Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Purple In The Garden

It's been a particularly crazy time on Crandall Hill the past couple of weeks because both of us have stolen some time away from the farm. I spent a transformative week at the Chautauqua Institution with a group of dear friends. Arthur returned yesterday from a 10-day fishing trip to Alaska. Our vacations overlapped a few days which kept us from the Potter County Farmers' Market only one week. Last week I did two Markets on my own which kept me quite busy!
This post has been rattling around in my brain since early last week when I snapped the pictures you see below.
Royal Burgundy Snap Beans in blossom
These beans are purple until they begin to cook and turn green.
 The garden and high tunnel feature a riot of color this time of year. From the bright sunny blossoms on the squash to the more subtle blossoms on the potato plants to the many red hues on the tomato plants, it's truly a feast for one's eyes.
Purple is not necessarily a color you'd expect to see in the garden but it's the one that really captured my attention last week.
It also turns out that purple foods have their own special health benefits.

Coming soon ... Purple Cabbage
Purple foods contain anthocyanins, health-promoting chemicals that act to protect and heal cells. They play a role in promoting heart and eye health and may decrease the rate of cancer cell growth. In addition to being found in vegetables, they are also in teas, honey, fruits, nuts, olive oil, cocoa and wine.
Some vegetables are bred specifically to have additional anthocyanins.  Feast your eyes on this assortment of purple growing right here at Metzger Heritage Farm and look for this great stuff at the Potter County Farmers' Market in coming weeks.

Czech Black Peppers
A delicious heirloom from Czechoslovakia.
Mild, jalapeno-shaped fruit with
fruity, cinnamon flavor
Two varieties of eggplants
share a bed in the high tunnel
These carrots are purple
on the outside
and organge on the inside

Indigo Rose Tomatoes
A favorite of Chef
Butch Davis
The Indigo Rose tomato which I first grew last summer is touted in the seed catalog as being the darkest tomato bred so far, exceptionally high in anthocyanins. The catalog description goes on to say that in the early stages of fruit development, Indigo Rose develops a dark purple pigment when exposed to direct sunlight. Green when unripe, purple-red when ripe, the cocktail-size tomatoes have good flavor with plummy overtones.
Purple Beauty Bell Pepper

Purple Basil
Mild, aromatic and ideal for garnish, sauces & dressings
And how can I forget the beautiful All Blue potatoes we've been growing for our gourmet potato assortment? They deserve a post all their own!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cherokee Purple

At 72 days, the Cherokee Purple is one of the beefsteak tomato varieties that actually has a chance to produce fruit here in northcentral Pennsylvania. By contrast, the popular Brandywine tomato is listed at 82 days from transplant which is more challenging in our climate.

Picked July 8, 2014, tipping the scale at nearly a pound!
The High Mowing Organic Seed catalog promises "brownish purple skin with green shoulders and red flesh. The most popular of the black tomatoes for its outstanding flavor and texture. Large beefsteak fruits weigh in at 12-16 oz. Believed to trace back over 100 years to the Cherokee Indians."
While we probably won't have enough ripe tomatoes to bring to market this week (July 11), it won't be too much longer!
Here's today's harvest:
Tomato varieties pictured include Black Cherry, Stupice, Black Sea Man, Nyagous, Austin's Red Pear,
Sweetie Cherry, Speckled Roman, Silvery Fir Tree, Cherokee Purple and Amish Paste.
This week at Market we will once again have a nice supply of leafy red and green head lettuce, limited Jalapeno and Hot Wax peppers, limited heirloom zucchinis, sweet green shelling peas and (fingers crossed) new potatoes, fresh herbs including dill, flat leaf parsley, cilantro, limited basil. If you're counting on having the produce which may be in short supply, contact us ahead of time and we'll reserve your selection for pickup at the Market. You might even talk me out of some of the tomatoes!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tomato Season Has Arrived

Black Cherry


Silvery Fir Tree

Black Sea Man

Sweetie Cherry
The wait is over - at least for our family! This morning I picked a Sweetie Cherry tomato and popped it right into my mouth. Ahhh! There's absolutely nothing to compare with a warm tomato plucked from the vine. What makes it special for me is that I planted each seed, transplanted each little seedling, watered and fussed until handing the plant off to Arthur who planted it in the high tunnel in mid-May. Since then, it's been watered, pruned and had its winding stem attached to the trellis system.  Today's enjoyment is a culmination of all the little steps so familiar to a farmers or gardeners!
This beautiful Black Sea Man tomato on the left is going to find its way into the first BLT of the summer - thick slabs of locally-sourced bacon, slices of homemade whole wheat bread, a twist of black pepper, lettuce from the garden and a touch of mayonnaise!
I'm not sure whether we'll have enough tomatoes to sell when we head to the Farmers' Market on July 7 at Cole Memorial but I'll keep you posted.

Meanwhile, I have lots of lovely leafy head lettuce for anyone who is interested. If you live in Coudersport, we can make arrangements for delivery by calling 274-8004. I also have some fresh herbs – four kinds of basil including purple, Thai, lemon and Genovese, flat leaf parsley, sage, dill, oregano, cilantro.
As always, I am happy to take orders for any of our produce. I can pick it especially for you and hold it for you at the Farmers' Market or we can make other arrangements. Just give me a call or email: metzgerfarm@gmail.com.

Here's the other crop we've been watching with great anticipation. It's the 2014 crop of Alderman Tall Telephone Peas. Since we won't be coming to the Farmers' Market this week (July 4 holiday), we expect to have a limited supply available on July 7 at Cole Memorial and again on July 11 at the Farmers' Market on the courthouse square.
Red Cabbage
Those of you who have been driving past the farm, may have notice that the covers have been removed from the long rows of brassicas. We used floating row cover to discourage flea beetles and other pests while the plants were trying to become established. They're growing nicely now.
Broccoli just beginning to form heads