CSA Final Week: Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is the final day of the CSA: Thanks for being a member!  Make sure to pick up your pumpkin.  Please return all CSA bags by next Tuesday to the farm or Trillium.

In Your Share this week:

Carrots
Beets
Yellow Finn Potatoes
Yacon
Red Cabbage
Fennel
Brussels Sprouts
Onion
Kale and/or chard and/or komatsuna
Salad MixSaute Mix
Winter Luxury Pumpkin

Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for a great CSA season!  We cleaned out the farm over the last 2 days, and you get some of everything.  We always do a big share at the end of the year, but this one is over the top even by those standards.  We had a much larger area planted in fall crops this year, and coupled with the warm weather we’ve had large harvests right up until now.

Which means you score!  Before you panic, remember that most of what’s in this share will last for weeks.  The potatoes, onions, and pumpkin can all be kept at room temperature for several weeks (keep the potatoes in a bag or cabinet so they’re out of the light).  Carrots, beets, yacon, and cabbage will all keep well in a bag in the fridge.  All of the leafy greens and brussels sprouts need to be eaten more quickly; if you can’t get through them all share them with a friend or try blanching and freezing.  And this is a $50 share, which means you’ve gotten a great deal.  Enjoy sharing any excess with friends or family.

I wasn’t expecting to have enough salad greens for you all, but for maybe the first time ever our fall greenhouse rotations worked out to give us lots of salad for Thanksgiving.  This is a regular sized bag, enough for maybe 8 side salads or to put on turkey sandwiches this weekend.  You also have a bag of saute mix, which is handpicked baby leaves of kale, chard, and more.  I love our saute mix, especially the one we do at the end of the year.  I typically prefer it cooked; yesterday I sauteed it with shallots, garlic, smoky paprika, and navy beans.  You can use it whole or you can chop it coarsely.  Mike prefers to eat it raw for a more robust salad, or you could make a massaged kale salad with it.  You also have 2 bunches of greens, so lots to choose from.

I also wasn’t expecting to have Brussels sprouts.  But we picked 60# yesterday, so we were able to do a nice bag for everyone and still have plenty for farm stand.  If you’re picking up at the farm and are serving Brussels sprouts at Thanksgiving, you can pick up more at the farm stand today.  Or make what you have go further by sauteing them with kale or cabbage.

The carrots today aren’t the nicest (our last rotation got pretty beat up), but you’ve gotten lots of beauties and these will be good trimmed up for snacks, roasted, or used in turkey soup.  These last fennel are also a bit sad, but they will make a good addition to stuffing or soup.  However, we did save the last of our delicious heirloom pumpkins for you.  They make the most fantastic pumpkin pies, velvety and smooth and flavorful.  They are also wonderful for pumpkin soups, pumpkin breads, and more.

Thanks again for your support of the farm.  This was a huge year for us and your membership helped us make it happen.  We can’t do this without you!  We’ll be opening 2017 CSA registration by early February, I hope you’ll be back for another year of fresh, local veggies.  Have a great holiday and a great winter!

CSA Extended Week 4

This is the second to last week of CSA: one more week to go!
Due to the holiday next week, we will not be delivering shares next Thursday.  ALL shares will be delivered on Tuesday, Nov 22 to your usual pickup site.  If you cannot pick up on Tuesday, contact me in advance to make alternate arrangements.

In Your Share:

Leeks
Potatoes
Yacon
Brussels Sprouts or Cabbage
Kale
Rutabaga

It seems so far away until it happens, but we’re almost to the very end of the CSA.  This week’s share is one of the smallest of the year, “the calm before the storm” as we load next week’s share for Thanksgiving and beyond.  I don’t think we’ll have anything new this week or next, but we do still have lots of good fresh veggies for you.  This time of year growth usually slows to a crawl, but with the warm temps this year we’re looking at more of an ambling walk.  The potatoes and yacon have been sitting in our cooler waiting to go to their new homes, but everything else is still coming fresh from the field.

The leeks and Brussels sprouts are particularly nice right now, they’re only just coming into their own and continuing to size up nicely.  We don’t have a lot of leeks out there, but this year’s crop has been our nicest yet and I’m hoping to grow more in the future.  I’ve been particularly loving leeks sauteed or braised with Brussels sprouts or mushrooms.  And they’re always a great addition to soups, roasts, eggs, and more.  I use the full leek, since ours never seem to be too tough.  Or sometimes I cut off the floppier green parts to use for stock.  It’s hard to go wrong with leeks.

