At the Farmstand: July 16 - 29

Peggy Paul Casella, Resident Wordsmith and Farmstand Associate 20150715_093651

The midsummer bounty has officially arrived at the Farmstand! This week we received white nectarines and peaches from Larchmont Farms, yellow peaches from 3 Springs Fruit Farm, apricots from Solebury Orchards, nine varieties of heirloom tomatoes from Taproot Farm, and four different varieties of eggplant: Sicilian from Marolda, baby from Heritage, white from Paradise Hill, and Italian from Taproot. Here's the dirt on these new arrivals, and, as always, some recipes to get you started:

Stone Fruits (Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches, and Plums)

Apricots, Nectarines, Peaches, and Plums grow best in midsummer. If you buy them when they're not quite ripe, don't refrigerate them. Instead, let them ripen in a paper bag on your kitchen counter and then refrigerate for up to 1 week. If you refrigerate under-ripe stone fruits (especially peaches and nectarines), they'll develop an unappealing mealy texture. When shopping for these fruits, pick the most fragrant, vibrantly colored ones that are firm but give a little to the touch.


Did you know?

  • Stone fruits are part of the rose family.
  • They are also known as drupes.
  • Apricots and peaches were first cultivated in Western China about 4,000 years ago, where they were seen as symbols of fertility, long life, and immortality.
  • White peaches are extra sweet, while yellow peaches are sweet with a slightly more acid tang.
  • The nectarine is like a smaller, sweeter peach with smooth, fuzz-less skin and dense flesh.

Recipes to try:


Unlike the bland grocery store tomato, whose vibrancy has been bred out over time in favor of a longer shelf life, heirloom tomatoes are bursting with flavor and come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. The term "heirloom" is reserved for varieties that have been around for at least 50 years or have been associated with a specific area, farm, or family throughout the generations. Look for ones that are fragrant, heavy for their size, and yield slightly to pressure. The skins should be brightly colored, smooth, and free of blemishes. For the best flavor, keep tomatoes at room temperature until ripe, and then use within a day or two.


Did you know?

  • Tomatoes are native to the Andean regions of Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia and were first cultivated by the Incas and Aztecs around 700 AD.
  • Thomas Jefferson grew tomatoes in his garden in 1781.
  • When introduced to Europe, tomatoes were called "love apples."
  • The heaviest tomato ever grown weighed nearly 8 pounds.
  • Tomatoes gain weight as they ripen, even after they have been picked.

Recipes to try:


Use large ("globe") eggplant for roasting, broiling, grilling, sauces, and dips, and choose smaller varieties for stir-frying, braising, and pickling. When buying eggplant, look for those with taut, smooth skin and green caps and stems; avoid any that are wrinkled or scarred. Though you can keep whole eggplants in the fridge, the texture will hold up best if you store them at room temperature.


Did you know?

  • Like all other edible members of the nightshade family, the eggplant is actually a fruit.
  • In 5th century China, fashionable women would make a dye out of the skin of purple eggplants and polish their teeth with it to a shiny gray.
  • They're called "eggplant" in the United States, Canada, and Australia because the first cultivated eggplants in those countries were an ornamental egg-shaped variety, now known as "White Egg."
  • Salting eggplant will reduce the amount of oil absorbed in cooking.

Recipes to try: