CSA share 10/6/11

Here’s the roundup for the CSA share this week:

– onions – 2 Valencia (sweet spanish)
– kale – 1 bunch ‘lacinato’
– zucchini – 1-3 depending on size – They are really done now and out of the field!
– cucumbers – 1-2 smalls depending on size – Same as zucchini — say goodbye for the season to cucumbers.
– cabbage – 1-2 heads depending on the size (‘gonzalez’ is the round one, ‘early jersey wakefield’ is the conical one)
– peppers – 6 or so ‘jimmy nardello’, 2 ‘gypsy’
– eggplants – 4 of various varieties (at least 2 ‘nadia’ – the standard style)
– tomatoes – about 0.9# – they are slowing way down
– Chicory Frisee – 1 head of ‘maraichere tres fine’ – this is a salad green in the family known as the chicories. You will be seeing several other varieties within this larger family from here on out.
– Arugula – ~0.15# each
– Cauliflower or Broccoli – little bit
– Carrots – about 2# each
– potatoes – about 2.5# each of either ‘Austrian Crescent Fingerling’ or ‘yukon gold’
– Basil – about 0.4# each — this is the very last of it. As you can see it started to get a little brown, but if you make pesto with it, that should be ok, or you can pick through it.

Welcome to the Chicories!
Our head lettuce is done for the year, and now salad greens known as Chicories are in season. These include frisee, escarole, and radicchio. You will see a few types of frisees and escaroles through the last few weeks of the CSA. And if you are signed up for the season extension share, there will be some radicchios. They are all basically cold hardy slightly bitter salad greens. Though they are commonly served raw in salads, some of them are good as a cooked vegetable as well. Here is what www.gardemanger.com has to say about Chicories — (Note: they refer here to the chicory frisee as "curly endive" – same thing).

These two kinds of lettuce are cousins from the same botanical family. Although they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors, they do have a couple of characteristics in common. They all have a hearty texture, and are bitter in taste. The major groups in this category are:
Belgian Endive
Curly Endive

Belgian Endive is also known as French Endive and Witloof. The name Witloof is derived from the name of the root from which the Belgian Endive is grown and harvested. Witloof Chicory is planted in early summer and is allowed to grow until late fall. At that point, the Witloof is harvested for its leaves to within one inch of the root. Then the root is dug up. The roots are then planted in moist soil in a cool dark place like a basement, cellar or cave. The Endive sprouts from the root and is allowed to grow for about 3-4 weeks. It is harvested when the head reaches 5-6 inches tall. Each Witloof root produces one Belgian Endive. The leaves are white with yellow tips and have a bitter flavor. There is another variety of Endive which is red tipped. This type has the same texture and taste as regular Belgian Endive. When receiving Endive be sure it is not browned or blemished. The endive is shipped in dark paper which protects the endive heads from light. It is then wrapped in plastic to protect it from air and finally boxed. Belgian Endive can be served on its own with a strong nutty vinaigrette, combined with mixed greens or used as a garnish for salads or appetizers.

Curly Endive is also known as Chicoree Frisee. There are dozens of curly endives all with long histories of use in everything from salads to coffees. The varieties we are most familiar with are Chicory and Baby Frisee.

Chicory forms a low growing head of curly leaves which range from yellow at its heart to dark green at the leaves tips. Chicory is usually added to mixed greens to give a bitter flavor, or can be used with other bitter greens to create a bitter green salad which is classically served with a blue cheese and nutty vinaigrette.

Frisee is a baby curly endive. It is yellow at its base, with touches of pale green at its tips. Frisee has frilly leaves and sturdy crisp ribs that add lift and texture to baby green salads.

Escarole is also known as broad leaf endive. Escarole is similar in flavor to chicory or curly endive. It has broad flat leaves rather than the curly ones and is dark green.

Radicchio looks like a brillant red cabbage. This red chicory is a beloved lettuce in Italy and was grown primarily in a small regions around Verona and Treviso. Radicchio has gained popularity in American salads for its unique, tangy, bitter flavor as well as its beautiful red color. Radicchio can be used as a garnish on composed salads or appetizers or as an addition to mixed greens. It is seldom served on its own.

By michael brian tevlin

Farmer and life-skills trainer for people with disabilities.

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