From the Farmer

2018 CSA Week 9

We are rolling into the 9th week of CSA with some of the most perfect weather of the season! This week is all about tomatoes – the fruit on the plants in the field and in our hoop houses are ripening in an array of delicious summer colors. Some of my favorite varieties we grow are Red Zebra, a small red tomato with gold stripes, Marnero, a dark purplish heirloom, and Pink Wonder, a fabulous pink slicing tomato. Tomatoes can be a tough crop to grow in quantity because of the amount of inputs they require. Unlike cucumbers, which don’t need a lot of additional nutrients, tomatoes are heavy feeders. This means we amend the soil with extra compost and organic fertilizers such as chicken manure and seaweed in order to grow healthy plants that produce healthy fruit. Tomato plants also need to be trellised, or held up by a supporting structure as they grow. Some of you may be familiar with the metal cages that are common for trellising tomatoes in a garden. On the farm we have take that principle and adjust for the scale. Currently we have about ½ acre of tomatoes in the ground so a metal cage for each plant would be cumbersome and expensive. Instead we plant our tomatoes in long rows and drive wooden stakes in the ground every ten feet or so. We then draw twine down one side of the row, wrapping the twine around each wooden stake as we go, making sure to keep the twine taught between the stakes. We then wrap around the last stake and draw the twine back down the other side so that the tomatoes are held upright, sandwiched between the string. We draw a new string down the row, 6 inches above the last, as the plant grows taller. It’s a fast and relatively simple method for keeping so many plants up off the ground and healthy!

We made sure to include green beans, onions, and garlic in the share this week as well and we recommend eating them all together with the tomatoes!! Niçoise salad is one of my favorite summer recipes as it is served cold but is as hearty and flavorful as a winter dish. Niçoise is a traditional dish from Southern France and typically includes tomatoes, potatoes eggs, and green beans, olives, anchovies, and fresh herbs, but there are many variations to choose from. I listed a couple mouthwatering versions below!

  1. Want the Best Niçoise Salad? Stop Making it Like Everyone Else
  2. Green Bean-Tomato Salad with Herbs

With the pairing of basil and tomato in the share this week I also recommend dabbling in Italian cuisine with a bruschetta antipasto or fresh caprese salad. Nothing is quite as simple and delicious as fresh tomato, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella all together. How can you go wrong??

Small Shares

  • Basil
  • Bunching Onions
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Large Shares

  • Basil
  • Bunching Onions
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Radish or Turnip Choice
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini

Thanks so much and we will see you at the Farm Stand or at the Boat House for pick up this week!

Be Great and Well,

Anya, Deb x 22 goats, Dan and Ann, Lex x 800 laying hens and x 17 hogs, James and Rocko, Nate, Christina, Kate, Amanda, Julia, Anna, Radish the feline queen

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Willowsford Conservancy

41025 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105

Phone: 571-440-2400

info@willowsfordconservancy.org

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Willowsford Farm Stand

23595 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148

Phone: 571-297-6900

farm@willowsfordfarm.com

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