“Tomatoes take a lot of work,” Paul’s quote of the week. We can’t think of any other crop that requires such an ongoing commitment. Those luscious summer fruits bring out the fanatic in many of us: farmers and foodies alike. Starting the seeds weeks before the last projected frost date, tending for the sensitive seedlings during those agonizing spring weeks of hot days and cool nights. Opening and shutting the greenhouse, constantly hedging against temperature extremes. Then they grow, to prevent a leggy seedling, we pot them up multiple times to larger and larger cell trays. For those that know their greenhouse terminology, we start them in 128s, potting them up into 50s and finally into 18s, giving them room for their roots to grow and their foliage to remain healthy and well fed. Finally transplanting time arrives, fear of frost has past! Set in holes filled deep with compost, grass clippings are then raked and spread around the 8-10 week old plants to suppress weed growth and retain moisture. The grand finale is caging. After years of trial and error, we remain committed to the tomato cage. Made of 5 foot high concrete reinforcing wire, we build strong cages that hold the plants, soon to be laden with fruit, high. Oak stakes are pounded next to the plant and the cage is set and tied on. These past weeks have been filled of many tomato days and we’re not done yet, but the groove is on. All of the plants are in the ground, and although I hate to dangle such tantalizing tales in front of your eyes so many weeks prior to tasting the first fruits, 340 plants are set, mulched, caged and ready to go. Wow. In the midst of all of this, we have seen Sasha turn 13 and watch Madeline dance 3 pieces in one of her 2 dance school recitals. We set over 1000 lettuce plants, filled the high tunnel with more eggplant and peppers, and enjoyed some spectacular crisp cool nights and clear days. There is no doubt we have had a wonderful week and look forward to another and another and another
week two in your basket:
Garlic Scape Carbonara
1/2 lb campanella pasta, or shape of your choosing
4 slices bacon (about 3 1/4 ounces), chopped
1/4 cup garlic scapes, cut into 1/4 inch coins
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
Set a pot of water to boiling on the stove and cook the campanella pasta (or desired shape).
While it’s cooking, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and add the garlic scapes. Cook until soft (2-3 minutes). Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. (Drain both the bacon and the garlic scapes on a paper towel).
Whisk together the eggs, salt and red pepper flakes.
When the pasta is done, quickly remove it from the stove and set a different burner to low heat. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot, on the burner set to low. Stir in the garlic scapes and bacon. Add the egg mixture and stir feverishly for 3-4 minutes until sauce is thick and creamy. Don’t let it overcook or it will be gloppy. Sprinkle the romano cheese in, a little at a time, and stir to combine. Don’t add it all at once or it won’t mix through out the pasta as well (since it will clump).
Pickled Garlic Scapes modified from Balls Blue Book dilly bean recipe
2 pounds scapes
1/4 cup canning salt
2-1/2 cups vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
4 cloves garlic, divided
4 heads dill, divided
Trim ends off scapes. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 head dill to each pint. Ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving ¼” headspace Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: about four pints