Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CSA Share Week #17

Chardonnay grapes in this week's local fruit share (distributed last week to all other members because of different distribution schedule.) “The flavor is just beyond,” says farmer Tom Maynard. We'd have to agree. This is the same grape that is used to make a chardonnay wine.

This weekend the fall foliage here became noticeably awe-inspiring. Perhaps it wasn’t sheer coincidence that many of this week’s share items reflected this season’s brilliant, warm colors: the purple of opal basil and Russian kale, the burgundy beets and “red” Romaine lettuce, the yellow and bright red bell peppers, and the orange of bunched carrots. Fall foliage of another kind.
“Beets are Back, With Greens” is the timely title of a New York Time’s “Well” column published last week (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/28/beets-are-back-with-greens/) and accompanied by a series of inspiring recipes: Beet Greens Frittata, Beets with Goat Cheese and Spinach (go ahead and substitute the red Romaine for the spinach!), Beet and Chickpea Salad, Beet and Beet Green Fritters and Beet and Potato Salad.
Here at the farm, yes, beets are back, and, so long as we don’t get a hard frost, the greens will continue to hold up. Enjoy the greens while they’re around. They’re packed with nutrients, and, we think, really tasty too.

In this week’s share:
1 baby bok choy
1 bunch curly leaf parsley
1 bunch red Russian kale
2 red bell peppers
1 bunch opal basil
1 head red Romaine lettuce
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch beets
 Fruit share:
1 organic watermelon
1 quart Chardonnay grapes (for local/Cooperstown members; Bartlett pears for other members)

Maynard Farms truly treated our fruit share members this week with its new crop of chardonnay grapes. These are very sweet grapes—24% sugar—with 1 or 2 seeds in a grape. You can eat out of hand (politely spit out the seeds) or press through a sieve and use the juice to flavor a seltzer. “The flavor is just beyond,” says farmer Tom Maynard. This is the same grape that is used to make a chardonnay wine.

fruit storage tip: Watermelons do not further ripen once off the vine. Store in your refrigerator.

Opal basil seems to stump some people. This basil has a deep purple color with broad, fragrant leaves that are the same flavor as traditional green Italian basil. You should use it just as you would Italian basil, and, in fact, opal basil will turn green when cooked. So if you make it into a pesto and want to show off its deep color, use it to coat something that’s served cool or at room temperature, such as a potato salad or drizzle over slices off fresh mozzarella.

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