Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rosy Ontiveros' beautiful Thursday farm stand at an artist's bi-weekly
open house on River Road in Brunswick
Summer is in full swing and there are summer vegetables to prove it! Tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers were finally harvested for the first time in the last few days. The farm is a beautiful, calm, and abundant place right now. All of the chaos of springtime planting and weeding has come and gone, and the seemingly empty fields are quite literally overflowing with produce. Melons are the size of softballs, I feel like I could become lost in the verdant green mazes of corn that tower over my head, and the brussel sprouts that were started from seed in the greenhouse in April are just beginning to form sprouts.

 There is something so reassuring about August on a farm in Maine. August is what every farmer waits for - the month when all of his or her hard work and financial investment finally begins to pay back. August is also the month when a farmer suddenly stops feeling like the farming season has just begun and begins to feel like the farming season will soon be winding down.

August is also my favorite time of year for preserving food for the winter for two reasons: the ability to capture the flavor and memory of summer for consumption in the middle of February and the sheer abundance of produce to choose from!  Here is an abbreviated list of food I preserve every summer:
        *tomatoes- frozen, dehydrated, and canned
        *eggplant and peppers- roasted with salt and olive oil then frozen
        *kale, chard, and collard greens- blanched and frozen
        *cucumbers - pickled in vinegar and fermented in crocks
        *green beans - made into dilly beans!
        *cabbage - packed into jars and crocks as sauerkraut
        * basil - dehydrated or made into pesto and frozen
        *zucchini/summer squash - seasoned with various spices and dehydrated into chips
If you or anyone you know would like to purchase produce in bulk for preserving, please let us know! We will happily deliver to Portland. This week we have a particularly abundant harvest of kale and chard, green beans, summer squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. We do not have any pickling cucumbers ready, but I have always had good success with pickling slicing cucumbers. One of the 25 farmers at the farm harvested 200 pounds of cucumbers yesterday! Who wants 'em?!?

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