ending sometime in the evening (it's open). Feel free to come and go at your own pace. Please bring a side dish, entree or dessert to share. To RSVP, email Nicole Lewis at nlewis@ttor.org or Nicole Nacamuli at nnacamuli@ttor.org.

In the Farm Stand
BLUEBERRIES! This week in the farm we have bulk 10 lb. blueberries! And by Saturday, we have our fingers crossed for pints and 5 lb boxes. Buying in bulk is a great way to stock up on these delicious berries to sustain you past the growing season. Grab a box, then separate them to smaller bags/containers (I like the quart sizes), and store in the freezer. Come winter, you'll still be able to continue to enjoy these summer yummies!

EINKORN! Looks like many of your were intrigued with the Einkorn flour....more is on its way and the pasta has arrived and is now in the stand. One correction from last week's post about the Einkorn pasta....I wrote 1 lb boxes when they are actually 8oz boxes.  Saute your farm tomatoes, basil and zucchini with a little garlic and olive oil then top it over the pasta! Dinner is done!

PEACHES! Peter's Farm Peaches are spontaneously popping up in the Farm Stand. Peter is our wonderful provider of honey and jam and now he's throwing in a few of his peaches. Peter takes great care in what he does and prides himself on not using any chemicals. Don't be quick to judge these by their "covers." Although they might look a little funny, they are DELICIOUS inside. Grab a pint or quart (whatever is left) next time you come in.

TEA TOWELS! Lucy from Lucy Two Shoes is a local artist with a LOT of creativity and humor. She will be featuring her farm themed, hand-lettered/drawn (no computer fonts on these babies!), catch-phrase tea towels at the farm. You will LOVE them! They are cute, clever and make GREAT gifts...or hanging in your own kitchen.


Featured Recipe
It's that time of year when the tomatoes are flowing and you might be looking for some additional ideas to use these veggies aside from adding them to salads, sandwiches, caprese, and eating them raw. Here's a recipe "off the beaten" path but easy to do.

Roasted Tomatoes
Roasting tomatoes is a great way to cook tomatoes for eating right away or for freezing and storing. If you're using medium to large sized tomatoes, cut them in half. For small or cherry tomatoes, no need to cut (unless you really want to). Preheat your oven to 325-350 degrees.  Take a baking sheet and place tomatoes cut side up on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Feel free to add some garlic and/or herbs, too...whatever strikes your fancy (parsley, basil, rosemary, etc).  Bake in the oven for about 2 hours until the tomatoes are soft, wilted and caramelized. For smaller tomatoes you might want to check on the tomatoes at the one hour mark - they might be done.  Once they're done, you can serve them to eat right away or cool, put into a freezer safe container or bag and freeze for future use. When I de-frost them I like to puree for tomato soup or add them to homemade sauce. Enjoy!

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