Archive for October, 2015

October 20 (Sweet Potato Fries)

I was worried about this week, but despite the 20 degree temps on Sunday night we were still able to harvest cauliflower on Monday afternoon! We harvested the last of the peppers on Saturday before the hard frost, and the kale, sage, and root vegetables are all able to tolerate very cold temperatures.  Because it’s such a root-veggie heavy week, it’s a great week to make roasted vegetables with fresh sage, or sweet potato fries with cinnamon. If you’re a fan of creamy soups like winter squash or carrot-ginger, you can always add depth and flavor by roasting your vegetables before adding them (not only will your soup be delicious, but your home will smell awesome as well!)

Thanksgiving Share

As I mentioned on Sunday, we will have a special Thanksgiving share this year. Quite a few people have asked about the size of the share, and while we haven’t worked out the exact details, I can say that the share will be about 25 percent larger than a typical “small” CSA share. My best guess is something like: 12 oz cranberries, 2-3 lbs onions, 3 lb apples, 5 lb potatoes, 2-3 lb sweet potatoes, 4 lbs squash, 2 lbs carrots, 1 bunch kale, and 1-2 lbs beets or parsnips. The retail value of the share will be about $30. You can reserve 2 or even three shares if you’d like. Payment ($25 for CSA members, $28 for non-members) is just due at the pick-up for the share, which will be Monday November 23rd from 12 to 5 at the Essex farm. If you’d like a share you can e-mail me or just add your name to the list at sign-up this week or next.

Buttercup Squash

Buttercup squash is Ambercup’s green-skinned cousin. It is yellow inside, sweet, and very dry. Due to the drought this year normally dry squash like buttercup is especially dry, so I’d advise cooking it face-down in a dish with some water so that your squash bakes and steams at the same time. You can then mash it up with butter and maple syrup and cinnamon, or flip it over for the last few minutes of baking and brush it with a glaze (maple-soy, as in this recipe, is a good choice).

Sweet Potatoes

We were able to harvest 5 large bins of sweet potatoes, and while they’re not beautiful, they are certainly tasty. Because we are unable to cure our sweet potatoes (too cold and damp), they will have a less “fluffy” texture when baked than a sweet potato from the grocery store (which are usually grown in the south and cured for a significant amount of time). My favorite way to enjoy Vermont-grown sweet potatoes is in the form of roasted sweet potato fries. Vermont sweet potatoes also are tasty mashed, or in curry.

Roasted Sweet Potato Fries

(Adapted from Tablespoon.com)

2 lbs sweet potatoes

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp sweet Hungarian paprika

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment

Peel the sweet potatoes if desired. Cut each potato in half, and then into quarters. Then, slice into fry shapes, about 1/2 inch wide.

Place the sweet potatoes into a resealable plastic bag. Add oil, salt, paprika and cinnamon. Seal the bag and shake well to thoroughly coat the fries. Spread the potatoes out onto the baking sheet in a single layer.

Cook for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until slightly browned. Serve warm.

This Week’s Produce

Everyone gets 1 bunch sage or 1/2 an extra option

Single shares: 5 options. Small shares: 7 options. Large shares: 10 options

Options:

1 head cauliflower

1.3 lbs carrots

1 lb sweet cubanelle peppers

1.5 lbs sweet potatoes

1 large or 2 small buttercup squash

1 large or 2 small spaghetti squash

5 decorative gourds

5 mini pumpkins (jack-be-littles)

1 large or 2 small heads cabbage

3 lbs potatoes

1 bunch kale

 

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October 13 (Kale and Potato Hash)

Besides the obvious things you could make with this week’s share (broccoli and pepper stir-fry, kale and potato and sausage soup, zucchini bread), this is a fun week for breakfast dishes! I am a big fan savory dishes that can be made on the weekend and then enjoyed as leftovers during the week. Broccoli in particular is great in frittatas, stratas, and quiche. Sweet carmen peppers are thin, very sweet, and cook up quickly, so they are the ideal pepper to saute with some sliced onion and add to an omelet, breakfast burrito, or scrambled eggs. Potatoes are great for breakfast too; besides adding them to frittatas and quiche, you can also turn them into hash browns, home-fries, or even potato and kale hash (see recipe below).

Sign-up Info for Next Year

I will email all of this year’s CSA members in early March about the 2016 season. I will include all of the sign-up info, so if you’d like to sign up again you can do so then. I will also have  blank envelopes at the next three pick-ups; if you would like me to send you the 2016 sign-up form and info via snail mail as well as email you can self-address an envelope so it’s ready to go in the spring.

