Friday, October 24, 2014

CSA Week 18: the End is Bittersweet- Appreciation and Gratitude

We'll miss you!  Hope to see you at the indoor market
in Bldg 50, Saturdays from 10-2, starting Nov. 1
Well, friends- this past week WAS the last week of CSA for the season (unless you joined early and got a message about your bonus share week- you know who you are).  What a wild season.  Brenin and I have loved working together this first season of collaboration.  We couldn't have asked for a better crew than Jae and Christina, who we think will both be back next year!  And our work shares-- best work sharers ever!  Not to mention farm members-- best group of farm members ever! The past few weeks have been defined, for me, by pregnancy-induced slowness and dependency, which is an incredible, humbling learning curve in itself, and everyone else around here has stepped up, and then some, to keep us on track.  They couldn't be more competent and productive, and I couldn't be more appreciative.   Thank you, members, SO much for weathering the nutty weather with us, and for all of your support through the skinny times and enthusiasm in the bountiful times!  Sorry it took so long to get this newsletter out, but I hope the suggestions below help navigate your last box. Whether you have a winter share or shop as market customers, we hope to see you all at the indoor winter market in Bldg 50, starting the 1st of November (Saturdays 10-2). -MF
Brenin's two cents: "You only know what you know until you do what you do"-BWR

AND-reminder! Party tomorrow (Sat Oct. 25) at Birch Point:

2-5 pm Garlic Planting- dress to get cold and/or muddy! Bring your favorite work gloves and 8" measuring stick.
5-6 pm Mingling and music in the Red Barn
6-7:30ish Potluck in the Red Barn-- Dress for cold weather; the barn is unheated. Bring a dish to share and your own place settings.

What's in Your Share This (Past) Week:

Winter Squash: a mix of Acorn, Sweet Dumpling, Delicata, Buttercup, Butternut, or Red Kuri.  Again, these should keep a few weeks at least-- if you see any soft spots developing before you're ready to enjoy them, just cook and freeze for later. The long-storing varieties (Butternut, hubbard, Eastern Rise, and to some extent kabocha/buttercups) may keep fine for several months; but they did get frosted, which can shorten their storage life, so keep an eye on them if you store them for later.
Potatoes: large or fingerling
Napa Cabbage: Jae Gerhart's favorite crop!  Time for kim chee, slaw, cabbage rolls, egg rolls, stir-fry, or simply marinated wedges grilled or roasted in the oven. There really isn't much you CAN'T do with a Napa cabbage.
Leeks and/or Onions- Leeks should store in an airtight container (e.g. sealed bag) in the fridge for WEEKS if you need them to. Onions do best in cool, dry conditions, like a root cellar, frost-free garage or unheated guest room.  Keep them on the kitchen counter if you'll use them in the next couple of weeks.
Celeriac/Celery Root-just like any root veggie, remove greens before storing to maximize crispness and shelf life (attached greens continue to transpire moisture away from roots, leading to rubbery roots. Remove greens and use first). *Think SOUP!
Beets OR Carrots- same (remove greens to store)
Sweet Peppers- the very last, but beautiful and still sweet!
Hot Peppers-your choice among hot paper lantern, limon, hinkelhatz, serrano, jalapeno, thai hot, and fish.
Romaine Lettuce- some of the last fall heads out of the field-- small but crisp and tasty.
Brussels Sprouts: they did size up in time for CSA to get the very first harvest!  If you think you're not a Brussels sprouts fan, please try these before you turn up your nose. Most bad experiences w/ B-sprouts are a result of store-bought (i.e. California-grown) sprouts, which have never seen a frost in their lifetime.  Frost sweetens sprouts and many other fall green veggies like nothing else can-- the extreme cold turns some of the starches to sugars, which is why late fall collard greens, kale, B-sprouts, and even cabbage taste sweeter than their summer counterparts. Since we did have a good frost last Wednesday in Grawn (where the B-sprouts are growing), they should be sweet and flavorful. See "Recipes" for preparation suggestions.  Heads Up:  B-sprouts have sustained a certain amount (10-20%) of damage from cabbage worms and from black rot.  We tried to sort out the infected plants and only give CSA the good ones, but if you get a stalk with worms and/or that is soft and black inside the sprouts, PLEASE let us know so we can replace it!  (the only way to tell for sure is to cut open every sprout, so we may miss a few) Reminder: If your stalk happens to have leaves on it, be sure to use them!  Brussels leaves are just as tasty as the sprouts themselves-- either use just like kale, or chop and toss into the pan along with your B-sprouts (and caramelized leeks with Balsamic vinegar reduction perhaps?).


Feeling Cheesy?  Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes with Leeks and Chives (can sub minced onions or minced, blanched leek greens for chives):

Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
1 c. or more Brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise (tiny ones can be whole)
Any/all leaves from the Bsprout stalk, trimmed and chiffonaded
1 small onion or 1/2 large leek, sliced thinly
1 c. toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Olive oil
Balsamic Vinegar (not fancy- just for cooking)
Coarse salt

Saute leeks or onion and a pinch of salt in a generous amount of olive oil in a med-large skillet over med heat for a few minutes until translucent. Increase heat to high, add a good sploosh more olive oil, and when hot (not smoking), add chiffonaded B-sprout leaves and halved sprouts, stirring to coat with oil.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, 3-5 minutes or until sprouts are nicely browned where in contact with the pan. Add enough balsamic vinegar to cover the bottom of the pan, and toss everything to coat.  Reduce heat to med-low, cook til vinegar is reduced to a thick syrup that coats everything, stirring occasionally.  Toss with nuts, more salt to taste, and a good amount of fresh ground pepper.  We served this for Thanksgiving last year-- even family members who claimed not to like Brussels sprouts loved it.
Variation: Asian-ish theme: substitute tamari or shoyu for balsamic vinegar, sub vegetable oil for olive oil but finish (to serve) with a good sploosh of toasted sesame oil, sub peanuts and/or sesame seeds for walnuts/pecans.
Before we know it, this will be
farm life again!
Back in the spring- our newest addition!
Your farmers at the Harvest
Gathering festival in Sept

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