week 20 – winter squash!

IMG_3026.JPGI know the first thing you’re wondering is if any of these are hot peppers.  And yes, the ones on the far left are Hungarian Hot Wax — not too spicy except for the seeds.  The rest of the share is: a bunch of mustard greens for braising (try adding some apple cider vinegar or lemon juice or wine just near the end of braising), carrots, a head of lettuce, tomatoes galore, one cucumber, sweet jimmy nardello peppers (long thin and red), two walla walla sweet onions, 2 “Carnival” acorn winter squash, and EITHER a bunch of sweet peppers OR a bunch of eggplant.

Here’s one of the simplest ways to prepare acorn squash thanks to Martha Stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/336725/baked-acorn-squash-with-brown-sugar

Week 19 – salad mix & spuds

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So here’s the rundown for this week:

There’s a bunch of beet greens (use like swiss chard or spinach – these are thinnings from the last beet planting of the year), a bunch of hakurei salad turnips (remember these from spring? eat raw or cooked, their greens are delicious cooked as well), a bag of salad mix (various mustards, lettuce, and chicory), slicing cucumbers, sweet peppers including jimmy nardello’s (the long thin red ones that look hot but aren’t), a head of garlic, yellow potatoes, and of course the ubiquitous tomatoes.  Usually I save the potatoes until later in the fall because there is such an abundance of summery produce right now, but I’d heard a little clamoring for them and it seems we have had a decent harvest this year, so here they are at the beginning of fall.  There will be plenty more later as well.  The garlic is “Purple Italian Easy Peel,” a hardneck variety I’ve been growing and saving seed from for about 5 years now.  I like the big heads and the ease of peeling.  The other variety I grew is a softneck called “Mother of Pearl” and this year it produced very small bulbs (you’ve seen them once in the share already), but the flavor is nice.  I’ll be saving the largest of the bulbs for next year’s planting stock in order to increase their size in the future.  On the beet thinnings, you can eat the tiny beetlets on the root ends if you want – just cook them with the rest of the greens.  Or just cut them off.  Tomatoes were still pumping Monday but I’m sure they’ll slow down quite a bit with the cooling off and moisture we’re beginning to have this week.  Peppers in the field are a fall vegetable this year as usual — the peak pepper harvest seems to be just ahead.  The salad mix was fun to make today.  Everything is nice and small right now so good for a salad where you don’t have to chop or tear anything into smaller pieces.  I’ve been thinking about getting into a lot more salad mix next year, so this fall you may see some more forays this direction as I test it out on you.

In other farm news, we got the winter squash pulled in from the field just before the rains came last night – whew! (Big thanks to my mother-in-law Karin and wife Katy!)  They’ve been curing in the warm fields for the past 8 or so days.  Ran out of bins so we put the last of them straight into the hand cart.  The varieties shown here are Potimarron (orange), Carnival (multicolored acorn), and Blue Kuri.  Other varieties this year (not pictured) are Delicata, Long Pie Pumpkin, and Butternut.  The winter squash really doesn’t get into the shares much until about mid-October when I need to replace other crops that are finished for the year.IMG_3021.JPG

A view of some of the other fall crops at the new “farm annex” plot.  Lacinato kale, Champion & Cascade Glaze collards, cabbage, pink swiss chard, purple top turnips, and watermelon radish.  The potatoes also grew over here off to the left.IMG_3014.JPG

Now for the fun stuff: recipes! (today from: www.noshingconfessions.com/2010/06/roasted-turnips-and-potatoes.html)

Roasted Potatoes and Turnips
Adapted from “America’s Test Kitchen’s Family Cookbook”
 
Potatoes
Turnips
Olive Oil
Salt
Pepper
1. Place oven rack in middle position. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Wash and peel turnips and potatoes. Slice into half moons or wedges, about 1/3 inch think. Place on sheet pan and toss with a generous amount of olive oil, salt and pepper.
3. Cover the sheet pan with foil. Place in oven and cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil. Allow to continue to cook uncovered for 15 minutes. Turn over all wedges/pieces. Allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven, check seasoning and serve. If you wish, this is an ideal dish to toss with a clove of garlic crushed into a paste with salt, and chopped fresh herbs.
Sautéed Turnip Greens
 
2 T olive oil
1 garlic glove, minced
1 bunch turnip greens
2 T apple cider vinegar
 
1. Heat a 2 T olive oil in a sauté pan over medium to medium high heat. Wash greens thoroughly and dry.
2. Add garlic to pan, and stir for 15 seconds until fragrant. Add greens to pan. Stir, until their color brightens and the leaves are just beginning to wilt. Add vinegar, cover pan, and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Week 18

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This week’s share:
- arugula! – for a great spicy salad or perhaps a pizza topping
- 3 lbs of tomatoes – pico de gallo, pasta sauce, salads, sandwiches, etc…
- various eggplant OR sweet peppers — moussaka, ratatouille, baba ghanoush, roasted peppers…
- bunch of carrots (you may need to cut out some bad spots from the rust fly damage)
- bunch of kale OR turnip greens (turnip greens are a delicious cooking green like kale – the little pricklies on the leaves disappear when cooked)
- LEEKS!
- slicing cucumbers

The stocky red roaster peppers from the field are just starting to ripen, so hopefully with some more nice weather we’ll get a lot of those.  There’s also a stocky golden roaster out there, which is a new variety trial for me.  The winter squash has all been clipped and is now curing in the field for a week or so before being put in storage.  You can see the rows of various types of squash in the field here.

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Next week you’ll probably see some hakurei salad turnips making their initial fall offering.  The summer squash and zucchini are done for the season, as are the cucumbers from the field.  But the cukes in the hoophouse are still going strong.  Expect a bit more lettuce here and there in the coming weeks – some cut, and some heads.  This may alternate a bit with arugula and the mesclun mix.  Then the salad will move into the chicory/radicchio/escarole direction.  In the coming month you’ll also see some potatoes and perhaps winter radishes as well.  We’ll probably do one more big basil harvest before the end of pesto season with some garlic to do it up.   There are some nice red mustard greens that you’ll see a time or two as well for some cooking green variety, as well as an all-pink-stemmed swiss chard.  Here’s a sunset I tried to capture the other evening at the farm.  The phone camera doesn’t really do it justice.IMG_2994.JPG

Week 17 – scrumptious summer solanums

IMG_2975.JPGYes the solanums are in full force: the peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are all members of the solanum plant family.  These heat-loving crops are now producing well in the field in addition to the hoophouse, thus you are starting to see some new varieties, like the asian eggplant (“ping tung long”) and the “jimmy nardello” skinny, long, sweet italian frying peppers.  This will probably be the last week for zucchini and summer squash.  The powdery mildew has had its way a little early with those plants this year.  Also in this share are the red torpedo onions (without tops this time), a bunch of beets (gold or red), cucumbers, and a bag of mesclun/braising mix.  This mix has “golden frills” mustard, “purple rapa pop” mustard, “mizspoona” (cross between mizuna and tatsoi), and arugula.  It’s a little bit spicy but too spicy for a nice lettuce-less salad.  But you could also use them as very tender cooking greens.  Filling out the share on the herb side is a bunch of parsley.

Most of the makings of pico de gallo fresh salsa are here:  chop up very fine tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, parsley (instead of cilantro), and some hot pepper if you like.  You can add cucumber to the mix too if you want to.  Mix all together with a bit of apple cider vinegar, salt, lime/lemon juice, and black pepper.  I just do it all to taste but I’m sure there are good recipes lurking out there.

Speaking of recipes, another good solanum-heavy dish is ratatouille.  Here’s Alice Water’s ratatouille recipe from food52.com:

(http://food52.com/recipes/14155-alice-waters-ratatouille)

Serves 6 to 8

  • 1 medium or 2 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more to taste
  • 2 medium onions, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch of basil, tied in a bouquet with kitchen twine + 6 basil leaves, chopped
  • pinch of dried chile flakes
  • 2 sweet peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 medium summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 ripe medium tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • Salt to taste
  1. Toss the eggplant cubes with a teaspoon or so of salt. Set the cubes in a colander to drain for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Pat the eggplant dry, add to the pan, and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden. Add a bit more oil if the eggplant absorbs all the oil and sticks to the bottom of the pan. Remove the eggplant when done and set aside.
  3. In the same pot, pour in 2 more tablespoons olive oil. Add onions and cook for about 7 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, basil bouquet, dried chile flakes, and a bit more salt.
  4. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir in peppers. Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in summer squash. Cook for a few more minutes, then stir in tomatoes.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes longer, then stir in eggplant and cook for 10 to 15 minutes more, until all the vegetables are soft. Remove the bouquet of basil, pressing on it to extract all its flavors, and adjust the seasoning with salt.
  6. Stir in the chopped basil leaves and more extra virgin olive oil, to taste. Serve warm or cold.

 

Week 16 – peppers and eggplant

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In this week’s share:

- various cucumbers & summer squash/zucchini – These are all slowing way down right now, especially the squash/zucchini due to powdery mildew, which always comes in late summer.
- walla walla sweet onions
- carrots! – nice bigger ones now – though some have a bit of carrot rust fly damage which you can find as brown spots or trails – just cut them out with a knife.
- lacinato kale – first harvest off a new planting – it looks and tastes so nice right now
- various tomatoes – mostly small ones from the field plantings.  The big heirlooms in the hoophouse have slowed way down.
- sweet peppers – red and/or gold
- eggplant (asian long “Ping Tung Long” from Taiwan and/or regular medium/large “Black Beauty”) – the asian variety are great in stir fries and curries.
- cut lettuce salad mix – Some of this is a little bitter right now due to the heat, but with a nice strong dressing I didn’t even notice and hopefully you won’t either.  
Tuesday’s share got more cukes and summer squash while Thursday ended up with more eggplant and peppers – that’s just how the harvest fell out this week.
 

Well, what is going on at the farm besides harvesting for CSA?  Harvesting for storage!  We’ve pulled all the rest of the onions out of the field and they are now drying down in the greenhouse.

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After a few weeks of that they’ll be ready to trim and clean and store in a cool place.  The garlic has already been cured and now we’re getting around to cleaning it up for storage.  Here’s Della peeling the dirty outer skin off a garlic head to reveal the nice clean skin underneath.

IMG_2889.JPGOther than that I’ve been seeding salad greens for the fall and trying to stay on top of the late summer weeds.  Here’s to another week of yummy CSA produce!

-Matt, director of weed pulling

 

 

 

 

Week 15 (and 14 in retrospect…)

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My apologies for the lack of a blog post last week – everything seemed to fly by.  With the full harvest season upon us, time is the one thing I don’t have a lot of.

So the share this week has: various cucumbers, beets, celery, zucchini and summer squash, Brooks plums (from my backyard tree), basil, tomatoes, sweet peppers, hot peppers (Hungarian hot wax is the variety), garlic, collard greens, and a head of lettuce.   Last week’s share was similar, though you had carrots instead of beets, and kale instead of collards.  The Hungarian hot wax pepper is similar in spiciness to a jalapeno, and seems to me to be perfect for pickling.  The collards are from a brand new planting and thus very tender right now.  The garlic is for combining with the basil for some pesto if you like.

Here’s farm baby Ayla helping with harvest.  This was on what was supposed to be my day off but you know why they call it the ‘harvest season’ right?IMG_2864.JPG

In field notes this week, Della and I got the leeks weeded and hilled up a bit.  You can sort of see that there is soil mounded up around the base of the leek plants.  This is to help blanch the stem to create a longer tender white part of the leek.

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And last but not least, here are your recipes for the week:

Roasted Peppers Stuffed with Cherry Tomatoes, Onion, and Basil 

(http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/peppers.html)

4 sweet peppers
1 pint cherry tomatoes
(or try using your slicing or heirloom tomatoes!)
1 medium onion or one bunch green onions

1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

3 garlic cloves

About 3 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 425F and lightly oil a large shallow baking pan.

2. Halve bell peppers lengthwise and discard seeds and ribs. Arrange peppers, cut sides up, in baking pan and lightly oil cut edges and stems.

3. Dice tomatoes and chop the onion and basil. Finely chop garlic and in a bowl toss with tomatoes, onion, basil, 2 tablespoons oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Divide mixture among peppers and roast in upper third of oven until peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.

 

Beet Tabbouleh

(http://www.cookforyourlife.org/recipes/beet-tabbouleh)

1 cup uncooked quinoa or couscous
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 large beets, roasted or boiled, peeled and cut into a small dice
2 celery stalks, cut into a small dice
2 green scallions, quartered through the root end and diced
2 tablespoons chopped dill
¼ cup toasted almond slices
Sea salt, to taste

1. Cook quinoa or couscous. Fluff with fork and set aside to cool.

2. In a large bowl, mix the oil and lemon juice together with salt. Add the beets, celery, scallions and dill. Toss together until well mixed.

3. Add the quinoa or couscous a little at a time until the dish is about half quinoa/couscous and half vegetables. Sprinkle with toasted almonds. Serve.

 

Week 13 – eggplant, romano beans

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The first eggplant from the hoophouse is in today’s share (try baba ganoush recipe below!).  Also Romano beans were given out last Thursday as well as today.  They are an italian heirloom green bean: flatter, longer, and meatier than your typical green bean.  Use them as you would a regular green bean or try the saute with tomatoes below.  Lots of tomatoes and cucumbers in the share as well today.  Beets and chard, summer squash/zucchini, and cut mixed lettuce fill out week’s offerings.  Remember to use those beet greens with the chard if you want more greens to cook with.  Get that lettuce mix in the fridge as fast as you can for best results.  Also, the lettuce is not completely dry so I recommend putting a clean cotton cloth in the bag with the lettuce to help soak up some of the moisture on the (or spin them dry in a salad spinner).

Simple Baba Ganoush (http://minimalistbaker.com/simple-baba-ganoush/)

Ingredients:

1 medium or 3/4 of a large eggplant
1 large clove garlic, grated or finely minced
1 lemon, juiced
2 Tbsp Tahini
Sea salt
Optional: 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, parsley or basil, chopped
Olive oil (for roasting)
 

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to high broil (or medium if you have the ability) and position a rack at the top of the oven.

2. Slice your eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and sprinkle with sea salt and place in a colander in the sink to drain any excess liquid. After 10 minutes, rinse slightly and then pat dry between two towels.

3. Arrange on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 5-10 minutes, turning once or twice, until the eggplant is softened and golden brown. Remove from pan, stack and wrap the rounds in foil to lock in moisture – wait 5 minutes.

4. Peel away most of the skin of the eggplant (a little is OK) and add flesh to a food processor. It should be soft and tender and the skin should come off easy.

5. Add lemon juice, garlic, tahini, a pinch of salt and mix until creamy. Add herbs last and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve with pita and/or pita chips and veggies. Will keep covered in the fridge for several days.

 

Green Bean and Tomato Sauté (http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Green-Beans-and-Tomatoes)

Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 whole tomatoes, fresh or canned, peeled and crushed
2 lb. green beans, trimmed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
 

Instructions:

1. Heat olive oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 2 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, until broken down and soft.

3. Add green beans and ½ cup water; cover pan with lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are soft, about 8 minutes.

4. Remove from heat; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.