Hello members, and welcome to week 17!
We are in awe of how quickly we’ve gotten to this point! We’ve got just one week to go and have really been enjoying how full and vibrant the fall boxes are.
Since there’s only two more weeks left, it’s really really important that members return all the boxes you’ve been hoarding in your garage, car trunk, hallway, etc. We’re getting down there in supply, so please bring your boxes to your drop site when you go pick up today or Thursday. Thanks so much for your help!
We had a fabulous Harvest and Member Party on Sunday! About 25 or 30 members came out and we had a great time outside. We picked all the popcorn, harvested and topped most of a bed of carrots, hauled about 300 pounds of rutabaga out of the field, and more importantly got to spend real time with some of you folks that honor us with their support over the course of the season. The food was fantastic, as CSA potlucks tend to be (you CSA types are always such good cooks!) and we can’t thank everyone enough for the major clean-up help too. We look forward to having next year’s party already, and look forward to seeing more of all of you throughout the course of the season next year. Don’t forget, you can always come out to see the farm, member party or not. We love visitors!
It’s such a strange feeling to be looking at the year’s box plan which details 18 weeks and realizing we have to divvy up everything left in the field and in storage between only two boxes! We’re really cramming the bounty in there, and the good news is that most of the produce you’ll be getting is intended to store well. Below are some general storage tips for the types of produce you’re likely to find this week and next:
Roots: All root vegetables like carrots, beets, and rutabaga will keep best if stored in a closed plastic bag in the refrigerator. Root vegetables benefit from cold environments that have a high humidity. Keeping them in a bag creates a humid microclimate which slows their respiration of water, keeping them crisp. Removing any greens that may come with carrots or beets will slow down the loss of water as well since greens transpire water from the roots as well as themselves.
Potatoes and Squash: Potatoes are different than the other root crops (technically they are not really a root either, they are a tuber). They, as well as winter squash, want to be in a dry cool place–but not too cold! Potato’s ideal temperature is between 45-50 degrees. Much colder than this and the texture of the potato will be compromised. Remove your potatoes from the plastic bag they came in and put them in a dry bag with holes or a paper bag. If potatoes or squash are in a damp or humid environment they will quickly rot. We usually keep our potatoes in a basket in our pantry and leave our squash on display on our counter tops, never putting either in the fridge unless they’ve been cut open. If you have a room in your house that is kept cooler during the winter but doesn’t freeze, this would also be an ideal place.
You may occasionally notice sap from your winter squash coming from the stem or a small cut on its body. This is just sugars of the squash leaving from an open wound, much like maple syrup from a maple tree. If your squash is doing this, it’s best to eat it sooner than later, as the sugars are likely to attract mold and is indicative of a wound, which are prone to expediate the spoiling of the squash. . If you can’t get to eating it soon, at least periodically wipe off the sap to prevent molding.
Cabbage and Cauliflower: Both like similar conditions to root vegetables: cold and humid. Use the plastic bag your potatoes came in or any other produce bag you have around to wrap up your cauliflower and cabbage and put in the crisper in your fridge. The same principles of respiration apply: if they are not wrapped up they will soon become soft and spongy. Your cabbage should keep at least until January (if not longer) if kept properly. If you are delaying your cabbage gratification until early spring, check on it every now and then to cut off any damage or spoiling parts.
Herbs: Herbs like thyme and parsley can be kept in the fridge or on the counter. They have a tendency to dry well if they are kept on the counter or hung and can then be used later in the year. After they are fully dry you can put them in a bag or bottle, or simply leave them out and use when needed. Oregano, if wanted to be used fresh, should be kept in a bag in the fridge. Its leaves are more prone to wilting while drying, making it not as usable in the stages between fresh and dried. You can hang your bundle if you wish to dry it, or spread the individual stems out on the counter or on a ventilated surface (screen or cookie cooling rack). Once dry, crumble the dried leaves into a container and discard the stems.
Without further ado, here’s what’s in the box this week:Pumpkin (one or two per member, with the goal of everybody getting at leasat 4-5 pounds. Enough for pie!) Cabbage (one per member) Rutabaga (about 2 1/2# for small shares, about 3# or more for medium and full shares) Pac Choi (3/4# for all members) Carrots (1 1/2# for medium shares, 2# for full shares) Oregano or Parsley (medium and full shares) Cauliflower (full shares) Leeks (full shares)
Pumpkin-Heather fell in love with a pumpkin last year by the name of Minnesota Sweet. It was maybe the best pie pumpkin she’d ever baked with. Alas, this year the seed was unavailable and we selected the New England Pie Pumpkin as a substitute. Guess what?! It’s great! It tastes wonderful and produces a good amount of silky pumpkin puree, enough for two pies, on average.
Cabbage-This dense, beautiful purple cabbage is called Ruby Perfection. If you place it in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge it will last for MONTHS! That is, if you can keep from eating it for that long. Our Monday savior helper, Ben, told us he roasts his chickens on a bed of shredded cabbage and that it gets tender and flavored with all the yummy chicken fat. Sounds good to us!
Rutabaga-These lovely golden nuggets will also keep for months in a plastic bag in your fridge. We really like to eat them at Thanksgiving, mashed with lots of butter, cream, and black pepper.
Pac Choi-There are a few holes in some of the leaves but the fall harvest of pac choi turned out really well, we think. We love being able to offer something green, crisp, and crunchy, even after a few frosts and one hard freeze. This is one of those veggies that just doesn’t get 100% clean until it gets cut up, so when you’re ready to cook it, cut it up and then give it a good rinse.
Herb bunches-Medium shares and Full shares will get a bunch of either oregano or parsley this week.
Cauliflower-The Purple of Sicily is still going pretty strong, although the production has decreased.
Leeks-Leeks are one of our favorite vegetables to cook with, and they take absolutely forever to grow. These are on the skinny side so we bunched them together-you should have plenty for a soup, cassoulet, or roast.
Farm happenings this week:In the popcorn field
Carrot harvest! Rutabaga harvest! Rutabaga in the field, prior to trimming and cleaning One of our member families brought us this awesome fall bouquet! Look at the tiny pumpkin-like fruits. Aren’t they adorable? Pumpkins and squash in the barn, waiting to get sorted by size
Favorite Pumpkin Pie
My dad’s favorite pie in the world was pumpkin, so this one’s for him:
Pie dough: a.k.a. Pate Brisee
1 1/4 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. sugar
1/2 cup butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces, chilled
1/8-1/4 cup ice water
Sift the dry ingredients together. Place in food processor and add butter, pulse until the mix resembles coarse cornmeal. Add water, a few Tablespoons at a time, using as little as possible, until the dough comes together. Press into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
Lightly beat the eggs. Mix the spices with the brown sugar, and add the spiced sugar mix to the heavy cream. Pour this over the pumpkin filling, add the eggs, and stir until just combined.
When ready to make pie, turn the oven on to 375 degrees, and when the oven is ready, pull your dough from the fridge. As soon as the dough is workable roll out and place in pie pan. Keep the edges plain, flute with a fork, or use any other decorative method you wish. Pour the pie filling in the unbaked shell, and bake 35-40 minutes or until the filling is just set. Don’t over-bake, or the the filling may crack. Allow to cool to room temperature, and if you like, serve with whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup.