Ode to our Heirloom Tomatoes

tomatoes on ledge

We have now started full-on tomato season.  For most people, they are the star of the summer veggies and we all have our favorites.

We choose our varieties primarily on taste.  We mostly grow heirlooms for that reason.   We are small, harvest often and can get them beautifully vine ripened and then directly to you.  We are growing a dozen varieties this year, each with their own delicious qualities suited to different uses and preferences.  Here is our introduction – sample and enjoy!

A few years ago, in the Burlington Free Press, Debbie Salamon waxed on about tomatoes, really capturing our love for the fresh, delicious summer tomato in her column. She noted,

“Tantalizing, lush, dripping elixir — garden tomatoes, like summer romance, fade with the September sun.
Be quick. Love one now.”

It is true, enjoy now, we just never know how long they will be spectacular.

Jaune Flamme:  This is our third year growing this French heirloom and an all around favorite. It is apricot sized and colored with a sweet lovely taste.  We like it sliced, chunked for salad or just for snacking.

 

 

 

 

Rose de berne 

Rose de Berne: Dark rose-pink hue and well-loved heirloom flavor that is a perfect blend of sweet and tart.  They are nice round fruits with meaty flesh perfect for slicing with a soft skin, but not overly fragile.

 

 

 

 

 

valencia 

Valencia: A family heirloom from Maine this mid-sized orange tomato has an excellent, full, complex tomato taste, with a great balance of acidic and sweet. Slow Food has it on their ark of taste varieties.  In size it is in between the Jaune Flamme and Yellow Brandywine

 

 

 

 

yellow brandywine tomato

 

Yellow Brandywine:

A large deep golden tomato. Very rich and sweet, an individual fruit can weigh more than two pounds. A farmer favorite for its lovely flavor and texture.

 

 

small to big orange tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

copia 

Copia: At lunch this week, we voted the Copia the tastiest.  They really catch your eye as well.  They can get big and unwieldy like a Brandywine but they are large gold fruits with a blend of orange/red and green/red striping.  The sweet, juicy flesh is swirled with color throughout.

 

 

 

 

 

Black Prince: Medium sized, mahogany brown with a distinctive fruity tomato flavor.

 

Golden Rave: A golden yellow baby roma (smaller and oblong) with a sweet, well-balanced flavor great for fresh eating or cooking. One of the few non-heirlooms we grow, but the taste is lovely.

 

 

 

 

Juliette Tomatoes

Juliette Tomatoes waiting to be frozen!

Juliet: A small, flavorful, versatile, mini roma – called a “saladette” tomato – great for fresh eating, salads, salsas, and sauce. We love to freeze them whole.  When you open the bag in January, it smells of summer!

 

 

 

 

 

Amish-Paste-Tomato-webAmish Paste: A big fat heirloom with bright red, heart-shaped fruits with meaty flavor and juicy texture. Flavorful and juicy enough for slicing and great meatiness for cooking down. Sweeter taste than other paste tomatoes.

 

 

 

Lola tomato

Lola: a solid basic red slicer, one of our non-heirloom disease resistant tomatoes, just in case, that is still tasty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toronjina: This is the organic seed rival for the beloved Sungold.  Neither are heirlooms – few cherries are.  This is a medium-sized orange cherry with slightly thicker skin than Sungold, but still a sweet and fruity bright orange cherry tomato. Lovingly referred to as “farmer candy”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Bartelly cherry tomatoes

Bartelly: A sweet red prolific cherry, perfect for popping in your mouth.  Need we say more?

At the Farmstand: Aug 17-22

Tomato Season is in Full Swing.  Jaune Flamme, Black Prince, Rose de Berne, Red Bartely, Toronjina, Copia, Golden Rave, Juliet, Lola, Valencia, Yellow Brandywine & Amish Paste…Whew so many delightful choices!

That moment many wait for has arrived, abundant tomatoes!  Enjoy in Salsa, gazapacho, stuffed, fresh sauce, tomato pie and of course just sliced!

 

This week at our Farmstand you can find:

• Eggs (limited to members)

 

Fresh/Stored Veggies & Herbs

• Basil
• Beans, Green & other colors!
• Black Currants  (frozen)
• Broccoli*
• Fresh Beets, Chioggia, Red & Golden
• Chard
• Cilantro
• Dill
• Garlic

• Ginger, Baby (frozen)
• Kale
• Head Lettuce (Field Stone Farm)
• Mint
• Sweet Onions
• Peppers, sweet & hot
Scallions (Field Stone Farm)
• Tomatoes: cherries, saladettes & slicers
• Green Tomatoes*
• Zucchini & Patty Pan Summer Squash*

 

Meats      Ham

 

• Bacon
• Maple Breakfast Sausage, Farmhouse bulk
• Bones, Pork & Goat
• Chicken, Roasting
• Chicken, Stewing Hens
• Fat, Pork Leaf
• Fat, Pork Back
• Ground Goat
• Goat Shoulder Chops, bone -in
• Ham Roasts
• Kielbasa
• Pork Jowl*
• Leg of Goat Roasts*
• Loin Roasts, Goat*(small)
• Offal & Odd Bits – Trotters, hearts, liver, kidneys, necks, Pig Heads, etc.
• Pork Chops
• Goat Ribs/Rack
• Shanks, Goat
• Goat Shoulder Roasts
• Stew Meat, Goat
• Turkey Breast
• Turkey Drumsticks
• Whole Turkeys*

 

Pantry & Prepared Foods

Dilly Beans
• Lard (Leaf)
• Lemon Pickles
• Pepperoncini
• Pesto, Arugula & Garlicky Kale
• Heirloom Tomato Salsa
• Soup, Roasted Creamy Spinach, Broccoli-Spinach & Cream of Spinach
• Tomolives (pickled green cherry tomatoes)
• Dried Hot Peppers
Dried Tomatoes

From our Farm Friends    Brookfield bees maple syrup 3

• Farmstead Pizza from Field Stone Farm (Blueberry Marscapone, Margherita & Red Pepper Tomato Coulis)
• Blueberries, Frozen from Spotted Dog Farm
• Honey, Brookfield Bees
• Maple Syrup, Brookfield Bees
• Cider Syrup, Brookfield Bees

This Week’s Member Special

All of the above is available for members and retail shoppers, but we also offer some specials for our members.  To learn more about our flexible, free Choice Farm Share memberships, see the details on our website.

• Broccoli

• Zucchini & Summer Squash

Pork Jowl

• Whole Turkeys, large, but lovely

Leg of Goat Roasts, Great for slow roast

• Goat Loin Roasts, bone-in & quick (see recipe)

Three Tomato Salsa

Fresh Salsa

From Moosewood Restaurant New Classics

This is our staple salsa recipe.  Of course these days we just chop any mix of the ingredients below and put them in a bowl, stir and enjoy.  We rarely even add the olive oil, it just doesn’t need it.  But as a guide to get going…ah, enjoy the freshness!

We really love it when the tomatillos are ready and we use those as the green., but with the Green Zebra tomatoes it would also be great! Multi colors are great, but it can be any mix. We have found when you are tripling (or more) the recipe,  it is best to go easy on the lemon juice and olive oil and then add as needed for taste.

This is the season for fresh salsa with chips, eggs, meats, veggies — really just with a spoon is fine too!

Fresh tomato salsa

  • 3 cups chopped tomatoes (red, yellow, sungold, tomatillos, unripe green—mix of your choice)
  • 2 T chopped cilantro
  • 4 t olive oil (optional)
  • 2 T lemon or lime juice
  • 1 hot or medium pepper chopped (Hungarian Hot wax are great as you get more pepper crunch with some spice but not too much)
  • Any number of sweet colorful peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 scallions or some onion, chopped
  • 1/2 t salt

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Making Salsa, best to taste test

Three Sisters

Lee, Chef/Owner of Ariel’s Restaurant touring 3 sisters

Corn, beans, and squash create a special alchemy together in the field and on the plate.  In legend, the plants were a gift from the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together, and celebrated together. This companion planting trio was widespread across North America and the Iroquois label, “three sisters”, is woven into contemporary gardening parlance and grade school social studies curricula.

The symbiosis and interdependence of three sisters is inspiring as it is needed for a small farm to survive.  Our customers, guests, staff, colleagues, community and supporters from afar enable our venture and so many other small businesses to survive and hopefully thrive.

