Newsletter for October 28 (Hubbard Squash Tea Bread)

It’s the last week of the CSA, and we’re offering another all-options share! If you plan to take lots of produce to store for the next month or so, we have plenty of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and squash. The potatoes and sweet potatoes should last for a month at least; just keep them in a dark place that’s 50 – 70 degrees. The winter squash — especially the bora-bora — should last even longer, and will get sweeter as time goes on. If you’re storing winter squash you can just leave it out on your counter or keep it anywhere that’s around room temperature. As long as your garage never gets below freezing, a garage is fine as well, and works well for larger squash like hubbards. You don’t have to worry about the bora-bora squash, but you want to keep an eye on the other varieties. Use squash quickly if you notice a soft spot (just cut it out); squash can go from mostly good to all bad VERY quickly.

Thanksgiving Share and Next Year’s CSA

I will have the sign-up for the Thanksgiving share and for next year’s CSA out this week again for folks who missed last week. If you’re unsure about joining next year you can just add your name to the list to receive the sign-up info next spring, and you can decide then if you’d like to re-join. I will e-mail everyone in early November with the Thanksgiving share info again, so if you’re not sure if you’d like to sign up you can just wait and then sign up via e-mail if you decide to get a share. I don’t need to know the final number of Thanksgiving shares until around the 10th of November.

Cauliflower

We have tons of cauliflower this week, and I’m so happy that we are able to give it out as part of the share! I love steamed cauliflower with cheese sauce, but cauliflower is also delicious roasted and in creamy soups. Cauliflower puree also makes for a great (and healthy) mashed potato substitute.

Hubbard Squash

Hubbard squash is sweet and bright orange inside. It’s a great substitute for pumpkin in pies, muffins, and breads (I like it more than pumpkin; it’s less stringy). As I mentioned in the Sunday night e-mail, you can also eat the seeds as you would pumpkin seeds. Before you get out an ax or handsaw to cut open your hubbard squash, I’d advise you to check out this very short youtube video. It sounds funny, but dropping the squash on a cement floor is BY FAR the safest and easiest way to get your squash into pieces. You want to cook all of your squash as soon as you open it, but you can puree or mash most of it and freeze it in zip-lock bags for future dishes if you’d like!

Hubbard Squash Tea Bread

(Adapted from Eating Well Magazine)

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup hubbard squash puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice and cloves in a medium bowl until combined.
  3. Beat squash puree, sugar, honey and oil in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in egg and egg white. Turn off the mixer, add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until combined. Scrape into the prepared loaf pan.
  4. Bake the bread until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes more. Serve warm.

This Week’s Produce

Fresh sage (optional)

Choose 5 options:

1 head cauliflower

3 lbs sweet potatoes

1.3 lbs broccoli

3 lbs potatoes (will have a few different varieties)

1 bunch kale

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs bell peppers

1 large or 2 small heads cabbage

1 ambercup squash

1 bora bora squash

1 giant blue hubbard (counts as 2 options)

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

Possible: apples, other varieties of winter squash

Small Share

Fresh sage (optional)

Choose 7 options:

1 head cauliflower

3 lbs sweet potatoes

1.3 lbs broccoli

3 lbs potatoes (will have a few different varieties)

1 bunch kale

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs bell peppers

1 large or 2 small heads cabbage

1 ambercup squash

1 bora bora squash

1 giant blue hubbard (counts as 2 options)

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

Possible: apples, other varieties of winter squash

Large Share

2 bunches fresh sage (optional)

Choose 10 options:

1 head cauliflower

3 lbs sweet potatoes

1.3 lbs broccoli

3 lbs potatoes (will have a few different varieties)

1 bunch kale

1 bunch chard

1.3 lbs bell peppers

1 large or 2 small heads cabbage

1 ambercup squash

1 bora bora squash

1 giant blue hubbard (counts as 2 options)

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

Possible: apples, other varieties of winter squash

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Newsletter for October 21 (Broccoli and Peppers Stir-Fry with Tofu and Cashews)

Lots of broccoli and apples and squash this week! You could make a squash and apple soup, an apple crisp, or a stir-fry with broccoli, peppers, and carrots (see recipe below). It would also be a good week to try a kale salad full of nuts and dried cherries or cranberries.

