Week 13: August 29th

Caprese, Finocchio….Cibo d’Italia!

Last week’s share was all about south of the border salsa. This week it’s all about the flavors of Italia! Basil, a bounty of tomatoes, fennel, Italian peppers…you might just find yourself lapsing into rapturous Italian at the dinner table: Mangia! Mangia! Mama Mia!


Or something like that….


No matter what, we suggest doing two things with your produce this week:

  1. Make caprese.
  2. Make finocchio.


Recipes below….


Strawberries Available by the Flat

The strawberries are making their usual late summer comeback and we’re starting to have extra flats again, $35 each. There’s still time to make some jam or stock your freezer! If you’d like to order, email us: your name, pick-up location, and the number of flats you’d like. We can deliver to your pick-up site, or you can pick up at the farmstand on Wednesday or Saturday.


Raspberries have begun…

They are big. They are sweet. Not quite peaking yet, but ramping up. It’s fun out there.


In your share this week:

  • Head Lettuce
  • Strawberries
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions           
  • Carrots
  • Summer Squash
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Fennel


On Rotation:

  • Cherry Tomatoes


Kitchen Tips

Don’t forget to visit the Recipe Wizard to find ingredient-specific recipes, or go to the Recipe Exchange if you have a recipe you’d like to share with everyone!


Please note: all of our produce is field-rinsed, not washed. We recommend you wash all of your produce before eating it.


Featured Recipes of the Week:

Our favorite fennel recipe, Finocchio: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/finocchio

A wow-your-dinner-guests recipe, Caprese: http://www.valleyflorafarm.com/content/caprese


Heirloom Tomatoes

You’ll find a few more unusual-looking tomatoes in your tote this week: some small orange “Juan Flamme” tomatoes, perhaps a big green “Aunt Ruby,” or a jumbo sunset-colored “Striped German.” These are all heirlooms, meaning they are open-pollinated (not hybrids, so we can save our own seed year after year). Heirlooms are typically handed down over the generations and maintained as unique varieties. They tend to yield less and later than many of the hybrid varieties out there, but their special flavor and color make up for that!


Bets grows a number of heirlooms in her greenhouses, and they have come on early this year. If you got a green one in your tote, rest assured it’s not an unripe tomato. On the contrary, it’s ripe and ready to be sliced up next to those red and orange tomatoes for a gorgeous plate of caprese.


Storage: on the counter, at room temperature. If at all possible, DO NOT refrigerate ANY of your tomatoes. It often makes the texture mealy and reduces their flavor.


Sweet Peppers

Sweet, sweet peppers! The harvest has begun from the pepper greenhouse, and holy moly, it looks like it’s going to be quite a year! They are coming out of there by the bucketload in all manner of color, shape and size! This week’s are a variety called Stocky Red Roaster, another open-pollinated variety from our favorite local seed company, Wild Garden Seeds, in Philomouth, Oregon. Great roasted, as their name implies, but also sautéed or raw. I eat them like apples every chance I get (pepper season is the pinnacle of food happiness for me).


My mom is always trialing new varieties and this year is no exception. She managed to bring some seeds home from our trip to Italy last fall and recently harvested a giant 2-pound red pepper the size of Cleo’s head! There’s always an array of those experimental varieties for sale at the farmstand if you are as much a pepper lover as I am.


Storage: On the counter if you plan to use them within a couple days, or in the fridge in a bag to hold for at least a week.