 

Farmstay guests picking beans for dinner in the 3 Sisters garden

 

In the field, corn provides support for the beans. Beans have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that the plants can use and corn requires lots of nitrogen to grow. Large and prickly squash leaves both shade the soil to prevent weed growth and deter animal pests. On the plate, the foundational carbohydrates of corn are complemented by amino acids essential to humans found in beans, while squash provide key vitamins as well as healthy fats in their seeds.  Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as a healthy diet.

 

Our Floating Bridge Food & Farms Cooperative also formed with a similar mission to both serve as a support system for its members and to better provide our neighbors and visitors with authentic farm and food experiences, ultimately deepening appreciation and understanding of our working agricultural community.

Our annual Floating Bridge Food and Farms dinner, like a three sisters plot, celebrates the magic of our diverse offerings woven together. And the feast, like corn, beans and squash served together, provides physical and spiritual nourishment as we together celebrate our special place in this season of abundance.

Join us to experience the Three Sisters!

3 sisters on a tour in 3 sisters

Next Thursday on the farm during Open Farm Week, we will be doing tours and making scarecrows to protect that corn.

And there are still some tickets left to experience the Three Sisters regional dinner on Ariel’s lawn.  And you can already buy some of the elements of the three sisters garden in our farmstand, perhaps next week we can add corn to that mix.

 

And let us not forget the fourth sister often added, the beloved sunflower.

Chef Peter from Wild Roots Restaurant gathered some sunflower buds to braise like artichokes! We can’t wait to try them.

 

At the Farmstand: Aug 9-15

Summer veggies are rolling in with their variety of color and texture!  Yes including tomatoes!  Come and enjoy, the only challenge will be choosing what to bring home as a recent shopper relayed when arriving home, “Sorry it took me so long, there were so many gorgeous veggies to choose from.”

Enjoy your choice of veggies with our pasture-raised meats.  Some from us and other from our friends at Field Stone Farm.

 

This week at our Farmstand you can find:

• Eggs (limited to members)

 

Fresh/Stored Veggies & Herbs

• Basil
• Black Currants  (frozen)
• Broccoli
• Fresh Chioggia Beets
• Chard
• Cilantro
• Garlic

• Ginger, Baby (frozen)
• Green Beans
• Kale
• Head Lettuce (Field Stone Farm)
• Mint
• Sweet Onions
• Peppers, sweet & hot
Scallions (Field Stone Farm)
• Tomatoes: cherries, saladettes & slicers
• Green Tomatoes&*
• Tomatoes, Frozen
• Zucchini & Patty Pan Summer Squash (plentiful)

 

Meats      Ham

 

• Bacon
• Maple Breakfast Sausage, Farmhouse bulk
• Bones, Pork & Goat
• Chicken, Roasting
• Chicken, Stewing Hens
• Fat, Pork Leaf
• Fat, Pork Back
• Ground Goat
• Goat Shoulder Chops, bone -in
• Ham Roasts
• Italian Pork Sausage, bulk
• Kielbasa
• Pork Jowl*
• Leg of Goat Roasts*
• Loin Roasts, Goat*(small)
• Offal & Odd Bits – Trotters, hearts, liver, kidneys, necks, Pig Heads, etc.
• Pork Chops
• Goat Ribs/Rack
• Shanks, Goat
• Goat Shoulder Roasts
• Stew Meat, Goat
• Turkey Breast
• Turkey Drumsticks
• Whole Turkeys*

 

Pantry & Prepared Foods

Dilly Beans
• Lard (Leaf)
• Lemon Pickles
• Pepperoncini
• Pesto, Arugula & Garlicky Kale
• Heirloom Tomato Salsa
• Soup, Roasted Creamy Spinach, Broccoli-Spinach & Cream of Spinach
• Tomolives (pickled green cherry tomatoes)
• Dried Hot Peppers
Dried Tomatoes

From our Farm Friends    Brookfield bees maple syrup 3

• Farmstead Pizza from Field Stone Farm (arrives Thur or Fri)
• Blueberries, Frozen from Spotted Dog Farm
• Honey, Brookfield Bees
• Maple Syrup, Brookfield Bees
• Cider Syrup, Brookfield Bees

This Week’s Member Special

All of the above is available for members and retail shoppers, but we also offer some specials for our members.  To learn more about our flexible, free Choice Farm Share memberships, see the details on our website.

