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WEEK 28 IN PHOTOS

07/14/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

For the past couple of weeks, it’s been raining peppers and eggplants on the farm… this past Monday we harvested 11 pallets of eggplants! Can you believe it? These crops are loving this scorching hot heat. Looking for a good recipe to utilize all this eggplant? Our farm manager, Becky, who grew up in China, imparted some Chinese cuisine intel with this recipe. YUM.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

SPICE BRAISED LENTILS AND TOMATOES WITH TOASTED COCONUT

07/13/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Recipe by Mackenzie Smith

This recipe is originally from Melissa Clark’s book Cook This Now, but it has made its way around the internet and into Kristin Miglore’s first cookbook, Genius Recipes. The crunch of the toasted mustard seed and coconut is the perfect match for the flavorful blend of lentils braised with spices and tomatoes.

Photo by Rick Cortez. Photo by Rick Cortez.

“Toast the lentils first in a melange of seasonings, then in a modest amount of flavorful sauce, so that they have no choice but to plump up with the aggressive flavors all around them.” -Kristin Miglore in Genius Recipes
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality Madras curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups green or brown lentils
  • 12 ounces ripe, juicy tomatoes, chopped (2 medium, or 2 cups canned plum tomatoes)
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 ½ tablespoons black or brown mustard seeds
  • Salty butter, for serving
  • Plain whole milk yogurt, or serving (optional)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
Photo by Rick Cortez. Photo by Rick Cortez.

1 . Melt the unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, garlic and curry powder. Cook until the mixture is golden and soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and lentils and cook until slightly caramelized, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and 1¾ teaspoons salt. Add enough water to cover the mixture by ½ inch. Bring the liquid to a boil over high-heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 40 minutes. If the lentils begin to look dry while cooking, add more water as needed.

2. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the coconut flakes, mustard seeds, and a large pink of salt until the coconut is golden, about 3 minutes.

3. To serve, spoon the lentils into individual bowls. Drop about 2 teaspoons salted butter into each dish. Top with Yogurt, cilantro, and the coconut mixture. Serve immediately.

Photo by Rick Cortez. Photo by Rick Cortez.

CSA BOX CONTENTS WEEK OF JULY 10TH

07/11/17 — Scott

CSA Box Contents Week of July 10th CSA Box Contents Week of July 10th

Large Box
Carrot, Orange
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Leek
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Onion, White
Pepper, Jalapeno
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Red
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Tomato
Medium Box
Eggplant, Black
Greens, Sweet Potato
Leek
Melon, Farmers Choice
Pepper, Jalapeno
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Potato, Red
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Tomato
Small Box
Carrot, Orange
Cucumber, Pickling
Greens, Sweet Potato
Melon, Farmers Choice
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Squash, Butternut
Squash, Zucchini
Tomato
Individual Box
Cucumber, Pickling
Eggplant, Black
Melon, Farmers Choice
Okra
Pepper, Sweet Medley
Tomato

FIRST FRIDAY STAFF PICKS - JULY '17 EDITION

07/07/17 — Heydon Hatcher

The arrival of a new month means another marvelous edition of our First Friday Staff Picks! We think that our staff is the best in the business (okay, okay, we are a little biased), but the JBG family hails from all over the place and covers the gamut in talents and interests. We love sharing events, adventures, and side projects that inspire and excite our JBG-ers (food-related or not) with the community. Check out the staff-curated list of favorites below!

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Ada (Marketing and CSA Manager) - Summertime, in general. Sure, it's sweltering, but Texas summers aren't so bad when you're plopped in water. When I first moved to Texas 10 or so years ago, I was enchanted by Texas's spring-fed rivers and creeks, and these readily-flowing or barely-trickling water sources still have my attention. Where I grew up, swimming holes are muddy brown and sprinkled with the occasional alligator (a different kind of charm). Went kayaking a couple weeks ago on the South Llano with pup, and finished off the trip with a fried catfish plate from Segovia Truck Stop near Junction. Highly recommended day trip!



Really excited to see what the women at Ft. Lonesome have stitched up for their first-ever art show happening this Saturday. Open to the public, and sure to wow.

Mike Mo (Wholesale Manager) - Watermelons, lightly salted, because it's summertime and those melons sure are delicious.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Lena (Wholesale Team) - This is a month of nostalgia for me, I’m going to Dallas next week to see Third Eye Blind for the first time, 20 years after their first album was released. As a kid, I listened to that CD so many times that the liner notes were in tatters. I’m also going to Michelle Branch’s show at Emo’s at the end of the month, the last time I saw her play was 14 years ago! She has a new album out that I’ve been listening to a lot.

As for TV, I inhaled all of GLOW on Netflix last weekend and really enjoyed it. I’m also in the middle of a full-series rewatch of Veep and it has reminded me that there is nothing on television that delights me more than Sam Richardson’s brilliant work as the clueless Richard Splett.

