Monday, October 19, 2009

What to Do With Your Share---Week 24

Rooting in the End
We are glad to have had such a good season this year, and bid the 2009 CSA harvest a hearty thank you. In closing, the fields bring you mainly root crops, vegetables that have the ability to keep all winter long, if given the right conditions. That means making them think they are still in the ground and at rest during the dark winter. The roots we give you are alive, so alive that they will make seeds if planted in the Spring. They need to be treated accordingly.

So if you have more than your fridge can hold, or want to buy some bulk and wonder how to store them, all just get a Rubbermaid container and some sand and follow the lead of the pictures below. After layering the roots with the sand you give them a little watering (wet the top of the sand ) to keep them damp so they don't dry out. A few ventilation and drainage holes in your tub will help too. Keep the tub in the coolest part of your house that doesn't freeze. A basement or heated garage works fine.

Garlic Braids
We several items available in bulk that have been there awhile (see below). We also are adding garlic braids to the list this week. We have a limited number, so it is first come first serve. They are $16 for a braid of 12 Silverskin garlic heads. They are our best keeper. If kept near 32 deg F in a dry place they will last until Spring. If you hang them in your kitchen be sure to use them. A garlic braid that is being used is just as attractive as a full one that dries out.

Bulk Order Week of 10/17/09
Garlic $8.00/lb
Garlic braids (12 heads) $16.00
Chard $3.00/bunch
Kale $3.00/bunch
Beets $3.oo/qt (specify Chiogga (stripped), or red beets)
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Arugula $2.50/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)

In the Share: Week 24

GREENS (F) cabbage, kale or chard
HERBS (F/P) cilantro, dill or arugula
VARIOUS ROOTS (P) choice of beets, turnips, rutbagas, watermelon radishes and kohlrabi (not really a root, but it looks a bit like one.) Check Tom's blog from last week for a photo i.d. of the various roots.
CELERIAC & CARROT (P) a bit of each for a nice soup or salad
BULB FENNEL (F/P) eat them like they do in Calabria in a salad
BEETS OR KOHLRABI (F) A bumper beet crop this fall. They're still on the bulk list!
FRENCH BREAKFAST RADISHES (F/P) the mildest, most delicate radishes.
WINTER SQUASH OR SWEET POTATOES (F/P) Tis sad, but true, the winter squash harvest this year was a bust. We've got about 60 shares worth between the pumpkins and butternuts that made it. We only grow pumpkins fit for pies and such, so only take one if you plan to eat it. They will keep until after Halloween if you must use them as decorations first.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

NEXT WEEK: Take stock of your crisper drawer. Hopefully you've accrued another week's worth of Fair Share Farm veggies.

The day is about to come when the CSA season is complete. Since February we have been counting down to this day: the final plantings done, the earlier crops turned under, but somehow it always feels suprising when we arrive at the final week of the season. Last week the chilly, wet weather made the season's end seem eminent. But then the sun came out for the first time in weeks heralding the Indian Summer. The sunshine and warm weather has gotten us moving again. It is just too darn perfect outside not to.

The Saturday crew prepared the seed garlic for planting:

clipping the heads

separating the cloves

We planted the hardneck today and will plant the softneck over the course of this week.

Tom and I may be the farmers at Fair Share, but we wouldn't be successful without the labor, energy and spirit of many people. A huge thank you to Lori Watley and Kara Jennings, our brave apprentices who slogged it out with us all season long. It is an accomplishment to even stick it out and they did so with such style and grace. We wish them bountiful harvests in all that they endeavor. And to all of you who pay us in advance in the hopes that we will feed your family for 24 weeks, thank you for sticking with this also. Your support and crazy faith in us is just amazing. We were lucky this year. The weather was moderate and the harvest was good overall, unlike many farms in the northeast where blight and flooding dominated. So, finally we must thank the soil that grew our food, the moderate rains that watered it and the mild temperatures that ripened it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

In the Share - Week 23

LETTUCE (F/P) We will be pulling them out from under their blanket of double row cover.
FALL CARROTS (F/P) Finally found the Bolero carrots that I know I planted somewhere amongst the storage carrots. Darn sweet and long-legged, perhaps the best of the season.
GARLIC (F) Mostly our artichoke variety. Partials have a choice with the herbs.
GREEN PEPPERS (F/P) A long, slow frying releases their sweetness
VARIOUS ROOTS: HAKUREI TURNIPS, RUTABAGAS & WATERMELON RADISHES (F) See Tom's blog for an identification lesson.
GREENS CHOICE: KALE, SWISS CHARD OR BOK CHOI (F) See if you can taste the difference after a couple of frosts.

ALSO THIS WEEK: Bread of Life Bakery delivery

NEXT WEEK: Our last CSA distribution for 2009. Next week we'll have lettuce, herbs, greens, more carrots, beets, kohlrabi, celeriac and radishes. The few winter squash that we harvested plus the last of the sweet potatoes and bulb fennel.
THE FIELDS: Fall is in full expression at the farm. Frosty mornings, the yellowing leaves and some glorious sunrises. All that remains after the frosts last week (29 degrees or thereabouts) are the brassica family standing solidly with no need for cover, as are the last of the leeks and celeriac. Then, there are those that are hardy with a bit of help from us: the lettuces, beets, carrots, arugula, herbs. The summer crops are in various stages of decomposition. After we remove irrigation tape, trellising, stakes and cages, we mow and then spade the crop under. When not deconstructing the season, we mulch. This week it's the speedy kind. Take an empty 200' bed, a round hay bale and three farmers and in 20 minutes or less it is covered with a thick winter blanket of organic matter.

After a morning of cold-weather farming, the farm crew appreciates a pot of tea and some indoor work. Today we inventoried what is left of this year's seed and processed seed we had collected earlier this season. It's a necessary step in the process of planning for next year's harvests. Can I say I'm already looking forward to next season??

What to Do With Your Share---Week 23

Roots Medley
Roots, the hardiest of the vegetables, dominate the last few weeks of the season. We had good but mixed results with the roots this Fall. The beets, carrots, and Hakurei turnips were as good a crop as we have ever had. The purple top turnips, rutabagas and radishes however have struggled at best.

For the full shares mixed root choices (next week for partials) we have a refresher photo below to tell things apart. From left to right are rutabaga, Hakurei turnip, and 2 varieties of watermelon radishes.

Carrot and Pecan Soup
While we were in the field today I was thinking about coming up with a good recipe. As we started our carrot harvest Irealized I had to cook something with the great carrots coming out of the Fall beds. Carrot and chestnut soup came to mind, so making due with some Missouri pecans I adapted a recipe from Cooking at the Academy.

2 tbsp olive oil
5 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 potato, chopped
1-1/2 cups shelled Missouri pecans
1-1/2 tsp salt
6 cups stock or water
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg

Use the food processor to chop the pecans into a coarse meal or flour. Don't bother to wash the food processor, as you will need it later to puree the soup.
Saute the carrots and onion in the olive oil for 2 minutes over medium high heat.
Turn heat to medium and cook 5 minutes more, add the pecans, stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add 2 cup of stock, bring to boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes
Add remaining 4 cups of stock and simmer for 30 minutes
Strain the soup and puree only the solids. Blend puree with liquid part of the soup, adjust taste with salt and pepper. At this time you can also add some cream for even more richness of flavor.

Bulk Order Week of 10/12/09
(Sorry for the late posting)
Garlic $8.00/lb
Chard $3.00/bunch
Kale $3.00/bunch
Beets $3.oo/bunch (specify Chiogga (stripped), or red beets)
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Arugula $2.50/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In the Share: Week 22

Sweet potato harvest

GREEN TOMATOES (F/P) We've gleaned the patch in preparation for the coming frost. Check Tom's blog for info on cooking them.
CELERIAC (F) The perfect fall ingredient in soups and salads
SWEET PEPPERS (F/P) The last of the colored peppers. Next week we'll have green ones.
EARLY JERSEY WAKEFIELD CABBAGE (F) Sweet heirloom with a pointy head
BEAUREGARD SWEET POTATOES (F/P) The orange-fleshed sweets everyone knows and loves.
LEEKS (F/P) Another week of the buttery alliums
LETTUCE (F/P) More smallish heads from the fall crop that refuses to get very big before bolting. What gives, dear lettuces?
BROCCOLI OR CAULIFLOWER (F) Not much left after this week. The partial shares will get whatever we have next week.
SUMMER SQUASH, SALSA PACK OR EGGPLANT (F) Should be the last of these too depending on what happens tonight.
HERB CHOICE (F/P) Rosemary, sage or parsley or a dried herb

ALSO THIS WEEK: Parker Farms delivery

NEXT WEEK: More lettuce, greens, green peppers and cabbage. Beets, turnips, kohlrabi and garlic. Watermelon radishes.

THE FIELDS: Today we prepared for the possibility of frost. The forecasters are predicting 36 degrees which is close enough to freezing to get the row cover out and bring the tender crops in. We harvested all of the green tomatoes, peppers and baby eggplants. Most of these will be in the shares this week, with just the green peppers holding in the cooler for next week. We covered the lettuces and tender greens that might get nipped by the frost. A thin layer of the fabric gives an extra 4 degrees or so of warmth. We also pulled the drying pepper plants up by their roots and hung them in the greenhouse to dry.

Mulching with hay has been an almost daily task lately. We are laying down thick layers on all of the perennials as well as many new areas that we are converting to the no-till system. The hay makes me sneeze, but the crops appreciate it as do those who get to ride in the back of the truck with a full load. Lori and I are joined here by Mindy, a student from the 'Ecology of Food' course at William Jewell College.

What to Do With Your Share---Week 22

Fall Favorites
The weather is changing, and Fall is in the air at the farm. The cool but not cold temps and wonderful blue skies create a hankering for the comfort food of Autumn. As we have been handing out more than expected the last couple weeks, no doubt you have a full fridge. Keep in mind over these last few weeks that some veggies keep better than others, so you may want to prioritize what gets cooked first.

The eggplant, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, herbs, lettuce and greens should be first on the list to use. The sweet potatoes will hold for months if kept in a warm, dry and dark place. Turnips, beets, kohlrabi, celeriac, cabbage, leeks, green tomatoes and peppers will keep several weeks or longer if kept in a bag in the fridge, though eat them up too if the mood strikes.

Green Tomatoes
As year 6 of the CSA draws to a close "what do I do with green tomatoes?" hopefully isn't a questions members have in mind. Fried green tomatoes, green tomato and pepper relish, green tomato salsa, and green tomato curry are but a few of the recipes from our archives. Tried and eaten many times by us farmers, we can attest to the wonderful flavor green tomates can impart upon a dish.

No doubt a suspect vegetable for many, celeriac (or celery root) continues to find favor in our household. If you are not sure where to start using it, try the mashed white root recipe from our October 6, 2004 newsletter. We have found that when it makes up about 15 to 25% of a dish, it's subtle flavor creates a delicious and out of the ordinary taste. The other night we made a potato leek soup that included one medium celeriac in the mix and felt it was as good a soup as we have ever made.

Bulk Order Week of 10/5/09
Garlic $8.00/lb
Chard $3.00/bunch
Beets $3.oo/bunch (specify Chiogga (stripped), or red beets)
Jalapenos $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Pepperoncinis $2.50/pint, $4.00/quart
Arugula $2.50/bunch
Hakurei turnips $3.00/bunch
Dried herbs $2.00/tin (thyme, marjoram, dried hot peppers, lovage, lavendar flowers, coriander, oregano, rosemary)