Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I finally got around to cleaning up and weighing the shallots I had harvested some time ago. The Conservor shallots bolted and did not make much at all. We’ve used a few for cooking but I won’t plant them again. The Dutch Yellow shallots bolted too, but went ahead and made a lot of nice sized bulbs. I wound up with right at two pounds of them, which for us is a lot of shallots. I’ll hold a few back for planting later this fall. They are supposed to be good keepers so we should have plenty of shallots for some time to come.
Last week I harvested quite a few of a heirloom pole bean called Non Tough Half Runner. This is another variety from the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center where I also got the seed for Bertie Best Greasy Bean I mentioned last week. In his book Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste bean grower Bill Best explains that somewhere along the line the ‘tough’ gene got into the commercial half runner bean supply. He has spent years growing this variety and selecting for tender pods so that once again gardeners can enjoy them the way they are supposed to be. The ones I harvested were indeed tender even when the beans were developed and the pods full. The pods are bigger that BBGB, but just as tender and flavorful.
A half runner bean is one that tends to have shorter runners than usual for a pole bean, though that is all relative. My plants have climbed to the top of the trellis and have gone over to the fencing to climb some more. That means they are close to eight feet long, not exactly short to me!
In other news, we have been enjoying a couple of the unreleased Artisan Seeds tomato varieties I am growing. In the below photo, the green/yellow one is visually quite striking but the flavor could be better. The red one is the other way around, with an outstanding flavor but with variable and sometimes faint striping. Of course, I care more about flavor than appearance so my wife and I have really been enjoying the red ones. Other test growers are reporting similar results with the red one, and I hope to be growing it or an improved version of it next year. I also want to grow a new green one they released called Fuego Verde that looks like a paste tomato but tastes like a cherry tomato.
I continue to get more of the Patio Baby and Fairy Tale eggplants from my two container plants. We went to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday to pick up some apples from a local orchard, and another vendor was selling the Fairy Tale eggplants for $2.50 a pint. I don’t need economic justification to grow a garden, but it never hurts to see how much one’s produce would cost if you had to buy it. There’s about a quart in this batch, so there’s $5 worth at least. These babies wound up on the grill.
A while back I speculated that I might find a rogue pepper or two this year, and it looks like I was right. I’m growing one called Dustbowl Paprika Pepper for the first time, and I set out two plants of it, or so I thought. One has fruit ripening that looks like the catalog description, but the other is definitely different. It has corking on it like many jalapenos, which was my first clue it might not be a sweet paprika pepper. I brought it in and tasted it, and while it is hot it isn’t that hot, at least not as jalapenos go. I’m growing several mild jalapenos this year so it could have been my bad instead of a rogue. I will use these for smoked chipotle powder instead of paprika, so all will be good in the end.
The other pepper harvests last week were more predictable, and I got some of the red Carmen, Cornito Rosso and Pritavit, plus the yellow Cornito Giallo and the orange Glow. A vendor at the farmer’s market was selling Carmen and other ripe sweet peppers for $1 each, so I posed those valuable peppers of ours in my wife’s handmade blackberry dyed bowl. Nothing but the best for our veggies!
In other news, I got the first ripe fruits from the late planted Red Racer cocktail tomatoes. These are a 2018 AAS Winner that compared favorably to Mountain Magic in the trials. They have mid-sized fruits, larger than a cherry but smaller than most slicing types. Harris Seeds and Garden Trends Wholesale are promoting this variety, and made transplants available back in July for garden communicators and the media to try out. The determinate plants are compact in size and mine are loaded with tomatoes. In the below photo the top two weighed a bit over two ounces each while the third one weighed three ounces. I think they are a nice size for salads. We got our first taste of them last night and I think they are winner in the flavor department. I’m hoping for lots more before the first frost comes.
I made another harvest of paste and processing tomatoes last week, about 11 pounds of them in all. It’s a gallon of Juliet in the below photo along with a strainer full of Stripey Marzano and Rutgers 250. I hit the 200 pound mark in tomatoes this year, with the vines still producing. That’s not a record for me, but better than usual for sure. I turned these into marinara sauce, and we ate some of it and froze the rest. I got another batch of Stripey Marzano on Saturday and cooked it down into unseasoned sauce for the freezer. The Juliet plants have just been crazy productive this year, which is not unusual for it in my garden.
Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!