Astiana Sauce Tomatoes

Astiana Sauce Tomatoes


  • Astiana Sauce Tomatoes
  • Padron Frying Peppers
  • Czech Black Hot Peppers
  • Green Peppers
  • Diamond Eggplant
  • Slicing Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Red Ursa Kale
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Red Crisp Lettuce
  • Basil
  • Red Onion
  • Garlic
  • Pumpkin Seeds from Bob’s Red Mill


Holding up in the heat - Simpson Elite

Holding up in the heat – Simpson Elite

As the late summer bounty requires nearly daily harvest to keep up with the ripening pace of cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and peppers, even lettuce, it is tricky to find time for the long list of other tasks that must be done as well: Irrigation, trellising peppers, transplanting the very last starts of the season, tilling and seeding cover crop for winter, and ever-present on the list, weeding, weeding, weeding.

The Farm Interns are nearly five months into their farm season, with only two months to go. Leigh, Lauren, and Justin have each excelled on the farm since their arrival in April. They have become proficient in many farm tasks, constantly working on increasing efficiency, speed, and quality of work in the fields. And now, they have an opportunity to connect the dots and put their practice to the test. Over the next six weeks, each of them will step into the role of Farm Manager for two weeks. During this time, they are responsible for managing the crew through harvest, setting priorities for daily and weekly projects, and learning to delegate efficiently and effectively. Also during this time, Bryan and I will try our best to step back and take orders.

IN THE KITCHEN: Share notes and recipe ideas


Padron Frying Peppers

Padron Frying Peppers

Astiana Sauce Tomatoes: This pink beauty is not best for fresh-eating.  But when cooked – roasted or stove-top simmered – the depth and sweetness that emerges in this tomato is remarkable. The variety was discovered by local farmers Anthony and Carol Boutard in the city of Asti, in the Piedmont region of Northwestern Italy. Try your Astiana tomatoes in the Basic Tomato Sauce recipe, below, recommended by Leigh.

Padron Peppers: Named after the Spanish town where they originated, these small green peppers are best sautéed whole in olive oil and sprinkled with salt – a great starter to snack on, or a side for your meal. They are very flavorful and most have only a very mild spice to them, but be warned, roughly 1 in 10 is quite hot. Surprise!


Basic Tomato Sauce: Jamie Oliver (The Naked Chef), Australian Table, July 2000


  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small dried red chilli
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 lbs sauce tomatoes, chopped (or other if sauce tomatoes are not available)
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 handful of basil or marjoram (or both), roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a thick-bottomed pan, gently fry the garlic with the olive oil, and then add the chilli, oregano and tomatoes.
  2. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for an hour. Add the vinegar and stir.
  3. Add basil or marjoram (or both), season well to taste, and add 2-3 tablespoons of your best extra virgin olive oil.

Quick Pickles – Rachel Ray

12 Recipes for Grilled Eggplant

"Calliope" in the field

“Calliope” in the field


  • Collard Greens
  • “Magenta” Lettuce
  • “Temptation” Sweet Corn
  • Italian Parsley
  • Carrots
  • “Keuka Gold” Potatoes
  • Slicing Tomatoes
  • Serrano Hot Peppers
  • “Diva” Cucumbers
  • “Calliope” Asian Eggplant
  • Brown Rice from Bob’s Red Mill

IN THE KITCHEN: Share notes and recipe ideas


Collard Greens: When people think of collard greens, long and slow-cooking on rainy fall evenings may come to mind. While the days and even nights are still warm, try your collards minimally cooked or even raw. They don’t actually need the hours of boiling to be tasty. With less cooking time they also retain more of their nutritional value. Experiment with a light saute or steam with other veggies or on their own, or massage raw collards with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt to tenderize, then add vinegar and other veggies to make a great salad!

Garden snake perched at harvester-eye level in the peppers.

Garden snake perched at harvester-eye level in the peppers.

Serrano Peppers: These hot peppers are green now, but will eventually ripen to a bright red. They are tasty at any stage of ripeness. They are a bit hotter than a jalapeno. Perfect for use in fresh or cooked salsa, great pan-fried alongside a plate of tacos, or a good addition of spice to any dish.

“Temptation” Sweet Corn: This exceptionally sweet bi-color sweet corn has an outstanding flavor which makes it ideal for corn on the cob. It can also be cut off the cobs and added to salads or stir fries, even frozen for a taste of summer in the winter months.

