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Week 19 Newsletter

October 23, 2017

In your box:

–Brussels sprouts

–Carrots

–Celeriac

–Garlic

–Leeks or kale

–Salad mix

–Winter squash, “Acorn”

–Winter squash, “Butternut”

Full shares: Buttercup squash

Welcome to your last box of fresh produce for this growing season! As we basked in the sun all weekend and enjoyed temperatures in the 70’s, it certainly didn’t feel like it’s time to wrap up the gardens. But the forecast for next weekend has temperatures about thirty degrees colder than what we just enjoyed with night-time lows well below freezing, so we’ll just consider it quitting while we’re ahead.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the season! The weather has been about as good as we’ve ever experienced, crop yields were way up, and disease and pest pressure were not much of a factor. I’ve finally gotten our seeding schedule to the point where I don’t need to change too much from year to year, and it seems to have paid off with consistently full boxes. I’m sure the boxes might have been too full at times this year (especially with cucumbers and squash, I’m guessing!), but hopefully you found a way to put most of it to good use.

Within the next week or two I will be sending out a link to an online survey for your feedback. Please take the time to fill this out and send me your thoughts, regardless of whether or not you plan to return next year. This information is helpful in terms of knowing what changes to make to our garden plans, distribution, and delivery sites.

Thanks so much to our all-star volunteers for so much support this year! We couldn’t do what we do without the tireless help throughout the summer of Julie Healy (Nina’s mom) and my parents, Steve and Arlene Kirkman. My dad has been amazing right up to the last box, washing whatever I bring in from the field even though the freezing cold water in our packing shed no longer allows him to manipulate his fingers in any manner.

This week brings our only celeriac of the year. Celeriac is, obviously, a close relative of celery, but it has been bred to emphasize its root mass. The green tops of celeriac can be used just like celery, but the root itself is what really distinguishes this crop. To use it, first remove the top growth and store that in a bag in the fridge. The root should be peeled to remove all root hairs and any dirt residue. Once it’s cleaned up, we run it through a medium cheese grater and add to soups, stews, or pretty much anything in the crock pot. It adds a great dose of celery flavor but with a consistency and texture closer to potatoes. The root itself will store for months in a root cellar, and it should last at least a month in the fridge. If you don’t end up using a whole celeriac in one meal, keep the unused portion in a tupperware and it should remain crispy and fresh.

Also this week—even more winter squash! This week we are featuring butternut squash, my personal favorite and one of the most versatile squash. These are perfect in the squash soup recipe listed below. All the winter squash you’ve received have a long shelf life. Unless they are bruised or develop any small rotten spots, they can keep through the winter. Store them in the basement and check periodically for any blemishes.

If you still have any empty CSA boxes around the house, please return them to your delivery site by Halloween. I will be making one last trip to all of our sites to pick up any that straggle in, and I’m able to reuse some of them and recycle the rest. Thanks!

Once again, thanks so much for your support! Farming becomes more of a passion for me with every passing year, and I’m so thankful to all of the families that make up our CSA for enabling me to keep growing nutritious crops in a sustainable way. We hope you’ll join us again in 2018 to see what next year’s growing season brings. But for now, we wish you a restful winter. And yes, you do still have to eat veggies for the next six months even if they aren’t delivered to your neighborhood in a box!

Expected next week: really cold fingers and toes, more work than I can possibly fit in before the ground freezes, and hopefully a nice long nap.

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