September 29, 2009

CSA News for the Week of September 28th

This Week's Vegetable Share:
  • Red Fingerling Potatoes
  • Fresh Dill
  • Green-Top Beets (Traditional or Candy-Striped)
  • Assorted Varieties of Tomatoes
  • Green Curly Kale
  • Cipollini Onions (red, yellow and/or white)
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Mixed Lettuces
  • Tatsoi (an Asian salad green that can be used like spinach)

This Week's Fruit Share:
  • Bosc Pears
  • Red Raspberries
  • Seedless Purple Concord Grapes
  • Seedless Red Grapes
(Please note: This is the first week of the 4-week fruit share extension. Please take a fruit share at your pickup site only if you have registered and paid for the extension. Thanks!)

Farm Journal
It's 5:30 on Tuesday and I'm putting the finishing touches on a dinner of pulled pork, cornmeal griddlecakes, guacamole, and shredded cabbage with lime. There's a big wooden platter in the middle of the kitchen island whose job is to hold tomatoes in various stages of ripening. A quick glance reveals that the platter is empty so I pull a sweater over my t-shirt and head out the back door to the tomato field. I realize with a twinge of regret that this is one of the last times this season that I'll be able to walk out the back door to pick a fresh tomato for supper. The signs are all around, from the chill in the evening air to the increasing numbers of withered leaves at the base of the tomato plants.

The seasons are changing, there's no doubt about it, but in many ways I am relieved and full of anticipation. There's a satisfying sense of purpose in our work this week as we begin to prepare the farm for winter. Today Matt began the task of spreading compost on the fields that will grow next year's vegetable crops. Many of these fields have been growing soil-enriching cover crops such as oats, sorghum, buckwheat, millet, and field peas for at least part of this past season. The fields of millet and peas that Matt was working on today were mowed and composted, after which Matt went through with a disc to incorporate the compost and the remaining plant residue. Tomorrow those fields will be seeded down to rye and vetch as a winter cover crop. Throughout the coming weeks the process will repeat itself on all of our farm fields. I love being part of this cycle. I love the fact that in preparing for the end of the season we are laying the foundation for new beginnings next season. It's a lovely thought for a chilly autumn evening.

Have a good week. --Peg

Under the watchful eye of our kids, Matt uses the bobcat to load compost into the spreader.

Compost is spread over the fields that will grow vegetables next year.

Matt makes a pass with the disc.

Notes from the Farm Kitchen

Tatsoi is an Asian salad green that is most often eaten raw but can also be used in cooked dishes where you would otherwise use spinach. The dark green spoon-shaped leaves have a very mild cabbage or mustard flavor. Tatsoi pairs particularly well with flavors such as ginger, sesame and soy sauce, so I recommend using these as salad dressing ingredients. Tatsoi is also perfect when added to a stir-fry during the last minute of cooking.

Most of you will receive traditional red beets this week. Some CSA members may receive pink chioggia beets. The chioggia is an Italian heirloom variety with a pink-and-white candy-striped pattern when cut open. Chioggia beets taste like red beets, only they are just a tiny bit less "beety" than the more familiar red beets.

Bosc pears have slender necks and beautiful yellow-brown russetted skin. They are quite sweet when fully ripe and can be eaten fresh or used in savory dishes and desserts. Bosc is an ideal variety to use for poaching and baking because its relatively firm flesh holds its shape better than some other pear varieties. Like other pears, bosc pears should be stored in the refrigerator until a day or two before they will be eaten. Allow them to fully ripen at room temperature.

The concord grape is a cold-tolerant variety that was first cultivated in America more than 150 years ago. It's a very aromatic grape that is often used to make jelly and juice and is only available fresh for a short time each fall. Enjoy them while they last!
This Week's Recipes:
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Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... spinach, celery, broccoli, bok choy or napa cabbage, brussels sprouts, head lettuce, Japanese white turnips, carrots, peppers, Asian pears, honey crisp apples, and more!