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Week 15 Newsletter

September 25, 2014

In your box:

  • Baby tat soi
  • Broccoli or kohlrabi
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Garlic, “Purple Glazer”
  • Onion
  • Salad mix
  • Tomatoes

At this point in the growing year, I have no idea what season it is. A few weeks ago I was whining about skipping fall and jumping right to winter. After a really early first frost, it seemed like the garden was on the skids. Now, we’re back to summer….

The return of warm weather has been a great blessing. We have a lot of salad greens and root veggies that still needed a few more good growing days, and they’ve definitely had them the past couple of weeks. With brilliant sunshine and periodic light rain, we look to be in good shape going in to the final few weeks of the growing season. Our salad mix, spinach, and arugula have been growing nicely, while our turnips, rutabagas, and daikon radish have filled out well.

The baby tat soil bunches this week weren’t planned, and as a result cost me nothing in seed cost or planting time. I didn’t need to weed them—they are the weeds! I planted the fall salad mix crop in a bed that had previously been planted to tat soi. Some of that tat soi went to seed, which all came up with the salad mix. So in order to harvest the lettuce crop, I’ve been pulling the tat soi “weeds” and I decided I might as well give them in the box this week. They are a little chewed on (flea beetles and cabbage loopers), but the holes are purely cosmetic and don’t make much of a difference once they’ve been through your large intestine.

At this point in the season, we start to say farewell to some of the crops that have filled out the garden so beautifully for the past few weeks. This week brings the last of the celery and chard, both of which have outdone themselves this year.

If you’ve got more celery than you know what to do with, we recommend putting it toward soup stock and broth. Ok, I can’t really recommend it since I haven’t tried it yet. But we have so much extra celery this year that we definitely will be making our own in a couple weeks. And the internet is full of stock and broth recipes, so it must be easy and safe enough.

To make your own stock, you’ll want to gather onions, celery, and carrots. Beyond that, you can use any kitchen scraps you like, as long as they are clean and not moldy. Onion skins, leek tops (coming next week), celery tops, chard stalks, bay leaves, garlic, sage stems, parsley stems, and any seasonings you like are fair game. The only crops to avoid are the brassicas, especially cabbage, broccoli, and kohlrabi, as these have an overpowering odor that throws off your stock.

The first step is to saute the onion in olive oil. Once it has browned, toss in a small bunch of chopped celery, about 3 diced carrots, and whatever else you want to try—again, as long as it is clean and not moldy. Add 8 cups of water and boil, uncovered, for about 45 minutes to one hour. You can boil it longer if you like, so that the resulting broth is more condensed and takes up less space in your freezer. Once you’ve boiled off enough water, the next step is to strain it out. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh, such as a cheesecloth, and throw all of the solids in the compost. The soup stock can be poured directly into freezer containers and stored for 6 months to a year in the freezer. The next time you want to make soup, just thaw out your stock for a low- or no-salt stock without the fat of meat broth.

This weekend will bring our harvest of winter squash and pumpkins. I’m not too optimistic, but once we have them harvested and counted I’ll be able to figure out how much longer the season can go. We will have at least two more weeks of deliveries after this box, no matter what. More details to come next week.

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