Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CSA Share Week #15

“Twelve days, sixteen inches of rain.” That’s how a fellow farmer in the region grimly summed up the last week and a half here—post Hurricane Irene. Excessive rain here in our county. Flooding. Landslides. Damns breaking. Roads closed. Schools closed. Residents and businesses evacuated.
At the farm, even our best-drained, high ground soils were so saturated that there was nowhere for the water to drain off. Many of our fall crops appear to have been ruined or substantially damaged.
We do our best to keep the focus on silver linings here. The loss we’re experiencing on the farm is short term (specific to this season). We haven’t had entire fields permanently washed away, and we’re not located in flood plains where river waters contaminated with chemicals and human pathogens have leached into our soil. And, looking beyond our region, there are much more serious natural disasters occurring in parts of the world where the consequences are life-threatening shortages of food.
But we’d be lying if we said we weren’t disappointed. We had done everything right to prepare for a strong end for our CSA members. Plants nurtured in the greenhouse since mid-July for the fall harvest were transplanted into the ground on time. Direct seedings were done right. Everything planted in abundance. Much work, time and money invested so that the next 7 weeks would be a banner finish.
This is truly a test for all of us—the farmers and the CSA members. We’ve had a number of market customers asking where’s the broccoli, when will we have spinach, are there any more tomatoes … ? When we explain the situation, they not only have been quick to understand but also have been more than willing to adapt and make do with whatever our fields are yielding. We hope our CSA members are able to share in that spirit of understanding.

1 bunch turnips with edible greens or radish
5 ½ ounces arugula
7 ¼ ounces salad mix
3 sweet peppers
2 cucumbers
1 eggplant
¾ pound green beans
1 head garlic
2 to 3 red onions

*Amounts or type of vegetable with asterisk varying depending on your distribution location and what you received last week; we always strive for balance.
Winging It: quick menu ideas from the farm that combine items from this week’s share
• sautéed eggplant with garlic, wilted arugula, and kalamata olives served over polenta
• Panini with caramelized red onions, arugula, roasted peppers and goat cheese
• Wilted turnip greens with garlic and chopped walnuts

The following is a recipe a couple of our Cooperstown CSA members recommended to us, adapted from: http://smittenkitchen.com/2010/10/roasted-eggplant-soup/
1 mid-small eggplant
3 mid sized tomatoes
1/4 a jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
1 large onion
8 cloves of garlic
4 cups veggie broth (2 cans)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese to top
1. Lightly oil a baking pan and preheat the oven to 425
2. Cut the eggplant, tomato, and onion into 1/2 inch thick slices and spread out on the baking pan. Peel the garlic and lay the cloves, uncut on the pan. Also add your slice of jalapeno pepper – but make sure you keep track of where you put it.
3. Roast for 20 minutes, then remove the garlic. Put the rest back in the oven, turn the heat down to 400 and roast another 15-20 minutes.
4. Remove the pan and put the onion, garlic, eggplant, and tomatoes in a soup pot. Remove the jalapeno completely – just the oil from baking it will be plenty hot.
5. Add the veggie stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn down the heat a little and cook until the veggies are all tender. About 10-15 minutes.
6. Blend the whole soup in a food processor until completely smooth, then return to a low heat. Add the cream, milk, and a little less then 1/4 cup grated parmesan. Cook, stirring often, for 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and eat with bread.

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