I will have the sign-up sheet for the Thanksgiving Share out this week, as well as the sign-up info for next year (I’m going to have CSA members self-address envelopes if you’d like the sign-up form via snail mail in the spring and just write down your name if you’d like the info via e-mail.) If you’re not sure if you’d like to join you can just sign up to get the info; you are welcome to change your mind in the spring.

Bread and Cheese

The bread this week is Red Hen’s Crossett Hill Batard. CSA members will also get $1.50 off VT cheese while supplies last. I will set aside some cheese and make sure it makes it to Colchester this week as well!

Pumpkins

One of the options this week will be a $3 voucher for pumpkins. There isn’t a limit on this option, so you are welcome to take 2 or 3. This voucher gets you $3 off any jack-o-lantern pumpkin. The pumpkins are $0.49/lb, so they range from 5 to 15 dollars or so. A mid-sized one is usually about $7 or $8. We have a wide variety to sizes and colors to choose from in Essex, and I will bring along 10 or so to Colchester. If you are sure you want a pumpkin and pick up in Colchester please send me an email; if I get a lot of e-mail I’ll know to bring along more pumpkins.

Sweet Dumpling and Butternut Squash

If you love delicata squash, you will love sweet dumplings. The two squash are pretty much the same in terms of taste and texture (they even have the same thin, edible skin). The only difference is that sweet dumplings look like tiny white and green acorn squash while delicatas are more oblong. Besides cutting the squash in half and roasting it (which is very good), you can also cut the sweet dumpling into thin half-moons (leaving the skin on) and steam, saute, or roast the pieces. Sweet dumpling squash also store well.

Buttercup squash makes great mashed squash. It also makes a delicious squash and apple soup; just be prepared for a soup that’s more yellow than orange! If you decide to store your buttercup squash, just keep an eye on it; buttercup squash isn’t the best storage squash, and when it starts to go it goes FAST.

Broccoli and Pepper Stir-Fry with Tofu and Cashews

(Adapted from Eating Well Magazine)

I like to add chopped roasted cashews to stir-fries, but you’re certainly welcome to skip this step.  You can also alter the veggies — just keep the total around 6 cups and remember to cut hard veggies like carrots smaller than more quick-cooking ones like broccoli or zucchini. This dish goes well with brown rice or rice noodles.

  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry (see Note) or rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm water-packed tofu, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • ⅓ cup chopped roasted cashews (optional)
  1. Combine broth, sherry (or rice wine), soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, sugar and crushed red pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
  1. Cut tofu into 3/4-inch cubes and pat dry, then sprinkle with salt. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the tofu; toss gently to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu; cook, undisturbed, until browned, about 3 minutes. Gently turn and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  1. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, garlic and ginger; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add broccoli, peppers, and water; cover and cook, stirring once or twice, until tender-crisp, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir the reserved broth mixture and add to the pan. Cook until the sauce has thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Return the tofu to the pan; toss to combine with the broccoli and sauce. Top with chopped cashews if desired.

Single Share

Optional: 1 bunch herbs (probably thyme and/or cilantro)

Choose 5 options:

1.3 lbs broccoli

2 lbs cortland apples

1 bunch kale

1 bunch loose leaf lettuce

1.3 lbs carrots

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes

1.3 lbs peppers

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 buttercup squash

4 decorative gourds

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

(There might be surprise options too!)

Small Share

Optional: 1 bunch herbs (probably thyme and/or cilantro)

Choose 7 options:

1.3 lbs broccoli

2 lbs cortland apples

1 bunch kale

1 bunch loose leaf lettuce

1.3 lbs carrots

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes

1.3 lbs peppers

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 buttercup squash

4 decorative gourds

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

(There might be surprise options too!)