Last week I went to Massachusetts to visit family and enjoy the New England fall.  It was the first time I’ve left the CSA in someone else’s hands since we started it in 2011.  This wouldn’t have been possible before this year when we finally hired employees.  It’s been a big adjustment for me to be always working with and supervising someone else, but it’s the way the farm needs to go if we’re going to be sustainable and resilient in the years to come.  And the rewards come from sharing the load, sharing this place and our work and knowledge, and having the opportunity to occasionally take a little extra time off.  We were fortunate this year to have a dedicated crew helping with harvest, field work, and markets.  They harvested and cleaned lots of your favorite veggies and packed many of your shares.  They brought new energy and fresh eyes to the farm and we can’t thank them enough!

Next Tuesday, November 22, will be your final CSA share of 2016.  We’ll be cleaning out the field and the cooler, and we’ll try to load you up for Thanksgiving and beyond.  If you’re thinking ahead to the holiday and trying to plan dishes or shopping, here’s what I expect will be in the share (no promises): Kale, Chard and/or komatsuna, potatoes (3#?), Carrots (2#?), Yacon, shallots and/or onions, cabbage, beets, fennel, and a pumpkin.  We’ll try to have some kind of herb and maybe there will be one or two more items.  I don’t think we’ll have enough lettuce or salad greens to include them in the CSA.  But remember, you can come to the farm stand from 10 to 4 and stock up or add on to your share.  We’ll have deals on large bags of number 2 carrots for juicing and more.


Chicken, Leek, and Mushroom Casserole

 

From Martha Stewart Living.  She says: “A hearty multigrain bread works best in this casserole. It will maintain its texture, unlike a softer white-bread loaf, which may become gummy.”

1 1/3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 large)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 leek, white and pale-green parts only, coarsely chopped and rinsed well

1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2-inch dice

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved if large

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons dry sherry

2 1/4 cups chicken stock

3/4 cup whole milk

1 dried bay leaf

8 slices dense multigrain bread, crusts removed, slices cut into triangles

2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (1 ounce)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a medium saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook until golden brown on 1 side, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip, reduce heat to medium, and cook until cooked through, about 10 minutes more. Transfer chicken to a plate, and return pan, with drippings, to medium heat.

 

Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in pan. Add leek, celery, mushrooms, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. (Reduce heat if vegetables brown too quickly.) Stir in flour, and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Add sherry, stock, milk, and bay leaf, and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom, until thickened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Discard bay leaf.

 

Arrange bread on bottom of a 2-quart oval baking dish, overlapping slices slightly. Spoon half of the vegetables and sauce over bread. Slice chicken crosswise, 1/2 inch thick, and arrange on bread. Top with any accumulated juices from chicken. Spread remaining vegetables and sauce over chicken, sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan, and bake until golden brown and bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Extended CSA Week 3

In Your Share:

Winter Squash: Butternut or Delicata
Carrots
Beets
Fennel
Kale
Romaine
Brussels Sprouts or Cabbage

This is a short share note since I’m on vacation visiting family in Massachusetts this week.  Our employee Johanna will be doing the harvest this week, and Mike will be delivering shares.  You won’t even notice I’m gone.

Just one new item this week, a butternut or delicata squash.  These are newer varieties for us and we’re very happy with them!  Both need a longer season than the other squash we’ve grown, but they’re worth the wait.  Both have tender skin and sweet flesh, and you can roast them whole or in slices or cubes, use them to make soup or pie, put them on pizza or lasagna, or anything else you can think of.  They store well on the counter at room temperature.

That’s all, see you next week!


Lettuce Wrapped Fish

You’ve been getting lots and lots of romaine, because it’s beautiful, we’ve had it and it’s a good kitchen staple.  But I know I’ve been eating fewer salads on these cooler days, so I poked around for alternative lettuce uses.  Here’s a delicious and easy looking suggestion from Mark Bittman; it’s not in typical recipe format so I’ll copy his text here.

 

That dish is fish wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves (or Bibb lettuce or cabbage), then poached in buttery white wine. Other than salt and pepper, all the ingredients are mentioned in the previous sentence, which is a good start.

A good finish is how the flavors mingle just perfectly; the butter’s sweetness offsets the bitterness of the lettuce and the acidity of the wine. The mild fish holds it all together. I used halibut one time, cod another, but you can use whatever mild white fish you like.

