It has been crazy hot here for the last two weeks and I am guessing that was it for summer 2014, since it is now back in the 70s for a high. Pretty strange. I heard today that it is supposed to frost in two weeks, which is early for us here in central Illinois and right on time since the tomatoes are finally starting to look really good (sarcasm). This short period of heat has really brought on the peppers and tomatoes. When I say “has really brought on” I am dead serious. I am harvesting nearly every day to keep up. I am pulling over 300 lbs a week just in Carmen peppers alone. I think the chefs are getting a little tired of this variety but they keep taking them, mostly because at this point I am begging and also trying to remind them that we will be starved for fresh produce in the winter :). I am pretty sure every chef I am selling to has menu’d stuffed peppers at least once, to try and move through the volume. I will probably not grow so many Carmens next year.
Antonio’s Sweet and Sour Pork (with homemade sauce) and farm peppers
Antonio’s gyros with a Mediterranean salad using farm tomatoes
I have been overwhelmed with the support and excitement from the chefs this year. I received some beautiful pictures of some of the dishes they have served with all of the peppers and tomatoes they have been buying. Antonio, who is the chef of the PIKE fraternity has been taking tremendous orders every Monday. He has capitalized on my seconds turning them into salsa, marinara and various sauces. I love seeing what he has been doing with the produce.
AGD peppers Before…
AGD Stuffed Carmens
Casey, who is the chef of AGD sorority, has also been very excited about the produce this year. He is so much fun to sell to and always has great ideas. This is his version of the stuffed Carmen. He sent me beautiful before and after pictures.
Bonnie’s Stuffed Peppers
Seconds getting ready to be Bonnie’s base for sauces
Bonnie’s stuffed Carmen
Bonnie, the chef at Hendrick House is my crutch. Without her this project would probably not be possible. She is so understanding of the season and writes her menus accordingly. She also doesn’t hesitate changing her menus to accommodate an influx of produce (when we have a heat wave etc). Bonnie will take any produce I cannot sell and process it down to use or sell at a later date, even if she doesn’t really want to 🙂 “Bonnie, I know you just got 100#s of Carmens last week but do you want 50 more #s on Monday?” – Me “Eh, Surrrrrrre.” – Bonnie “Oh thank goodness” – Me (saying to myself) She is a great chef and a farmer’s dream!
Not mentioned: Christie at Gamma Phi Beta, David at KKG, Nick at AOpi, Jason at Armory, Rich at Presby, Ryan and Heath at Newman and of course Kevin at Phi Delta Theta. I am coming for pictures!!!
Aphids…. What Aphids?
In other news, the aphids on the tomatoes are suddenly gone. One day they were there, the next they weren’t. Was it the heat? Was it the heavy rainfall + the heat? I’m just going to shrug my shoulders and move on, grateful I didn’t spend money trying to get rid of them. Chalk this one up to a win :)!
Yukon Gold Potatoes, yes please!
Spent the afternoon digging potatoes. I decided to try my hand at Yukon Golds this year. I love the way they taste and was going to plant this as a trial. Turns out to grow potatoes all you have to do is plant them, wait 3 to 4 months and harvest them. That is it! No weeding, no pest control, no nothing. I am definitely going to grow this crop again.
Second round of Romaine is coming along nicely, now that I cured my western corn worm problem. I have been looking at this crop closely and I think that I will have much better luck with this harvest. They should be ready by the beginning of next week. Oh yeah, I sprayed a non organic pesticide on the beds but was very careful about pollinators. And yes, I feel like a horrible person again to the extent where I actually saved a tomato horn worm I found today, gently setting it on the other side of the fence instead of squishing it.