Sarah (Volunteer Coordinator) - Barton Springs in the wee hours of the morning, look at how beautiful and quiet it is!

Barton Springs. Barton Springs.

And the shower rooms, such a quiet and pleasant place to shave your legs after your early morning swim if you feel like it.

Also look at this little frog I found in a bin of veggies! Actually, would like to dedicate the rest of my post to all of the wildlife I've found among the vegetables:

sarah bugs

Hector (Social Media Extraordinaire) - I got an Excalibur dehydrator on sale and I've been making chips out of EVERY veggie we have at the farm. I've only put salt on these first batches but next ones might include some marination beforehand as well as possible vegetable leather for snacking.

I'm also submitting a piñata to the Farmer as an Artist show, just for fun. I'm between an anatomically correct one or a veggie inspired.

Heydon (Farm Blogger) - I've probably watched Mac DeMarco's Blogotheque performance 100 times. Love him. Check it out here.

I went on a long hiatus from shooting film, and have just recently re-opened the floodgates. I'm obsessed. Here's a fave from the recent Tomato U-Pick at the Garfield farm.



A post shared by heydon (@heydopotato) on




And another of one of a dear friend catchin' some serious air.

A post shared by heydon (@heydopotato) on





Farm, in general - Today marks the 5th anniversary that Krishna has joined our team as our fearless Operations Manager. Krishna is a beloved leader here at the farm, and has helped foster tremendous growth and innovation over the past 5 years... he's the perfect balance to Brenton, and helps make things happen. Krishna's work ethic is only surpassed by his genuine love and care for our JBG Family. For his secret stash of cookies, his calm and kind resolve, and for his supreme intellect... we are very thankful! Don't know where we would be without you, Krishna!

Krishna RULES! Krishna RULES! Beautiful portrait by Lucas Rager.

Missoula (Farm Dog) - Mike Mo. I embellished this photo of him because I love him.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Embellishments by Missoula Broussard. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Embellishments by Missoula Broussard.

Roxy and Chucha (Farm Dogs) - Air Conditioned offices, and the UPS delivery driver who knows where our treats are stored in said office.

MELON MANIA!

07/07/17 — Heydon Hatcher

A happy belated 4th of July to our farm community! We hope everyone rang in America’s day of birth with all the delectable grilled fares, all the wonderful family and friends, and all the ice cold beverages. You might have noticed from the scorching hot and unrelenting heat that summertime has arrived in her bright and sunshiney dress. This mean oodles of sweat, all the Topo Chico you can possibly imbibe, immersing yourself in local watering holes as much as possible, but also and more importantly, MELONS! The darlings of our summertime crops have arrived, and they will be here to stay for quite a while as we have five successions of all our varied melon varieties. The southern United States is “melon country,” as our head farmer would say, because we have these blistering summers that this crop prefers. If ever you find yourself driving in rural Alabama, you can even spot wild melons growing on the side of the road… that’s how much this crop loves the heat! We have a huge assortment of melons this year from all over the world. Check out our guide below!

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

French Charentais Melon - Originating in west-central France, this variety is one of the smaller French varieties. Proclaimed to have a better more succulent taste than that of the North American Cantaloupe, this variety is the sweetest of all the French melons, too.

French Chartenais. Photo by Scott David Gordon. French Charentais. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Korean Melon - We have been growing these incredibly sweet melons for about three or four years now. This year, we have tried out a new variety that looks like a cucumber with yellow skin and white flesh on the inside. Also called chamoe, this sweet and crispy taste is a cross between a honeydew and a cucumber. You can eat it whole, even the skin. Grown primarily in Korea now, they originated in East India, and are thought to have been introduced to China via the Silk Road.

Korean Melon. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Korean Melon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Galia Melon - Hailing from Israel, the word “galia” means “born in waves” in Hebrew. This is one of the first melons that we harvest from the fields during the summer season! When you bite into this beauty, you experience quite a tropical taste.

Galia. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Galia. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Canary Melon - Aptly named as its bright rind mirrors the color of a canary bird. This melon is elongated with white flesh. It has a taste similar to that of a honeydew - a touch tangier, but still very sweet.

Canary. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Canary. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Cantaloupe (Regular and Mini) - One of our sweet and juicy all time favorites, this orange-fleshed melon is perfect sliced up for breakfast, wrapped up with prosciutto as a snack, or served with ice cream as a dessert.

Cantaloupe. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Cantaloupe. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Crenshaw Melon - Pink-fleshed with a taste and texture that is unbelievable... one of our farmers’ favorites. A hybrid melon that boasts a sweet but slightly spicy taste. (This crop is still growing, not ready for markets yet!)

Honeydew Melon - This melon has a very sweet taste with greenish flesh. The perfect treat to cool down on a summer scorcher, plus it lends itself very well as a dessert.

