Monday, September 7, 2009

CSA News Week 18

From the Farm . . .
It has been a little while since we gave you a crop report from the farm. We have been very busy with harvesting, seeding, harvesting, transplanting, harvesting, weeding, weeding, weeding. Well, you get the picture.

The wonderful spring and summer rain gives everything an equal opportunity to grow and flourish – including both perennial and annual weeds. In the spring we plant ryegrass between some crop rows to crowd out the weeds and we can then mow those strips later on. Some crops are planted through mulch that shows its importance now as it keeps the weeds from taking over the desired crop. In other fields, between the plants within each row we can use tractor driven cultivators to remove small weeds. But, with lots of rain resulting in wet field conditions, we will not use the tractor as it will compact our precious soil (creating more of a long-term problem), and we resort to hand weeding and hand hoeing.

We are direct seeding fall season roots, cole crops, lettuces, and greens for harvest in October and later. Other crops must be planted this fall for harvest next year including onions (we start from seeds in the greenhouse to transplant out), strawberry cuttings we root for new plants, and garlic. These will all be transplanted out by hand, watered, and mulched with straw that we have been cutting and baling during the last few months to hopefully buffer them a bit during our winter weather.

We harvest most mornings (before the sun has a chance to wilt the plants) for your CSA shares, the farmers market, or a special restaurant or bulk order and try to work on other jobs in the afternoons. We feel fortunate to still have a few tomatoes to harvest with so much early and late blight disease around the area. So far, our late potato crop also seems unaffected by the devastating blight, as we still have the fall crop to harvest and get into storage, along with the sweet potatoes that take the entire summer season to grow.

In the weeks ahead we have late plantings of squash, zucchini, peppers, and cucumbers we hope to harvest before frost. There are early crops of beets, cabbage, lettuce, and the hard shelled winter squashes on the harvest schedule also. Both plant and vegetable growth slows down as the day length lessens and the temperatures cool a bit, but fortunately the weeds do too!

In Your Share . . .
Items in shares may vary depending on your harvest day and share size. Every share may not have every item listed below.

Beans, Green - organic
Enjoy a flashback to the middle of the season with such summer staples as corn, beans, potatoes and tomatoes this week. These stringless green beans are the first harvest from our last planting and really did not suffer from bean beetles or the rust spots that come when it rains so much. You can enjoy simmered with potatoes or blanched and prepared as a green bean salad. Store refrigerated for up to a week; or wash, snap, blanch and throw into a freezer bag.

Celery – organic
Your fresh celery can also be washed, cut into ½ inch pieces, and put in the freezer for use later on. Remember the leaves are useful as a fresh herb replacement (try in any recipe that calls for parsley, a cousin of celery). Dice it fresh into potato or egg salad – remember from earlier weeks that the center stalks are tenderer than the outer stalks – the darker green, the better for cooked dishes. Celery is a difficult crop to grow so we don’t see it very often at our local markets. As a result, most folks are surprised at how flavorful KY grown celery can be! Store refrigerated.

Corn, Sweet
Yeh! We are excited to have more corn, even though it is late in the season for it. The last for the year, enjoy it boiled to just eat off the cob, or put on the grill. It stores best in the husk in the coldest part of your refrigerator.

Garlic – organic
We shared the conditions of this season’s garlic crop in an earlier newsletter. As described, any more cleaning by us at the farm will result in the cloves being too exposed to keep well. Store in your pantry or a dry, dark space, not in your refrigerator.

Herb, Fresh – organic – Sweet Basil

Peppers, Bell

Potatoes – organic
As we do rinse the field dirt off the potatoes, you will want to store them in your refrigerator if possible. Also remember that light will cause the skins to turn green since the organic potatoes are not chemically treated to prevent it. If you do get greening while storing them, just cut it away before preparing. Try the large potatoes baked whole, or cut into 1-inch pieces and boil. The gold potatoes don’t even need butter, as their yellowy flesh is creamy already. Eat the skin also to get your full source of complex carbohydrates and minerals (especially potassium).

Squash, Acorn – new this week!
Store this hard skin squash in your pantry until ready to use, as this item will keep for you for weeks. Boil whole; or halve and bake with flesh side down in a little water until done; remove seeds, then enjoy with a little butter and honey or maple syrup.

Tomato, Salad, Heirloom & Red Slicing - organic

Purple Topped White Turnips – organic
Turnips as well as the turnip greens have so many vitamins as well as potassium and calcium. They are also one of the cruciferous vegetables said to help prevent cancer. The spicy, yet sweet, flavor is tempered when cooked. Turnips can also be peeled and eaten raw as an apple; or grated and eaten with radishes, kohlrabi, cabbage or carrots as a fresh salad with vinaigrette dressing.

Recipes to Enjoy . . .

Fresh Tomato Salad
a Mark Bittman recipe. He reports that since the garlic in the dressing is strained out, it does not overpower the dish. Peeling the tomatoes is not necessary, but nice. Makes 4 servings.

4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
salt and black pepper to taste
1 T red wine vinegar
3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds tomatoes, cored, peeled if desired, sliced
20 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

Whisk together the garlic, salt, vinegar, and olive oil. Place the tomatoes on a platter and strain the dressing over them. Top with basil leaves, a little more salt, and some pepper. Serve immediately.

Variation: Instead of dressing tomatoes, toss green beans with the strained dressing and place on top of the tomatoes. Then finish with basil, salt and pepper as above. To prepare beans, trim the ends of 1 pound of beans. Cook them in a large pot of boiling water for 2 minutes or until bright green, then immediately drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking.

Balsamic Vinaigrette with Fresh Basil
Recipe from Bluegrass Winners: New Recipes and Menus from Kentucky’s Legendary Horse Farms

1 C good quality olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
½ C aged balsamic vinegar
1 T chopped fresh basil
1 tsp Dijon type mustard
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in Mason jar. Shake well and vigorously. Makes 2 cups.

Maple Glazed Turnips
Recipe from Culinary Institute of America’s Cook for the Home, serves 4. At a farm crew lunch, even the so-called turnip haters really enjoyed this dish. They assumed it was potatoes or never would have tried it to start with.

2 lb purple top turnips
2 T butter
3 T maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 T parsley, for garnish
2 tsp lemon juice

Peel turnips and cut into 1-inch pieces. Heat 1 T butter in a pan on medium heat. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add turnips and ¼ inch water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and pan steam until tender, 7-8 minutes.

Remove cover and continue to cook the turnips until water has cooked away and syrup has glazed the turnips evenly, 3 more minutes. Add remaining T butter and lemon juice. Sprinkle with parsley and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Winter Squash with Jam

1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
2 tsp butter
1 T raspberry, apricot, or peach jam

Heat oven to 350°F. Place squash in ovenproof dish. Fill each cavity with butter and jam. Cover and bake until tender, 35-45 minutes. Serves 2.