Large Share

Optional: 2 bunches herbs (probably thyme and/or cilantro)

Choose 10 options:

1.3 lbs broccoli

2 lbs cortland apples

1 bunch kale

1 bunch loose leaf lettuce

1.3 lbs carrots

3 lbs yukon gold potatoes

1.3 lbs peppers

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 buttercup squash

4 decorative gourds

1 $3 pumpkin voucher

(There might be surprise options too!)

 

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Newsletter for October 14 (Stuffed Sweet Bell Peppers)

Although some veggies are coming to an end (corn, cucumbers), we still haven’t gotten a hard frost in most of our fields, which means we still have plenty “summer” veggies like zucchini (which we were surprised to discover survived what we had considered to be a hard frost in September), lettuce, peppers, and eggplant. We also have new fields of kale and cabbage coming in, so we will be offering these as well. We will have some type of winter squash every day, as well as some type of apple; these will change from day to day, but feel free to ask at pick-up if you would like more info about the the varieties we have available when you pick up. I will also do my best to include info and basic cooking instructions next to the signs at pick-up!

Bread and Cheese

The bread this week is Waitsfield Common, and cheese is now $1.50 off for CSA members at pick-up! We aren’t planning on buying any more for the season, but we still have plenty of varieties. We especially have lots of pepper-crusted chevre, which is my favorite of the VT Creamery chevres. It isn’t pretty, but it’s incredibly peppery and good, especially with Red Hen bread.

Kale

If you haven’t yet given kale a try, or if you have but you weren’t impressed, this is the time of year to go for it. Kale is sweetest in the fall, since the cold weather brings out the sugars in the leaves. Two great beginner kale recipes are kale and sausage soup and kale chips. These are both recipes that even the kale-skeptical often really like. Besides being incredibly healthy and one of the easiest thing on the planet to grow, kale really can be delicious, too!

Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling potatoes are creamy little gourmet potatoes. They are long and thin (hence the name), and they are fantastic either roasted or boiled. You don’t need to peel them; just make sure they are clean and cut into equal-sized pieces. To roast just toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried rosemary (if desired). Then cook on a baking sheet at 425 degrees until soft. Make sure to move the potatoes around a few times while cooking so they don’t burn.

PYO

As I mentioned in the Sunday e-mail, PYO apples are done for the season, but there are still plenty of PYO raspberries, and there will be until we get a hard frost. The picking is better in Essex, but there is still picking at both locations. If you have a PYO apple voucher that you didn’t use, or a berry voucher that you don’t plan to use, just bring them in to me at pick-up and you can use the voucher for extra CSA produce.

Stuffed Peppers

I like the following recipe because it’s pretty basic and therefore easy to alter to suit your own tastes. You could sub sausage or ground turkey for the beef and pork, and cooked brown rice or quinoa for the cooked white rice. You could also add cheese or mushrooms to the stuffing or mess around with the spices (I really love allspice in stuffed peppers). Whatever you do, it will probably still be tasty!

Stuffed Bell Peppers (Emeril Lagasse’s Recipe from The Food Network)

6 green bell peppers, tops cut away and seeds removed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup finely chopped green bell peppers
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups cooked long or medium-grain white rice
8 ounces tomato sauce
Water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large pot of boiling water, parboil the peppers until just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on paper towels.

In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and chopped bell peppers and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the beef, pork, garlic, parsley, salt, black pepper, and pepper flakes. Cook until the meat is browned, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon to break up the lumps, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and tomato sauce and stir well. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning, to taste.

