August Means Preparing for Harvest - August 2022
For us, mid-August is the time we prepare. Like fully preparing for whats to come in the next 4 months. We buy all the gloves and masks we need for harvest, new buckets (Nacho prefers plain white ones so they photograph better), get the entire greenhouse cleaned out and converted from our seedling prep zone to a full on chile drying station. I work hard to figure out what chiles we have left from the previous season and better forecast the quantities we need to process this year, like how many pounds of spicy and smoky Piment d’Ville do we want to end up with vs classic. How many pounds of poblano chile powder do we want to produce vs whole ancho and mulato chiles?
By the end of August we'll start harvesting Sugar Rush Peach and Poblano, our first two to ripen this year. We will harvest and process both of these before August is over. These early harvest chiles are a solid reminder of what the next few months will look and feel like.
Then, the first 2 weeks of September are generally spent harvesting and threshing our different varieties of dry beans. It’s the perfect lull in the chile season where our Espelette chiles for Piment d’Ville aren’t quite ripe yet, giving us ample time to get our legs back in shape while we thresh the beans on our homemade bike-powered bean thresher. We tried growing a few new kinds of beans this year and I’m really curious what the yield will be like!
Mid-September is when things really start to amp up and we find ourselves in full on chile harvest mode. While the vineyards that surround us in Anderson Valley are starting to find themselves on the back end of harvest, we’re still 100% in it. We harvest 3-4 times a week and somehow still find time to get the rest of our work mostly finished. We continue harvesting till around the middle of November, constantly filling and emptying the greenhouse and creating hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of chile powder. And at that point it’s time to harvest olives and start fulfilling holiday orders.
It’s a bit exhausting thinking about the next 4 months and what they hold. But it's also some of the most exhilarating and satisfying months of the year. I’m constantly impressed by what we are able to accomplish and by the dedication our team has to producing incredible chile powders.
Calabrian Chile Flakes are almost gone!
Stella Totino from The Kitchn wrote a lovely feature on our Calabrian Chile Flakes that basically sold us out of the 2021 harvest. My goal with growing an Italian chile and turning it into flakes was to honor my family that is still in Italy (admittedly in Puglia - not Calabria) and have the absolute best flake to cover my pizza in.
Stella writes, “Although they’re grown half a world away from my beloved Italia, these bits of pepper pack a whole lot of Mediterranean-worthy punch. Unlike many others I’ve tried, the flakes are large enough to actually carry the flavor throughout any dish without being too large. You know when you’ve got a leathery chili skin sticking itself to the backside of your teeth? Yeah, that’s never the case with Boonville flakes.”
We still have a few jars available on their own and some available as part of the New Harvest Bundle with Guajillo, Habanero, and Aji Limon chile powders. We had some … unfortunate gopher damage in our Calabrian Chile block this year. While we planted many more of these plants this year, TBD on how big the harvest will be.
Other Inventory Notes:
- There's a chance we will have a month or so where we're out of our Classic Piment d'Ville 😬 (Yes, I know!) If you are running low, I would recommend ordering more now to make sure you don't run out.
- We aren’t growing the Aji Limon chiles again. We don’t quite have a hot enough climate for it and to be honest, we didn’t really enjoy processing it. We have about 200 jars total left.
- We're running low on the 8oz jars of Citrus and Chile Marmalade but have plenty of 2.4oz jars.
What we're cooking:
August and September are my favorite months to harvest as much as possible out of the garden and eat as simply as possible. With good tomatoes and fresh herbs, there’s little you need to do to make dinner taste delicious.
- Simple ratatouille with garden eggplant, zucchini, onions and tomatoes over polenta (everything seasoned with Piment d’Ville) with or without chicken or sausage
- Simple peanut noodles with garden cucumbers and spicy Piment d’Ville when its too hot to make dinner
- Chicken panzanella. Roast chicken with a tomato and toasted bread salad. The chicken and bread are both seasoned heavily with Piment d’Ville
- Big plates with hummus drizzles with plenty of good olive oil and whatever chile powders you want (Smoky Piment has been doing it for me lately) and fresh crunchy veggies
- Yesterday I cooked a big pot of the last of my Sorana beans with a mix of yahualica, cascabel, and mulato chiles that I’m going to blend up for a big batch of bean and cheese burritos. During harvest season, I can never find something I really want to eat for breakfast so I’m hoping some simple frozen burritos will make my mornings a bit easier.