WHEW, that was a big week. With the adjusted schedule for Labor Day we ended up delivering all of our farm shares in 3 days instead of 4. Ben and I were both delivering all week because we had watermelons alongside your CSAs (we don’t put them into the boxes because they could damage your produce or fill the box too fast). In addition to the need to deliver an extra roughly 35% than on any normal day. On top of all the normal stuff we had planned for... we also got a FROST!
One of my friends was telling me the first frost always comes 6 months after the first thunderstorm. She actually mentioned this almost 2 months ago and said it was going to frost in September. Both Ben and I laughed (at this time mind you it was 85 every day), we thought there is no way! The frost almost always coincides with the first full moon in October... or so we thought. Since the full moon in Sept was so early but it lasted for 3 days, I’m wondering if that had anything to do with it frosting so early. So the old wives tales really are true sometimes I guess. This one was! Let’s test it again next season just to be sure though ;)
The frost will damage some of the produce varieties but not all of them. The early spring crops and late fall crops are almost always frost resistant. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Sprouts, Pie Pumpkins, etc. are frost tolerant. That means that those can actually freeze and they won’t just die! However, if it freezes really hard (down to 27-28 degrees) it might do some real damage. Looking at the future forecast for this week and the next, we won’t be worrying about a hard frost anytime soon! The zucchini plants are pretty much toast- look at this picture. They are definitely not happy and have a lot of damage.
I am so sorry that I’m delinquent on my newsletter this weekend guys! I love writing my newsletters- it is the best way for me to keep you all in the loop and as you know I like to share details so this is the easiest path where I can actually write everything that I want! Well, this weekend was full of slicing, dicing, chopping, cooking, canning and freezing. My parents and sister (plus baby!) came this weekend to process foods and that’s exactly what we did all weekend. Canning and processing isn’t really for fun, it’s more of a necessity, but when you add some extra hands and make it less of a chore it really can be a lot of fun! Taste testing, fine tuning recipes, and the smells you get wafting from the kitchen are amazing!!
I was cutting so many onions that my 1 year old nephew came into the dining room and actually started crying because of how ‘spicy’ it was in there, eeek! We made some jams & jellies and a TON of spaghetti sauce, but we decided against the salsa just out of how long it has to cook down. Froze a lot and had some fun & laughs in between it all.
This week in the Jumbo and Family Shares you can expect: Butternut Squash, Broccoli, Bell Peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Kale and Tomatoes!
This week in the Single Shares you can expect: Butternut Squash, Broccoli, Bell Peppers, Anaheim Peppers, Kale and Tomatoes!
Butternut squash is one of the most popular winter squashes. It is mostly a soup squash in my opinion because of the awesome texture (there are just so many squashes). It’s skin is so thin that you can actually use an apple peeler or paring knife to remove it before cooking it. Some people will cube it up and then cook it, or like we did this weekend I just cut it in half, took out the seeds and rubbed olive oil on the open faced side. I added a little fresh ground salt and pepper and cooked it at 350 until fork tender (Sounds fancy… but just FYI I got salt & pepper grinders at aldi for less than $2 a piece, which make s a big difference in flavor!). This is also the only squash with this shape, so all of the seeds are concentrated towards the bottom of the squash in a little cavity. Unlike all the other squashes which have one large circular seed cavity right in the middle, the butternuts have the seed cavity on the bottom. In my opinion, this is the squash that will give you the best value for your money.
Broccoli- yayyy!!! The first patch was coming in nicely and just started producing heads and then it got super hot super fast, it didn’t rain for 2 weeks in a row, and it all bolted. Bolting is the process of it going to seed, so the head of broccoli actually shoots up straight and turns into a little yellow flower bouquet basically. Anyways- we missed the whole first patch! So this time around I know we’ll be appreciating it! These heads have florets that are nice and tight. Small florets usually means better flavor too.
We do not use pesticides so the broccoli might have worms. We cut it the night before and soak it in the wash tank with weights on top of burlap sacks so that the broccoli stays submerged. That way the worms literally drown and fall to the bottom of the tank. The nice thing with these worms is that they're not burrowing into the stems or your florets, they are on the outside eating away/ very visible. So if you were to cut this up, you'd see a worm right away. If you're still worried about them, add about a cup of vinegar to a sink full of water and any impurities will wash away or fall off. Our overnight soaking method has always worked great but feel free to set up a vinegar bath too if you want.
CSA’s mean a lot of things to all of us but this is just one aspect that I want to point out. It can show you what's happening in the fields and make you aware of weather patterns where no other avenue of consumption can. If you go to the farmer's market you can see what's available on the tables and buy what's there. If you go to the grocery store, a lot of times they have plentiful amounts of everything you'd want. In a CSA, you'll see the season reflected in your box. The bountiful harvests and the busts. For example, the first broccoli patch was a bust but the second is bountiful!! This is one of a million examples this year alone.. Eating with the seasons and understanding what is in harvest and when will help guide us in the kitchen too, it's really a beautiful thing!!
I can tell you that this patch looks amazing- some of these heads of broccoli are as big as dinner plates! This is grown in the alpaca field, so it’s got a lot of natural nutrients that have composted here over the years. We are looking forward to sharing these this week!!
Bell peppers & Anaheim Peppers! We will have peppers for a couple more weeks tops. We have 4 weeks of CSAs left together so Ben & I are trying to time everything out now and see how we can make it all fit! If you're all peppered out please remember that freezing peppers is the easiest thing to do when it comes to processing foods for the off season. As long as you have the freezer space for them, just dice them into pieces, stuff them into a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer. We use the frozen peppers in enchiladas and breakfast potatoes most often but they can be added to casseroles too!
Kale is back! This is one of those super hearty greens that we will be appreciating at this time of year especially. Everything else is dead, so to have even some greens is awesome. If you’re not a big fan of the salads, try and cook with it. Another way to use it is to add a handful of washed kale leaves to a strawberry banana smoothie and you’ll get the bonus nutrients without the ‘green’ flavor lol!
Tomatoes!! So last week when we knew the frost was coming we were working until midnight or later with headlamps on our head (even though those are really my worm picking lights lol!), and we harvested everything we could. Anything we could pick and get in, we did! Tomatoes were part of that. So I can confidently say THIS WEEK IS THE LAST WEEK OF TOMATOES! As sad as this is, we still need to celebrate with them and do something fun. For us, I’m thinking bruschetta or BLTs.
This is the very end of some varieties in harvest but the very beginning of harvest for others… just depends on how you look at it. Is your glass half empty or half full??
Stay well friends,
~The Farmer’s Wife