Small Family Farm CSA

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October Eleventh

The nineteenth summer share delivery may mark the near-end of the produce deliveries for some folks, but it is by no means the end of the work that is done on the farm this season.  There is still a good month’s worth of work for us out there harvesting the root vegetables, tearing down tomato trellising, ripping up black plastic mulch, and planting and mulching seed garlic.  We will also need to mulch the strawberry patch before the ground is frozen.  Only when the ground is literally frozen solid will we finally be done. DSC 0344 1

One more Summer Share delivery left in the season and then we have a ‘week off’ with no produce deliveries.  We will use that week of time to dig potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets and more.  The race is on now to get all of our fall storage veggies safely out of the ground, washed and into storage where they will be shared with Fall Share and Thanksgiving Share members.  With whatever veggies we have left over, we will hope to sell them to our local food coops and restaurants.  We do not have strong established relationships with many other buyers since we prioritize sending all of our #1 produce all summer to you, our CSA members. 

One of my favorite Fall projects is garlic planting.  I love the ritual of breaking apart all of those bulbs of garlic into bins full of individual cloves.  I love tucking them sweetly into their ‘beds’ in the fields at planting time and telling them to sleep tight.  Maybe this year we’ll hum lullibies on the transplanter at planting time.  When they’re all put to bed, we blanket them with a thick layer of mulch that will protect them from the heaving frozen earth, harsh winter temperatures and will also prevent a large percentage of the weeds from coming up in the Spring.  Additionally, the mulch will help hold moisture in the ground around the seeds and then ultimately it will add organic matter and nitrogen to the soil once it is completely broken down. 

I do love the waning day-length this time of year.  The darkness reminds us farmers to rest.  Ironically, we finally have more time for cooking and baking.  Using the oven is fun because warming the house up and making it smell delicious is part of the motive. There is something about working all day in the cold and wind and then coming into a warm house that smells like pumpkin pie that makes a person feel like they’re in the right place in the world. IMG 3052

We hope you enjoy cooking with all of these new Fall foods like Brussels Sprouts, sweet potatoes, celeriac root, rutabaga, leek and more!  Box packing took much longer than usual this week because we had to try to figure out a way to tuck each item in the box just so, so that it would all fit.  We struggled with getting many of them closed properly! 

Soooo……What’s in the Box???????

Brussels Sprouts-  Yes, these are the very funky looking vegetable that grows on a stalk.  They have the little sprouts that go all the way up the stalk.  We left the snapping-them-off-the-stalk part for you as well as any additional cleaning you desire for these.  One member told us she never learned to love Brussels Sprouts until she had them roasted in the oven.  Check out our roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe below! 

Broccoli-  A gorgeous head of broccoli for you because eating broccoli each week makes life a little better.

Cauliflower-  HUGE heads of cauliflower.  We really struggled with getting these guys in the boxes this week with all of the other items to tuck in there. 

Butterkin Squash-  This is a fun new variety of squash we grew for the first time last year.  A seed we got from Johnny’s.  It’s a cross between a butternut and pumpkin.  It has all of the orange and creamy color of a butternut, but a similar flesh texture and shape of a pie pumpkin.

Savoy Cabbage-  Savoy means ‘crinkley’ or ‘wrinkley’ or wavy or curled.  That’s what the leaves of this cabbage are like.  If you’ve never had it before, it doesn’t keep as well as a storage cabbage variety, but it does have a very light, tender and fun airy texture.  It makes a lovely slaw or salad.  Have fun with this rare jewel! 

Sweet Bell Pepper-  One sweet bell pepper per member.  Peppers are going out of season fast.  There are still peppers on the plants and we’re feeling very lucky that Jack Frost hasn’t come in the night yet and taken them all away from us.  We’re planning to have them again next week, but they may not be full color or they may be entirely green. We’ll have to pick what is left on the plants, turned color or not! 

Mini-Sweet Peppers-  Just a few of these little guys this week.  They could have been the red, yellow or orange ones.  We thought it might be a little difficult for you to tell the difference between the mini-sweets and the hot peppers this week as the hot peppers are mostly red this week as well. 

Jalapeno Pepper-  Many of the Jalapenos this week were red.  Some of them may have been green.  The jalapenos at this stage, many of them have ‘stretch marks’ on them.  A fun characteristic of late-season jalapenos.  Some people say that red jalapenos are sweeter than green ones.  What do you think?

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  Many of these have turned red as well.  Earlier in the season they were yellow or green-ish in color, but many of them have turned red now.  Watch out for the mix of small-ish peppers in your box this week.  Some are hot, some are not! 

Spinach-  A heavenly half-pound bag of tender spinach for all this week.  We picked this spinach on a very muddy and rainy morning.  We did our very, very best to get all of the mud off of the leaves with the wash-time we had, but you might want to check the leaves for mud before eating them or give them an extra rinse before cooking or eating raw. 

Parsnip-  We had a great parsnip year!  Many of the parsnips this year were big and beautiful as we always strive for them to be, but we have had years were many of them did not size up well.  Parsnips sold in stores are many times coated in a paraffin wax (a plastic wax) to help them keep and to prevent them from oxidizing.  We strongly feel that coating your vegetables in paraffin wax is un-necessary-even for storage life.  Taste the difference.  These are so fresh! 

Rutabaga-  These are not turnips!  A rutabaga does look quite a bit like a large storage turnip-but I assure you these are rutabagas.  Rutabagas are wonderful if you just peel them, mash them and toss them with butter like a mashed potato-and your family will never know the difference!  They’re just a little less starchy than a potato.  We also love them cubed into a soup or stew. 

Sweet Potatoes-  Two pounds of fresh, lovely sweet potatoes.  This year wasn’t our best sweet potato year.  We still got a nice harvest for our CSA members, but many of them did not size up quite like they did last year.  You can eat sweet potato skins. 

Celeriac Root-  Our celeriac roots are huge this year!  These are not the most beautiful vegetable in the world, but they do get major brownie points on our charts for a few different reasons.  Which are:  they are a low-carb root veggie that adds variety to what is available locally for vegetable offerings in the fall.  They are fantastic keepers.  Store these in a plastic bag in your fridge, and they wil keep for months!  They also offer a very smooth and subtle celery flavor to your soups and stews that we have really learned to love.  Don’t judge this book by its cover.  It really is an awesome vegetable! 

Leek-  Take a leek?  One big ol’ leek for each CSA member this week.  Leeks are in the onion family.  You can use them in your cooking like you would use an onion, but they are also fun to feature in a potato leek soup, fried in coconut oil until crispy and sprinkled on top of your soup or salad or really any dish.  Have fun exploring leeks if you’re new to using this vegetable.  The most commonly used part of the vegetable is the white stalk, but they greens are also edible.  They get a little tougher as you go up the leaves. 


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Leek and Swiss Chard or Spinach Tart 

Pureed Root Vegetable Soup with Celery Root, Parsnip and Rutabaga and Orange, Ginger and Tarragon