This is turning into the coolest August I can remember, with daytime temps not even hitting 80 F. (26 c.) and nights in the 50s F (12 c.). We had a major rainstorm (like everybody in the East) on Wednesday that knocked over 25 or so of the corn stalks in The Survival Garden, but they were staked back up without too much damage.
We picked the ripest tomatoes before the rain to protect them.
That's Incas on the left, Rutgers on the right, Sugar Plum at the top, and another of those Burpee Supersauce guys on the scale, weighing a nice 9.75 oz. (~276 g.).
We also picked 10.5 oz. (~300 g.) of beans. Note: I like to keep the purple Velour and the green Denver filet beans separate for photography, but The Kitchen Goddess lets them fraternize!
She decided to take some of the sauce tomatoes we were accumulating and make tomato paste. She put the paste in ice-cube trays (remember those?) to freeze them individually.
Once frozen, pop them into a bag to store. When you need a small quantity of paste to thicken a sauce, you just take out one or two. I like it!
We also got our first real picking of corn. This variety is "Espresso Bi-color" and was supposed to be early, but clearly it was not for us. The plants never really got robust or put out much. The "Honey Select" I planted, not ready yet, looks like it will produce more. Truth be told, sweet corn never seems to do too well for me, which is a shame, since it is one of my favorite foods.
We picked again after the rain.
The lone eggplant went right into a meatless Tikka Masala, from a jar but very tasty.
It was time to pick the sumac "candles." This small tree is very common in the Northeast. It's a native, but can get very invasive. But it gives dour old New England a tropical look.
Here's the picked "candles" (flowers/drupes) ready for drying:
I never did get around to making za'atar with them last year. They all went to making refreshing, slightly lemony iced tea. It helps to add a little black tea to give more flavor.
On Sunday we picked about half our remaining spring-sown beets and carrots (they're slow, I know). This is Golden Touchstone and Detroit Dark Red beets, and Danvers half-long carrots. We got more than 3 pounds (1.36 kg) of beets and almost 7 pounds (3 kg) of carrots (tops removed). TKG was busy processing them while I went for a mountain bike ride!
A nice basket of more of the same stuff...but wait! Our first Diva cucumber (first cucumber period). Hoorah! They are just so poky this year.
That's the last of the blueberries too. The nets are off, and the birds can have the rest.
Now I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of the Eight Gate Farm workforce!
TKG, who likes to give everything a name, is calling her (it) "Fancy Princess" after a horse she used to ride that was, quote, "difficult but fun." I was holding out for a more manly name, like "Ferocious Tiger." Well, it is orange and black. I lost, of course. Wish I'd bought one years ago. You know, a lot of guys in the throes of middle age buy themselves the Harley-Davidson they've always wanted, but me...?
That's it for this week. Thanks for reading, and happy harvests to all!
Gorgeous harvest! Those beets, corn, tomatoes and carrots look wonderful. And YAY for first cucumber (i did the same dance with first yellow squash that finally decided to produce). What is sumac "candles.and what do you do with it? the picture is a bit blurry.ReplyDelete
Hi Jenny. Sumac "candles" are the flowers on the end of the branches of the Staghorn Sumac tree, that turn into seed drupes. Sumac has many uses. I'm sure your area is loaded with them. Here's a pretty good article from Mother Earth News: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/sumac-extract-zbcz1309.aspx#axzz3ApwFSMJVDelete
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What I meant to say was: Love that Kubota! I had a small Ford tractor when I lived on the farm and it really came in handy. I'll bet your Kubota will too.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Dave. We are really looking forward to all the uses of a small tractor.Delete
Beautiful harvests. I have plenty of sumacs growing in a wooded area out back but wasn't sure if the "wild" kind were the same as the culinary sumac. Great tractor - would have come in handy to have one of those when building the new raised beds.ReplyDelete
The native sumac is a different but related plant to the Mediterranean one, but it seems to have all the same uses. See my reply to Jenny's comment for a link to a good article on it.Delete
Nice harvest. Drying the sumac is interesting. I'll have to see if I can find some around here. Would save me a trip to the Middle Eastern market in Worcester, since I am getting low on dried sumac. And I like the tractor. Kept telling the wife I needed some serious machinery but I never got the OK, so it's just shovel, pick ax and wheelbarrow for me.ReplyDelete
The sumac berries can be dried and put through a blender, fuzz and all. I have not done that yet, as we still have some store-bought ground sumac, and a little goes a long way. I'm just experimenting with the plant, and found the tea very refreshing. Tell "the wife" she can use it, and I'm sure she'll be on board. Great deals on Kubotas out there now.Delete
Hehe my dad bought himself a tractor when he hit middle age. But then he had the motorcycle all through his younger years. And I've been cursing the sumac this year. It seems to want to keep popping up in my garden. I've never had it do that before.ReplyDelete
Oh yes, sumac has to be beaten back once it takes hold in a place. So it's a mixed blessing for us. Did you know that the wood is very pretty? Look at a cross-section of it. Just be careful, it exudes a milky sap that can permanently stain your clothes, which I found out the hard way.Delete
Ohhhhh - Nice tractor, with a scoop in front and blade in back, and a cool roll bar. Wish I had one of those. Looks like you'll be ready for the first blizzard this winter. Also a great harvest.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Mike. Yes, it's all tricked-out, but was surprisingly affordable. Looking forward to putting my plow guy on retainer, for the mega-storms only. He does a good job, but his old truck spurts oil all over my new driveway.ReplyDelete
Wonderful harvests this week! I love seeing so many tomatoes! Mine are taking their sweet time to ripen. I think it is because of the cooler than normal August we are experiencing. Interesting information about sumac trees. We had quite a few trees growing on our property when I was growing up. Luckily, there are some near our current home too. ~ Rachel @ Grow a Good LifeReplyDelete
It's funny Rachel, I looked back to my posts from about the same time period last year, and I was mentioning what a cool August it was. Our big glut of tomatoes did not really start until about Labor Day too--so have faith!ReplyDelete