“Keuka Gold” Potatoes: These yellow spuds are similar to Yukon Golds. They are versatile and have earned high marks for flavor in trials. This is our first year growing the Keuka Gold. Let us know what you think!

“Calliope” Eggplant: This Asian-style eggplant would do very well in a variety of uses. As with all eggplant, thorough cooking is the key to transforming this fruit from spongy to creamy and caramelizing those sugars. It’s magical really. Try Calliope in a stir fry or curry!


Early, mid, and late season corn is over Lauren's head by the 12th of August

Early, mid, and late season corn is over Lauren’s head by the 12th of August


  • Russian Kale
  • Genovese Basil
  • Sweet Corn
  • Dragon’s Tongue Beans
  • Lemon Cucumbers
  • Ukrainian Eggplant
  • Heirloom Tomatoes
  • Spanish Roja Garlic
  • Quinoa from Bob’s Red Mill

Urban Grange Construction has Begun.

web_grange beginsOver the last year, and more, there has been such a great effort by so many people just in preparing to build the Urban Grange. Up to this point, though, it has felt theoretical, almost impossible. And so, I was somewhat unprepared when the actual bulldozers arrived today, and cleared the Grange site in a matter of hours.

This is a big transition for a little urban farm, and each of us who have experienced this place – staff, interns, volunteers, egg co-op members, farm share members, campers, students, neighbors, supporters – will probably have feelings of nostalgia for this space, and what it has been. But there is also an incredible excitement for what is to come, and the potential of all that we can do, together, with this new community hub. So thank you to everyone who has contributed, in any way, to the arrival of this day. If you don’t already know, and want to learn more about the Urban Grange, check it out here.

IN THE KITCHEN: Share notes and recipe ideas


Eggplant and flowers planted for the pollinator insects who we love

Eggplant and flowers planted for the pollinator insects who we love

Ukrainian Eggplant: Don’t fear the eggplant! We will provide more recipe ideas to assist our members in making the most of eggplant season, but my first tip is cook it very well. Fresh eggplant, and undercooked eggplant is spongy, and can be bitter. When cooked to its liking, eggplant caramelizes, and becomes almost creamy. It’s almost like magic. Some great ways to prepare eggplant include: grilling, pan frying or sauteeing – alone or with other veggies, and roasting.

Dragon’s Tongue Beans: This may be the last of the Dragon’s Tongue – a unique and special treat. These beans are incredibly versatile. They are so tender that they can be eaten fresh, but they also hold up well in light cooking, or even stewed. If you’ve found yourself with a stockpile of beans – all of the varieties that you’ve gotten in your share this year would make great pickles too!



Almost all of the items in your share this week would be perfect combined in this hearty, but light-enough-for-Summer dish. Find the recipe here: Ratatouille

In this heat, our cucumbers have really started producing!


  • Green Crisp Lettuce
  • Winterbore Kale
  • Basil
  • Romano Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Yellow Onion
  • Czech Black Hot Peppers
  • Summer Squash
  • Marketmore Cucumbers
  • Spanish Roja Garlic
  • Black Turtle Beans from Bob’s Red Mill

A Special Thank You to our Summer Interns!

Courtney, David and Mackie, left to right, in a field of beans.

Over the past two months, Courtney, David and Mackie have volunteered their time and energy to the farm. We are so grateful for their help during the peak of the season and hope that they had an educational experience that gave them an insight into what it takes to operate a small, sustainable farm. Thank you for all your hard work!

IN THE KITCHEN: Share notes and recipe ideas from Lauren


Romano Beans: Romano Beans have a buttery flavor and hearty texture. They are great eaten fresh or cooked.

Czech Black Peppers: The heat of these peppers is very similar to a jalapeno, but the flavor is much more intense. After trying this in 2013, the farm crew all agreed that this is our new favorite versatile hot pepper!


Black Bean Salsa

  • one serving of bobs black beans
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 2 Czech black peppers
  • juice of one lime or lemon
  • one medium size onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare one serving of black beans according to the package instructions and set aside to cool. Dice tomatoes, peppers and onions. Mix in lemon or like juice and spices. Add in cooled black beans. Stir all ingredients.

Can add garlic powder or minced garlic, corn, cilantro, basil or parsley.
Serve with tortilla chips or sliced cucumbers.

