FPP Newsletter: June 3, 2015

Stocking up on Summer’s Harvest!

Now is the time of the year that tomatoes are plentiful in North Florida. We saw miles of tomato plants on this week’s farm run to Hoover Organic Farm. And that’s good news if you like to make your own sauce! We are stocking up — This week we’ve added Canning Tomatoes by the bushel under the “Bulk Items” tab and Kristy from Jones Family Jams has graciously helped us with a step by step tutorial on preserving diced tomatoes (See “Veggie Unearthed” below).
In addition to tomatoes, blueberries are now bursting with flavor and in full swing at Harriett’s Bluff Organic Blueberry Farm of Woodbine, GA. Prices have dropped and we have added blueberries by the flat to the store. Freezing blueberries is super simple and gives you the opportunity to use the local organic berries for months to come. We pop them into smoothies for a berry delicious morning (excuse the pun) or eat the frozen berries as an after dinner snack.
If your interested in receiving other items in bulk, please contact us at fp@frontporchpickings.com.

Eggs, Cheese, Hummus & Granola Now Available!

Good news for all those folks who have been patiently waiting for our new certification. We are now able to add dairy and other refrigerated items to our online store! To find out more, check out last week’s blog post.

Next Week’s Harvest

Our Local Producers: Blue Sky Farm, Brown’s Farm, Hoover Organic Farm, Harriett’s Bluff Organic Blueberry Farm, Frog Song Organic Farm, Beli Farms, Long & Scott Farm, KYV Organic Farm


Local Box (Mini):  (Local Organic Seedless Watermelon, Local Tomatoes on the Vine, Local Organic Fennel, Local Organic Blueberries, Local Corn (non-gmo)), Local Organic Butternut Squash, Local Organic Roma Beans

Organic Box, (Mini): (Local Organic Fennel, Local Organic Blueberries, Local Organic Butternut, Local Organic Roma Beans, Local Organic Carrots, Local Organic Bell Peppers), Local Organic Wilcox Potatoes, Local Organic Seedless Watermelon

Grab & Go: Organic Ataulfo Mango, Local Organic Blueberries, Local Organic Carrots, Local Organic Seedless Watermelon, Local Tomatoes on the Vine, Organic Grapes, Organic Bananas, Local Mini Cucumber

Salad Box: Local Corn, Local Organic Carrots, Local Tomatoes on the Vines, Local Mini Cucumbers, Local Organic Bell Peppers, Organic Romaine Hearts, Organic Vegetable Medley

Fruit (Add-on): (Local Organic Blueberries, Organic Grapes, Organic Bananas, Organic Nectarines) Local Organic Watermelon, Organic Atualfo Mango

Smoothie Box: 


Recipes Ideas –

**please note that items may change due to weather or supply issues.

Veggie Unearthed: Tomatoes


Your Organic Canning Tomatoes came to us from Hoover Organic Farms of Live Oak, FL, less than 150 miles from most of our customers’ homes and your Tomatoes on the Vine came to us from Beli Farm of Welborn, FL

This week’s Veggie Unearthed is the tomato. Perfect for salads, soups, sauces, salsas and roasts, one medium tomato will only set you back 25 calories. The tomato is commonly called a vegetable but is actually an edible fruit from the nightshade family. Its use in food originated in South and Central Americas and spread to Europe by the mid 1600s. It is said to have then been introduced to North Americans by European immigrants.

The best way to store tomatoes is upside down at room temperature.Yes, I said upside down! Cook’s Illustrated kitchen tested tomatoes, storing stem-end up and stem-end down. At room temperature, they found that tomatoes right side up rotted much more quickly than stem-down tomatoes. However, tomatoes on the vine or tomatoes with a small stem should be stored stem up.

We want to thank Kristy Jones of Jones Family Jams for teaching us how to can this week. She has given us step-by-step instructions to can diced tomatoes. If you are purchasing the canning tomatoes in our bulk section, you should use them within a few days of delivery. These tomatoes will not be winning any beauty contests which is why they are perfect for canning!

Canned Diced Tomatoes

Kitchen Items Needed:

  • 1 case of pint sized mason jars (available at any grocery store)
  • Bottled Lemon Juice
  • Fresh, yummy tomatoes!
  • Canning Supplies including water bath canner, funnel, jar lifter and ladle

If you are new to canning and need help finding the right kitchen equipment, take a look at the water bath canner and the Ball utensil kit on Amazon.

Step by Step Instructions:

  1. Peel Tomatoes by coring, scoring and blanching. The tomato peels take on a rubbery texture and can spoil an entire jar of what is otherwise a yummy addition to your meal.
    • Bring a large pot, filled half way up with water, to a simmer
    • While the water is heating up, thoroughly rinse the tomatoes and slice an X into the top and bottom of each one.  Put the tomatoes into the simmering pot one at a time until the pot is nearly full. Use a slotted spoon to place the tomatoes in the pot in order to avoid splashing.
    • Bring water back to simmer. Once the skins begin to split (about 2 minutes), remove the tomatoes from the water using the slotted spoon, and place them in a bowl of ice water. This will stop the cooking process.
    • Remove the tomatoes from the ice water and simply run your fingers along the skins to remove. This gets messy so have a few hand towels close by!
    • Next, core and dice your tomatoes, If you choose to deseed, this is the time to do it.
  2. Preparing your jars and lids
    • Once all the tomatoes are diced you will begin to sterilize your jars. Fill your water bath canner up about 2/3rds of the way with hot water, submerge the pint jars in the water and bring to a boil on the stove. Leave jar in hot water until you are ready to fill them.
    • Right before your jars are at a boil begin simmering a small sauce pan on the stove to sterilize your lids and rings and also to soften the rubber part of the lid. This will ensure a good seal.
  3. Filling your jars
    • Fill your sterilized pint jars with the diced tomatoes packing them in firmly filling to about 3/4 full. Fill the jars the rest of the way with boiling water until you reach 1 inch from the top of the jar. Add 1 Tablespoon bottled lemon juice to each jar. Remove air bubbles by running a plastic knife around inside the jar and fill with additional liquid to return to 1″ headspace if necessary. This space between the top of the jar and the top of the liquid is necessary to avoid boil-over in the canning process.
    • Remove rings and lids from simmering water and place on jars. Tighten the lids with your fingertips only. Leave some wiggle room between the rings and jars. You don’t want lids to be too tight. This will prevent air from escaping and may not give you an air tight seal.
  4. Sealing your jars
    • Place jars into your boiling water bath canner and cover with the lid. Boil the jars for 35 minutes.
    • Remove jars from boiling water and allow to cool on a dish towel for 12 hours.
    • Label your jars with contents and date

If you are feeling adventurous you can make a meatless pasta sauce to can. But don’t go crazy with your spices as flavors intensify in the canner. To preserve, start with step #2 above. Be sure to add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice per pint or 2 tablespoons lemon juice per quart. Boil for 45 minutes instead of 35 minutes.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Returning your produce box clean and undamaged means that we can use it again and again. This keeps costs down, minimizes landfill waste and keeps our carbon footprint smaller. Boxes that aren’t returned will incur a $5.00 replacement fee, so be sure to put it out for pickup!

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