Pour enough water into a baking dish to just cover the bottom, about 1/8-inch deep. Stuff the bell peppers with the rice mixture and place in the baking dish. Bake until the peppers are very tender and the filling is heated through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Single Share

Choose 5 options:
3 zucchini
2 lbs apples (type to be determined)
1 quart fingerling potatoes
1.5 lbs peppers
3 lbs sweet potatoes
1.25 lbs carrots
1 large or 2 small winter squash (will probably be 2-3 different kinds)
1 large or 2 small eggplant
1 large or 2 small cabbages
1 bunch mixed leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale

Small Share

Choose 7 options:

3 zucchini
2 lbs apples (type to be determined)
1 quart fingerling potatoes
1.5 lbs peppers
3 lbs sweet potatoes
1.25 lbs carrots
1 large or 2 small winter squash (will probably be 2-3 different kinds)
1 large or 2 small eggplant
1 large or 2 small cabbages
1 bunch mixed leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale

Large Share

Choose 10 options:

3 zucchini
2 lbs apples (type to be determined)
1 quart fingerling potatoes
1.5 lbs peppers
3 lbs sweet potatoes
1.25 lbs carrots
1 large or 2 small winter squash (will probably be 2-3 different kinds)
1 large or 2 small eggplant
1 large or 2 small cabbages
1 bunch mixed leaf lettuce
1 bunch kale

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Newsletter for October 7 (German Purple Potato Salad, Cream of Broccoli Soup with Potatoes)

As I mentioned in the Sunday night e-mail, this would be a great week to make a soup or stew. It’s also a good week to make a quick stir-fry, since we’re giving out peppers and broccoli (both great stir-fry vegetables). Everyone gets peppers and carrots this week, but if you want to skip either one and take an extra option instead, that is fine!

Bread and Cheese

The bread this week is Mad River Grain. As always, CSA members also get $1 off VT Cheese.

PYO

We still have pick-your-own apples in Essex, and PYO raspberries in both locations. The berry picking is slowing down a bit, but there are definitely still plenty of berries out there. If you pick up in Colchester and still have a PYO apple voucher you can bring it to Essex and use it, or you can bring it in on pick-up day and I will give you some sort of produce in exchange.

Soups

Here are some links to a few great fall soup recipes:

Carrot Ginger Soup from The Splendid Table (This soup has citrus and coconut milk — yum! It’s also vegan.)

Belgian Beef and Beer Stew from Cooking Light (This is an easy stew to make, and the beer and parsnips make it extra delicious! You could add potatoes too, or extra parsnips.)

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage from Chow (I like this recipe because you don’t have to chop up the squash — you just roast it. You can also use any type of apple, although tart apples are best.)

Cream of Broccoli Soup with Potatoes

I was never a fan of “cream of” anything soups until I learned how to make them myself. It came as such a surprise to find out that it’s possible to make a creamy, flavorful soup with very little actual cream. Cream of broccoli soup is easy, too: Just saute a lot of chopped yellow onion over medium heat for 10 minutes or so (until soft). Then add 1 large potato (peeled and diced), a pound or so broccoli cut into pieces (stems included), and some stock or water (enough to cover everything). Bring to a boil then let simmer, covered, until everything is soft. Then puree with a hand-held or standing blender until smooth. After the soup has been pureed you can add cream (or milk), and salt and pepper to taste. Some people also like to add shredded cheddar cheese.

Purple Potatoes

The purple potatoes that we are giving out this week look odd, but they taste delicious. Due to their color (they are purple inside, too) they contain more antioxidants than other potatoes. Kids, especially, often get a kick out of their uncommon color. I like them roasted (they have a bit of a nutty flavor that comes out when roasted), but they also make a fun potato salad.

German Purple Potato Salad

(Adapted from Anne Burrell’s recipe from The Food Network)

2 pounds purple potatoes, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces

Kosher salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

8 bacon slices, cut into lardons

1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1/2 cup chicken stock

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (plus more to taste)

3 scallions, finely chopped

Toss the potatoes in a medium saucepan, cover generously with water and season generously with salt. Bring the pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and reserve.

