We are officially past the Autumnal Equinox, which means the daylength is starting to shorten again on our tropical island. This is good news for our daylength-sensitive crops like Winged Beans, which flower and set fruit as daylength decreases.
We have some new and exciting vegetables and herbs for you this week!
We're growing several different varieties of eggplant including heirlooms like Listada di Gandia and Rosa Bianca (purple and white colored eggplants) in addition to Snowy, a slender all-white variety, and Traviata, a deep purple violetta-type. If you're not sure how to prepare eggplant, try some of the recipes below. We've seen several eggplant converts since we started farming, so if you're usually not eggplant's greatest fan, give these sweet organic fruits a shot.
Parsley pairs well with egpplant - try it in the Mediterranean eggplant spread 'baba ganoush' (recipe below), or finely chopped as an addition to any Italian or Mediterranean dish. Parsley is one of the main ingredients in Tabboulleh, a fresh bulgur salad - try the recipe below!
You have more tromboncino squash this week. This heirloom summer squash, popular in Italy, is grown for 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
The Salad Mix is a blend of mild Asian Greens. Enjoy it raw with a light vinegarette dressing and cucumbers for a nutritious, green meal! The cucumbers are our thin-skinned Asian variety, so it's up to you whether or not to peel them.
Dill is an excellent accompaniment to cucumbers - try it finely chopped and sprinkled over a salad of cucumbers and mixed greens, or add it to a cucumber soup!
Claudia and the crew at Ridge to Reef Farm
Photo above: Passionfruit and flower in the CSA fields
Grilled Marinated Eggplant
2 large eggplants
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon, about 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Heat the grill. Slice the eggplant into lengths and put in a large bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and set aside while making the marinade.
2. Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, smoked paprika, and cumin. Dab away any extra water that has beaded up on the eggplant and toss with the marinade. Stir in the garlic. Place the eggplant onto the grill and cook for 10-15 minutes until very tender and slightly browned. Or roast in a 400F oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the grill and cool slightly, then cut into cubes.
3. Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce in the same bowl that held the marinade. Return the eggplant to the bowl and toss with the lemon juice mixture.
Recipe courtesy Kelly Rossiter
2-3 medium-sized eggplants
1/2 cup tahini (roasted sesame paste)
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
3 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/8 teaspoon chile powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
a half bunch picked flat-leaf parsley or cilantro leaves
Preheat the oven to 375F . Prick each eggplant a few times, then char the outside of the eggplants by placing them directly on the flame of a gas burner and as the skin chars, turn them until the eggplants are uniformly-charred on the outside. (If you don’t have a gas stove, you can char them under the broiler. If not, skip to the next step.)
Place the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until they’re completely soft; you should be able to easily poke a paring knife into them and meet no resistance. Remove from oven and let cool. Split the eggplant and scrape out the pulp. Puree the pulp in a blender or food processor with the other ingredients until smooth. Taste, and season with additional salt and lemon juice, if necessary. Chill for a few hours before serving. Serve with crackers, sliced baguette, or toasted pita chips.
Storage: Baba Ganoush can be made and refrigerated for up to five days prior to serving.
Recipe courtesy of Trusted Earth Farm & Forage CSA
1/2 cup medium grain bulgur
1 1/4 cups water
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups diced cucumbers (peel if desired)
1/4 cup green onions chopped, both white and green parts
1/4 to 1/2 cup loosely packed, roughly chopped mint leaves (optional)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
Pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Bring water to a boil, pour in bulgur, stir, cover, and turn off heat. Let stand 20 to 25 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed and bulgur is fluffy and tender. Pour off any remaining liquid.
To prepare dressing, in a small non-reactive bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, salt, and oil. Taste and adjust seasonings.
In a large salad bowl, toss together parsley, tomatoes, green onions and mint. Add bulgur. Pour dressing over salad, toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
2 cloves garlic
2 cups packed, stemmed Italian parsley
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or nutritional yeast (or to taste)
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
In a food processor or blender place the garlic, parsley, pinch salt, walnuts, and cheese. Process until they form a paste. Gradually blend in olive oil, taste adjust your seasoning if necessary. Great with pasta, poultry, vegetables and rice.
This Week's Harvest
Summer Squash (Tromboncino)
Ridge to Reef Farm serves the US Virgin Islands with certified organic produce grown with sustainable permaculture practices (and a lot of love).