CSA Weekly Update for September 17th-21st!
Holy buckets this weekend was HOT! We had temperatures in the 90’s for the last couple of days which is very unexpected for the middle of September. At this time of year, the excessive heat really isn’t going to help us, none of the plants are going to be able to put on more flowers and start producing more. The heat can hurt the cold crops though, they can rush to the flowering process if it’s too hot for too long. Although, I think this little weekend heat wave isn’t going to make much of a difference in the field.
I wish I would’ve had more time this weekend to be more timely with my post here- I love sharing all of this info with you and I really enjoy writing these posts every week!! We spent the majority of our time this getting ripened squash out of the field, we even managed to make it a family day.
The plants are dying, oh no! Just kidding, we don’t care if the plants die. It’s actually a natural part of their plant life cycle, comparable to potatoes. The plant is pulling nutrients from the foliage to supercharge their fruits, or potatoes for example. The plants are supposed to die at this time of year. If you have squash in your garden, don’t let it sit outside too long in the direct sunlight or it will get a “sunburn” and have spots on the exposed side.
We are winding down the season now, with only a handful of weeks left. Today we are starting week 14, and we have 2 more weeks together after this week; our last CSA deliveries will be the first week of October (1st-5th). We have a lot of produce to fit into the CSA Shares before then, and we’re planning accordingly to make sure it all fits!
During the last week of CSA deliveries, we recommend Members bring along paper or reusable bags to empty their CSA Share box into. We will be coming around the following week from October 8th-12th to collect the empty boxes. We reuse the boxes that you return for our harvest boxes for the following season. They usually make it another year or two in the fields before getting tossed due to falling apart. It’s essentially recycling, and by returning your boxes, you’re contributing to our farm and decreasing our operating costs! Thank you!!
When we see the same produce varieties every day, we often forget about how unfamiliar they are to others. It’s our niche, just like every one of our CSA members has a wonderful talent or specialty- this is like a second nature to us. I had a CSA Member send me an email this week asking about some sticky gooey stuff on their winter squash. I am so happy she asked about it, now it’s a learning opportunity for all of us!
Winter squash varieties in particular are FULL of sugars. They’re the healthy sugars though, and compared to other artificially sweetened products on the shelves these are soo good for us! The higher the sugar content it has, the better coating the seeds will get and their germination rate will be higher for the following season. It makes sense why they want to push all the sugars into their ‘fruits’.
Winter squash will ripen and their stems (especially the thick stemmed squashes like buttercups) will produce a gooey substance, and it’s super sticky. When I am at the farmer’s market at this time of year, I always have bees stopping by to visit these squash. It’s basically a nectar, because the stem isn’t completely dry so it has some fluid in it. It’s similar to what you would add into a hummingbird feeder. It will naturally thicken but honestly it looks pretty undesirable. Rinse squash under luke warm water and it’ll come right off. If you notice it continues, it’s because your squash is still in the drying process. They’re not always picked 100% dry because sometimes it’s more important to get them out of the field to lessen the risk of sunburn. If we waited until they were all 100% dry, it would be past the first frost in October. Remember, being dry and being ripe are two different distinctions. They are ALL ripe, but they are NOT ALL dry.
Extra produce is still available for purchase if you’re looking to put up some veggies for winter. We have bushels of squash available for $22 each (which is a steal of a deal compared to paying by the pound in the grocery store it’s literally less than half price). You can let me know what types of squash, and how many of each, etc. we will customize your bushel to you!
Carrots are also available, we are offering the 5/9th bushel box full which is roughly 23# for $15. Freezing carrots is easy, all you need to do is peel & blanch them then put them in freezer zip lock baggies with a date. Corn is $18 for a gunny sack, which is about 50 ears. Instructions on how to freeze corn is on this post.
This week you can expect Sweet Corn, Spaghetti Squash, Buttercup Squash, Red Potatoes, Mini-bell peppers (they’re super sweet!), and Kale.
Like many varieties we’ve been seeing this season, these next couple of weeks are essentially our farewell boxes because we won’t likely see any of these varieties again this season. This is week 14, so we have this week, and then two more weeks afterwards and A TON of produce to fit before the end of the season. At this time of the year, I actually have a checklist of everything we still need to include this fall, trying to plan the boxes to make sure that we can make it all fit!!
