October SeventeenthIn back on tractor: Loras. In top row from left to right: Adrianne, Joe, Jillian, Adam and Steven. In front row, Julie, Olivia and baby Ayla.
A completed season. It sounds so golden, so sweet, so much like a fresh-baked apple pie. Baseball has a season. Birds have a season. A well-seasoned cast iron pan feels oiled and comfortably used, the kind you would grab to fry your eggs in the morning. The beauty of the farming season is partly in the anticipation of the first spring asparagus sprigs and succulent spinach leaves. We revell in the glut and sheer weight of the peak season when you have to shake your head at the bags of tomatoes and get creative on how to use them all up. We love the height of it, the peak, the bounty, the plenty. It somehow makes us feel secure and safe and wealthy to have so much food. And then, when you first come home and discover that where you usually park your car is covered in leaves, for they have begun to fall. At night when it's no longer comfortable to keep your windows open when you sleep and you're eating more at dinner time and the hard squashes and heavy roots are filling up your crisper-there is a sense that the season will soon be ending. Slowly, but surely indeed, the ground will soon be frozen solid.
I'm not sure about you, but somehow it feels intuitive or instinctual to be thankful this time of year. Maybe this is why our ancestors celebrated Thanksgiving at the end of a season. I feel blessed and gifted to have jars and freezer bags and bins in the root cellar full of the best food that money can buy. We worked hard for it, but there is still a certain amount of pause or reverence or respect that is due to the elements that made it all possible. We thank the microbes, the earthworms, the soil, the sun and well...okay, the rain too for making it all happen. You could thank your god that manifests itself in the form of these things. Any how, there are forces beyond my grumbling and impatient tummy that I owe gratitude. This weekend, when it rained all weekend long, from behind the windowpane of our living room, I looked out upon the garden and stood quietly to watch the earth drink. If there is nothing left to be thankful for, there is always the rain in the midst of a drought. I wish there was a way to say "thank you".
As essential as the rain is to our farm, so are you. We are equally as thankful for you as we are for the seeds that we plant and the sun that rises each morning. We are thankful for your membership in our farm, sure, but we're also thankful for your conciousness about the importance of eating healthy food. If it wasn't for you getting excited about sauteed beet greens in quiche and braised brussel sprouts and home-made shepard's pie, there may not be the support needed to keep small family farms like ours preserving diversity and staying afloat. We're thankful for your bravery in trying new vegetables and recipes, for trusting and believing in us back in March when you wrote the check out and for keeping your flavors and dollars local. And we are so, so sooo thankful for a winter season. A time when the energy of the farm moves downward and inward. We're thankful for hope for a better season comin' up next year.
Sooo, What's in the Box????
Well, lemmie tell ya, it's a BIG ONE!
Brussel Sprouts- These are the long, funky looking stalks with the round balls attached to it. There is a lot of time in snapping those little guys off of the stalks and cleaning them up. We left the hard part for you. We did the dirty work of seeding, transplanting, weeding, watering and harvesting them for you this summer. Such a nice treat!
Red, Green or Savoy Cabbage- We went through our cabbage patch and harvested all of the biggest heads from all three of these varieties. It's a bit of the luck of the draw this week. The cabbage in the fall is always so beautiful and perfect with minimal damage from bugs.
Butternut Squash- The grand finale on the squash. We saved the best for last, folks! Butternuts seem to be everyones's favorite squash. Just ask farmer Adam what his favorite is. The texture is so smooth and it has such a nice bright orange (makes great baby food!).
The beets this week had nice greens on them still except for minimal frost damage on a few of the leaves. These leaves would be great ones to save and cook with! See our great Quiche with Beet Greens Recipe below. Use beet greens like you would use swiss chard in your cooking.Drew, Adrianne and Joe harvesting Kohlrabi on an absolutely gorgeous Tuesday morning!
White or Purple Kohlrabi- Beautiful edible leaves on the kohlrabi as well. We got lucky that Adam watered our fall brassicas for us. These crunchy kohlrabis are no exception!
Celeriac Root- These are the really ugly, brainy looking roots in your box. Don't judge a book by it's cover here! These are a gnarly looking root, but if you peel off the outer layer, the inside is white and dense like a potato and can be boiled and mashed with potatoes to make a celeriac mashed potato recipe. Celerac is also wonderful diced up and tossed into a soup to add a potato consistency but a nice celery flavor. The greens on the celeriac can be used like celery for flavoring in a soup or stock or salad.
Parsnip- These white roots aren't as big and bulky as what you see in the grocery store. We actually tried planting parsnips 3 times this year. The seeds take two weeks just to germinate and we had very little rain during that time period. The roots are a little smaller than what we have grown in the past, but they are parsnips none the less! A nice addition to a roasted root vegetable recipe or a home made shepards pie!
Leeks- A leek or two for everyone. Use leeks in your cooking like you would use an onion. Everypart of the leek is edible. Usually the white part on the stalk of the leek is the most desirable part for cooking.
Pepper Mix- Still some more slicing peppers that we've been storing in our root cellar since the frosts first started hitting a couple weeks ago.
Broccoli or Cauliflower- We harvested some gorgeous heads of broccoli and cauliflower this week and we are so pleased to share them with you! They matured right on time for the final week of CSA harvest. Remember that the greens on the broccoli plants are edible. I have read that the stalks and leaves of the broccoli plant are actually more nutritious than the flower itself. Peel your stems and eat them as well and cook with your broccoli greens! Hooray Greens!
Curly Green Kale-
Speaking of greens. It has been awhile since we have given kale. We thought we would go out with a bang and give you a nice big ol bunch. Kale keeps nicely as well if you don't get to eating it this week since there is so much else to eat up! Curly Green kale is great for making Kale Chips. Left to Right: Libby, Chris, Jillian, Ayla, Adrianne, Cathy, Jan and Cheryl. Just after Kale harvest on Monday morning.
Cilantro- We almost decided not to send you cilantro this week, but since cilantro seems to be a favorite, we went out there and salvaged what we had left. It was looking a little small, but we thought it was worth the harvest. (Cilantro does not like to be wet, so we usually do not wash cilantro after we harvest it. The centers of the bunches will sometimes rot out from too much moisture in the bunch. But it was so muddy this week from all of the rain we had to wash it. I would advise you to use it up promptly).
Lettuce- A red or green leaf head lettuce this week. So nice to still have fresh greens! We will miss the dearly in a month or so.
Quiche with Beet Greens
Celeriac Mashed Potatoes