Thanks so much to everyone who made it to our Harvest Celebration! We had a good turnout and the best weather imaginable—about 35 degrees warmer than last year! Our vegetable sculpture contest prize went to the Hrusovsky family for Mr. Potato Head-inspired creatures. Thanks again to everyone for making it a great day!
I’ve been wavering about how much longer to extend the season, and at this point I’ll be optimistic and shoot for two weeks (after today) for an 18 week season. We still have lots of greens and roots available, as well as some winter squash and storage onions, so we should have a strong finish to the year. Our only scheduling conflict is that we’ll be on our annual MEA vacation on Thursday, October 16th. This is pretty much the only time all year that my schedule lines up with Nina’s, so I’m not about to pass up an opportunity for a little getaway. Thus our remaining schedule will look like this:
Tuesday sites: October 7, 14, and 21 (as usual)
Thursday sites: October 2, 9, and 23 (with no box on the 16th).
I will remind the Thursday sites about the different schedule coming up. Tuesday sites can plan on a normal schedule for the next two weeks. And I’ll try really hard to not think about how cold our washing water will be for that last week of October….
This week brings the last of the “Red Russian” variety of kale for the season. Kale is one tough customer and will occasionally keep its quality until Thanksgiving. Most years we’ll even get a couple plants that survive the winter with no protection and start growing all over again in the spring. We will include the “Winterbor” variety for our last box. The kale this week is in place of collard greens. While we did grow collards as usual, the leaves grew to an unmanageable size—about as big as an elephant’s ear—and they are positively riddled with bug bite holes. I don’t mind a few holes here and there, but most of the leaves are in pretty bad shape. If you happen to be a big collard fan, let me know and I’ll substitute a few good leaves for the kale in the last box.
Our Leeks performed very well this year. As well they should—they are the first seeds we start in the basement, back in February, and they take up space all year until they’re finally full-sized in the fall. Leeks are quite similar in taste and use to their onion cousins, but really shine in soup. To prepare, wash off the root bottoms and any damaged leaves. Chop the stem right where the leaves fan out (leafy tops can be used in soup stock). The white stem can then be sliced and used, including the greener tops. We love potato-leek soup, so all of our leeks go right into that this time of year (see below for recipe). Now that we’ve finally had a good leek year, I’m planning to increase our planting and offer them twice next season.
This week we finally introduce Arugula for what might be its only week in the boxes this year. Arugula is my favorite salad ingredient, and you’ll often find me walking the garden with an arugula snack. This green is spicier than most other salad fixin’s, as it is a close relative of mustard. If the taste is too strong, try mixing it in with lettuce or burying it under a fountain of ranch dressing.
Try to restrain your excitement: we have rutabagas again this year. After a few failed crops the last couple years, I changed my planting schedule and had good success with these. The greens were so large they wouldn’t fit in your box, so I chopped them off. To use, peel the outer layer, wash well, and add to soups or mashed potatoes.