September Nineth

I knew from the very first time I worked on a farm at the ripe age of 18 that the countryside was where I belonged. The feel of plants and soil between my fingers, the feel of the breeze and sunshine on my skin and the subtle sounds of nature all around me called to me in a way that I could not deny. I am reminded of my love of this work on these cool Autumn days when the sun is shining and the air is cool and the crickets are chirping. I feel something of a ‘second wind’ that energizes me even after a long season of hard work and focus.

I especially love this time of year for the foods that the good earth offers us. We are still getting greens and juicy tomatoes and sweet peppers. We’re still getting freshness and sweetness, even as the warming and more starchy foods come into season. I am still fascinated after all these years at how meaningful and appropriate the seasonal diet is. My body begins to yearn for the warming winter squash and potatoes. My mouth waters at the thought of apple pie and cinnamon. Thoughts of chilis and soups make me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside.

Today we came in from the fields for dinner to the smells of pumpkin bars and stuffed squash coming out of the oven. Momma Jane warmed our home with the delicious feels, smells and flavors of Fall on a chilly Monday evening. We sometimes joke that Momma Jane is our farm wife. So that Adam and I can both work full days on Mondays and Tuesdays, we have the warmth of Grandma Jane watching the kids and feeding us delicious home-made meals-the work she loves most. While it feels like she’s taking care of us, I know that we’re really all taking care of one another, sharing with one another the gifts we know best how to give.

We broke out the wool hats and sweaters and put socks on our feet and wore our boots again this week. I feel so cozy and prepared even when a cool wind is blowing if my body is dry and warm. I still feel the same level of love for this work that I did as a young woman and I am especially reminded by the feeling I get after being in the fields all day and then coming into a warm house. My body feels tired and tried, but strangely satisfied and fulfilled. Perhaps this is the same feeling an athlete gets at the end of their practice or work out? Humans have always loved doing hard things and have found enjoyment and satisfaction out of it. I also get my socialization and dinner out of the deal, so it feels practical and positive.

The weather will be a little wet this week and the cool breeze will turn cold soon enough. There will be a sense of urgency to get the roots out of the ground and into storage or CSA boxes. We will focus on wrapping up the last five weeks of Summer Share deliveries with enthusiasm and valor. The new and exciting Fall foods like Brussels sprouts, parsnips, leeks, spinach, sweet potatoes, potatoes and all of the fun varieties of winter squash will get us through keeping us warm and well fed while nourishing our bodies as well as our nature-loving souls.

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

Tomatoes- 7 plus pounds of mixed tomatoes.  Tomato production is slowing now with the colder weather.  We pick tomatoes with a 'blush'.  This means that we pick any tomato that is showing any signs of color since tomatoes ripen so quickly off of the vine.  If your tomatoes need more ripening, we recommend letting them sit out on your counterop or windowsil.  Only put tomatoes in the refrigerator if they are fully ripe and you need to buy yourself some time before you get to using it up.  Refrigerators suck flavor out of tomatoes.  The more you can leave them to ripen on the counter, the better their flavor will be.  We grow all kinds of tomatoes in all different shapes and colors.  Some of them are heirloom tomatoes (but the herilooms ripen a little later still mostly), the oval shaped romas that are more of a paste tomato and less juicy like a slicer.  We also grow all kinds of slicers that range from yellow to red to purplish-black to orange.  You'll know if your tomato is ripe if it feels slightly soft to the touch.  Even though your tomatoes were bagged in a plastic bag, they much prefer to not be in their little plastic bags.  Remove them from their plastic bag and allow them to 'breathe' on the countertop.  

Peppers- 2-3 Green or Sweet Bell Peppers per member.   Peppers prefer 50 degree storage temps so the fridge is a little too cold and the couter is a little too warm, so choose your favorite spot!  They're so delicious, I'm sure they won't last long in any home!  We enjoy putting them in fresh pico or Salsa, on pizza, witih eggs or even stuffed peppers if you're feeling ambitious!  

Brussel Sprout Tops-  Everyone received 4 brussel sprout tops this week.  Sweet and tender with a collard-like flavor.  The leaves will wilt down like spinach when cooked.  Simply delicious as a noodle bowl or rice bowl ingredient.

Napa Cabbage-  It is refreshing and crunchy, perfect for a salad green substitute or slaw.  It can also be used in a stirfry, casserole (stuffed cabbage leaves) or soup.  It is like two greens in one.  The top portion is more tender and perfect for raw dishes where the bottom is ideal for cooking.

Green Beans and Dragon Tongue Beans-  .64 lb bags of beans this week.  A mix of green beans and Dragon Tongues.  The Dragon Tongue Beans are an heirloom variety of beans that is cream colored, wider and thicker than a green bean.  This will likely be the last giving of beans for this year.

Red Potatoes-  2 pounds of freshly dug red potatoes per member.  Potatoes are one of the few crops that we do not wash.  They will keep better unwashed- and washing them can sometimes really scuff them up.  We will have either potatoes or sweet potatoes in the remaining boxes of the season.  The first couple of givings will be modest (2 pounds), and once we get them all out of the ground, we hope to increase the amount per giving once we have a better ideas of how our yields will be this year.

Spaghetti Squash-  These are the large, hard, yellow items in your box.  Spaghetti squash have the shortest shelf life in our experience of growing squash.  They are also all the rage in the gluten-free world these days.  Spaghetti squash can be prepared similar to any other winter squash.  Cut in in half lenghtwise, scoop out the seeds and discard.  Place the two squash halves face down on a baking pan with about a half in of water all around them.  Bake at 350 for abount and hour.  After one hour, turn the squash face up, drain any excess water and allow them to steam out and loose some of the added moisture from the baking process.  Once it is cool enough to handle, use a fork and scrape the noodle-like flesh into a bowl for working with.  They can be used like 'noodles' for eating a gluten-free spaghetti meal.  My personal favorite is to make the Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Peanut sauce.  They also make great 'hash browns'.  

Hungarian Hot Wax Pepper-  Some of these were picked in the lime-green stage.  The hot peppers were tucked into the top of the tomato bags this week to tell them apart from the sweet peppers.  Some of these hungarian hot wax peppers were turning red too.  Hungarian Hot Wax peppers are amung the most mild of all hot peppers which is why we grow them for CSA.  This is a good one to add to your salsas or sauces if you like a little heat, but don't want the dish to be over-powered.  They can be sneaky though, some of them pack more punch than others.  Taste as you cook to make sure you don't over-do it! 

Red Onion-  Because life is much sweeter with onion in everything!

Basil- One last bunch of basil for 2020.  For use on your pizza, bruschetta, or however you fancy!  Basil will turn black in your refrigerator.  Keeps best like cut flowers in a glass of water.  

We were able to harvest a small amount of eggplant and romanesco this week.  We used these items to fill in some boxes that had the space.

Next Week's Best Guess-Potatoes, lettuce, kale or chard, thyme, tomatoes, peppers, napa cabbage?, onion, broccoli, carrots or beets

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Recipes

Crunchy Napa Cabbage Salad witih Ramen Noodles

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

Italian Chicken Pasta Skillet with Tomato and Pepper

Crisp Brussels Sprout Leaves

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