Farm and PYO Updates

The nights are getting colder and longer, which means that some crops have come to an end or slowed down to the point where there’s not enough for us to give out to CSA members. The crops we do have are sweeter and tastier than ever, though, since the cold nights make produce more sweet and flavorful (this is especially true for parsnips and kale). The longer nights also mean that we are now closing the Essex stand at 6:30, since that is when it gets dark!

We still have pick-your-own raspberries in Essex, and we will until we get a hard frost. We even still have some late season apples to pick, although probably not for too much longer!

Kale and Potato Hash

(From Eating Well Magazine)

8 cups torn kale leaves, (about 1/2 large bunch; see Tip

2 tablespoons horseradish

1 medium shallot, minced

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups cooked shredded potatoes

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Place kale in a large microwave-safe bowl, cover and microwave until wilted, about 3 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, and finely chop.
  2. Meanwhile, mix horseradish, shallot, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Add the chopped kale and potatoes; stir to combine.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the kale mixture, spread into an even layer and cook, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes and returning the mixture to an even layer, until the potatoes begin to turn golden brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes total.

This Week’s Share

Everyone gets 1 bunch parsley (or an extra ½ an option)

Single shares get 5 options, small share 7, and large shares 10. As always, doubling up on an option is fine!

Options:

1 large bunch kale

3 lbs potatoes

1.3 lbs parsnips

1.3 lbs beets

1.3 lbs broccoli

2 white acorn squash (might have the colorful “carnival” variety of acorn squash as well)

1 large or 2 small ambercup squash

1 lb sweet carmen peppers (taste like bell peppers but better!)

1.5 lbs eggplant

3 zucchini

Possible: raspberries, chili peppers, apples, glads, sweet potatoes, cauliflower.

 

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October 6 (Summer’s-Last-Gasp Succotash)

We will have decorative gourds and mini pumpkins this week, along with what will probably be the last of the sweet corn, summer squash, and cauliflower. We have just set up the big displays of pumpkins around the parking lot in Essex, and, along with the Mums and colorful winter squash displays, it’s a lovely sight. We had another very cold night on Sunday, but we still haven’t had a frost hard enough to put an end to the fall raspberries in Essex, so if you’d like to pick berries or apples you still have time! Have a PYO voucher that you won’t be able to use? Just bring it in to me at pick-up and I can give you an extra option or stand credit.

Bora Bora Squash

Along with butternut squash, we are giving out Bora Bora squash this week. Bora Bora squash is a fairly new variety that many here in the northeast aren’t familiar with. Bred to be sweet and flavorful and a great storage squash, these large round squash are the favorite of many farmers and chefs. They taste great, are never watery and bland, and if you are looking for a squash to store until Thanksgiving, you have the best chance with one of these. Just remember that winter squash store best at room temperature. If you notice a small soft spot you want to cut the spot out and cook your squash right away; cooked, mashed squash freezes well in a zip-lock bag!

Beef

The beef is now at Maple Ridge meats, where it will hang for about 7-10  more days and then be cut. I should be able to go pick it up the week of the 19th, if not sooner. I will let you all know what the pick-up day and time will be within the next week. It sounds as if the hanging weight was high, so I should have plenty of beef for everyone on the waitlist, plus maybe 100-200 more lbs. If you’re still interested in beef, let me know!

Creamy Soups

A lot of the items we are giving out this week are great in creamy soups. I made a potato, leek, and cauliflower soup yesterday that was great, and very easy. You just saute the sliced white part of the leeks (or chopped onions) in butter or oil until soft, then add your roughly chopped veggies and some stock or water (just enough to cover). Simmer until the veggies are tender, then puree until smooth. You can then add milk, cream, or even coconut milk, and season with salt and pepper. This works well with butternut squash (add some curry powder or maybe sage and apples), broccoli (some cheddar cheese at the end is good), or even carrots (fresh ginger and citrus are nice additions).

Summer’s-Last-Gasp Succotash

(Adapted from Martha Stewart Living)

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (or whites of 2 leeks, chopped)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch dice

2 yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 cup frozen lima beans

2 cups fresh corn kernels

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons fresh sage, coarsely chopped

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add onion or leek; cook until translucent, 2 minutes. Add garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, squash, lima beans, and corn. Season with salt and black pepper; cook, stirring, until vegetables are tender, 10 minutes. Stir in sage, and serve.

