This week’s share:
Tomato(Iroquois Avenue, Buffalo Street, and Food Field)
Garlic(Fields of Plenty and Buffalo Street)
Cucumbers(Occupy Yourself and Fields of Plenty)
Zucchini or Summer Squash(Occupy Yourself and Iroquois Avenue)
Shishito Peppers(Food Field)
Carrots or Cabbage(Food Field)
Wowzers, have we been having great weather for tomatoes! Just like human beings, tomato plants get stressed out from excess heat or cold. They do best with mild sunny days, cool nights where they can rest, and intermittent rain showers to stay well hydrated. So for the same reasons that we’re enjoying the weather, the plants are feeling healthy and productive! Farmers across the Midwest have waited this year for their summer crops, but now it really starts to pay off when those first beautiful, vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes come in.
Peppers are also doing great and we will be including heirloom shishito peppers with this week’s share. Shishitos are a longstanding Japanese variety but they’ve recently become a chef-favorite stateside, sizzling atop the menu in many “New American” bistros. The peppers naturally vary in their flavor. Most are mild, but about 1 in 10 pack a little extra heat. Try the recipe below as a salty snack alongside pre-dinner cocktails. Once you get a taste for them, try adding blistered shishitos to your burgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, or to top off a bowl of gazpacho.
Blistered Shishitos with Yogurt Dip
Heat a large cast iron skillet on the stove until very hot. Add peppers and press with a kitchen weight if available. Peppers will pop, sizzle, and become very aromatic. Toss with a spatula every few minutes, so that each side becomes slightly blackened and peppers overall change color to a darker green. Remove to a serving bowl and toss with a liberal pinch of salt.
Combine minced garlic, yogurt, lemon juice, and herbs or other seasonings of your preference.
Serve immediately as a light snack for 2-3 people. Extra yogurt dip can be saved and used as dressing for salad or slaw
Farmer Spotlight: Elizabeth Phillips of Iroquois Avenue Farm
Elizabeth is a founding member of the City Commons co-op. Outside her home on Iroquois Avenue, she farms abundant tomatoes, squash, head greens, cut flowers, and more. The addition of a hoop-house in late 2017 has allowed her to extend the season and broaden her possibilities. You may find her moonlighting at a local brewery or restaurant, working closely with chefs eager to buy her surplus produce.