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September Seventeenth

Fall has unofficially arrived.  In the second half of last week we were amazed with cooler temperatures in the morning.  For the first time this season the workers showed up with wool hats and sweaters and all kinds of protective clothing.  We were c-c-c-cold out there from spending the summer in our sandals and straw hats trying to stay protected from the sun rather than the cold, wet and wind.hay_rideA wagon full of folks who made it out to the farm this weekend for our Fall Pumpkin and Raspberry Pick and Potluck. We had a blast and the weather was perfect!

Fall brings a feeling of rush and hurry for us farmers.  The cooler weather reminds us that the clock is ticking, the soil temperatures are cooling and it won’t be long before the ground is frozen solid.  Forget about firewood, we’ve got to get our carrots, beets, parsnips, celeriac, leeks, and more out of the ground before winter sets in.  We have garlic to plant, plastic to rip out of the field and strawberries to mulch.  We have equipment to put away, sweet potatoes to dig and cure and oh yes, Fall Share boxes to pack!

The Fall rush is a different kind of excitement for us.  The summer months are just as busy and loaded with work to do as it is now, but with a cool breeze in the air, leaves falling from the trees and a warm bowl of soup for lunch, it feels more like a joyful harvest season than a laborious day of work in the summer heat.  Yes, Fall means that our winter’s rest is just ahead, but the rest is only satisfying because we know we have earned our reprieve. 

Surely it’s a good thing that winter does inevitably arrive because we may not know how and when to stop if the ground did not freeze into a solid block of ice.  Just as it’s a good thing that each day comes to an end as we may never come in from the fields if the sky did not turn dark.  Some of the best farmers I know are more like hopeless addicts that cannot help but think or talk about their crops.  The ground may freeze, but the farmer continues to plan and scheme and learn and grow. 

Slightly warmer temperatures in the week ahead bobbing up and down between the 40’s at night with the 60’s and low 70’s during the day.  We are granted a bit more time before the first frost arrives putting an abrupt end to our sweet summer peppers.  The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a harsh winter ahead, and we’re counting down the weeks now until baby Varney #2 arrives.  The harvest is bountiful and we have so much to be thankful for this year.  He’s to a cozy yet productive harvest season. 

Sooo….What’s in the Box????compressed_16

Green Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage or Red Cabbage-  More cabbages this week.  We’ll switch to potatoes and carrots next week.   

Spaghetti Squash-  These are the large, yellow winter squash at the bottom of your box.  The flesh is a stringy, yellow flesh that is similar looking to spaghetti noodles.  Spaghetti squash is all the rage right now in the gluten-free crowd. 

Tomatoes-  A 3lb bag of tomatoes for everyone this week.  Tomato production is almost over for the year.  The tomatoes are kicking the bucket on this farm much earlier this season than in previous years.  We’re sorry to see them go.  They will be missed.  Until next August, little tomatoes! 

Sweet Peppers-  2-3 Sweet Bell peppers per member this week.  We harvested the peppers in the pouring rain this week, they’re a little muddy from the wet harvest.  You’ll have to rinse them good before you use them this week. 

Red Beets-  3-4 medium to large beets per member this week. 

Golden Beets- This is the yellowish/golden colored root at the bottom of your box.  Golden beets have a milder flavor than the red beet.  I also really like how you can roast them with other roots and they won’t turn your whole dish red.  Golden beets can be grated raw into salads, juiced or used like you would use your red beets.  You could even dice it into small cubes and put it into a soup where you family wouldn’t even know they were eating beets because they don’t have the red color.  Very fun! 

Broccoli or Romanesco or Cauliflower-  We all know the look of broccoli, but some members received a Romanesco this week.  Romanescos are the lime-green colored fractal-looking broccoli/cauliflower cross.  These are really a treat because they really only grow well in the fall and take about 90 days to mature. Wet_Collard_HarvestMonday morning we had a cold, wet harvest in the rain and a little wind. All of the workers showed up on time and ready to work. What troopers we have here!

Flat Leaf Parsley-  A very small bunch of flat leaf parsley. 

Collards-  Some southern cooking greens to keep you in greens this week. 

Fennel-  A fennel bulb for everyone this week.  Fennel is a relative to celery, carrot, parsley, parsnip and dill.  We usually cut out the slightly tougher core on the underside of the fennel and use the rest of the bulb shaved raw into cold salads or sautéed or roasted in your favorite fennel dishes.  A couple suggestions below.  It has a licorice flavor when eaten raw that becomes almost un-noticeable once cooked. 

Jalapeno, Cayenne Pepper and Hungarian Hot Wax Peppers-  Listed in order of heat.  Hot peppers are nice to add to your soups, chilis and stews this Fall as the weather changes to keep your immune system moving right along.   

Eggplant or Extra Sweet Pepper-  Sadly, eggplants are not loving the cooler weather.  The plants look great and as though they would happily continue growing eggplants and setting flowers if it would just stay warm enough for their likings.  This is sad news for the eggplant lovers out there but a sigh of relief if you’ve been wondering what in the world to do with them. 

Yellow Onion-  Yes, more onions!

Cippolini Onion-  Cippolinis are an Italian heirloom variety that is a bit trickier to grow.  They grow in the shape of a flattened sphere that lends them nice for roasting since they are low and flat to the pan.  Some people like to coat them in oil and roast them whole.  A sweet onions that you could then eat with a knife and fork.  Also great just added when cooking a roast. 

Asian Tempest Garlic-  A spicy garlic to keep your cooking flavorful.  Garlic will keep well at a dry room temperature for a couple months.  If you want it to last longer than that, refrigerators work great too! 

½ Pint Cherry Tomatoes-  We didn’t have enough cherry tomatoes to go around, so we were just putting them in boxes at the end of the packing line that looked like they had a little extra room in them. 


Caramelized Fennel and Onion

Risotto with Sweet Sausage and Fennel

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

Spaghetti Squash with Basil, Tomatoes and Parmesan

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut Sauce