This Week’s Produce

Single share 5 options, small share 7 options, large share 10 options

5 ears corn

1+lbs sweet bell peppers

3 summer squash

3 leeks

4-5 decorative gourds and or mini decorative pumpkins

1 head cauliflower

Butternut squash

Bora Bora squash

3 lbs potatoes

1.3 lbs carrots

1 large or 2 small cabbages

(Anyone who would like some also gets fresh sage)

 

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September 29 (Roasted Cauliflower)

Including this week there are 5 more weeks of the CSA to go! We got a light frost in some of the higher fields on Sunday night, but most of the items, including sweet corn, are still going strong. Besides lots of fall produce and PYO apples and raspberries, the Essex stand now has lots of really nice decorative pumpkins, so now is the time to come on down to the Essex stand, especially if you have a missed-share voucher you’d like to use!

This is a good week to do some baking, since we have a couple types of winter squash and zucchini (great for breads and muffins), as well apples again. We will probably have either our own cortland or empire apples. Both are great in a pie or in apple cake. I like this recipe from the fantastic Smitten Kitchen blog; it’s easy, tasty, and really packed with apples!

Squash

We are giving out two of my favorite types of winter squash this week. The little white and green squash are sweet dumplings. They have the same thin, edible skin and sweet flavor as a delicata squash, but come in a shape that makes them perfect for stuffing. We are also giving out ambercup (or orange kabocha) squash. These are dry and sweet with a nutty flavor. I like to stab a few steam holes in a large squash and then bake it for a good 1- 1 1/2 hours, until a knife goes right through. Then I carefully cut the hot squash in half, remove the seeds, and scoop out and mash the bright orange flesh. I add butter, cinnamon, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. You can also add some half and half or cream if the mixture is a bit dry. Uncooked squash likes to be at about 70 degrees and it’s fine to store your squash in the light. Winter squash actually gets sweeter with storage, so don’t worry if yours is just a kitchen decoration for a few weeks!

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasting is a wonderful way to cook vegetables, especially in the fall and winter. You can roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips, winter squash, beets, cauliflower, and more. The addition of curry powder to roasted cauliflower is fantastic, but plain roasted cauliflower is also really delicious. The key to really good roasted vegetables is to not overcrowd your trays (so the vegetables brown properly). You also want a nice hot oven (I go with 425, but 450 works too). Finally, remember to check the veggies and give them a stir every 10 minutes or so. If you’re using 2 trays it’s also a good idea to switch the trays in the middle of cooking.

1 large head cauliflower broken into florets

3 tbsp olive oil

1- 1 ½ tbsp curry powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 425. Toss cauliflower with oil and curry powder and spread onto two baking trays. Season cauliflower with salt and pepper and roast until golden brown in spots and tender, about 20 minutes.

Want something a little fancier? Check out this roasted cauliflower gratin with goat cheese!

This Week’s Produce

Single Share

1.5 lbs potatoes

1 bunch sage or parsley or 1 extra lb potatoes

1 large head cauliflower

Choose 3 options:

2 lbs apples

5 ears sweet corn

1.3 lbs parsnips

1+ lb sweet peppers

1 lb jalapenos

3 zucchini

1 bunch chard

1 large or 2 small ambercup squash

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 large or 2 small cabbages

2-3 lbs potatoes

Possibly on Wednesday and Thursday: 2 Glads

Small Share

1.5 lbs potatoes

1 bunch sage or parsley or 1 extra lb potatoes

1 large head cauliflower

Choose 5 options:

2 lbs apples

5 ears sweet corn

1.3 lbs parsnips

1+ lb sweet peppers

1 lb jalapenos

3 zucchini

1 bunch chard

1 large or 2 small ambercup squash

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 large or 2 small cabbages

2-3 lbs potatoes

Possibly on Wednesday and Thursday: 2 Glads

Large Share

1.5 lbs potatoes

2 bunches sage or parsley or 2 extra lb potatoes

2 large heads cauliflower

Choose 7 options:

2 lbs apples

5 ears sweet corn

1.3 lbs parsnips

1+ lb sweet peppers

1 lb jalapenos

3 zucchini

1 bunch chard

1 large or 2 small ambercup squash

2 sweet dumpling squash

1 large or 2 small cabbages

2-3 lbs potatoes

Possibly on Wednesday and Thursday: 2 Glads

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