Monday, October 13, 2014

Last Week of CSA, Summer Season

Falling into Place


With this being the last week of the 2014 summer share season, it seems like we had a pretty good season to analyze and reflect upon. Some crops were better than others as is expected with such diversity of products being offered, but that very diversity is a big part of our stability. It’s sad when we don’t get as much sweet corn as we had planned for, but it is not detrimental to the shares with so many other veggies out there. With your support and understanding, we feel good about 2014, but it is far from over.

Ending a multi-year transition, this year every single crop we have is certified organic. It has taken us ten years to transition to this milestone, with the squash family being the lone holdout for the past few seasons. With production techniques learned from university research, farmer testimonials, and finally the availability of good organic seed varieties, we were able to have summer squash all season, in spite of some early season cold temperatures. (In fact, the yellow squash was quite prolific compared to the green zucchini!) Tomatoes did well for quite a while this year, but the cool wet weather did them in early. Hope that you were able to preserve some, if not, we have some jarred up for you at the market or in the Fall Pantry Shares.

Thanks for taking time to learn more about how local organic food is raised. Your food dollar is fully compensating for the production, not only for the produce item itself, but the social and environmental costs associated with food production. In farming, we feel a responsibility to improve the quality of the land and eliminate any negative impact on the soil and waters of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Industrialized food systems often leave these externalities for others to pay for. Hopefully you have a better understanding of the science behind the cultural practices we employ in organic farming on your behalf.

Several years ago, we pretty much closed down the packing shed not long after the first killing frost and subsequent hard freeze. The markets fizzled out and we were tired. We were eating the last of the various vegetables throughout the fall when it dawned on us others might want some as well. The following year we planted for the Fall Shares with good success and you, our customers, responded accordingly. Now the fall is the favorite season for many. The cooler weather puts many of the fall crops in their prime growing conditions giving us amazing flavors and richness. Your access to local, organic food doesn’t have to end now. Sign up for the Fall CSA season, or visit us on Saturdays at the Lexington Farmers Market Pavilion. We will be there all winter again this year.

While you are at it, secure the bird of your choice for Thanksgiving festivities this year. We had a great hatch and a tremendous growing season with the turkeys. We offer both the Broad Breasted and the Heritage varieties of turkeys to meet your expectations. Look for the November issue of Cook’s Illustrated to see how the folks at America’s Test Kitchen rated our turkeys. Their description of our quality is quite rewarding after all that goes into raising them. We appreciate their interest in helping farmers like us revitalize small farms with these truly magnificent birds. 

Thanks again for you trust and support. Each crop we plant has a relatively short window of opportunity to grow and bear fruit for us to harvest. We hope you had fun preparing those wholesome foods for your family, and even more enjoyment nourishing your body while savoring the freshness and flavors. Watch for the online survey we are sending to you, we value your feedback. Just remember, at Elmwood Stock Farm, we are militant about organic so you can eat in Peace.

In Your Share

Green Onions
Bell Pepper
Red Kuri Squash
Sweet Potatoes
Fall Turnips
Decorative Gourds
Swiss Chard


Morning Sweet Potato, thanks to a CSA member for sharing this delicious recipe
1 sweet potato, scrubbed and dried
¼ C plain or vanilla yogurt
1 T pure maple syrup
2 T chopped nuts (walnuts, cashews, almonds, etc.)
Heat the oven to 375°F. Pierce the sweet potato several times with the tines of a fork. Place the sweet potato inside a loose nest of foil. Bake until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife, 40 to 50 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool enough to handle. Open the sweet potato across the top, pushing the flesh slightly so it rises out of the skin. Spoon on the yogurt, then the syrup. Sprinkle with nuts, and serve. Make-Ahead Tip: One or more sweet potatoes can be cooked ahead of time and kept refrigerated for about 5 days.

Sautéed Turnips with Fresh Greens, serves 6
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 medium turnips, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 C raisins
3 T fresh lemon juice
10 oz fresh greens (chard, spinach, kale) coarsely chopped
freshly ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic, turnip and raisins; cook about 1 minute. Add lemon juice; cover and cook 3 minutes at medium heat. Stir in the greens and cook just until
wilted. Sprinkle with nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste.

Scalloped Fall Squash and Potatoes, makes 6 servings
3 C favorite fall/winter squash, peeled and cut in chunks
2 C diced potatoes
1/3 C chopped onion
1/2 C chopped cooked ground beef, sausage, or brat
1/4 C flour
1 T chopped parsley or celery leaf
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/3 C cream or milk
2 T butter
Place half of squash and potatoes in a greased 1 1/2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle on half the onion and meat. Whisk together flour, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg with cream or milk. Pour half the mixture over vegetables. Dot with half the butter. Repeat layers. Cover and bake at 350°F 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.

Sweet Potato Hummus, a Sarah Britton recipe
2 cups chickpeas, cooked
zest of 1 organic lemon, juice of ½ lemon
3 small sweet potatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2-3 pinches sea salt
3 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Note: Don't get too hung up on the quantities of ingredients with this recipe - it's hard to make a mistake! Use more or less sweet potato than called for, more or less chickpeas if that suits you (or even leave them out!), omit the cayenne or throw in more if you like it spicy. Just work with what you have and what tastes good to you. Place sweet potatoes (with the skin on) in a baking dish in a 400 F oven and bake until very soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size.  Let the sweet potatoes cool down so that you can easily remove their skins - they should just peel off. Place them in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and blend on high to mix. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, sprinkle of cracked black pepper, and whatever herb you have on hand. This is wonderful with raw veggies, healthy crackers, or pita bread.   This dip doubles as an amazing sandwich spread, particularly on crusty sourdough with avocado, sprouts, and fresh herbs. Finally, you can use as a thickener for soups and stews.