CSA Week 13

In your share week 13:

Zucchini or Cucumber
Onion or Romaine Lettuce
Tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

Full shares only:

Salad Mix

The rain has arrived!  I wasn’t sure if I’d ever recover from last winter, but I have to say I’m loving the change in the weather.  Zack and I worked hard last week to get as much of the field cover cropped as possible, and this rain is just perfect timing to get it all up and growing.

Cover cropping is a key element of our organic practices.  We plant a mix of cereals (oats, triticale) and legumes (peas, vetch, fava beans, and crimson clover) to keep our field covered over the winter.  It’s essential here to prevent erosion and reduce nutrient leaching, but cover crops have lots of other benefits as well.  They fix nitrogen, reducing the need for added fertilizer.  They also add organic matter, which feeds our soil’s microbiology, feed pollinators, and create habitat for many beings that inhabit our fields.  They compete with weeds and keep our soil healthy!  I try to plant cover crop in as much of the field as possible by the end of September.  I was starting to worry that we weren’t going to get a good rain early enough to get it going, but with 3″ in the last 36 hours we’re off to a good start.  I’ve got a little over half the field cover cropped and ready for winter, and hopefully will get the rest of it done before the end of the month.

With all those preparations, plus a couple of crewmember absences, I didn’t get around to writing share notes last week.  I apologize, but I figured there was nothing you hadn’t had before and hopefully you figured it all out without me.  Those were the last of the beans, which came on fast and furious and are now basically finished.  We harvested nearly 800 pounds of beans in the last 6 weeks, double the amount we’ve ever had on the farm before!  They seemed to be particularly heavy setters this year, with just a couple of big picks per rotation.

With the rain, colder nights, and shorter days, we’ll be seeing the variety taper off.  Picks are getting smaller on all of the heat loving summer crops, and I expect that we’ll have just a couple more weeks of zucchini and cucumbers.  Our tomatoes should continue into the fall, though we will have fewer of them for you.  On the flip side, the cooler weather crops will get sweeter as it gets colder, so expect extra delicious carrots, kale, beets, and more going forward.  I gave you a break from basil this week, and by October it generally is unhappy and ready to be removed to make room for other things.  We’ve started to pull our potatoes for fall storage, and there’s already 500 pounds sitting in my garage with hundreds more waiting in the field to be harvested.  We’ll be offering bulk discounts on potatoes this fall, as they store very well into the winter.

This week’s share would be wonderful for a fall roast or some delicious enchiladas.  Full shares have more eggplant than we’ve been able to rustle up for you, which would be great roasted with carrots and beets (they cook faster so add them near the end!) or as a filling for enchiladas with zucchini and cilantro.  Mike and I had a quick tomato sauce pasta topped with grilled eggplant last week, which is an easy and delicious way to use it.  I slice it 1/4″ thick, toss with olive oil and salt, and roast it at 400 until it is soft and lightly browned.  For enchiladas, I’d probably cube it along with the zucchini, toss all with olive oil and salt, and roast them together to make a filling.  So many delicious ways to use eggplant…

The cilantro today is wonderfully flavorful and aromatic, but some of it may look different than you are used to because it is getting ready to flower.  I find that it is equally delicious when it’s flowering, but the stalk can get tough so I pick off the leaves and finer stems and discard the thick, round, central stalk.  We actually grow our own cilantro seed, which we mostly use for planting but sometimes use in cooking.  Cilantro seeds are commonly known as coriander.

Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini Enchiladas

I love enchiladas, and I make a totally unorthodox vegetarian American version.  But they are satisfying and delicious and make great leftovers.  I like to use the Sweet Creek enchilada sauce available at Trillium if I’m too pressed for time to make my own, but there’s lots of options out there.

1 pound eggplant, diced into 1/4” pieces

1 pound zucchini, diced into 1/4” pieces

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 1/4 tsp salt

Black pepper, to taste

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

12 corn tortillas

12 oz. red enchilada sauce

1/2 cup grated cheese (queso oaxaca is best, or use cheddar or Monterey Jack)

1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Place the eggplant, zucchini, and onion on a rimmed baking tray lined with parchment paper and toss with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Roast in an even layer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until veggies are soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool. Lower oven to 375.
  2. Spread 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of an 11 x 17 baking pan. Place one tortilla in the pan, drop a couple spoonfuls of filling in the center, and fold it in half so that the fold is on the bottom of the pan (like a taco shell). Lay the next tortilla against the first to hold it in place and repeat.  Repeat with all of the remaining tortillas, squeezing the enchiladas in tight.  I usually fit 10 or 12 to a pan.  If there is remaining filling, I add it to the pan around the enchiladas.
  3. Pour the remaining sauce over the top of the enchiladas and sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes until warmed through. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  5. Top with cilantro.  Also great with diced avocado, pico de gallo, or fresh diced tomato.

Mrs. Kostyra’s Borscht

From Marthastewart.com.  Borscht is a classic use of beets and soup season is here!

  • 4 medium beets, scrubbed well
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 dried mushrooms (morels and porcini; about 1/2 ounce)
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • Homemade Vegetable Stock
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped celery leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice or citric acid, to taste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped dill
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beets on a piece of parchment paper — lined aluminum foil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Fold up edges of foil and parchment to enclose beets. Place on a small baking sheet, and bake until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, about 1 hour. Let stand until cool enough to handle. Peel, and coarsely grate; set aside.

  2. Soak mushrooms in hot water for 30 minutes. Drain through a fine-mesh sieve, reserving liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms; set aside.

  3. In a medium stockpot, combine stock, beets, mushrooms, mushroom liquid, celery leaves, parsley, garlic, sugar, a large pinch of salt, and a large pinch of pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.

  4. Add lemon juice or citric acid. Taste, and adjust for seasoning. In a small bowl, combine sour cream and flour, stirring until no lumps remain. Whisk in a ladleful of soup, then whisk the sour-cream mixture into the soup. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in dill just before serving.

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