Coat a large straight-sided saute pan lightly with olive oil. Toss in the bacon and bring the pan to a medium heat. When the bacon is brown and crispy, toss in the onions and cook them until they are very soft and aromatic, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the stock and vinegar. Toss in the potatoes when they are still warm and cook until the liquid has absorbed into the potatoes. Taste and season with salt if needed. Toss in the scallions and serve warm or at room temperature.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share:

1 lb carrots

1 lb peppers (probably red bell)

1 cucumber

Fresh sage or 1 extra cucumber

Choose 3 options

1.3 lbs broccoli

1 butternut squash

3 lbs purple potatoes

1.3 lbs parsnips

1 bunch chard

1 lb tomatoes (might be roma or grape)

1 $2 PYO raspberry voucher

Possible: arugula, spring mix, poblano peppers, sweet potatoes

Small Share:

1.3 lbs carrots

1 lb peppers (probably red)

2 cucumbers

Fresh sage or 1 extra cucumber

Choose 4 options

1.3 lbs broccoli

1 butternut squash

3 lbs purple potatoes

1.3 lbs parsnips

1 bunch chard

1 lb tomatoes (might be roma or grape)

1 $3 PYO raspberry voucher

Possible: arugula, spring mix, poblano peppers, sweet potatoes

Large Share:

2 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs peppers

2 cucumbers

Fresh sage or 1 extra cucumber

1 pint grape tomatoes

Choose 5 options

1.3 lbs broccoli

1 butternut squash

3 lbs purple potatoes

1.3 lbs parsnips

1 bunch chard

1 lb tomatoes (might be roma or grape)

1 $3 PYO voucher

Possible: arugula, spring mix, poblano peppers, sweet potatoes

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Newsletter for September 30 (Alice Waters’ Ratatouille)

What a beautiful week it has been! We are so happy that the frost did less damage than we initially thought, and that we still have so much great produce. As I mentioned in the Sunday night e-mail, this would be a great week to make ratatouille, since we have tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and zucchini. It would also be a good week to make pasta with arugula and tomatoes, or pasta with broccoli and sausage. Since I’m thinking of pasta, this week’s share would also make a great, colorful pasta salad full of broccoli, peppers, carrots, and tomatoes.

The next week or so looks beautiful, so we should have plenty of produce next week as well. I think we will have sweet potatoes as part of the share, along with fresh thyme and chard.

Bread and Cheese

The bread this week is Cyrus Pringle. We also have all sorts of cheese for sale, and CSA members get $1 off. We have Maplebrook Mozzarella, Vermont Creamery Chevre, and Grafton Village Creamery Sage Cheddar and 1 Year Cheddar.

PYO

We still have plenty of raspberries at both locations, and the PYO apples are going strong as well. In Essex we have mac, cortlands, empires, and more. In Colchester we have cortlands and empires. We are hoping to put together a PYO potato day in Essex too, and if we do we will let you know all about it!

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is one of the most popular varieties of squash we grow. It’s less dry than a buttercup or ambercup squash, and pale yellow inside. The most common way to prepare an acorn squash is to cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and then roast the squash with some butter and maple syrup or brown sugar in the cavity. Want to try something different with your squash? This blogpost contains links to a wealth of different acorn squash recipes.

Ratatouille

I really like this Ratatouille recipe from Alice Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food” (courtesy of Food52). Zucchini is a fine substitute for the summer squash. This hearty vegetable stew makes a great meal served hot or at room temperature with some crusty bread.

  • 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.

Single Share:

Choose 5 options:

1.3 lbs carrots

1.3 lbs broccoli

1 bunch arugula

1 bunch spring mix

1-1.5 peppers (may be green or colored)

1 large or 2 small acorn squash

4 cucumbers

1+ lb tomatoes

1.5 lbs zucchini

1.5 lbs eggplant

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples

4 decorative gourds

Possible: watermelon, baby white potatoes

Small Share:

Choose 7 options:

1.3 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs broccoli

1 bunch arugula

1 bunch spring mix

1-1.5 peppers (may be green or colored)

1 large or 2 small acorn squash

4 cucumbers

1 lb tomatoes

1.5 lbs zucchini

1.5 lbs eggplant

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples

4 decorative gourds

Possible: watermelon, baby white potatoes

Large Share:

