Bumper Crop

Bumper Crop is my attempt to celebrate the intersection of the garden and the kitchen — an intersection at which many of us love to linger, I think.  This week’s Bumper Crop is tiny, adorable tomatoes.

Tiny, adorable, plentiful

Tiny, adorable, plentiful

How grateful I feel, in late September, to have lovely little tomatoes practically bursting off the plants.  The tomatoes in the photo are a mix of Jaspers and Sun Golds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.  I have been so pleased with these tomatoes.  They are both prolific and delicious.

Almost too pretty to eat . . . almost

Almost too pretty to eat . . . almost

We consume a lot of these little guys while harvesting.  Many of them I pitch over the fence into the chicken yard, and the birds have a great, squawky time snapping them up.  The tomatoes that make it to the house, I put on a glorious Rebecca Wood Pottery platter (which was a very generous wedding gift years ago).  That color contrast — glossy shiny red and yellow against glossy shiny dark swirly blue — I love it.  It makes the tomatoes look all the more appetizing, and so I eat a lot of them one-by-one or in small handfuls as I’m mousing around the kitchen.

But this wouldn’t be a true Bumper Crop unless there were almost too many tomatoes to use up, right?   Luckily, no matter how many of these I eat au naturel, there are plenty left to make one of my favorite things: Flatbread with Schmeer and Salad.

Flatbread with Schmeer and Salad

Tomatoes, hummus, flatbread, basil - ready for yummy action

Tomatoes, hummus, flatbread, basil – ready for yummy action

First, prepare the tomato salad: slice small cherry tomatoes in halves, julienne a few leaves of basil, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Using a spoon, measure out the olive oil and red wine vinegar:  5 spoonfuls of olive oil to 2 spoonfuls of vinegar.  Mix.

Now, the flatbread or naan: sprinkle one flatbread lightly with water.  Toast in the oven for just a few minutes to make it warm and tender.

The final ingredient you’ll need is some good, creamy hummus.  I would like to tell you I make my own hummus from scratch, but I have wasted too many fine chick peas and expensive jars of tahini and never got a hummus that I love as much as this prepared brand.  Life is too short–I just buy hummus so I can really enjoy it.

Now for assembly: Tear off a piece of flatbread, schmeer on some hummus, spoon on some tomato salad and munch.  This part is messy, as the tomato-ey, vinegary oil dribbles down your hand and chin, so have a napkin handy.

Now it's really ready for yummy action

Now it’s really ready for yummy action

My two wishes for you today: that you have tomatoes still spilling out of your garden in September, and that you make and enjoy this dish as much as I do.  Bon appetit!

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Saturday Garden Journal

My photos cannot come close to Ginny’s over at Small Things, but here’s my contribution to this weekend’s garden journal:

L’Homme has been planting, planting, planting, and watering and cultivating like a busy bee.  He says this weekend is the last one for planting.  He has put in collards, kale, turnips, salad mix, radishes, beets, carrots, arugula, green onions, broccoli, spinach, broccoli raab, mustard greens, chard, bok choy, endive, escarole, and cilantro.

L’Homme gets a little help from a garden intern and the intern’s faithful bodyguard, Perky.  Here she’s watering bok choy seedlings.

The garden intern dresses quite formally, like Sleeping Beauty

And the harvesting has begun!

L’Homme harvesting kale

We’ve been eating kale and arugula this weekend. Great crops of both, but this particular row of kale had lots of aphids, so L’Homme cut the whole row down to the base of the leaves (the growth point) to try to get those little buggers out of there and hopefully get a second growth on the plants that will be relatively aphid-free. The colder temps will probably help make that happen.

You might be saying, “Dang!  That’s a lot of green leafy vegetables for one small (2 adults, 1 munchkin) family.”  You’d be right.  We are market gardeners — the bulk of our harvests go to the lovely restaurant 61 Main in Jasper, Georgia.  And a lot goes to individual customers who come out to the farm to buy from us.  (If you ate at 61 Main this week and you had kale, arugula, tomatoes or basil, you ate our vegetables.)

In addition to these first fall vegetables coming in, we are still picking Juliet tomatoes and basil from the summer garden–enough of those to sell.  We have a few Celebrity tomatoes still hanging on, but just enough for our household, and we are enjoying them on bagels, grilled cheese, in salads.

Gotta love tomato plants that are still producing nice food in October