• Green Tomatoes, perfect for frying

Pork Jowl

• Whole Turkeys, large, but lovely

Leg of Goat Roasts, Great for slow roast

• Goat Loin Roasts, bone-in & quick (see recipe)

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fresh ripe tomatoes are generally the stars of the tomato show, but green tomatoes have their own special value.  We don’t have the volume that comes at the end of the tomato season, but plenty for a nice treat! Fried green tomatoes are tasty and quick to make (and great with hot sauce) – take some firm ones home and they’ll last all week.  This is the recipe Penelope, who used to farm with us, treated us to at farmer lunch several times.  So yummy!

Ingredients

  • 3 large green tomatoes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder or spicy seasoning mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup bread crumbs or cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup oil or fat

Preparation

  • Cut tomatoes into thick slices (about 1/2 inch).
  • Place in separate shallow bowls: (a) the flour, salt, and chili powder, (b) milk and egg, and (c) bread crumbs and cornmeal.
  • Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Beat the egg and milk together. Dip tomato slices in the flour-seasoning mix, then milk-egg mixture, then the bread crumbs.
  • In the skillet, fry the coated tomato slices, a few at at time, for 3-5 minutes on each side or until brown.
  • Set the cooked tomatoes on paper towels to drain.

Farming at all Ages

This week we took on farm tasks with teams of nearly all ages or at least from 4 to 75!

Berry picking with the nimble fingers of youngsters (true more berries were immediately consumed than saved, but the speed was impressive), harvesting garlic with our aunt who has her own tiny ag venture in Connecticut, a rage of farm tasks with Laura’s parents (from deliveries to shelter moving to hunting groundhogs) and of course our farm staff, who are here day in and day out.

University of Vermont’s Food Systems program published a nice feature about some of those staff and our UVM-Farm connection.

 

Who knew that many years after graduating, I would be working with so many great UVM alumni and students. Our current team, some of our longstanding staff early on – Tessa, Anna & Lauren, whose contributions are still felt, utilized and remarked upon as well as some linchpin itinerant farmers and picklers!

UVM’s commitment to local and sustainable food through their main degree programs, food sourcing, the hospital’s amazing work and of course the Extension programs is truly remarkable.

We feel fortunate to have such great partners in the state.  And of course we are grateful to have worked with a range of talented and committed people from UVM and beyond!

Black Currant Meringue Pie

Blackcurrant Meringue Pie

Donna made this treat last year and we were all wowed.  Now you can do this with frozen black currants as well, but while they are fresh why not pie, and perhaps some Black Currant ice cream and fool and muffins and pancakes and just in your yogurt. Or for a lighter touch, Black Currant and Mint Sorbet.  Yep, one of our favorite fruits!

 

Ingredients:

Pre-baked 9″ pie crust (see Donna’s recipe)

6 tbsps Maple syrup (or more if you like a sweeter pie)
3 3/4 C Black Currants
3 tbsps Cornstarch
6 tbsps butter
4 Egg yolks

4 Egg whites (at room temperature)
1 C maple syrup/1 C sugar
2 teaspoons Cornstarch

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Remove stalks from black currants. Place in a pan with the maple syrup and 1 Cup water. Bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes until the blackcurrants begin to soften. Blend with hand held blender or immersion blender.

Mix 3 tablespoons of this mixture with the cornstarch to make a smooth paste. Pour back into the pan with the rest of the mixture and stir. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly to ensure no lumps! Keep stirring over a medium heat, until thickened and smooth.

Once the mixture bubbles, remove from the heat and beat in the butter until melted. Then beat in the egg yolks.

Return to the heat and continue stirring until the mixture thickens again. Remove from the heat, set aside.

For the meringue, whisk the egg whites to medium peaks. Gradually whisk in half of the maple syrup or sugar, a spoonful at a time – VERY IMPORTANT NOT TO RUSH!

Then whisk in the cornflour, followed by the rest of the syrup/sugar. Continue to whisk until the meringue mixture is thick and glossy.

Pour the black currant filling into the pastry case and smooth. Put the pie as it is in the oven for 5 minutes to heat the filling. Remove and spoon the meringue onto the hot filling – spread the meringue to the very edges of the pie crust and swirl to make peaks, then bake for about 20 minutes until the meringue is crisp and lightly golden. Cool before eating.