Choose 10 options:

1.3 lbs carrots

1.5 lbs broccoli

1 bunch arugula

1 bunch spring mix

1-1.5 peppers (may be green or colored)

1 large or 2 small acorn squash

4 cucumbers

1 lb tomatoes

1.5 lbs zucchini

1.5 lbs eggplant

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples

4 decorative gourds

Possible: watermelon, baby white potatoes

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Newsletter for September 23 (Maple Ambercup Squash, Cucumber and Tomato Salad)

Now that it’s officially fall it feels right that the share is so heavy on squash, potatoes, parsnips, and gourds! We are giving everyone ambercup squash this week, so it would be a good week to make some mashed, spiced squash, or even squash soup. If you don’t want squash you are welcome to exchange it for an extra option. We also have corn and cukes for everyone, since these are coming to an end. We have tomatoes too, although these should be around for a while; we harvested a lot at different stages of ripeness before the frost.

PYO Raspberries and Apples

We still have great PYO raspberries at both locations, and will continue to have them until we get a hard frost in our lower Essex fields and in Colchester. We also have PYO apples at both locations, and you can get an apple voucher as an option if you’d like. The voucher allows you to pick ½ peck Macintosh apples in Essex or ½ peck Cortlands in Colchester. Macintosh apples are great for eating and sauce. They make wonderful pie apples too, as long as you don’t mind a more “saucy” filling. Cortands are very large and are generally considered to be one of the best baking apples.

Ambercup Squash

Ambercup is my favorite squash, and one of Paul’s favorites as well. It’s similar to a buttercup or kabocha, only bright orange. Like a buttercup squash or kabocha, ambercups are a sweet, dense, relatively dry squash. They’re hard to cut when they’re raw so I like to bake them whole (see recipe below).

A note on squash: Squash gets drier and sweeter in storage. The longer you (or the farmer) store a squash, generally, the tastier it will be. I have found that I often need to add some sweetener (maple syrup and/or brown sugar) to squash early in the season for this reason. So if you find your winter squash to be better in October and November, it’s not your imagination!

Maple Mashed Ambercup Squash:

Jab the squash with a knife a few times, then put it on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until tender (this can take up to 2 hours, depending on the size of the squash!) Cut the squash open and let it cool a bit. Using a dish towel to keep your hands from burning, remove the seeds and discard them. Then scoop the flesh out of the skin and into a bowl. Add a few tablespoons of butter, a few tablespoons of maple syrup, and salt, pepper, and cinnamon to taste. Mash with a fork or potato masher until smooth.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad

This is probably the last week CSA members will get cucumbers, and I can think of no better way to use them than to make this summery, delicious salad:

2 cucumbers, peeled and chopped (you can remove the seeds if you want, too)

2 tomatoes, chopped

4 chopped scallions (white and green parts)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Optional: Crumbled feta cheese, chopped kalamata olives, fresh mint or parsley

Mix all ingredients together. Serve immediately.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share:

2 ears corn

1 lb. tomatoes

1 cucumber

1 small ambercup squash

Choose 3 option:

1.25 lbs. parsnips

3 lbs. potatoes

1.5 lbs. peppers

1 bunch kale

2 small butternut squash

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples (Macs in Essex, Cortlands in Colchester)

4 decorative gourds

Small Share:

4 ears corn

1 lb. tomatoes

2 cucumbers

1 ambercup squash

Choose 4 options:

1.25 lbs. parsnips

3 lbs potatoes

1.5 lbs peppers

1 bunch kale

2 small butternut squash

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples (Macs in Essex, Cortlands in Colchester)

4 decorative gourds

Large Share

6 ears corn

2 lbs. tomatoes

2 cucumbers

1 ambercup squash

1 pint grape tomatoes

Choose 5 options:

1.25 lbs. parsnips

3 lbs potatoes

1.5 lbs peppers

1 bunch kale

2 small butternut squash

1 voucher for 1/2 peck PYO apples (Macs in Essex, Cortlands in Colchester)