You must make sure the lettuce leaves are pliable enough to wrap around the fish. Discard the most ragged leaves. Start with the large outer leaves and, if they have a thick vein at their base — say, wider than 3/8 inch — make a V-shaped cut up the middle of the leaf, to the point where the rib narrows and becomes more flexible. Discard the vein.

This will not be a problem if you use a butterleaf lettuce like Bibb, or possibly the inner leaves of romaine or cabbage (it depends on the particular head).

Poach (that is to say, boil) the leaves in salted water until soft, usually less than 30 seconds. Dry on paper towels and you’re ready to wrap.

Any method will do here: put the fish in the middle and fold the leaves over, or put it on one end and roll ’em up. I would just recommend smaller rather than larger fish chunks, to make sure the leaves fit over them. The elegance of the dish is somehow lost if the fish isn’t completely enveloped by the leaves — and we wouldn’t want that to happen.

 

Extended CSA Week 2

In Your Share:

Potatoes
Yacon
Brussels Sprouts
Kale
Romaine
Cabbage
Rutabaga

Brussels sprouts are finally on!  They’re one of my favorites and a nice new fall flavor, but they sure take their time sizing up.  We’ve had them for a couple weeks at the farm stand, but we only just now have enough for all of you.  If you think you hate brussels sprouts, it might be because you’ve never had fresh ones cooked well or it might be genetic (some people have a gene that makes them taste like aspirin).  Or maybe they’re just not your jam.  Ours, though, are super fresh and nutty and delicious any way you make them.  I often roast them, either whole, halved, or shredded, and more recently I’ve gotten into sauteing them with leeks or shallots.  They’re also good raw, steamed, or braised.

I don’t typically do much to trim our brussels.  I find the outer leaves and base are all perfectly tender and edible, and I only trim them if there are bad spots or a particularly long stem end.  Brussels are like cauliflower in that they are excellent raw or lightly cooked, but they have an entirely different flavor profile that comes out as they caramelize with longer cooking times.  As such, they’re versatile and easy to use.

Also new today is a lovely head of red cabbage.  These are long season storage cabbages, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great for fresh eating.  They are dense, heavy heads, which helps them to keep better.  They’ll store for several weeks in a bag in the fridge, but the flavor will be best fresh.  This cabbage is great raw in slaws or tacos, braised, sauteed with brussels sprouts, or used in stuffings.  I assume it would make good sauerkraut, though I haven’t tried it myself.

We had yacon in the shares a couple weeks ago, but since it’s a new vegetable for many of you I’ll copy the info here.  Remember, it’s best raw, even though it doesn’t look like it!  Last night I made a Peruvian salad with quinoa, yacon, tomatoes, cilantro and parsley and it was delicious.

Yacon (pronounced yah-CONE) is a member of the sunflower family from the Andes.  This is the tuberous vegetable that looks like a sweet potato, oblong with dark skin.  We like to eat it raw, and it is sweet, tender, mild flavored, and juicy.  Think of jicama, asian pear, or even a cucumber.  We most often slice it up and eat it plain as a refreshing snack or side dish.  I like the flavor of the skin (it’s earthy and somewhat bitter), but you may prefer it peeled.  It will brown soon after cutting, you can toss it with a bit of lemon juice to keep it white.  It can also be cooked, though we love it’s crunchy texture so much that we never do.  Some people like to juice it (we recommend peeling it first).  Store it in the fridge in a plastic bag, it will dry out and soften if left on the counter for long.

 

Here is a link to a more in depth article about yacon in Mother Earth News.  One thing worth noting is that yacon’s sweetness is from inulin, which makes it extremely low in calories and a better choice for diabetics.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts

This is very easy and is my favorite way to eat Brussels sprouts. If you’ve never liked Brussels sprouts before, I suggest trying this while they are still very fresh and see if you change your mind. Serves 4.

 

Preheat the oven to 400.   Spread 1 lb Brussels sprouts in a baking dish so that they are one layer deep. Leave small ones whole and halve or quarter larger ones so all the pieces are a relatively uniform size. Stir together with:

3 Tbsp olive oil

            2 tsp balsamic vinegar

            Salt and pepper

            A sprig of rosemary

Roast, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are tender and the outsides have begun to caramelize, 20 to 35 minutes depending on the size. Remove the rosemary sprig and serve.