There's plenty of sunshine at the farm, and the plants and the solar panels are drinking it up. We hope you're enjoying this taste of summer before the fall rains move in!
Tromboncino is an heirloom summer squash that is popular in Italy. We grow it because of it’s fine, firm texture and outstanding nutty flavor. Unlike other summer squash like zuchinni, which is of the Cucurbita pepo family, trimboncino is Cucurbita moschata, like butternut squash and some calabazas. It is also much more tolerant of the tropical pests and diseases that can make growing summer squash challenging in the islands. Enjoy tromboncino exactly as you would a zucchini or crookneck squash – try it grilled!
Okra is excellent fried or sauteed, or used in a chili or gumbo. Use it whole, or chop into one to two inch sections. Our red burgundy okra is prized for its striking color and tenderness even in the large pods. When cooked it turns the more familiar green okra color. Check out the recipe below!
Garlic Chives are a delicious alternative to green onions, garlic or regular chives. Use them in a similar way - they can be eaten raw and added towards the end of any dish, or sautée them in oil for even more aromatic flavor just like you would garlic.
Thai Basil can be stored in the refrigerator bagged as-is, or you can place the stems in a jar of water and harvest the leaves as needed, while enjoying it as a flower bouquet. The flowers are edible, and make a nice tea as well. The leaves are extremely aromatic, can be eaten raw and also stand up well when cooked. Check out this ingredient spotlight (with recipes) from the Kitchn.
Arugula is a highly nutritious green that is great as a base for salads. If you prefer, arugula can also be cooked briefly like spinach, until just wilted - it makes a good accompaniament for pasta, especially with a basil pesto sauce.
Your bananas are either green or ripe - if still green, allow them to ripen for 5-10 days. These are all sweet-eating bananas.
The cucumbers are thin-skinned Asian variety, so it's up to you whether or not to peel them. They are delicious sliced into any salad.
Claudia & Jim and the crew at Ridge to Reef Farm
Photo above: Pumpkin vines in flower.
Okra That Doesn’t Taste Much Like Okra
1/2 lb. raw okra, sliced into thin rounds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoons chili powder
a healthy sprinkle of garlic powder
1/2 oz. ground almonds (optional)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice okra into rounds. Enjoy the pretty star shape in an attempt to ignore the slime. Trust me: you’re an adult – you can get over the slime.
3. Mix remaining ingredients except olive oil and set aside.
4. Toss okra with olive oil in a large bowl, then the sprinkle spice/almond blend over the top and mix well.
5. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread into a single layer. (I originally wrote “cookie sheet” in that sentence. When was the last time I used my BAKING sheet for cookies?! That damn thing should be called a veggie sheet. Anyway….) Pop into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. The okra should be starting to brown but not too shrunken and dehydrated.
6. Eat with your fingers like popcorn! The okra doesn’t quite get crunchy, but the oil+almond combo plus the high heat of the oven makes it tender-crisp and flavorful.
Tromboncino Squash Fritters
Serve the fritters when they are hot and crunchy with some tzatziki (see recipe below)
2 sweet peppers, finely chopped (optional)
1 small finely chopped red onion
1 tbsp chopped garlic chives
3 tbsp flour (more as needed)
1 tsp baking soda
Salt & pepper
Sunflower oil, or other cooking oil
1. Mix the squash, peppers, onion and chives in a bowl. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until all the ingredients have combined.
2. Add enough flour to bind the mixture together (add more flour if the mixture is still runny). Season to taste.
3. Heat 1/2 cm of sunflower oil in a shallow frying pan until fairly hot.
4. Spoon dollops of the mixture into the oil and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden.
6. Drain on some kitchen roll or crumpled newspaper and serve hot with tzatziki.
2 cups plain Greek yogurt (like Chobani; if desired, substitute other yogurt for Greek)
2 cups cucumber, diced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or other citrus)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh dill,basil, chives or other herbs, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a medium bowl, combine Greek yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs. Stir until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. If you have time, chill before serving.
*Serve with vegetables, pita bread, crackers, bread, falafel, meat/fish, souvlaki, or gyros. Will keep in the refrigerator 2-3 days. Stir before serving.
Sesame Noodles with Thai Basil
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon (or more) hot chili oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 pound fresh Chinese egg noodles or fresh angel hair pasta
1 bunch garlic chives, thinly sliced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh Thai basil leaves
Heat peanut oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Transfer to large bowl. Add next 6 ingredients; whisk to blend.
Place noodles in sieve over sink. Separate noodles with fingers and shake to remove excess starch. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain thoroughly and transfer to bowl with sauce. Add sliced chives and toss to coat noodles. Let stand at room temperature until noodles have absorbed dressing, tossing occasionally, about 1 hour. Stir in peanuts and Thai basil; toss again. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.
Recipe adapted from epicurious
Vegetarian Pho (Vietnamese Noodle Soup)
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and halved lengthwise
3-inch cinnamon stick, preferably Vietnamese cassia-cinnamon
1 star anise
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/2 pound dried flat rice noodles (known as bánh phá»ï¿½; use 1/16", 1/8", or 1/4" width depending on availability and preference)
Protein such as fried or baked tofu, tempeh, beans or seitan
Vegetables such as summer squash, yardlong beans, arugula, peppers, bok choy
1/2 onion, very thinly sliced
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 chile pepper (Thai bird, serrano, or jalapeño), sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
1/2 cup bean sprouts
Large handful of herbs: garlic chives, Thai basil, culantro, cilantro
Hoisin sauce, sriracha (optional)
For the broth
Char onion and ginger over an open flame (holding with tongs) or directly under a broiler until slightly blackened, about 5 minutes on each side. Rinse with water.
In a large pot, dry roast cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and coriander over medium-low heat, stirring to prevent burning. When spices are aromatic, add vegetable stock, soy sauce, carrots, and charred onion and ginger.
Bring broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain and keep hot until ready to serve.
For the noodles
While broth is simmering, place noodles in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Let stand for 20-30 minutes or until tender but still chewy. Drain. (If soaking does not soften the noodles enough, blanch them in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds.)
For the toppings (optional)
While broth is simmering, prepare toppings as desired – slice and cook tofu, lightly steam or blanch vegetables, etc. Toppings should be unseasoned or only lightly seasoned so as not to interfere with the flavor of the broth.
Divide noodles between two bowls. Arrange toppings over noodles. Ladle about 2 cups of broth into each bowl. Serve with garnishes on the side, which diners should add to taste.
This Week's Harvest
Summer Squash (Tromboncino)
Yardlong Beans or Sweet Peppers
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).