Pickled summer squash


Any summer squash can be substituted and sliced in any fashion. Turmeric is optional. Red pepper flakes can be used to add a kick.

web_justin and onions

Farm Intern Justin with an armload of Walla Walla Sweet Onions


  • Red Butterhead Lettuce
  • Green Crisp Lettuce
  • Rainbow Chard
  • Dragon Tongue Beans
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • “Costata Romanesco” Italian Zucchini
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Spanish Roja Garlic
  • Basil
  • Red Lentils from Bob’s Red Mill


web_lauren pick upLauren Conheim is one of the Farm Interns growing your food this season while learning the basics of small-scale production farming. Lauren will be managing the Farm Share pick-up at Zenger Farm for the next month, and will also be staffing the Zenger booth at the Lents International Farmers Market on Sundays.

Lauren is Portland born but was mostly raised in Maryland. In 2011 she felt the calling of her ancestors (one of whom was the oldest woman to travel the Oregon Trail) and returned to her home land. She has a degree in psychology but no career ever seemed quite right. That is until last year when she started her first garden. She fell in love with every aspect from seedlings, to weeding, to harvesting and pickling.

Sweet corn, coming soon!

Sweet corn, coming soon!

Then one day, elbow-deep in dirt, she realized a farmer is what’s she’s meant to be! In her spare time she loves to craft. Her top projects include recycled light bulb vases, crocheting (which inevitably ends with her cats and dog in crocheted outfits) and re-purposing wooden pallets. She hopes to one day have her own farm complete with lots of farm animals and a market to provide the community with homemade crafts and fresh, organic food grown with love.

IN THE KITCHEN: Share notes and recipe ideas from Lauren


Dragon’s Tongue Beans: This Dutch wax bean is exceptionally crisp and juicy. They are tasty raw or cooked.

Yukon Gold Potatoes: This is one of the most versatile potato varieties. It is it’s best roasted, but can also be fantastic in any other preparation – boiled, mashed, baked, or fried. The flesh is golden and sweet, the skins very thin and edible after a scrub to get the field dirt off.



Basil Pesto

  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, almonds cashews…)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Combine first 4 ingredients in blender. Blend until paste forms, stopping often to push down basil. Add cheese and salt; blend until smooth. Transfer to small bowl.

To store for later, cover with a layer of olive oil and keep in the fridge.

To store for months later, portion into muffin tin, then pop out frozen pesto portions, place in a bag or other container and put in the freezer for storage. Great to pull out for pesto pasta in the middle of Winter!

web_spuds redIN YOUR SHARE:

  • Tomatoes: Early and mixed heirlooms
  • Red Potatoes
  • Red Butterhead Lettuce
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Baby Beet Greens
  • Carrots
  • Patty Pan Summer Squash
  • Red Torpedo Onions
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Pinto Beans from Bob’s Red Mill


My sincere apologies for the extremely late and utterly brief post for this week. The list, of course, is above. We will be back next week with more new recipes to try out, updates from the fields, and an introduction to another of our amazing Farm Interns for 2014.

See you then! – Sara, and the Farm Crew

First basil, to go with the first tomatoes


  • Tomatoes: Early and mixed heirlooms
  • Basil
  • Walla Walla Onions
  • Red Butterhead Lettuce
  • Red Chard
  • Red Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Italian zucchini
  • Whole Wheat Flour from Bob’s Red Mill


Urban Grange Groundbreaking Celebration: Monday July 21st, at 3pm

Join us for a historic occasion as we break ground on the new Urban Grange at Zenger Farm. This new 6,600 square-foot facility will include a multi-purpose classroom, a commercial kitchen, and work space.

Central to the mission of Zenger Farm is building a food system that supports whole family health and resilient communities. The Urban Grange will allow us to expand our work toward this goal and it will be a hub for community connection in East Portland.

The ceremony will begin promptly at 3pm, and will be followed by farm tours, food, drinks and celebration.

We hope to see you there! RSVP Here.

IN THE KITCHEN: Share notes and recipe ideas from Lauren


Leigh hauling in the harvest

Leigh hauls in the harvest

Preserve the Harvest – Italian Zucchini: The “Costata Romanesco” Italian Zucchini in your share this week is abundant, and you may notice that one of them is quite large. All of your zucchini can be used in your favorite squash preparations now. But if you are interested in saving some of the Summer’s harvest for winter, this large squash, or any of your squash can be preserved by freezing it. Simply shred – with a food processor or hand grater – place in small bags (1-3 cups in each), and freeze for use later this Winter in Zucchini Bread, or fritters. Or chop into pieces and freeze similarly for use in soups or stews.



Lemon Parmesan Chard

Quick Dilly Beans


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