The older I get the faster time seems to go by. The last couple of weeks of August sped by in a blur, many tomato tastings and potluck dinners later. I can honestly say that I am “tomatoed out”. We had great fun hosting our annual tomato lovers’ dinner, a similar dinner the following Saturday, and two tomato tasting potluck dinners. In addition, I conducted three more tomato tastings at friends’ homes. We are looking forward to some down time.
This week we have had our first cool weather reminding us that Fall is right around the corner. Tomato production has fallen off dramatically and many of the hot weather crops like cucumbers, melons, zucchini and winter squash are ready to be pulled. However, sweet peppers are still going strong and it looks like we are on the verge of a second season with our eggplants.
These last couple of weeks have been occupied with harvesting and cleaning up the garden. We have processed the last of our plum tomatoes and now have a freezer full of chopped and pureed fruit. We have also been busy harvesting , shelling and storing beans. Because we were so busy with all of the tomato madness in August we let our first planting of Vermont Cranberry beans dry on the vine. We finished drying them under cover, shucked them and stored the dry beans in vacuum sealed bags for use this winter. We also did the same with our other bean variety, “Kennearly”, an heirloom bean from Maine used for making baked beans. I grew up in Maine, so I love baked beans.
Our hot pepper harvest was average this year. For some reason, our two Poblano pepper plants did not thrive. We have some fruit, but none full sized. I opted to let the fruit ripen red on the vines. We will finish them off in the dehydrater, store in jars and grind into chili powder as needed. the Jalapeno peppers have been “rocking it” all Summer. Last Saturday I smoked 18 Jalapeno’s in the Webber kettle grill using a low indirect method; 25 coals and wood chips soaked overnight.
We also harvested some Cayenne peppers which we dried and stored in jars for later use. We seeded some of the peppers to make straight Cayenne pepper. We dried some with the seeds which we will crush for hot red pepper flakes. We get a great deal of satisfaction making our own pepper spice products for cooking. It’s not that hard and we have the satisfaction that the peppers were grown without chemicals.
The Fall bearing raspberries that we planted over a year and a half ago are nearing full production. What a treat it is to have these on my yogurt in the morning. Today, I picked nearly enough to make a batch of jam. Raspberry jam, home baked bread toasted, a good cup of coffee. Now that’s “good living”.
Our second planting of “Haricot Vert”, the tender French green beans has finally come into production. We had about a two week void between plantings. I did miss them when we couldn’t have any. We should get another three weeks of fresh green beans. If you have never had “Haricot Vert” I would highly recommend that you plant some next season. I won’t eat any other fresh green bean.
After experiencing a “foobar” with my supplier, I managed to plant my potatoes three weeks late this past Spring. Through necessity I discovered a new supplier, The Maine Potato Lady. Great pricing and service. What else can I say? We harvested our crop this week, a variety called “French Fingerling”. I love the taste and texture of this potato but have never seen it at any retail outlet.
Some of you are probably wondering when I am going to get around to publishing Part 2 of our “Tomato Lovers’ Dinner”. You have my promise that it will be published no later than September 19. Recent travel and events have distracted me from my blogging duties. Also, I have been fussing over how to present the recipes. Stay tuned.
All the best,