November 9, 2010

CSA News for the Week of Nov 8th

This Week's Vegetable Share:
  • Salad Mix
  • Yellow Potatoes (from Igl Farms in Antigo, WI)
  • Mix of Red, Green & Tuscan Kale
  • Cauliflower or Broccoli
  • Kohlrabi
  • White Button Mushrooms (from River Valley Mushroom Ranch in Burlington, WI)
  • Scarlet Turnips
  • Green Cabbage or Tat Soi (similar to Bok Choy)
  • Winter Onions
Reminders & Announcements
  • The Fall Vegetable Share ends next week. The final harvest will include cranberries, squash, sweet potatoes, lettuce, carrots, beets, popping corn, beauty heart radishes and some sage for your Thanksgiving stuffing!
  • Renewal forms for the 2011 CSA season will be in your boxes this week. As usual, we will give current members a chance to sign up before we open up registration to new members. We ask that our current members return their forms by December 15th in order to be guaranteed a spot. Please email Peg with any questions.

Farm Journal

Tuesday, 6:30 a.m.

I walk out the front door just as the sun is rising over the horse stable across the road. I'm an early riser, so I am happy to trade an hour of light at the end of the day for an extra hour of early-morning light.

I survey the front porch and realize I'll need to clear away the pogo stick, the civil war soldiers and the coloring books before 8:30 when we'll be hosting a breakfast meeting on the porch. For several years now we have acted as informal mentors to a group of beginning farmers who all rent small acreages here at the Prairie Crossing Farm. This morning Matt will lead a round-table discussion about how the season went for everybody and what all of our plans are for next year. As I walk out toward the barn to begin preparations for packing CSA boxes, I make a small detour to check out Jeff's newly-arrived chicks. Jeff and Jen Miller are part of the group that will be meeting with Matt this morning.

Getting to watch these baby chicks grow is just part of the fun of being involved with helping new farmers develop their businesses. I've learned a lot this year by keeping an eye on what other farmers are doing--whether it's breeding pigs, growing mushrooms or growing hops. There's always something interesting going. It's a great feeling to know that this job will never grow old!

Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Despite what some folks might tell you, cooking with fall vegetables does not have to be some sort of penance. I love to cook spicy foods full of interesting flavors. That doesn't change just because my refrigerator happens to be stocked with root veggies and greens. Indian curries, Thai stir-fries, and Mexican can all be created with seasonal ingredients. Some of my favorite examples of this are sweet potato enchiladas, spicy shrimp & tat soi, and Moroccan-spiced chicken and veggies. This week's recipe for empanadas is another great example of a way to turn ordinary ingredients into something really delicious. An empanada is a pastry filled with either a sweet or a savory filling. You could follow the recipe exactly or you could whatever you happen to have on hand. Today I used a mixture of leftover pulled pork, kale, potatoes, onions, smoked tabasco (one of my fridge staples) and sun-dried tomatoes from the freezer. Delicious!

Scarlet turnips have a mild radish flavor and an inherant sweetness that can be played up in dishes that call for apples, apple juice or honey. Try grating a chunk of scarlet turnip into a salad (leave the skin on for maximum visual effect) and tossing with toasted walnuts, diced apple and a honey-dijon dressing. Another way to bring out the sweetness of the turnips is to roast them with an apple juice glaze (see recipe below).

This week's winter onions look an awful lot like leeks, and they can be used in much the same way. They can also be chopped and substituted for regular bulb onions in most recipes. They should be sliced down the middle like a leek so that you can rinse out any dirt that has become trapped between the layers. The reason they are called winter onions (or overwintered onions) is that we planted them with the intention of harvesting them next spring. We're harvesting a small amount of them this week mainly because we have run out of leeks! These winter onions have a fairly strong taste so you'll probably want to use them in cooked dishes versus salads and other raw dishes.

Tat Soi is a close relative of bok choy and looks much like its more familiar cousin but with skinnier stems and more rounded leaves. Use it like bok choy, in stir-fried dishes, Asian noodle soups, and raw in salads.

This Week's Recipes

Vegetable Empanadas with Kale, Potatoes & Corn