Winter Share, Week 1; October 11, 2012

What’s in the box?

Winter Share Week 1

bagged spinach

green and ripe heirloom tomatoes

yellow onions

garlic

parsley

carnival squash

brussel sprouts

acorn squash

pie pumpkin

collard greens

green cabbage

broccoli

potatoes


Notes on the box….

Spinach, parsley, collards, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and broccoli can all be stored in your fridge.  You’ll want to keep the spinach, parsley, and collards in your crisper.

Store onions, garlic, winter squash, tomatoes, and potatoes outside of your fridge.

If you don’t have room in your fridge, feel free to pop the sprouts off the stalk of the brussel sprouts and put them in a plastic bag before storing them in the fridge.  Their flavor tends to diminish the longer they are off the stalk, so try to cook them soon.  They are one of many crops that taste quite a lot better fresh from the farm than they do from the store.  These sprouts suffered through an extra hot and dry summer and fall, so the flavor isn’t quite as awesome as previous seasons, but still quite good even if there is a little bit more bitterness than they normally have.  The stalk is not edible.  NOTE:  When cooking brussel sprouts, be sure to cut off the tough end where the sprout connects to the stalk.  Then CUT THE SPROUTS IN HALF.  It makes them cook more quickly and taste a lot better than overcooking the whole thing in an attempt to get the entire sprout tender!  Though they are often steamed, they are really great roasted or sautéed.

We prewash the spinach, but to be sure that you don’t get any grit in your salad or whatever you decide to make with it, we suggest washing or rinsing again.

The collards are nice and sweet again after a few good frosts and some cool weather.  We made pretty huge bunches of collards.  After some discussion in the field we decided that for the remainder of the Winter Share boxes, we will give smaller bunches of more varieties of greens so as not to force you to eat one type of green all week long.  Hope you can get through and enjoy these collards, though.  If you have a hard time, you can sneak some leaves into smoothies.  If you have a juicer, you can juice both the stems and leaves.  Or you can stem and cut up the collards and blanche them, and freeze.  They are great to add to soups later.

Most of the broccoli is side shoots.  After the plant puts on its main head and we harvest that, it grows multiple small heads.  We really like cooking with the side shoots because they are so easy  to work with.  The stalk is edible and can be chopped and cooked with the head of the broccoli.

There are three types of Winter Squash this week.  Sweet Dumpling, Acorn, and Pie Pumpkin.  We try to keep squash with any bumps, scrapes, or bruises out of the boxes.  There are a handful of acorn squash with the stems missing.  Any Winter Squash with imperfections should be eaten first as they won’t hold as well as others.  Otherwise, WinterSquash should hold for at least a couple of months and they make nice Autumn decoration as you wait to eat them. Wash off the squash before you cook them!

The skin on the Sweet Dumpling is edible, making it a great squash for cutting in half, seeding, slicing into crescent moons or rings, tossing with some olive oil and spices of your choice, and roasting in the oven until fork tender and slighty carmelized on the edges.

Sweet Dumpling

Some people eat the skin of the acorn squash and some do not.  It depends on how long you roast it and your preference for tough or fiberous textures.  These are a less sweet squash that taste great cut in half, seeded, and roasted with butter and maple syrup or honey until nice and soft. They are also wonderful stuffed with your favorite savory stuffing.

Acorn Squash

Pie Pumpkins are good for roasting and using in pumpkin muffins, bread, pie, and smoothies.  They are also good if you can seed the pumpkin, peel the skin (you need a good vegetable peeler to do this), and cube and add to curries or use in soups.  They are also good for Halloween decorations.

pie pumpkin

The tomatoes were picked from the greenhouses as we are cleaning them out to get them ready for next season.  Green tomatoes can be ripened by putting them in a paper bag with an apple on your counter.  The texture and flavor of these tomatoes aren’t the best for fresh eating, but are great for sauces and stews.

Recipes…..

sautéed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Onions from Alice Waters The Art of Simple Food

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Braised Collard Greens from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn

1 lb. collard greens, trimmed and washed, water still clinging to the leaves

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 slices bacon, cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise in ½-inch pieces

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Coarse salt

1. Remove the tough stems from the collard leaves.  Finely slice the stems crosswise. Stack a few leaves on top of each other and cut into 1 ½- to 2-inch pieces. Repeat with all leaves.  You’ll have 8 packed cups.

2. Heat a 20-inch sauté pan over high heat.  Swirl in the oil and add the onion, bacon, and red pepper flakes.  Fry until the onion is soft and the bacon is beginning to render its fat and crisp up, about 13 minutes.

3. Add the greens, 2 cups at a time.  Stir into the onion mixture as you add.  They will collapse and shrink in the heat.

4.  When all the greens are in the pan and the heat has returned to sizzling high, pour in the vinegar.  Stir to evaporate.  Cover and let the greens cook over low heat until just tender, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add a bit of water as needed to keep the greens from burning.  Add salt to taste and serve.

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I made this recipe for Creamed Spinach from the book Mad Hungry, but I doubled the sauce, added a few cloves of minced garlic, and mixed it and the spinach in with some cooked pasta and topped with grated Romano.  It made a great and quick lunch.  Josh has made Creamed Collards, by substituting sautéed collard greens and garlic for the spinach and adds 1/4 cup of cream to the sauce.  It’s really rich and delicious!

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Please see last weeks blog post for many more recipes using ingredients from the box!

On the farm….

It’s feeling very much like Winter is knocking on the farm.  We are cooking a lot in the oven and making soup on the stove.  We are drinking tea on our breaks.  We are getting sore, pink fingers on cold mornings bunching greens in wet weather.  Those cold damp days make us want to get our work done quickly so that we can be inside, warm, and out of the weather.  But we are LOVING the sunny crisp clear days that make us so happy to be working outside!

We have picked rock out of the garlic patch for next season. This would be the third picking this summer. Still hauling multiple full trailer loads. But we push on. We have saved garlic seed for 8 eight years running now. You may have seen some small heads of garlic this season as we are holding back the largest for seed stock, and our hope will be to have enough large stock to give to you and have enough for seed. That day is getting near.

The weather continues to be dry, we are still irrigating the carrots, and broccoli that we hope will come on soon. The growing days are numbered. long range forecast predic cold and dry conditions this winter, so we will be sure to mulch the garlic to prevent heaving and frost damage.

We unfortunately don’t have the wide variety that we had last season as the dry hot weather took out many of the plantings we had hoped to have for this time of season. But the boxes are still full.

Survey results will be in soon

have a great week

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