Monday, August 7, 2017

Harvest Monday - 7 August 2017

Hello again from Eight Gate Farm! As before, I will lead off this Harvest Monday post with the "first" harvests from this week.

The first "Nadia" eggplant:


The first "Cherry Bomb" hot peppers:

Cherry Bomb

And the first peaches. We bought a marked-down end-of-season "Reliance" peach sapling at Tractor Supply last fall, with no great expectations. Surprisingly, it flowered its first year in the ground, and set fruit. Now, these are just walnut-sized, but they were of perfect color and starting to soften and smell like peaches, so we took four to see how they ripen indoors.

Reliance Peach
And on to continuing harvests. A few more grape tomatoes:

Sugar Plum
Another "Maule's Red Hot" cayenne, and a Ping Tung eggplant:

Ping Tung, Maule's Red Hot
The Kitchen Goddess took a rare night off from cooking, so I demonstrated my stir-fry powers, using zucchini, eggplant, snow peas, broccoli, and all the hot peppers. I added Virginia peanuts, and made a sauce from chicken broth thickened with corn starch. It was served over thin Chinese noodles.

The hot peppers were extremely spicy raw, but they toned down in the stir-fry to add a pleasant richness. Funny thing though. I cut and seeded the peppers without gloves. Even after repeated hand-washings and a morning shower next day, putting in my contact lenses was a literal "eye-opening experience."

TKG cleaned the now-cured harneck garlic from a few weeks ago. Here they are, all nice and pretty. Clockwise from top, Katterman, Turkish Red, Killarney Red, and Vietnamese Purple, which are very colorful. You'll note she left extra-long handles this time, presumably for easier hurling at vampires.

The beans are producing nicely, though they look like they may be starting to take a break. I continue to be impressed with the "Calima" filet bean, which tastes outstanding.

L: Calima, R: Carson
Here's a true fact. TKG loves sharing our produce with family/friends/people walking by on the road. But there are three things she will not share. Can you guess them?

One: Diva cucumbers.


Two: artichokes.

Imperial Star
Three: sweet corn.

No, this is not our corn. Ours is still not ready. But TKG was craving corn, and in a clear insult to my masculinity, made me go to the local farm stand for their first-of-the-season corn. At 70 cents an ear, it seemed expensive, but it was sure flying out the door. I wondered what kind it was, but the cashier only said "butter and sugar," which was the extent of her knowledge I guess. It actually was pretty good.

A representative harvest of zucchini, beans, snap peas (vines taken down this weekend), and more Divas. 

The zucchini looks pretty normal in the above picture, but it actually was one that almost got away from us.

Cocozella Di Napoli
Using that and another large one, TKG got to show off her new spiralizer attachment for the KitchenAid and made a big batch of zoodles.

Now for some wildlife notes. A few years ago I planted several Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) plants from seed. They did well, and have actually seeded themselves in several other places. It is a nice plant, with lovely pink flowers with a vanilla scent. Being a milkweed, it is attractive to monarch butterflies. This week we noticed a half-dozen monarch caterpillars happily munching on the leaves. This big guy is hanging upside down and sawing away on a leaf.

Here's another big guy and his baby brother. Off to the left, you can see the strange bright yellow aphids that also love this plant. Normally I would spray them with Neem, but I dare not, for fear of harming our monarchs. I'm just happy we are doing a tiny part in the effort to conserve this threatened butterfly.

Thanks for reading this week's overly-long post. Now join me in viewing all the posts on Harvest Monday, hosted by Dave at Our Happy Acres. Thanks again, Dave!


  1. So cool to see the caterpillars! Milkweed grows all over my property but I've never seen any monarch on them (though something is nibbling!).

  2. It drives me crazy when I go to a farmer's market and the vendor can't tell me what kind of vegetable he has for sale. I guess the customer is on a 'need to know' basis. Nice harvests all around. This is the first year in a while that I've gone without Diva cucumbers as one after another failed, and I miss 'em. Kudos on the monarchs.

    1. Yes, you'd expect it at a supermarket, but at a farm stand??

  3. "You'll note she left extra-long handles this time, presumably for easier hurling at vampires."

    The only thing I like as much as good vegetables is good writing, and anything that can manage to make me laugh before the coffee kicks is much appreciated!

    I must also agree in your appraisal of the Calima beans - by far the best tasting snap I've ever had, filet or otherwise. Fantastic harvest overall!

    1. Thank you Day. Even garden blogging can be fun, as you know.

  4. I know that eye opening tear inducing experience all too well and have finally learned to always wear gloves when working with hot peppers. It's amazing how little spice it takes to make one cry.

    Love those Monarch caterpillars!

  5. I think the monarch caterpillars stole the harvest show for me! I planted one milkweed this year and we have some growing wild, but no monarchs seem to have found them yet.

    I feel your pain on the hot peppers literally. I learned to always wear gloves. And another thing learned the hard way, holey (not holy) gloves will let the bad pepper juju in too! I do think all the hot peppers in the stir fry would have me wimping out for sure.

  6. Really, Dave, they weren't all that hot in the dish, fortunately. And I'm not a pepper masochist.

  7. Well now, I will have to pay more attention to fruit trees for sale at Tractor Supply. Bless you for feeding the butterfly caterpillars!
    Have a great week!

  8. Love those Monarch caterpillars!! We also try to leave plants for caterpillars to eat, but nothing so splendid looking as those guy!