Monday, September 26, 2011

CSA Share Week #17

Fall has arrived. We can see it in the lengthening of the trees’ shadows. We can hear it in the quietness of the air and the occasional call of a single Blue Jay swooping between the trees. We can smell as the colorful decaying leaves begin to accumulate on the ground. And our CSA members can taste it in this week’s share—with the arrival of winter squash and sweet potatoes.

We continue to hear of more and more farmers that have been completely washed out for the season. Many fellow growers and CSAs are done prematurely for the season. On our farm, many of our fall crops were damaged or lost to the extreme rains. The fields look so barren. But we are fortunate to still be standing and still able to offer a variety of vegetables in this week’s share.

Note on last week’s corn: A few members reported they found a worm in their fresh corn last week. We are sorry to hear that, but it’s actually not such a bad thing. It’s an indication that your corn has been organically grown and with certified organic seed. Corn is a tricky crop to grow pest free. Conventional corn can be grown with pesticides spliced into the seed, so that it’s in the plant tissue. So corn can be sold as “spray free” but contain a pesticide component in the plant itself.

For the future, if you see a bug or worm in your corn, simply cut off that portion of the corn cob. We know, it’s not a comfortable sight to discover. Usually pests invade at the tip. Cut it off and you’re set to enjoy the rest of the ear of corn.


1 head escarole

6 1/3 ounces salad mix

1 bunch swiss chard

2 delicata squash

2 heads of garlic

1 bunch leeks

3 bell peppers

1 bunch radish

sweet potatoes


Delicata is a favorite winter squash here at the farm. It’s a great weeknight squash. Creamy in texture and nutty in flavor like a butternut squash, but not a big project to cut up and cook. In fact, don’t even bother to peel them.

Perhaps the simplest way to cook it: slice it in half down its length, scoop out the seeds, brush cut sides with oil, sprinkle with coarse salt, and roast on a heavy duty sheet pan with raised edges in a 375 degree oven. At Free Bird, we like to start the roasting process cut-side down until it’s nicely caramelized underneath where the flesh touches the pan. Flip once it’s richly golden brown to finish cooking through (if the squash flesh is not already fully tender when pierced with a fork). Sorry—we’re guessing on the time: about 30 minutes? Check after 20 minutes, just to be on the safe side. To serve, rub the flesh with butter and, if you like, lightly drizzle with maple syrup. Or melt a few tablespoons of butter with chopped rosemary in a small saucepan. Add ½ cup of cider and bring to a gentle boil. Cook until the cider mixture is reduced by about half. Drizzle over the roasted squash halves (cut side up) and serve.

Alternatively, slice the squash in half down its length. Then slice each half into thin slices to make half-moon slivers. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and spread in a single on a heavy duty rimmed baking pan (like a jelly roll pan). Once golden brown on the underside, flip and continue to cook until golden brown and tender. The skin will shrivel and tenderize so it can be eaten (no need to slice off). In the last few minutes of roasting toss with minced garlic and some minced rosemary, if you like. Or serve with the cider glaze in recipe above.

No comments: