Tomatoland, What’s ahead, Pictures and some recipes


Five or so years ago I bought a cheap ticket to Fort Myers, Florida where I rented a car and spent three days driving through ground zero of the Florida growing area. What I remember most about that trip was the smell. The air seemed sterile and laden with chemicals. The fields, especially the sugarcane acreage, were huge and extended as far as the eye could see. Deep in the Everglades I drove for almost a day and didn’t see another person. Vermont author Barry Estabrook has just published an excellent expose of the Florida tomato industry. He describes what he calls “chemical warfare” and “real slavery, not slave like conditions” for workers. On the cover Ruth Reichl wrote “If you have ever eaten a tomato-or even plan to-you must read Tomatoland”. The RMF tomatoes are still a couple of weeks away so you have plenty of time to pick-up a copy. Eastabrook’s award winning blog is “Politics of the Plate”, where you can find a link to his interview with Terry Gross and pick-up a copy of the book.

What’s ahead:

I’m pretty sure that we don’t need to talk anymore about what a slow, wet spring it’s been. Better to look forward. We love melons, and have a lot planted. Peppers are progressing nicely, and the 1000 heirloom tomatoes we’ve planted in our Haygrove field tunnel look amazing. Sweet corn is knee high, and the onions are rebounding nicely after getting put in extra late. Beans, herbs, cukes, etc. will be following soon. Our main wholesale crop is winter squash and that went in very late, record breaking late. We’ll just need to keep our fingers crossed and hope for some heat and a very late fall frost. To date we have not irrigated once in the field.

A few farm pictures:

Our old chicken house had been standing empty for quite a while since we had increased the layer flocks and moved them out to pasture.  What better to fill an empty little barn with than some little goat kids.  These  little kids are Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats and in the far off future they will give us a small amount of  milk for drinking and a bit of chevre making.  Right now they are just being fed by bottle and entertaining us with their silly goat antics.

Fiona and Hughie joined our farm family last week

Farmer Will with Ginger and Fiona


We are including a few recipes with our weekly newsletters and we want to encourage members to share recipes too.  On our website homepage under the menu heading “current members” you will find “share your recipes.”  If you click on it, you will find recipes that members are starting to share. At the bottom of the page, there is a box for you to add a favorite recipe or two that you think others should try.  If you have a few moments to share one of your favoites we could really get this recipe list going.  Thanks for contributing!

Some very simple kale recipes:

Sautéed Kale

1 1/2 pounds young kale, stems and leaves coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

1/2 cup vegetable stock or water

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until soft, but not colored. Raise heat to high, add the stock and kale and toss to combine. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring until all the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add vinegar.

Crispy Kale Chips

1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.  Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.

Crispy Kale Chips #2

1 bunch kale, washed and dried well

1 tablespoon olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Tear the leaves off the center rib of the kale and tear into large pieces. Place leaves in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil and toss until completely coated.  Divide kale between 2 baking sheets lined with parchment. Arrange in a single layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until crisp. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Leave a Reply

All content property of Rockville Market Farm

Site by Scout Digital