Honeydew. Photo by Scott David Gordon. Honeydew. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Icebox Watermelon (Yellow Watermelon, Black Rind Watermelon, Green-Striped Watermelon) - The most popular of all the melons, our icebox watermelons are the belles of the market. Since we don’t grow the traditional larger watermelons (they are too big and heavy to haul around, plus, they don’t fit in the CSA box!), we have quite the array of smaller personal sized watermelons. The yellow-fleshed watermelon is unusually sweet, and quite a sight when you cut into it. Our Black Rind Watermelon has a very crisp and sweet flesh when you bite into it, and lastly, our famous and probably most recognizable green-striped watermelon has the familiar green stripes with the pinkish-red insides. It’s dense and sweet, and tastes just like summertime.

Watermelons! Photo by Scott David Gordon. Watermelons! Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Grab these summertime treats at the markets! CSA members - tell us what you like the best! We love feedback!

WEEK 27 IN PHOTOS

07/07/17 — Heydon Hatcher

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Week 27 and melons are flying out of the field (illustrated above). The heat is ceaseless, but the farm work must trudge on as per usual. Our field crew is the toughest in the business, and we are so grateful every day for their hard work. Hop over to the markets this weekend for a beautiful array of melons! Read more about all our different varieties here.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Malabar. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Smiles for the 'maters. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Purple eggplant. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Italian variety of eggplant. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Graffiti eggplants. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Eggplant harvesting vehicle. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Farm carpool. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Seeding. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Transplant babies. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Transplants. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Tomato sorting area. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Melon flower. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Cantaloupe. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Fields o' melon. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Squash. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Watermelon toss. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

Photo by Scott David Gordon. Watermelon catching some air. Photo by Scott David Gordon.

TWO TAKES ON BASIC TOMATO SAUCE

07/06/17 — Heydon Hatcher

This recipe can easily be made with our Large Homegrown Tomatoes, Red Roma Tomatoes, San Marazanos, or Inglorious Slicers. Make your order here before our bulk sale is long gone!

Photo by Rick Cortez. Photo by Rick Cortez.

Recipe by Elaine DiRico

Thirty seven years ago today, a friend brought me a bushel of VERY ripe tomatoes. It is easy to remember the date because my son, Tony, was born the next day. Last week, I flashed back to spending the night canning when I picked up my 25 lbs of tomatoes from Johnson’s Backyard Garden. In 1980, I was in Tennessee, had no air conditioning, and oh yeah, the pregnancy thing. This time was going to be a breeze.

Basic Tomato Sauce

  • 12 lb of tomatoes, washed


While my ex-grandmother-in-law peeled and seeded her tomatoes for sauce, I didn’t even core mine. As with many fruits and vegetables, the skins and seeds carry a lot of the nutrition. I halved them, then quartered them, as these were large, and packed into my Instant Pot. I used a potato masher to crush them down, and pressure cooked them for 6 minutes. I crushed them again, left the lid off and slow cooked them for 7-8 hours. When they cooled a bit, I used an immersion blender to break them down further, then a food mill to get a smooth sauce. Back into the slow cooker for another four hours, watching carefully so it cooked down without burning. I ended up with two quarts of intense sauce.

Since it is just the two of us, I packaged it in small zip lock bags. A trick I learned to make this easier: use a pint measuring cup, place the plastic bag in it, like a liner, and ladle in the sauce. Labeled and stacked, this keeps 6-9 months frozen, but is usually used up well before then.

Now we can get fancier… I am busily writing a series of articles on cooking gadgets, and how well they can simplify preparing healthy and nutritious food. Because of this, I have a ton of gadgets, including a dehydrator. Great Grandma DiRico was reputed to make a sun-dried sheet of ‘tomato leather’ so I decided give it a try. Because the tomatoes are low in pectin, for every eight tomatoes I added a Granny Smith apple, but otherwise it was prepared the same way.

There are special sheets available for making fruit leather with a dehydrator, or a piece of parchment paper cut to fit works just as well. Brush olive oil on the paper, then spread a ¼” layer of tomato paste across it and place in the dehydrator tray. Mine took 8 hours to dry, so overnight. While it can be stored at room temperature in a sealed container to protect it from bugs, it went easily into a bag and into the freezer. I know Grandma used it to make her sauce, but I am really liking it cut in strips in a salad as well.

Photo by Rick Cortez. Photo by Rick Cortez.

Tomato Sauce 2

  • 10 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12# mixed ripe tomatoes, quartered and peeled if the skin is thick
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


In a 6 quart stew pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, basil, oregano and salt and pepper. Stir and cook just until you can smell the garlic, about one minute then add the remaining ingredients. Crush the tomatoes with your hands as you add them. Cook over medium heat until it boils, then drop to a simmer and cook over low until reduced by half, perhaps 45 minutes.

Let cool; taste for seasoning. This freezes well, but is not acid enough to can in a water bath. I have heard that a spoonful of citric acid can help, but I am too lazy, and stick with freezing. I like my sauce with pieces of tomato intact, but it can also go through a blender or food processor and/or food mill.
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