Tomatoes Everywhere

Hello! This is a post about tomatoes and what to do with them.

  1. Eat them! They make a great snack (just make sure to wash them before popping them in your mouth)
  2. Bruschetta (The Garlic Diaries, Bruschetta tips)
  3. Tomato sauce (NYT Cooking,  Serious Eats, Brooklyn Farm Girl)
  4. Gazpacho (NYT Cooking, The Chef Dan)
  5. Curry (The Full Helping, Epicurious)
  6. Summer salad (Delish)
  7. Quiche or frittata
  8. In an omelette
  9. Bloody Mary (you can use the juice that results from removing the seeds in some of the other recipes!)
  10. Your own V8 (Farmgirl Fare)

Week 8 CSA

Given how quickly everything changes in the garden, every week feels eventful but this week in particular saw some big changes at MKG!  Last week we pulled out a lot of our dying beds and this week we tilled up the soil, added compost, and planted new beds of kale, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and lettuce for the fall!

Soon Plot A will be green and full of growing things once more! This coming week we’ll work on putting in broccoli, more kale, sunflowers, and buckwheat in Plot B. Some more basil might also be in order because our beautiful bed was struck down by basil blight, brought on by the high levels of heat and humidity recently.

Fortunately, the tomatoes in the hoophouse seem completely unaffected and are chugging along. They’re doing so well, in fact, that we picked over 200 pint boxes of cherry tomatoes this week!! The tomato plants have grown so high that some of them touch the top of the hoophouse, while others have drooped into the aisle between the beds. We’re going to see if we can restore some order to our tomato jungle this week!

In other garden news, the zinnias have started blooming and it seems that almost every morning I find a butterfly or two perched on the flowers.

We also found the first few itty bitty pumpkins this week. It’s crazy to think that these tiny green balls barely bigger than a grape will grow into shapely orange pumpkins come October.

Enthusiastically yours,

Mikaela Ruiz-Ramon, MKG Intern

Summer CSA Week 7!

We can’t believe there are only 3 weeks left of the summer CSA! It has been amazing getting to watch things grow over the past weeks from seed into a full acre of food. The Kitchen Garden has a special place in my heart…and all of my aching muscles! But the hard work has definitely paid off (the view helps too).

FullSizeRender (1)

This past week we harvested loads more cherry tomatoes! The hoop house is becoming more of a forest than a house. We have been lucky enough to not only give our CSA members lots of cherry tomatoes but we have also sold them to Salt, The Boars Head and Integral Yoga. It’s really exciting to be part of a whole network of food systems in Charlottesville.

If you are looking for a quick and easy recipe to use up those cherry tomatoes check out this yummy pasta dish.


Cherry tomatoes galore! Peep the garlic drying in the background 🙂

Some things are coming to an end in the garden; this week we mowed down the salad greens, pulled out the rest of the onions and the last of the Napa cabbage. But, by the end of next week we hope to have plenty of peppers and eggplants! If you’re looking for a way to use your Napa cabbage and radishes from this weeks share try this kimchi recipe.

We hope some of you can make it to our volunteer workday this Sunday from 9am-noon!

All for now,

Gabi Freckmann, MKG Summer Intern


Week 6 CSA

Welcome back! We’ve made it over the halfway point for the CSA and we’re starting to see the bounty of summer in full! Check out the beautiful produce featured in this week’s share!


Beautiful colors this week from the beets, cherry tomatoes, and return of rainbow chard!

The cherry tomatoes in our hoop house have been loving the heat, and we’ve now collected nearly four dozen pints of cherry tomatoes in a single week! That’s a whole lot of tomatoes, and we’re just getting started!


Harvesting in a hoop house full of basil, tomatoes and peppers isn’t so bad… it smells like pizza! 🙂


Halfway through the tomato harvest for the day!

This week also marked the first harvest of beets (a personal favorite of mine)! Not only did we have a healthy-sized crop in the field, but a single beet volunteered to grow in the hoop house… and boy, did it grow.


Great in salads, as chips, dipped in hummus, made INTO hummus, and even as a natural dye!


You can’t BEET veggies that decide to grow on their own! 


Fun fact: Beets and Swiss Chard are in the same botanical group, along with other colorful friends including Amaranth, Spinach, and even Quinoa!

In other news this week, the collaborative quarter-acre shared by UVA’s Environmental Sciences Department, UVA Dining and MKG (more commonly referred to as Plot C), has been mulched and weeded thanks to the help of many volunteers, just in time for the opening of the first butternut squash blossoms! These plants have really taken to the soil, bio-char or not, and the bees are busy getting to pollinating the plants!



Many thanks to our ever-helpful volunteer, Natalie!



The tiny, oblong shape at the base of the flower will soon become a full-sized butternut squash!

The butternut squash will be ready for harvest likely at the beginning of September, right in time for our Fall CSA! If nothing says “autumn” to you quite like a warm cup of butternut squash soup or a roasted squash for Thanksgiving, consider signing up for the MKG Fall CSA (you won’t be disappointed!)

Speaking of fall plans, this week, we started planning our crops to be ready for fall, and will be planting next week!


So much potential…!

Looking forward to even more veggies soon as slicing tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplants ripen up!

As always, keep it ~fresh~

Holly Brooks, MKG Summer Intern

CSA Week 5

Today marks the half way point of the summer CSA – week 5.  There were lots of new crops in the share this week:  green beans, nappa cabbage, cucumbers, onions, and for the full shares, the first cherry tomatoes!  Some of our earlier spring plantings  like lettuce mix and salad greens are ending. With the warmer temperatures, we anticipate more of the heat loving crops to make their debut in July including eggplants and peppers.

This Week’s share: Green Beans, Squash, Nappa Cabbage, Onions, Basil, Cucumbers, and Salad Turnips

To fill the CSA bags each week, we continue to plant and replant beds for late summer and fall.  This week we put in our last planting of tomatoes.  These plants will bear fruit from mid-September to frost (mid/late October in Charlottesville).

Weeding was still a big focus this week.  We were joined by volunteers from UVA Facillities Management in weeding and mulching the butternut squash.  Once a month employees of Facilities Management shuttle to the garden to volunteer for two hours. We appreciate their help and enjoy their camaraderie.

UVA Facilities Management Volunteers from the Office of Sustainability. They helped us weed and mulch butternut squash in plot C this week.

The butternut squash is growing in Plot C of the garden, the Collaborative Plot.  In the ten beds of this section, we focus on one crop.  Environmental Science students study and research the crop to see if biochar, a soil amendment made from charcoal impacts crop growth.  UVA Dining will feature the winter squash in meals at the dining halls this fall.  The collaborative plot provides a great way to work with more students and groups at UVA and to expand the number of students who eat the garden’s produce.


Summer Interns from left to Right: Holly Brooks, Mikaela Ruiz-Ramon, and Gabi Freckmann.

We have three great UVA summer interns making the garden and CSA happen.  They are Holly Brooks – fourth year, Gabi Freckmann – fourth year, and Mikaela Ruiz-Ramon – third year.  You have read a blog post from each of them the past few weeks.  Hopefully CSA members have had a chance to meet them at CSA pickup or delivery.

Happy summer!

Steph Meyers, MKG Manager