Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Big Red Farm Stand, Wednesday August 27, 1-5pm

What Jake's hand looks like
after stringing 700' of
tomato plants
What Jake looks like
after stringing 700'
of tomato plants
Hello friends,

We returned from Canada to find that things had happened in our absence!  Mostly things like lots of ripe tomatoes and eggplants, which is what we were hoping for (we've decided to think of our August vacation from a watched-pot-never-boils perspective).  Do come by on Wednesday and check out the results.  In addition to many shapes, sizes and colors of tomatoes, we'll have eggplants (mostly the long, thin Asian type, but a few traditional ones as well), a few green and purple peppers, jalapenos, and golden beets joining our previous offerings, all of which are worth the trip over to Pop Hall!  Also, for those of you keeping score, the garlic at the stand is well-cured at this point, and you are welcome to store it on your kitchen counter.

Looks a little yellow
on top...

You may have noticed that we stopped having basil at the farm stand several weeks ago, after only a couple of harvests.  Our basil was looking yellow and crummy, so we planted some more, hoping to start harvesting again by now.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, we happened to see this article in the Trenton Times -- turns out we're not the only ones!

A fungal disease called Basil Downy Mildew has wiped out almost all of the Sweet Basil crops in central New Jersey.  The article includes interviews with neighboring Lawrenceville farmers Matt Conver (Cherry Grove Organic Farm) and David Zaback (Z Food Farm) -- they didn't interview us, but we definitely have the same problem.  The mildew, which doesn't affect the basil's flavor, and is harmless if ingested, causes leaves to yellow and eventually die, and forms fuzzy, dark spores on the underside of the leaf.

...but OH NO!
Fuzzy black spores!
The article mentions a couple of local restaurants and farms that report no problems with Basil Downy Mildew, and no break in their basil supply, but that was almost a month ago, so I wonder if it's caught up with them...  For a week or two, we were able to harvest unaffected basil from the Deanes Garden near Irwin dining hall, and the basil that we have in pots on our front porch held on a little longer than the basil in the field, but now it's all going.  I agree wholeheartedly with David Zaback, who says, "It feels like you lose a part of your summer" when there's no fresh basil to be had.

The bad news is that Basil Downy Mildew has been affecting crops in New Jersey earlier and earlier each year.  The good news is that Sweet Basil, the most popular variety, seems to be much more vulnerable to the fungus than other varieties.  Next year we will experiment with some less susceptible basils, because I for one am not ready to give up this fight!

Peach salsa
waiting to happen
It's peach season, and though we don't have peaches at the Big Red Farm, we've certainly been making frequent trips down the road to Terhune Orchards, where they do!  Not that it's possible to tire of peach shortcake and peach cobbler, but if you're ready for something different, we have almost everything you need to make peach salsa.  Great on fish or grilled meats, or just on chips.  Eat it fresh today, or cook it up to can for the winter.  {Peach Salsa}

And, for a repeat from last season, slice open some Asian eggplants and try them Madhur Jaffrey-style.  {Sweet & Sour Aubergines}

Leeks, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and
winter squash, doing their thing.  See you in a few weeks!

This week we hope to have the following available from 1pm to 5pm in front of Pop Hall:
  • Beets (red and gold) - $2.50 bunch
  • Carrots - $3.00 lb
  • Cucumbers (limited quantity) - $2.00 lb
  • Eggplant - $3.00 lb
  • Flowers - $5.00 bouquet
  • Garlic - $1.00 bulb
  • Red Russian Kale - $2.50 bunch
  • Green Lettuce - $2.50 head
  • Romaine Lettuce - $3.00 head
  • Mint - $1.50 bunch
  • Okra (limited quantity) - $2.50 pt
  • Onions - $2.00 lb
  • Peppers (green and purple) - $2.00 lb
  • Jalapeno peppers - 2/$1.00
  • Potatoes - $3.00 lb
  • Rainbow Chard - $2.50 bunch
  • Cherry Tomatoes - $3.50 pt
  • Heirloom Tomatoes - $3.50 lb
  • 'Juliet' Mini-Plum Tomatoes - $4.00 quart
  • Roma Tomatoes (limited quantity) - $2.50 lb
  • Slicing Tomatoes - $2.50 lb
  • Sweet Corn (from Village Farms) - 2/$1.00


The farm stand is located right in front of Pop Hall, at the top of the stairs that lead down into the Bowl. Enter campus by the main gate on Route 206 (opposite the Lawrenceville Post Office and Craven Lane) and bear right into the circle. Bear right again at the fork in the road and continue straight until you see the Farm Stand signs.

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