Sunday, October 18, 2009

mixed harvest

Late blight (potato blight) hit the tomatoes bad this year, as it did all around the region, thanks to our local big box stores which buy tomato plants from the south, and the people who bought their plants from them, and then the virus spread through the air. My tomatoes were started from seed, and only caught the virus late in the season, unlike some friends out in Trumansburg and Lodi who lost pretty much everything. I was able to salvage parts of a lot of the bigger tomatoes. The damaged parts had to be cut out, and the rest could be used. The smallest cherry tomatoes did the best – Ildis and Jelly Beans. Also the Principe Borghese showed very little damage and had a good crop. Usually I use them mostly for the tomato preserves and dried tomatoes, but this year they pinched-hit for all fresh uses along with the little cherries. One Rutgers plant survived surprisingly well – at least it was Rutgers according to my records, but the fruits were on the small side, a little bigger and rounder than the Principe. I should save some seeds from that plant! We've still been covering it up at night along with a few other things since frost has threatened at night. So still been eating some tomatoes about every day; just have a lot fewer jars on the shelves. Tomatillos did not seem affected so do have a lot of salsa verde. More to make tonight.

Have a great crop of kale and collards this year, thanks to early planting for a change. So I've had it all summer, but now I really am appreciating them, as there's little else. The dinosaur or Tuscan kale is most susceptible to the cold, so I'm cooking, eating, and freezing a lot of that now before frost gets really hard. It's always surprising to pick a few lower leaves from each plant, and then strip the skinny leaves from the stem and slice them and there is actually a big pot of greens. These don't cook down to a tiny volume like spinach, but hold their texture, and consequently put up with more cooking.

The serviceberry tree is entering is entering its glory time.