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Wapsipinicon River: A River You Can Believe In

Posted 8/17/2017 9:40am by David Zemelsky.

Dear People Who Don't Take Things At Face Value,

The Wapsipinicon River is a slow meandering river in northern Iowa-a tributary of the Mississippi.  It goes through a rural farming region, full of rolling hills and surprising beauty. Well, I guess it has surprising beauty, I've only got one picture to judge from.  It looks great.  An Indian name, no doubt and probably the keeper of lots of the shameful Indian history that is part of our past.  The almost hidden beauty of this place reflects how I feel about the tomato with the same name-Wapsipinicon.  Its fun to say and also fun to hear people try to guess how to pronounce it.  The second part is easiest. PIN  I (like in igloo)  CON.  First part is more WHOP (like giving someone a whack) and then SA (as in satire).  You kind of combine then, in a rhymn. WHOPSA and then PIN A CON. If I was a wapsipinicon tomato, I'd be angry at the very bland,boring and undistinquished color that is displayed.  And also, its almost peachy skin.  Many people don't even recognize it initially as a tomato.  But it is, and what a flavor!  That's what I like most, the surprise.  You pick one up.  They aren't firm and fleshy feeling like a typical tomato.  There's also the boring color and peachy/fuzzy skin.  But upon tasting it, you realize that this is a unique and exciting tasting experience.  I'm not even going to try to describe it, words won't do it justice.

Which reminds me, our other heirlooms are, in their own way just as amazing. I've been waiting since putting the first seeds in (January 28th) to get this amazing food experience.  Even though this kind of diet can sometimes be digestively challenging sometime, I've made sure to create plates of  thick sliced tomatoes, raw and salted with coarse kosher salt several times a day. Its the best time of year.

Here are two easy and wonderful tomato prep ideas for you.First is a quick, uncomplicated sauce to put over salt potatoes, fish, chicken or even fresh corn on the cob.  Take numerous sungold cherry tomatoes and cut them in two.  Put in a shallow pan and put some olive oil and salt over them.  Place under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Keep your eye on them.  You want them just barely charred. Barely.  Take out and add to white balsamic vinegar.  Stir,mash or even put in a food processor(probably an overkill).  Done.

Second. Preheat oven to 350. Get a decent supply of tomato seconds (We'll be selling them this week) and cut up in chunks.  Take the hard part out where the fruit was attached to the plant. Put parchment paper in a wide shallow pan. Spread the chunks out in the pan.  Put some small (not too small) chunks of garlic over the top.  For me, the more the better.  But whatever you have. Put a decent amount of olive oil all over.  And then some kosher salt to taste.  Put in your oven and check in every 20 minutes or so.  Towards the end, the tomato chunks will begin to look a little charred.  You're going for the liquid to get to a thicker irresistable  state.  Might take a while.  You don't have to hover over it, but don't forget it either.  When done, you've got two choices.  You can enjoy it immediately over pasta that is lightly coated with parmesean.  Or you can let it cool.  Then transfer to a large ziplock bag.  Get all the air out of it. Place on a flat cookie sheet and put in freezer.  Once frozen, take the cookie sheet out.  Now, you've "put something by" for the Winter.   This recipe is courtesy of our youngest (36), Rye. Damn good recipe, too.

We're looking at carmelized tomatoes with garlic,after following the above recipe.  Any liquid is soft, chewy and almost like caramel. (Who doesn't love caramel?)

Thanks to all of you who've tried our store.  Its a different way of buying food, I know.  But it seems to work well.  You get what you want and we only harvest what's needed. Tell your friends.  We count on word of mouth-yours.If you see something from the list below, please email me back before 8AM Friday (August 18th).  Your order will be ready for pick up at our shed at 54 Fowler Ave. Durham after 2pm.  Self service. Bring exact change.  Put payment in the handy jar.

There's a few special prices this week.

Wapsipinicon- 2lbs for $7.  Basically half price.  I'm really hoping that all of you will develop a taste for them.

Actually, in this picture, the color doesn't look to dull.  But they are dull colored-take my word for it.  And still, the taste is the best.

Juliet-our wonderful tomato for all your needs.  Uncooked or cooked, this is your go to tomato.  2lbs for $7

A 5 lb  bag of seconds-$15.  You'll be getting a mix of wonderful heirlooms. There'll be some kind of split or something, nothing really serious.  However, I wouldn't forget picking them up either!

Heirlooms- 2lbs for $7

Sungolds- the cherry tomato that is profondly sweet and satisfying. $6/pint

Black Cherry- our more than sophisticated cherry tomato $6/pint

Pink Tye-dyed Berkeley- a new variety.  Very nice texture, and flavor with a sweet that works for me.  $6/pint

Sun-dried Juliets-NEW!.  They actually are dried in a dehydrator, but its fun to say "sun-dried".  This is a taste treat. Makes for a good surprise present for someone, too. $5/oz.

Big Kale- a BIG bunch. $4/bunch. Specify if you'd like lacinato (the Italian type)

French Fingerling Potatoes - $5/lb.  They'll be freshly dug and wonderful

Swiss Chard $3/bunch

Arugula $6/bag.  A successful crop

Salad Greens- $6/bag

Garlic- just out of the ground $2.50/bulb

Cucumbers -$1.50 each

Beets- $4/bunch

Green Onions- $2.50/bunch

Beet Greens- $3/bunch.  These are from our newest patch of beets.  Lightly cooked beets are a good thing.

Spring Tower- a truly unique lettuce grown specifically for its core.  The greens are delicious, too.  Usually, the core is bitter, but this core is sweet, crunchy and exciting. $3/head

Lettuce Heads- again, crunch and sweet.  Lovely leaves. $2.50/head

Carrots- $5/bunch

Daikon Radish- fun to pickle or grate over salad. $2.50/root.

And again, our list from Farmer Peter

Marvel of Venice Italian heirloom snap beans, fabulous when sautéed with onion and tomato or my sauce $5lb,

Gladiolas $1each,

Rhubarb $5 lb,

Shallots $5 half Pt,

Blueberries $4 half Pt

Herb Bunches: thyme, mint, oregano $2/bunch

Famous Northfordy Tomato Sauce $10/jar

Have a great week.