Aug 6, 2020

  Market Notes Aug 6, 2020



Let’s start with the fun stuff.  So, we have yellow slicing tomatoes that are much better than the Baja melters but they are in Birmingham, Alabama.  Ever try to get an LTL out of Birmingham, Alabama?  Don’t! Unless you want to move a load (or at least eight pallets) you’re not going to find a ride at a cost you can afford. Plus the grower doesn’t harvest a load at a time, not even half a load.  So I guess we don’t have super high quality yellow slicing tomatoes, we just know where they are.  Then, remember the tomato time multitude of heirloom tomatoes?  Well they certainly exist but what’s coming out of the market is small and lacks variety. Fortunately we have a few growers in the Santa Cruz area that are putting up excellent packs, both conventional and organic, Sizes are large and colors are the rainbow. Then, finally some very good news; Dry farmed Early Girl tomatoes have begun. Dry farming, a process by which a plant is deprived of water after initial planting to force the roots and develop a thicker fruit with less water and stronger terpenes, produces a tomato that tastes like sauce. There is probably not a better tomato for canning. While this can be done with several varieties, the Early Girl is one of the best for the dry farming process. Also great on a plate with basil and mozzarella drizzled with purple pesto.  Dry farmed Early Girl tomatoes also make a memorable wedge on a salad or juice for your morning or evening drink.  We’ve got about six weeks of these amazing tomatoes.  By then we should figure out how to get a yellow tomato out of Alabama.  


The Hatch chili season is upon us.  Once again we can celebrate the harvest from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico and the surrounding areas.  For a quick primer please be reminded the Hatch pepper, a cultivar of the Anaheim pepper, is more of a category than a single pepper.  The redeeming feature is the smoky flavor and slight touch of sweet.  But NMSU has developed many different Hatch chili peppers.  There are at least five different types of Hatch peppers, each with varying degrees of heat.  So, when someone offers Hatch chili, you need to know if you are getting a New Mexico 6-4, a NuMex Sandia, a Barker Extra Hot or a NuMex R Naky.  It could even be a NuMex Joe E. Parker, then where would you be. With choice comes responsibility.  
Dating back to the fourth century AD I was held in high regard by the Greeks and Romans for my medicinal properties.  I am similar to spinach, but easier to prep and consume because my stems are edible.  Often called a leaf beet, I am grown for my leaves, not my root.  I come in many colors including white, red, green and even a rainbow variety, but we all turn the same darkish green when cooked.  My hardy leaves keep better than spinach due to the lower levels of oxalic acid, which allows for better nutritional absorption.  Our baby leaves are used in salads, while the elders get braised or steamed, and often served with lemon.  Mixed with raisins, apples, pine nuts, lemon and cheese I create a traditional specialty of Nice of ten served on Christmas Eve called tourte de blettes.  I will also find me combined with ham in quiche.  Eaten raw, I am an excellent source of vitamins C and A.  Cooked I become an

excellent source of iron, copper, vitamins C, and vitamin B6.  We are also used as a laxative and a diuretic.  Although we share a first name, I am no relation to cheese.


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