Welcome to tomato season!
The fields at Ridge to Reef farm are pumping out pounds of luscious heirloom tomatoes. We're growing over 12 different varieties of tomatoes- including Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Striped German, German Johnson, Black Cherry, Pink Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, Arkansas Traveler and Homestead, amongst others - which are starting to ripen and sweeten with the heat of the sun.
We're growing almost all heirloom varieties, which means the seeds have been passed down for multiple generations through families and farmers, and have been around since before the 1940’s. These tomatoes are juicy, sweet, decadent, meaty and unique - the fruits are often oddly-shaped, but loaded with flavor!
Heirlooms are open-pollinated, which in the seed-breeding world means they are either cross-pollinated (by insects, birds or wind), or self-pollinated, and reproduce "true-to-type" seed, so plants from the next generation will resemble the parent plant. In other words, seed-saving from open-pollinated plants is simple and fruitful.
This differs from hybrid seeds, which are produced from a natural but controlled method of pollination that results in "hybrid-vigor," which makes the plants exhibit desirable characteristics, like disease resistance and sweetness but are not "true to type," which makes seed-saving difficult.
Make sure to check out the storage tips in the right-hand column, and try out some of the reipces below! We hope you enjoy your box this week!
Love and tomatoes,
Claudia Seixas & the crew @ Ridge to Reef Farm
We just finished another successful Slow Down Dinner here at the farm, and felt inspired to try our own take on the appetizer course today.
Ridge to Reef Tostones & Salsa
Tostones (fried green bananas) are easy to prepare and delicious to eat fresh, when they are warm and have that perfect texture combination of crunchy and chewy.
To make, just peel green bananas and cut into 3/4 inch pieces. Fry in oil until crispy, then place on towel-lined plate and mop up any excess oil.
Then take two pieces, one on top of the other, on a cutting board, and press them together with a bowl. Slightly twist bowl to remove, use spatula if necessary. Return to pan and fry until light brown.
Garnish with salsa:
How about those tomatoes?! So sweet and juicy and beautiful!
We hope you enjoy this tasty and healthy snack. If you make any variations, please send us your own recipe to share!
What else can we make this week?
Here's a great use for those cucumbers and parsley, plus any island avocados you can find: Creamy Cucumber Soup
Try grating your radishes for a fresh take on your salad :)
This simple komatsuna saute would serve perfectly as a side dish with dinner. Add some pickled okra for a cool crunch session. And for anything you may have left over, check out these smart six habits to prevent food waste.
Until next time, bon appetit!
View the recipe archives on our website for more inspiration.
We encourage culinary creativity! Send your own recipe to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will add it to an upcoming newsletter.
This Week's Harvest
Okra or Eggplant
Braising Greens Mix
Tomatoes - Tomatoes don't like refrigeration- instead of the fridge, keep them in a cool spot (around 55-60 degrees) out of direct sunlight. If your tomatoes are ripe, enjoy them immediately. If they still have green shoulders, they will ripen fully in a day or two.
Parsley - Keep separately in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Cucumbers- Store in the refrigerator, however avoid extreme cold temperatures. Cucumbers like to be kept around 45-50 degrees.
Komatsuna - The leaves in this bunch of greens are tender and fragile- store them in the rerfrigerator, and enjoy!
Radishes - Store in the refrigerator. The whole plant is edible, but the greens do not last as long as the roots. If you'd like to hold on to them longer, just remove the greens and keep refrigerated.
Lettuce - loves cool temperatures! Keep it refrigerated.
Okra - keep in a paper (not plastic) bag in the refrigerator.
Eggplant - is best when kept at around 50 degrees, which is warmer than your refrigerator! Try storing in a very cool spot out of direct sunlight, or keep in the fridge, but eat them within a few days.
For more storage tips, check out this handy flyer!
Free Farm Stay for CSA Members! (A $125 value!) Do you ever wonder what life at the farm is like? Well, we would love for you to experience it with us! Please take this opportunity to volunteer in the gardens, join us for a community dinner, and retreat to your private cabana after dark...
Call us at 340.220.0466 to make your reservations. See you soon!
THANK YOU HOSTS!
Gifft Hill School
St. John 4-6 pm Thursday
Havensight, St. Thomas 11 am -1 pm Thursday
Christiansted, St. Croix 3-5 pm Saturday
Frederiksted, St. Croix 2-4 pm Saturday
FARM WISH LIST
Got some things laying around that we can re-use in the CSA?
Last season we received egg cartons, more reusable bags, a blender, some garden hoses, a trash bin, and other great things that we use and were saved from going to the landfill or rotting in a shed. THANK YOU!
Ridge to Reef Farm @ the Virgin Islands Sustainable Farm Institute
PO Box 2903
Frederiksted USVI 00841
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).