What's in the Box This Week? Tomatoes!

Last week was a bit of a lost one for me, farmshare-wise. My family was on vacation, so we had a friend pick up - and keep - our box. I enjoyed the rare adventure of getting the bulk of our food from farmers markets and co-ops this week, but I missed out on the fun of trying to figure out what to do with the new foods in my farmshare.

As a result, I was more than a little bit excited to pick up this week's farmshare bounty. Here's what came this week, with a photo, suggestions, and descriptions straight from Harmony Valley Farm:

  • Italian garlic: Pack whole cloves around a slow-cooked pork or beef roast. If you want, cut a pocket in the roast and stuff even more garlic in there
  • Sweet Spanish onion: For a quick, simple, and totally tasty side dish, sauté onion with chopped zucchini or summer squash over low heat until veggies are soft and beginning to brown. Salt to taste, and serve warm.
  • Green Top carrots: The tops can be mixed in with cooking greens and eaten wilted, or chopped and used as an herb. They have a strong herbal flavor with recognizable carroty aroma. Try mixing into grain salads, soups, and veggie dishes.
  • Salad mix or sauté: Perfect for a busy day! Gotta love that convenience. Plan a meal around it on the day you just don't have time for lots of meal prep.
  • Arugula: Use raw or wilted as a bed for a light, lean fish poached with lemon.
  • Romance Potatoes: Sliced thin and rubbed with oil, they are delicious cooked on the grill! For potatoes 1/8" thick, give them about 5 minutes on each side. These are red skinned, with golden flesh.
  • Yellow and Green beans: Try pairing sautéed green beans with crisp crumbled bacon or buttery sautéed mushrooms. Or both. Mmm.
  • Summer Squash & Zucchini: Sliced, sautéed, and refrigerated, cold zucchini adds great taste and texture to a veggie pita or wrap.
  • Regular or Thin Skinned Crispy Salad Cucumber: Make a chilled cucumber soup for a refreshing meal or appetizer on a hot day. Peel and scoop out the cucumber's seeds, puree in a blender with yogurt and stock or cream, and garnish each bowl with chopped fresh mint.
  • Red mizuna: A beautiful cooking green with strong mustard flavor. Steam or sauté briefly, and finish with a splash of lemon or maple syrup to mellow out the strong flavor.
  • Tomatoes: Enjoy an amuse bouche from your farm: a tantalizing taste of what's to come! Here on the farm, we get to enjoy the earliest taste of each veggie as the "early bloomers" begin to ripen. We wanted to share this excitement with you with the very first of this year's tomatoes. Close your eyes and imagine walking down a row of tomato vines, with green tomatoes hanging from every plant, and then you see it- the first ripe red tomato of the summer. Open your eyes. It's in your box.
  • Dill: Delicious accompaniment to green beans, potatoes, carrots, tossed salad, or fish. Keep it wrapped in a damp paper towel until ready to use.
  • Green Bell or Italian Frying Pepper: Much like the tomato in this week's box, this is just a tease - an early taste of many more yet to come. Yum! Dice and sauté and add to scrambled eggs! While you're at it, why not throw in some onions and Cheddar cheese?

Could I be more excited to get tomatoes? Probably not. I think this is the first year I've ever noticed or cared, but holy cow! They're small, but they're RIPE! I ate the sweet yellow ones right away - terrific! - and made a half-hearted attempt to get my kids to eat the others, although my goal was to hoard them for myself (achieved!). I love that the good-and-silly folks at Harmony Valley call the tomatoes an "amuse bouche," and it's totally appropriate: we're not going to be making tomato sauce anytime soon, but I'm grateful for the small taste for now.

I'll also admit that green beans are not one of my favorite foods. The large bags of them we've ben getting are hard for me to get through. Somehow, I never thought of adding bacon and butter until I got this week's newsletter. Genius!