From the Garden this Week…

From the Garden this Week…

Tomatoes, Watermelons or Cantaloupe, Beets, Green Onions, Yellow Beans and Dragon’s Tongue Beans, Cucumbers, Basil, Lettuce Heads, Garlic, Peaches, Apples and Pluots

Coming Soon… Sweet Corn, Other Melons and Eggplant

Using your Produce… by Julie Moreno

This week we have more tomatoes, so that means two more tomato recipes. The first is a cheese-tomato tart. I just made this and it turned out great, but I recommend eating it all the same day. The water from the tomatoes makes the crust soggy as it sits. Neither of these will use up your tomatoes so when your tomatoes are ripe, I suggest cutting out the core and freezing them. Then you can thaw them when you are ready to use them. I use them to make tomato sauce for the winter.


Tomato Tart

Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup chilled butter, grated on a box grater

2-3 tbsp water cold

Filling:

3 large tomatoes

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1-2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup grated cheese, gruyere, fontina, or Parmesan

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1-2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

In a medium bowl, combine together the flour and salt. Add the butter and mix with your hands, squeezing the butter pieces until you have pea-sized crumbs. Quickly stir in the cold water a tablespoon at a time and combine until a large pea size clumps form. Transfer these to the pie plate. Pat the dough into a pie plate, pushing the dough across the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides. Chill the unbaked crust for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, bake with pie weights for 15 minutes and then remove the weights and bake 15 more minutes until light golden brown. Cut the tomatoes into thick slices and place them in a large bowl. Sprinkle the salt on the tomatoes and let sit for 30 minutes. Drain the liquid from the tomatoes. Remove the crust from the oven and cool for 30 minutes. Brush the curst with 1 teaspoon mustard. Sprinkle the crust with ½ of the cheese. Toss the drained tomato slices with the garlic and olive oil then arrange the tomato slices in the pie. Top the tomatoes with the remaining cheese and sprinkle with black pepper. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool slightly and serve topped with the fresh basil leaves.


Did you know that your produce subscriptions help provide faith-based counseling to the women at the Redwood Family Center in Modesto?

Wellspring Counseling Ministries has been partnering with the Redwood Family Center since 2013 to provide quality, faith-based counseling services to women recovering from trauma and drug and alcohol abuse. Redwood Family Center first opened its doors in 2003 with a mission to serve 60 women and their children providing clean and sober living to residents who would otherwise be homeless due to drug and alcohol addiction. In January 2018, the mission broadened to include a licensed 12 bed residential alcohol and drug treatment facility for women in our community who were otherwise not eligible to enter clean and sober living. Our counselors serve all three of their sites. Not all our clients want faith-based counseling and our professionals are able to provide excellent mental health care regardless of faith/non-faith orientation. However, for the clients who have sought faith-based counseling and found it difficult to find or cost prohibitive, our counselors have been an answer to their prayers. We could not do it without the contributions of Wellspring Charitable Gardens. Thank you for your faithful support!


Summer Salads…

This week we do have some summer lettuce, but summer salads, like the famous ones from the Mediterranean don’t use lettuce. Since we have a similar climate, we should be making similar salads. This recipe today is based on a Greek salad, but I’ve never been to Greece, so I’m not quite sure how to make it authentic.


Tomato-Cucumber Salad

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

½ teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or dried

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced or pressed

½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Freshly ground pepper

2 cups chopped cucumbers, peeled and/or seeded if desired

2 cups cubed tomatoes

½ cup mixed olives, chopped

½ cup thinly sliced onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 ounces crumbled feta cheese

Combine the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and whisk well. Add in the cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onion and basil and toss gently. Pour into a serving bowl and top with the feta cheese.

Eating from Farm to Fork in California . . . by Julie Moreno

In California, the combination of water brought from the Sierra Nevada mountains and the moderate climate is beneficial to our agricultural economy. We are so fortunate to have so much fresh produce available year-round that we don’t understand what happens when fruit ripens on the tree. We almost assume that fresh produce must be better than canned or frozen and have become accustomed to the flavor and texture of fresh fruit and vegetables. But canning, drying, and pickling fruit and vegetables was once a main task of summer and autumn on the farm and ensured survival during long winters. Out of necessity, every culture has a technique for saving the harvest. These methods have been part of what sustained civilizations. In English the word preserves means both to keep alive, intact or free from decay and preparing fruit for storage.

When it comes to tree fruit, the reality is that on one tree, all of the fruit ripens at the same time and it has to be harvested and preserved or it rots and is lost, except for its ability to compost and provide nutrients for another generation. In contrast to our little farm, large farms generally pick fruit long before it is at the peak of ripeness, so it is not damaged during transit. This time of year, when our baskets are full of fruit, we need to respect the rules of nature. Whoever said, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, didn’t realize that you can’t just go out to your apple tree and pick one apple each day…unless you dry them, or make some type of apple preserve. Our modern conveniences of refrigeration and humidity-controlled storage have allowed people to forget how fruit grows on the tree. We don’t appreciate the preservation skill that allow us to preserve the harvest.

If you get bruised peaches or nectarines, cut them from the pit and throw them in the freezer. Your blender will take care of the skin and it won’t notice the bruise when you blend it up for a smoothie or sorbet. If you have cooking skills and time you can make a chutney or jam. Enjoy the whole process of farm to table living and the creativity that it produces! For example, did you ever think that perhaps the idea of fruit leather came directly from the question about what to do with all the damaged and overripe fruit? If you have never tried fruit leather, find someone who makes it and enjoy!!

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Wellspring Charitable Gardens

Oakdale, CA 95361, USA

209-607-1887

©2017 by Wellspring Charitable Gardens, a micro enterprise project of Wellspring Counseling Ministries, a Program of United Charitable, a 501(c)(3) organization.