Monday, October 3, 2011

CSA Share Week 18

This week we feel fortunate to be able to offer a decent variety of vegetables—some new, some familiar, all ones that have been able to stand up to the ridicule of persistent rain we continue to experience.

It’s like déjà vu here. The season is ending just like it started. Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. We might get one bright afternoon or even a full day of glorious sunshine only to be followed by more rain. If our fields can’t dry out, we can’t can work them. Things are just too saturated.

We don’t mean to harp on this topic of bad weather. But we are frequently reminded that most people don’t connect how all this rain affects a farmer. At a farmers’ market this weekend we had customers tell us they were unable to find spinach. This is a market with 36 vendors, granted, the vendors are not all farms and where at least 3 farms have had to drop out because of the weather this fall. Even though this market is located where federal disaster funds are being allocated due to flooding, we find we still need to do a lot of educating as to how so much rain is putting all farms under great stress—whether or not they’re in a flood plain or are a vegetable farm, orchard or dairy farm.

As we plan our meals here at the farm, however, we don’t find ourselves thinking about what’s not at hand because of the rain. What we have we’re thankful to work with. It is good food, delicious food, mindfully grown and true to what nature is able to offer during this sodden season.

So, maybe we’ll make a pasta dish tonight with golden cubes of sautéed eggplant, wilted arugula, garlic, and some goat cheese feta we purchased from a local farm. And maybe tomorrow we’ll make a lentil dish studded with butternut squash and Indian spices scooped up with some homemade flatbread or a fall stew with the turnips, squash and onions in this week’s share. And the braising greens (seen in pic)—we’ve been waiting for this mix of spicy, cool-weather greens to come into season. They’re just so good and nutritious.

At this stage in fall, we are lucky there are some vegetables still hanging on from summer. They haven’t been knocked off by a frost—yet. And there are some heartier vegetables new to the scene (despite the odds) that satisfy cravings for comfort foods as cooler temperatures arrive this week.




4 onions

1 bunch mixed braising greens (see note below)

1 head Freckles Romaine lettuce

1 butternut squash

1 bunch turnips*

¾ pound green beans

We’re not totally sure why the spicy greens in this week’s share are called a “braising mix” (the seed catalog has tokened the it this and at the farm it has just stuck). This bunched mix includes green mustard, red mustard, kale, tatsoi and hon tsai tsai—a Chinese specialty green also known as Kailaan (purple stems, some with edible flowers). You can chop and use in salads. At the farm, we like to lightly cook or stir-fry in olive oil, stirring in some minced garlic as soon as they’re wilted.

*If you have a bunch of turnips with healthy green tops and don’t plan to use them, pass them on. They’re delicious and super nutritious. There’s apt to be another CSA member glad to use them. Cook them like you would the “braising mix” mentioned above.

REMINDER: This is the 18th of 22 share weeks. The last distribution is Tues., Nov 1.

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