Monday, September 26, 2016

Harvest Monday - September 26, 2016

We're in the middle of a heat wave, the hottest I can recall in many weeks with temperatures exceeding 90ºF (32ºC), I guess summer has finally arrived. The heat is supposed to stick around for a couple of days and then we'll get back to more seasonal temperatures in the mid 70's later in the week. The harvests are looking decidedly summery.

Florina and Etiuda
The peppers are not looking prime because of the powdery mildew induced defoliation of the plants. Some of the peppers got sunburned, others shriveled, a number just stopped growing and started to ripen so they are runts. I neglected to take photos of some of the harvests, such as the best of the Lady Bell peppers. Sunday morning I fired up the Big Green Egg before the day got too hot and roasted up a number of peppers. We enjoyed some of them right away in one of Dave's favorite dishes, a Spanish Pepper Salad of strips of roasted pepper with good olive oil packed tuna and hard cooked eggs and olives scattered over the top, and the whole lot dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil. It's a very simple and delicious salad and leftovers keep well for a couple of days.

Lady Bell, Petite Marseillaise, and Shepherd's Ramshorn
Last year I experimented with drying roasted peppers and loved them, the best way I could think of to describe them was to call them "pepper jerky" since they were chewy. So this year I'm dehydrating more of the roasted peppers, this time I've got some Etiuda, Florina, and all of the Odessa Market peppers roasted and drying.

Yummy Belles, Odessa Market, and Gogosar

I've got a bit of a tomato glut going. There's a number of tomato based dishes that Dave and I enjoy every year when the tomatoes start to roll in. Tomato Tart with Tuna and Caramelized Onions is one of our favorites. One that we haven't enjoyed yet is Roger Verge's Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes with Basil but that is on the short list because we have loads of cherry tomatoes now.

Sweet Gold, Piccolo Dattero, and Camp Joy
There were still some cherry tomatoes sitting around when I brought these in so I sliced the older ones and put them in the dehydrator.

Jaune Flamme, Chianti Rose, Pantano, Orange Jazz,
Mavritanskite, and Lime Green Salad

Saturday evening I did a quick mini tomato harvest for dinner and then some. We didn't eat all of them but a couple were damaged so those are the ones we enjoyed right away in a Caprese salad. I had to use the Orange Jazz tomato when I thought it was still a bit underripe but to my surprise I thought it was better tasting than the first one that we consumed when it was fully ripe. I've found that to be true with the Mavritanskite tomato as well. I think it may be because I like my tomatoes with a bit of acidity and when fully ripe the Orange Jazz and Mavritanskite tomatoes taste a bit flat to my palate.

Sunday I went through the tomato vines and harvested the ripest ones. We had more tomatoes for lunch and dinner that day. A couple of Chianti Rose tomatoes went into a batch of Tomato Gazpacho and a mix of tomatoes went into a salad with some Yummy Belles peppers, sliced sweet Exhibition onion, and bacon.

Jaune Flamme
Jaune Flamme is one tomato that I like best when it is completely ripe, it is sweetest then but also retains a nice balance of acidity.

Lime Green Salad

Mavritanskite and Chianti Rose

Pomme d'Amour, Orange Jazz, and Pantano
Pomme d'Amour has turned out to be Pomme d'Isappointment. The plants are a magnet for powdery mildew and I don't know what other ailments. The tomatoes were late to set and slow to ripen and sparse on the vine and the ones that I've tasted so far have failed to impress. I suspect that it doesn't at all like my cooler climate.

Pomme d'Amour (again), Mouse Melons, Green Fingers Cucumbers

Rat Attacked Hopi Chin Stripe Corn
Rat Stripped Hopi Chin Stripe Corn
The corn has both a new foe and a not so new friend. Well, the foe is not new in the garden but it/they just discovered how to gnaw through corn husks to devour the green kernels within. ARRRRGH $%!#. The corn also has some new friends that have been at work for a while but I just caught them in the act on Sunday morning. A small flock of American Bushtits has been going through the corn patch and cleaning up the aphid mess! These little birds also do scale maintenance on my Meyer Lemon tree. Every year the scale infects the tree and every year the Bushtits come through and have a feast. I didn't realize that they also cleaned up the corn patch. I wish they would clean up the Brussels Sprouts and broccoli but I guess I should just count my blessings and keep my expectations down...

I also harvested small amounts of broccoli and a few other things that didn't get photographed, the details are at the end of the post. Oh, and I knocked one of the Discus Buttercup squash off the vine when I was inspecting it for sowbug and millipede damage. I'm going to let it sit for a week or so and then give it a try. It seemed to have a fairly tough skin so perhaps it's mature enough to have some decent sweetness and flavor.

September 21 (Day 62)
And the Soberanes fire report continues, 67 days and counting, 126,693 acres and still growing. The massive burnout operation conducted by the forest service got a bit (ha ha) out of hand last week when a dry cold front came through with some strong gusty winds. The fire pretty much raced down the Church Creek drainage towards Tassajara (along with other slop over events). There was a lot of concern about that run because there were a few historical sites in the path of the fire. Fortunately the fire fighters were able to protect them and they came through unscathed although the surrounding landscape is now thoroughly scorched. (If you are curious there are arial photos of the properties on the Los Padres National Forest facebook page - search for English Cabin. Then we got lucky and it got cloudy and damp and the wind died down and the fire stalled. So Tassajara is still standing, although the fire front is now advancing toward them from 2 directions. Rumor has it that the forest service may do a burnout operation around Tassajara to create a break. Just rumor so far. They also say that the fight is going to go direct to the fireline now instead of creating burnout areas miles from the fireline. But with a new Incident Team coming in I suppose that the game plan could totally change. Fortunately for those of us in this part of Carmel Valley the wind has been taking the smoke away from us for the past week, the southern parts of the valley are getting the Big Stink now, along with a new Evacuation Warning for some areas.

Now that that's off my chest we can get back to the harvests.

So here's the details of the harvests for the past week:

Calabrese broccoli - 5 oz.
Green Fingers cucumbers - 7.3 oz.
Mouse Melons - 4.3 oz.
Etiuda peppers - 1.5 lb.
Florina peppers - 2.1 lb.
Gogosar peppers - 2 lb.
Lady Bell peppers - 6.7 lb.
Odessa Market peppers - 1.7 lb.
Petite Marseillais peppers - 6.8 oz.
Shepherd's Ramshorn peppers - 2.2 lb.
Yummy Belles peppers - 1.7 lb.
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - 1 lb.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 7.9 lb.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 4.1 lb.
Lime Green Salad tomatoes - 2.2 lb.
Mavritanskite tomatoes - 2.5 lb.
Orange Jazz tomatoes - 2.4 lb.
Pantano tomatoes - 5.6 lb.
Piccolo Dattero cherry tomatoes - 1.7 lb.
Pomme d'Amour tomatoes - 1.4 lb.
Reisetomate From Transylvania tomatoes - 3.2 lb.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 4.2 lb.
Discus Buttercup winter squash - 3.8 lb.
Romanesco zucchini - 2.1 lb.
Tormba d'Albenga squash - 2.4 lb.

Total harvests for the past week - 63.6 lb. (28.8 kg.)
2016 YTD - 640.1 lb. (290.3 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.


  1. Nice tomatoes and peppers, seems to be the theme this time of year. Last year my Jaune Flamme were great, this year they suffered from the conditions and I only got a few marble-sized fruit. Happy to hear the winds are keeping you smoke free and Tassajara still survives.

  2. Oh, I like to read about the fire updates. Thank you. Are you enjoying the heat? It finally reached you. So is everything going to ripen all at once? Bushtits are the cutest little things especially when there is a flock about 16 all taking a bath at once. Pepper salad sounds good. I buy Genova (tuna in olive oil) by the case.

  3. Looks like your tomatoes are much later than mine - which are nearly finished now. What you say about some tomatoes tasting better when slightly under-ripe is interesting. Maybe people are just too obsessed with sweetness to appreciate a little acidity? I'm going to have to look up what Bushtits are like, but it sounds as if we could all do with a resident flock of them!

  4. Pomme d'isappointment, haha. I can almost say that with a French accent. Well, the other tomatoes are great, and such an abundance of cherries. Peppers are beautiful too, of course. Enjoy the heat while you can, and I hope the smoke doesn't come your way.

  5. Well, looks like summer has finally arrived for you with all those glorious peppers and tomatoes!

    Wow - the image of that cabin with the charred landscape all around...just amazing. It must be so nice to finally breath in some clean air!

  6. Lovely abundance of tomatoes and your peppers still look beautiful despite the mildewy leaves

  7. The dried roasted peppers sounds like another good way to preserve them. I've dried them, and roasted them, but not both ways together!

  8. Summer colours, so beautiful (and just in time for Autumn, ha!).

  9. Beautiful peppers and tomatoes! Your pepper jerky sounds yummy, I need to try that. How frustrating to have your corn eaten by a rat that doesn't seem to know how to share! At least those American bushtits are helpful.

  10. So various tomato and pepper, interesting!

  11. Those tomatoes and peppers are beautiful. I appreciate the time you take to make your harvests look so pretty. And it does take time. My tomatoes died off in early August, and I never got any peppers this summer. So be grateful. Too bad about the rat damage on your corn. I love all of the interesting varieties that you grow. Lou Murray's Green World

  12. You certainly have lots of tomatoes - what a shame about the corn - there's always some pest out to get our crops.

    I hope that the new team manage to put out that horrendous fire - such a lot of destruction.


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