Monday, October 14, 2013

BPF CSA Week 19: Thanksgiving Shares, Organic Apples, Winter Shares, Surveys

Lovely turnout for the Sunday Harvest Party and potluck on Sunday!  We got all the squash and gourds out of the field, and a good amount of potatoes into the barn, too. Thanks SO much to CSA members, neighbors, and friends who pitched in and/or stayed to share food and fire afterward.
The Eldred family collected buckets full of black walnuts for dyeing, chickens enjoyed a feast of half-rotten melons, and our youngest CSA member Elena Stauffer (8 weeks old) even joined us for the evening! Brenin and John pressed about 10 gallons of cider, and we still have apples left over!  Which reminds me: organic apples from Gene Garthe in Northport are available to order .  $1 per lb for orders of 10# or more, or $4 per quart.  Bushels are approx 40 lbs, so approx $40.  Scroll down to Announcements for details on varieties available. Also detailed in Announcements: Thanksgiving Shares, Winter Shares, and End-of-Season Surveys (*survey respondents will be entered into a drawing for a free Thanksgiving Share!).

In Your Share This Week:

Turnips: one of the most misunderstood vegetables, this hearty representative of European peasant food is a favorite of mine and a staple in the fall/winter diets of northern cultures the world around (*including northern MI*). Sweet and pungent, turnips are delicious raw (grated, sliced thinly, and/or fermented), cooked (roasted, baked, fried, souped), as greens (anything you'd do to kale, try it on turnip greens), and as a surprise at the back of your fridge in January (surprise! they are still delicious-- excellent keeping quality is what made them good peasant food-- try them now AND in mid-winter in hearty stews and roasted mixed roots).  You might see Scarlet Queen (pink inside and out!) or Gold Ball (pale gold-white).  If you need to triage vegetables to minimize waste, cut off the greens and use now, and store the roots in an airtight container (bag) in the fridge. They'll keep for several months if necessary.  See Recipes section for Smashed Turnips (with or without potatoes), one of my fave fall dishes.
Eggplant, mix of varieties
Peppers, sweet and/or hot
French Fingerling Potato
Winter Squash- Acorn/Delicata/Dumpling
Greens: either Brussels Tops, Kale, or Chard
Salad Mix- finally back after a long hiatus!  I hope you've been enjoying Napa, kale, waldorfy, and cabbage salads in the meantime, but it is nice to finally get a good harvest of baby greens again.
Cherry Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes- since we still haven't had a frost, they are still going, but certainly slowing down. It is nice to keep sharing this summer bounty with you well into fall.
Melons- either watermelons or canteloupe or galia.  What's been your favorite this season?

1. Thanksgiving Shares available: Sign up now to get a box of $40-50+ worth of veggies the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  Pick up boxes at our stall at the indoor winter market (basement of Bldg 50; The Commons).  Purchase one or more for your family and/or sponsor a share to be donated to Food Rescue/Goodwill Inn for Thanksgiving meals for local families. Thanksgiving shares will cost $40-50, depending on crops available in November; exact price available soon. Things you may
see in the Thanksgiving share: winter squash, potatoes, onions, leeks,
garlic, root veggies like carrots, turnips and/or beets, Brussels
sprouts, celery and/or celeriac, cabbage, radishes, cooking greens
like kale/collards, salad greens, herbs, and possibly a few surprises.

2. Organic Apples from Gene Garthe in Northport available to order! This has been a tremendous year for apples -- "if you ever wanted amazing apples, this is the year!" according to my husband Jess, who's been helping Gene harvest.  $1 per lb for 10# or more.  (a bushel crate = approx 40 lbs, so approx $40) or $4 per quart (5-7 apples depending on variety). Deadline to order: Halloween.  Order early for guaranteed selection-- and since this year is so amazing (big, beautiful apples!), think storage-- cool, dark places like garages and basements and attics are perfect for months of fresh apples-- applesauce, dried apples, frozen apple pie filling, baked apples in foil in the fire, apple-squash soup, apple cider!

Varieties available NOW: 
Swiss Gourmet

Golden Supreme- like a golden delicious but crisp and better
Graham Spy - Kathy Garthe's favorite baking apple
Elstar- Abra Berens' favorite all-around apple
Swiss Gourmet- Jess' and my favorite eating apple, hands down
Honeycrisp- need I say more? organic honeycrisp anyone?

Varieties available by November:
Ida Red
Northern Spy

3. The End is Near.   The last week of October will be the last week of CSA shares this year, for a 21-week season! Last date for Saturday people: Oct. 26; Tuesday people: Oct. 29; Wednesday: Oct. 30.  I'll be sending an end-of-season survey to get your feedback for help in planning next year's season.  All survey respondents will be entered in a drawing for one FREE Thanksgiving Share! So look for the survey (probably electronic- possibly paper) soon!

4. Winter Shares: Who wants to keep this going? We've had a few requests for winter shares.  Normally our winter shares take the form of investor shares (you invest cash in exchange for farm credit plus interest in the form of additional credit; each time you shop from our market stall, we debit your purchases from your account- no cash needed). More flexible than traditional shares, but you also have to show up early like any market customer to get the best selection.
If we did do a traditional winter share, it might be a once-a-month box. Say a $50-60 box of storage crops plus greens, once a month for four months, $200. Pick up at our stall at the indoor winter market. Just gauging interest here-- who's in? 


Smashed Turnips
3-4 lg turnips, scrubbed and cut into 1-2" cubes or wedges
half (or more) that amount of potatoes (optional), scrubbed and cut into 2" cubes or wedges
1 head roasted garlic
Veg oil
salt and pepper

1. Boil turnips and potatoes in generously salted water til tender but not falling apart. Drain.
2. Heat enough oil in a large skillet over high heat to fry the turnips/potatoes-- not deep frying, but a generous amount of oil nonetheless. I use veg. oil for high heat frying because olive oil and butter tend to smoke at the high temps that make for really nice fried things.  350 F if you're measuring.
3. Gently dump in enough turnips/potatoes/peeled roasted garlic to fill the skillet about 2/3 full in a single layer- don't overcrowd. Do it in multiple batches if necessary.  Smash the chunked roots with a potato masher or the bottom of a mug-  not to actually mash to a pulp, but to flatten a bit and mush up the different flavors of the different roots if using turnips AND spuds AND garlic, to increase surface area that's in contact with the hot oil (*this is why it's good to only fill the skillet 2/3 full at first, so the smashed roots have room to be in contact with the pan, rather than crowding up on top of each other*).
4. Let them fry til crisp on one side, then flip with a spatula to fry the other side.  You'll see if you used enough oil-- there will still be some left to do the second side. If not, don't add more now; the cool oil with just make everything greasy.  Use more for the second batch. Push around with the spatula a bit if they start to stick. Let them fry til brown and crisp; drain on paper towels.
5. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Serve hot with ketchup, garlic aioli, hot sauce, hot sauce+mayo (I know, sounds weird; tastes delicious), tahini-lemon dressing, whatever you like.

Friday, October 4, 2013

BPF CSA Week 18: Falling for Brassicas

Foods in the Brassicaceae, or cabbage, family  are fall staples-- hearty turnips and radishes, sweet crunchy cabbage, tender and versatile broccoli, weirdly delicious kohlrabi, among others, form the centers of many meals this time of year.  Brassicas also contain sulfur compounds that have been linked to cancer prevention-- as if delicious and beautiful weren't enough! This week delivers a barrage of brassicas, among other fall goodness.  Bon appetit!
***Remember: Fall Harvest Party and Potluck Sun. Oct. 13. Harvest: 2-5 pm. Potluck: 5:30-8 pm***

In Your Share This Week:

Broccoli-- beautiful fall broccoli!  We planted three different varieties with the intention of harvesting over 3-4 weeks, but guess what- they're ALL coming on all at once, so lots of broccoli this week!  Possibly one more week of broccoli, but it depends on weather (whether they hold in the field or need to come out yesterday)
Cabbage- red or green-- a great storage item-- these cabbages are fresh and delicious, but if you need to prioritize your veggies so you make sure to use them all with minimal waste, keep in mind that cabbage is an excellent keeper. Great for kraut, cabbage rolls, coleslaw, stirfry, or soup.
Turnips with gorgeous greens-either Gold Ball, Scarlet Queen, or Hakurei- see below for a delicious turnip soup recipe. The smell of turnip greens always makes me feel like fall is here- it's inextricably linked to cool, moist air, foggy mornings, chilly fingers.  It makes me want to pop into Matt Murphy's Irish Pub in Brookline MA where I had the best turnip soup of my life, 13 years ago!  I worked at a farm outside of Boston, and we'd sell at a market near Brookline, then hit Matt Murphy's for turnip soup and a pint after market, and usually some traditional Irish music, too.
Radishes- French Breakfast or D'Avignon, the mildest and tenderest of radishes.
Brussels Tops OR Swiss Chard- so many greens! cabbage, turnip greens, AND brussels tops or chard. So Brussels tops.... are the tops of Brussels sprout plants.  And we top them for two reasons: 1. It causes the plants to direct growth at making bigger sprouts rather than growing taller, and 2. They are delicious!  I happen to prefer them after a frost (like B-sprouts themselves), because the cold temps make them sweeter, but they are still tasty now, and since we haven't had a frost and need those sprouts to size up, here you go!  Use just like Collard Greens or Kale.  Chard is interchangeable with spinach or beet greens, also delicious in a simple saute with olive oil, onions, garlic, lemon or vinegar. voila.

Carrots- yum! sweet fall carrots, several different varieties.
Celery- remember this from a few weeks ago?  cut off the tops (leaves) to maintain keeping quality if you're not using it all immediately. DO use leaves in soup, stew, stock, or salad.  You know what to do with the rest!
Potatoes- Red Gold or Nicola... which is your favorite so far?
Winter Squash- Delicata, Sweet Dumpling, and/or Acorn- yum.  Winter squash keeps well at a cool temp (55ish) for months or possibly room temp (60's not 70's) for several weeks at least.  If you see any soft or rot spots developing, cut them out and cook immediately. Freeze frozen squash if you can't use it immediately
Cherry Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes