September Fifteenth

We're on the home stretch now with only four more weeks of CSA delivereis.  Could you have guessed that there were this many different varieties of produce that can be grown in the Midwest and that can be provided over this length of time?  It is truly amazing all of the colorful, delicious and nutritious vegetables that can be grown right here in our back yard that do not need to be shipped in from another part of the country.

But, local has it's down fall.  We have seasons condusive to growing, and we have seasons where most forms of life go into hibernation, fly south or die back into the earth.  There are a growing number of small scale farmers who are looking at taking up the niche market of providing off-seaon greens grown in their green houses, storage roots and tubers sold during the winter and folks who are exploring other creative ways of storing or growing food that can be sold in the off season.  (Yours truly is perfectly happy growing in the summer monthes and taking the winters to re-charge her batteries, the off season growing will be for the niche marketer).

During the winter monthes, we like to vend at either the Viroqua indoor Winter Farmer's Market or at the Dubuque Indoor Winter Farmer's Market where we can sell some of our storage potatoes, garlic, onions and squash.  The indoor markets also provide a way in which we can advertize for the upcoming season's CSA program.  And truthfully, I love going to Farmer's Markets because it gives me a chance to talk to the customers, hear their recipe ideas and create a friendly opportunity for socializing within the community.

Local food is delicious, it's fresh and it gives a new depth to our meals to know who and where our food comes from.  I love eating the walnuts cracked by the hands of the man at the market, the bread and scones from the woman behind the table made yesterday evening, and the meat from the guy with the 'pastured and grass-fed sign'.  I also love knowing that my dollars go directly from my pocket into theirs and our local economy is stronger for it.

In the winter monthes, when most of the fresh produce is gone, don't forget about the Farmer's Market.  This CSA expereience is delicious, but underneath the bags of tomatoes and potatoes is wholesome community that is empowered with the dollars spent locally.  When we re-invest in our communities, we are the richer for it.

Sooo, What's in the Box????

Youkon Gold Potatoes- Beautiful gold, creamy gold potatoes.  The youkon golds are prone to turning green if they get any sun exposure at all.  Just cut away any green, we couldn't afford to cull all of the ones with any green.  This is a down fall associated with these dreamy, creamy potatoes, but they're worth it!

Carrots-  More beautiful, orange carrots. It's been an interesting year for carrots.  We have some issues with carrot leaf blight this year (a really weird leaf disease that we didn't know existed that comes from extended periods of moisture on the leaf surface).  These carrots that you're getting this week came from a bed that did not have any leaf blight, but the next couple beds that we have coming up have some issues that we're trying to clear up on their leaves.

Spaghetti Squash- These squash are not 100% cured just yet for storage.  If you are not ready to eat it now, just allow it to sit at room temperature on your counter and it will 'cure', the stem will dry out completely and the flesh may become sweeter.  Spaghetti squash has a stringy flesh like spaghetti noodles.

Tomatoes-  Rememer that your tomatoes that are not fully ripe yet will ripen if you allow them to sit on the coutner at room temperature.  They will ripen quicker if they are left in a bag where the ethelene gas that they release is trapped in the bag to ripen them. This is the last big week of tomateos.  Next week  you might get a couple, but they're almost over!

Onions-  A yellow onion!  Onions store best in a cool, dark and dry place.

Celeriac Root (or celery root)-  Okay, don't judge a book by it's cover.  These funky looking roots will grow on you quickly if you learn to open your heart to them.  Once you peel them, they are white and dense on the inside like a potato and can be boiled and mashed with potatoes to get a celeriac or celery flavored mashed potatoes.  They are also great it chicken noodle soup or shaved raw into a coleslaw or a tuna salad.

Peppers- We tried to give a colored bell pepper to everyone, but when we ran out of them, we started picking the dark green ancho or poblano peppers.  The anchos are used traditionally for making chili rellenos in Mexican cooking.

Hot Peppers- We gave some of the small, green Jalapenos, some of the long, skinney red chilis and some of the lime green Hungarian hot wax.  These peppers are listed from having the most heat to the least heat.  These can be chopped up and frozen for storage if you don't have a need for a hot pepper each week right now.

Basil- Probably one of the last weeks of basil for this year.  The first frost of the season may not be too far off (although I don't want to jinx it), in which basil is the first to go.  Basil and tomatoes go together like a horse and carriage.

Lettuce- A head of fresh greens!  You may have gotten a romaine, a buttercrunch or a red leaf lettuce.


Mashed Potatoes with Celeriac Root

Spaghetti Squash Recipe