Summer officially began this week with the Solstice on Tuesday, but anyone who has gone outside here in Georgia anytime in the last couple of months knows that summer in the south is in full swing. For the farm, of course, this means that our less heat tolerant spring crops, such as lettuce, kale, and chard, are going to be petering out to make way for more heat loving vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and so on. Right now, however, is a brief but fun time where we’re straddling both seasons and our shares are containing some of the best of both worlds.
As we harvest the last of our spring crops, we are turning the fields that grew them over and are sowing cover crops, which, with the help of recent rains, will grow to cover these fields and allow them to sort of rest from vegetable production for a couple months. We don’t harvest from cover crops, but rather utilize them to build organic matter and fertility in the soil, suppress weeds, and break the natural cycles of pests and plant diseases that occur on a vegetable farm.
This week’s share brings you a few fun root vegetables (turnips, beets, and carrots) and some summer veggies, which, technically speaking are fruits (Eggplant, tomatoes, and cucumbers). We’ve put together a couple of recipe ideas to help utilize your share.
Try roasting your root vegetables with eggplant:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Trim the tops off of your carrots and split lengthwise, and depending on the size of your beets and turnips, you can leave them whole or cut them in halves or quarters. Dice eggplant into similarly sized pieces. If you have any potatoes left over from your previous shares, you can throw those in too. Dice an onion as well.
Arrange veggies on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Put them in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, mince some garlic and prepare any other herbs you’d like to include (we recommend rosemary, thyme, or herbs de provence). Remove tray from oven and sprinkle these over vegetables and stir them a little, turning pieces over to ensure even cooking. Place back in the oven for about 10 more minutes, or until soft. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Now for those green beans, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes (If you didn’t eat them all on the way home). We found this great recipe from the food network for green bean salad. We’re sharing it with you below. Try including chopped basil!
1 pound fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
1/4 red onion, sliced thin
1/4 European cucumber, cut into thin sticks resembling shape and size of green beans
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 lemon, juiced
Coarse salt and pepper
Steam green beans in 1/2 inch boiling water covered for 3 or 4 minutes. Cold shock beans by running under cold water and drain well. Place beans in a bowl and combine with onions, cucumber and tomato. Dress salad with a generous drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Season salad with coarse salt and pepper, to taste.