4 decorative gourds

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Newsletter for September 16th (Fall Slaw with Honeycrisp Apples)

Unless we get a frost this week (possible but not very likely!) we should have summer veggies like corn, peppers, and zucchini for a while. We also have lots of fall produce like apples, potatoes, pumpkins, and cabbage this week, and will continue to have these items off and on until the season is over. This would be a great week to try making a creamy pumpkin soup or a fall coleslaw with cabbage and honeycrisp apples. Since we’re giving out lots of sweet frying peppers, this would also be a great week to cook up a big pan of peppers (sweet and/or hot) and onions. Cooked for a while (until the onions are caramelized and the peppers are really soft), these are great with sausages (or kielbasa) and brown rice, in fajitas, in omelettes and frittatas, and even just as a topping for scrambled eggs.

Pick-Your-Own

We still have pick-your-own apples and berries at both locations. The apple picking is great, as is the raspberry picking. The blueberries are coming to an end, but there are still blueberries to pick — it will just take a bit longer than it would have a few weeks ago. Members with small and large shares can choose to pick a half peck of macs this week as part of their shares. If you’d like a $3 PYO berry voucher as one of your options just ask at pick-up!

Pumpkins

Pie pumpkins are an option this week. As the name suggests, these little pumpkins are sweet and much less stringy than Jack-O-Lantern  pumpkins, making them good for baking. You can use them for pies, custard, bread, muffins, or soups. (Check out this link to learn how to turn a whole pie pumpkin into pumpkin puree that you can use for baking). You can also just use them for decoration if you’d like!

Want to try something different and utterly delicious? Try out this gratin-like pumpkin soup recipe from Ruth Reichl.

Honeycrisp Apples

Honeycrisp apples are sweet and crunchy and great for eating out of hand. They’re also the perfect apple for a coleslaw, since, like Granny Smiths, they stay nice and crisp and have a wonderful sweet-tart flavor.

Fall Slaw with Honeycrisp Apples

1 small or ½ large green or red cabbage, finely chopped

3 medium carrots, peeled and grated

2 medium honeycrisp apples, cut into matchsticks

2 tbsp oil (canola or other neutral oil is best)

2 tbsp honey or maple syrup

3 tbs cider vinegar

salt and pepper

Add first 3 ingredients to a large bowl. Wisk oil, vinegar, and honey together. Add to coleslaw. Mix and season with salt and pepper, adding extra vinegar if needed.

You can add fresh parsley or cilantro, green onions, even thinly sliced sweet peppers to this fall slaw. I like a vinegar-based dressing, but it would also be good with a yogurt or mayo based dressing.

This Week’s Produce

Single Share

1 lb honeycrisp apples

1 lb sweet carmen or cubanelle peppers

fresh herbs (parsley or mint) or chili peppers or extra sweet carmen peppers

Choose 3 options:

1.5 lbs zucchini or summer squash

3 lbs red potatoes

1.25 lbs carrots

1 pie pumpkin

5 ears corn

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1.5 lbs eggplant

Small Share

2 lbs honeycrisp apples or voucher for 1/2 peck PYO macintosh apples

1.3 lb sweet carmen or cubanelle peppers

fresh herbs (parsley or mint) or  4 chili peppers or extra sweet carmen peppers

Choose 4 options:

1.5 lbs zucchini or summer squash

3 lbs red potatoes

1.25 lbs carrots

1 pie pumpkin

5 ears corn

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1.5 lbs eggplant

Large Share

4 lbs honeycrisp apples or 2 vouchers for 1/2 peck PYO macintosh apples

1.5 lbs sweet carmen or cubanelle peppers

1 lb tomatoes

2 bunches fresh herbs or 8 chili peppers

Choose 5 options

1.5 lbs zucchini or summer squash

3 lbs red potatoes

1.25 lbs carrots

1 pie pumpkin

5 ears corn

1 large or 2 small cabbages

1.5 lbs eggplant

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