In your box:
This week’s box is not at all what I had planned to give this week, but the weather had different plans. We keep getting more and more unnecessary rain, and it’s really having an impact on the work I can do in the field and what crops are available for harvest. Since I can’t dig out potatoes or carrots until we dry out again, most of this week’s box comes from above ground. We are also anticipating a frost this week on Thursday night. That’s about average for our first frost of the year, and at this point in the season it will kill off many of our more fragile crops but not affect the contents of the final few boxes. I did want to give peppers and eggplant one last time before a frost could kill them off, so we’ll keep enjoying this great pepper year while it lasts.
We do have a couple of new crops this year I should mention. First, we have a fall crop of Radishes just coming to maturity. These are “watermelon” radishes, a unique variety that has a usual white exterior with a bright pink interior once sliced open. These are not the white daikon radishes that we gave a few years ago, because NO ONE liked them.
The funkiest addition to the boxes this week is our Aronia berries. These are also called “choke berries,” which is really awful branding in my opinion. Aronia berries don’t actually cause choking, though they’re not nearly as pleasant as the blueberries they resemble. Aronias are extremely healthy, with very high levels of antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. There are also many websites that attribute pretty much any health cure you’re looking for to aronia berries, but often with little or no scientific proof. But we can agree that they’re good for you.
We will also probably agree that they don’t taste great raw and plain. Aronias are extremely astringent, bordering on bitter and definitely drying out your mouth if you try to eat them fresh. It is totally fine to eat them like this, but to get the nutritional benefits and still stomach them you’ll probably want to add them to a recipe. I love aronias in a smoothie—just substitute for blueberries and you’ll never know the difference. They can also be baked into muffins in place of other berries. If you do want them raw and plain I recommend blending them into yogurt, as well. I’d love to hear how you find the aronia berries and what you come up with to put them to use. I’ve planted an absurd amount of these all over the farm, with the intention of selling them to wine makers or sour ale producers. If you’d like to continue getting them in the CSA in future years please let me know on our year-end feedback form.
One other new crop this week is a Leek. Leeks are a member of the onion/garlic family, and are usually used for making a thick and creamy soup. You can use the whole of the plant, including the leafy green tops. Just chop it all up fine, sautee lightly in butter or olive oil, and leeks are ready to liven up any soup or stew.
You’ll want to keep your leeks in the fridge. Be advised though, that if you open your fridge and find a puddle on the floor but no leek, someone has taken a leek in your fridge. Get it? Take a leek? Like “take a leak.” That’s my favorite joke but I try to share it just every couple years so no one gets too sick of it. I never get sick of that joke.
We are still hoping to host a harvest party on the farm this weekend. I’ll send out an e-mail on Friday to confirm the day, depending on the weather over the weekend. Hope to see you soon!
Expected next week: Potatoes, carrots, vivid choi, salad mix, onion, sweet pepper, ground cherries, garlic, sorrel and celery.