Welcome to another Harvest Monday update from Eight Gate Farm. Apologies in advance if this post is long.
Again I'm starting with the "firsts" this week. Along with the noble artichoke, probably our favorite crop is sweet corn. We picked the first "Espresso":
How was it? Truthfully it doesn't compare to the later-season Honey Select in terms of sweetness. But we enjoyed it. I like the concept of an early, cool-soil emergent corn, and now that the Espresso seed is used up, I'll definitely be moving on.
Another "first," but a fail. I was intrigued by the heirloom corn "Dorinny Sweet," which was touted as adapted to northern climates. It did emerge early, but from that point on performed poorly. The result was short, spindly, weak stalks with tiny ears that had poor pollination. And the taste...meh. To be fair, we probably waited too long to pick it, for as you can see the kernels are big, which usually means they will be starchy and tough. Dorinny will not be attempted again, sorry.
We picked the first "Caspian Pink" (much smaller than is typical) and two "Sugar Plum" grape tomatoes. Delicious!
We picked the first "Black Beauty" and "Pingtung Long" eggplants, and a solitary hot cherry pepper:
Now for the continuing harvests. Almost every day we picked some or all of the following:
Shishito and Hungarian Wax peppers:
Carrots, zucchini, and picklers (note the sparse foliage on the carrots; the goldfinches, AKA the "salad birds," have been stripping the leaves relentlessly).
Artichokes, zucchini, Diva and pickling cucumbers. Funny thing about the Divas. The chipmunks have decided they like gnawing on them, but they leave the picklers alone. This is probably because the Divas have no spines on either vine or fruit, and the picklers are covered in them. Or maybe we have gourmet chipmunks.
Some more Espresso corn, chard, zucchini, Diva and pickling cucumbers.
Artichokes, Divas, and zucchini.
Okay, so the pickling cukes are getting tiresome. We think so too, with over 10 pounds in the fridge. So like I said last week, it's time to pick them tiny and save up to make cornichons. Here we start:
The Kitchen Goddess is doing the best she can with the cucumbers. Here she made 9 pints of "Burger Chips." Note that the labels demonstrate goddess-logic...she puts the date they will be ready, not when they were canned.
And here, sweet/dill cucumber relish (9 pints). Now down to two pounds in fridge! But, enough relish to last 9 years.
Here at Eight Gate Farm, we try to waste as little as possible. Processing all that relish left a good amount of cucumber juice. TKG found a recipe for Cucumber Cocktail. It was delish, and refreshing (we used gin instead of vodka). As TKG says, "it's kind of like juicing."
Lastly, presenting Fun With Food with The Kitchen Goddess. Here, she shows you how to make an eggplant swan with shishito pepper wings!
That's all for this week. Thanks for reading! And thanks as always to Dave at Our Happy Acres for hosting Harvest Monday.
Nice job on the Espresso corn, the ears have good pollination. Too bad the taste isn't up to par. Wish I had your cucumber glut. Another bad year here, but I will plant them again because the wife loves them.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Dave. Yes, I wish the Espresso was as good as Honey Select. Sorry about your cucumbers; you just never know.Delete
Oh, that's too bad about the Dorinny Corn. It looked like we would be getting a really good harvest this year. Every stalk had at least 2 ears on it and they looked to be forming well...until it rained a couple of times and I didn't re-spray the plants with my hot pepper mixture (which MAY have been the reason they weren't munched previously). All that was left were two lowly cobs which I quickly picked last night before they too were gone. Haven't even opened up the leaves yet as I'm waiting until we cook them tonight.ReplyDelete
I haven't had one Diva cucumber yet - that's interesting to know about the prickle-free vines. All of my different varieties are getting fairly tangled, so it's been a bit tricky telling which is which. Should I get a prickle-free cucumber from a prickle-free vine, at least I'll know what it is without having to trace the vine back to its origin!
Was it raccoons or some other pesky mammal? It will be interesting to see how your surviving corn tastes--I never let it sit overnight.Delete
??? The jury is still out but chances are it's either squirrels, rats or skunks as the bed itself isn't a mess of broken stalks, which you would expect if it were raccoons.Delete
Gourmet chipmunks! I have gourmet rats, they by far prefer my fancy French strawberries to the more standard types. And yes, the fancy French strawberries are really good.ReplyDelete
Did you know that the sweeter the corn the less tolerant it is of cold soil, the sweetest varieties have the poorest germination rates, something to do with the genetics.
I guess I never made the connection between germination and sweetness. I guess if they say "good old fashioned corny flavor" that means not too sweet!Delete
I love the eggplant swan, but I swear the earlier eggplant photo was smiling and winking at me! Too bad about the Dorinny corn, but you never know when you try new things. Sometimes they work out and you have a new favorite, and sometimes they don't. I love the cucumber cocktail, and the gin upgrade sounds like a winner too! I say too many cukes is not a bad problem to have, better than too few for sure.ReplyDelete
You're right, you never know until you try. Trouble is it takes so long to find out!Delete
Lovely swan! I tried growing another variety of corn- one that I could save the seed and had horrible germination. Now I'm waiting on Honey Select to mature. It has been a reliable and tasty variety for me, but yet I keep trying others. Good luck with that gourmet chipmunk!ReplyDelete
Thank you Julie. Honey Select is the best...but it comes from a major pesticide manufacturer.Delete
I might have to buy cukes (since I can't seem to grow any this year) just to try that cocktail - looks very refreshing!ReplyDelete
I like the look of the shishito peppers so just googled them to see if they are sweet or hot. The wiki page said sweet but that every now and then one will be hot. Has that happened with you?
Haven't had a hot one yet.Delete
We all have to deal with gourmet wildlife, mine are deer. I gave up growing corn years ago, just couldn't deal with the squirrels and chipmunks. The Kitchen Goddess sure is creative.ReplyDelete