Apples will be coming either the last week of September or first week of October, still waiting to hear from the orchard on the exact date as they’re now harvesting a lot, but not all varieties. If you’d like to sign up for an Apple Share, I will leave it open on our website this week. After next Thursday it will be closed and we won’t be able to accept any more apple shares.
Spaghetti squash is coming again in our CSA Shares! These are a fun squash because they’re unlike any other winter squash. Cut them lengthwise and bake them until tender (350 for a half hour or so), then use a fork to scrape the flesh out of the squash and it gives you these longer pieces with defined texture. Many of us who have gluten intolerances are well versed with this squash, because it can replace traditional grain pasta in many recipes.
Buttercup squash is one of the time old classics. This green squash was initially discovered as a chance seedling and was bred to be the alternative for sweet potatoes in many culinary dishes. Today the sweet mama (green) buttercup squash remains one of the most favored winter squashes for its flavor and creamy texture and is widely used in appetizers, side dishes, and main dishes.
Buttercup squash is best suited for cooked applications such as baking, steaming, or roasting. The cooked flesh can be pureed and used as a filling for pies and ravioli, or added to soups and sauces. It can also be peeled, cubed, and added to chili, enchiladas, in pasta preparations, or stuffed and baked with both sweet and savory fillings. Buttercup squash pairs well with hard cheeses, nuts, brown sugar, ground beef, lentils, cinnamon, nutmeg, and fresh herbs such as sage, cilantro, chives, and parsley.
Red Potatoes are “old” now, they’ve been in the ground all summer and their skins are thickening. They’re not really old though, because of course we’re digging them fresh everyday! It’s a natural process for their skins to thicken as the season progresses which provides a thicker surface to set in their eyes which are what starts new potato plants. Ever had your potatoes sprout? Those are the eyelets/ what would create a whole new plant. The "new” red potatoes in the spring have thin skins and would be unsuccessful if we tried using those as seed potatoes.
Mini bell peppers are so much fun! They’re colorful and sweet, and are usually referred to as the snacking pepper, because they’re just the perfect size for a few bites. In the grocery store, they’re usually sold in a little clear plastic bag with a handful of them. This is the first year we’re growing them, so let us know if we should keep this variety around in the future seasons to come :)
Kale is coming again this week. Some of you are cheering about the kale, and some are not so pleased. Well to satisfy some and disappoint others, this is our last week of Kale. As I mentioned above, this is our farewell to many of these varieties this week.
The variety of the week is sweet corn!
Sweet corn is one of the classic summertime varieties. As I am sure many of us can agree, it’s a treat when it’s fresh & in season! By this time of year however, we’ve had corn on the cob more than a dozen times. This week we are going to look at some out of the box recipes for corn. Cutting it off of the cob into salads, casseroles & more.
Sweet corn is best enjoyed within the first few days post harvest, but it can be kept in the fridge in a ziplock bag with the husks on for up to a week. The longer you wait to eat it, the more sugars will turn to starch and it will lose it’s sweetness. Up until now, we haven’t seen too many corn worms. At this late time in the season, they are more prevalent and we’ve been seeing them lately. If you notice that there is saw dust looking powder at the end of the cob, that means there is a corn worm (they’re very noticeable and stay on the outside of the ear- not burrowing in the corn) so just cut off the damaged section which is usually right at the tip and the rest of the cob is totally edible. While it’s unideal to have any pests bothering our veggies, it’s also a key value in our farm to keep chemicals off of our produce. #sorrynotsorry
When cooking it, boiling or grilling are the preferred methods. Steam corn in 1-2 inches of water for 6-10 minutes, or drop ears into boiling water for 3-6 minutes. Season with butter or salt. There are two methods for grilling corn. Place the corn in its husk in water for 10 minutes — then place on grill for 15 minutes, turning every few minutes until the husk is browned partially. Or you can remove the husk, coat the ear in butter and salt/pepper, then wrap in foil, and grill for 15 minutes.
Have a wonderful week!
~The Farmer’s Wife