At the Farmstand: Aug 3-8

Hello August! Summer veggies are starting to roll in, some in snacking volumes this week and others are cranking!  This is the week for fresh Black Currants!  They are abundant and lovely.

Enjoy your choice of veggies with our pasture-raised meats, including a few turkey breasts & other parts that were deep in the freezer!  Some from us and other from our friends at Field Stone Farm.  We are partnering with Hannah (who has also worked with us the past few winters) this year to share abundance and what we each grow well and since we have similar farming practices and philosophies!

 

This week at our Farmstand you can find:

• Eggs (limited to members)

 

Fresh/Stored Veggies & Herbs

• Basil
• Black Currants  (plentiful)
• Broccoli
• Fresh Beets including Chioggia
• Carrots
• Chard
• Cilantro
• Dill
• Garlic, Freshly Out!

• Garlic Scapes

• Ginger, Baby (frozen)
• Green Beans
• Kale
• Head Lettuce (Field Stone Farm)
• Mint

• Peppers (limited)
• Salad Turnips (Field Stone Farm)
Scallions (Field Stone Farm)
• Tomatoes – Fresh!  A few of the first little ones
• Tomatoes, Frozen
• Zucchini & Patty Pan Summer Squash (plentiful)

 

Meats      Ham

 

• Bacon
• Maple Breakfast Sausage, Farmhouse bulk
• Bones, Pork & Goat
• Chicken, Roasting
• Chicken, Stewing Hens
• Fat, Pork Leaf
• Fat, Pork Back
• Ground Goat
• Goat Shoulder Chops, bone -in
• Ham Roasts
• Italian Pork Sausage, bulk
• Kielbasa
• Pork Jowl*
• Leg of Goat Roasts*
• Loin Roasts, Goat*(small)
• Offal & Odd Bits – Trotters, hearts, liver, kidneys, necks, Pig Heads, etc.
• Pork Chops
• Goat Ribs/Rack
• Shanks, Goat
• Goat Shoulder Roasts
• Stew Meat, Goat
• Turkey Breast
• Turkey Drumsticks
• Whole Turkeys*

 

Pantry & Prepared Foods

Dilly Beans
• Lard (Leaf)
• Lemon Pickles
• Pepperoncini
• Pesto, Arugula & Garlicky Kale
• Heirloom Tomato Salsa
• Soup, Roasted Creamy Spinach, Broccoli-Spinach & Cream of Spinach
• Tomolives (pickled green cherry tomatoes)
• Dried Hot Peppers
Dried Tomatoes

From our Farm Friends    Brookfield bees maple syrup 3

• Blueberries, Frozen from Spotted Dog Farm
• Honey, Brookfield Bees
• Maple Syrup, Brookfield Bees
• Cider Syrup, Brookfield Bees

This Week’s Member Special

All of the above is available for members and retail shoppers, but we also offer some specials for our members.  To learn more about our flexible, free Choice Farm Share memberships, see the details on our website.

• Black Currants on the vine, it is like a pick-your-own that you take home

• Pork Jowl

• Whole Turkeys, large, but lovely

Leg of Goat Roasts, Great for slow roast

• Goat Loin Roasts, bone-in & quick (see recipe)

Join us for Open Farm Week

 

Of course, our farmstand is open every day of every week, so no need to WAIT until Open Farm Week, but there are a few special offers from our farm and our partners that week, August 16-20.

 

Thursday, August 17th we are hosting Scarecrow Making & Farm Tours

The Farm Tour will include pigs and poultry on pasture, sampling your way through the gardens and the herbs and edible flowers of the orchard understory and getting up close to the 3 Sisters — our field of corn, beans, and squash grown using traditional Native American companion planting.

And there will there will be a scarecrow making workshop, (bring your own shirt and pants, hat optional!)

Sunday, August 20th is our Annual Farm-to-Table Feast with the Floating Bridge Food and Farms Coop at Ariel’s Restaurant.  Book Tickets Early!

 

And our FBFFC partner Brookfield Bees (yep their honey, maple syrup and cider syrup are in our farmstand) are doing an Open House & Honey Tasting on Friday & Saturday, August 18 & 19.

 

You can also check out DigInVT.com for other Open Farm Week Events.  And there is a fun video about Open Farm Week, our beloved Annapurna is even featured.