In your box:
This week has brought a most welcome respite from all of the rain we’ve had the past six weeks, with abundant sunshine and a stiff breeze to help dry out the fields. Usually fall is my favorite part of the farm season, with comfortable work closing down the farm and bringing in the final harvest. This fall has been far wetter than any we’ve had, and it’s really been frustrating in terms of what I can actually accomplish in the fields. Thankfully the crops haven’t suffered too much, and we’ll finish up the season with an abundant harvest even if I have to drag it all out of the mud.
Next week will be our final delivery of the season, and I’m optimistic I can finally dig up the potatoes and carrots that have been sitting in mud for the past month. Thanks for your patience and understanding! I know that these staple crops are often more popular than some of the “weird” veggies we grow, but the field conditions just haven’t been suitable for their harvest.
This week brings our lone winter squash of the season. Most of our crop was decimated by diseases during this wet year, but thankfully my two favorite kinds are the lone survivors. We have Butternut and Fordhook Acorn (shaped like a Nerf football) as well as some pie pumpkins for the full shares. Winter squash keep well for up to 6 months and prefer room temperature for storage.
To cook with a winter squash, preheat the oven to 375 and slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place flesh-side down in a casserole dish. Add 1” of water to the casserole dish and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the flesh is soft and begins to separate from the skin. Remove the squash and allow to cool. Then, scoop the squash out of the shell and compost any remaining skin. The innards can then be cooked into pumpkin pancakes, soup, pumpkin bread, or any other recipe calling for squash. Our personal favorite use for squash is the Squash-Lentil soup, below.
The Vivid Choi is a variety of bok choy with purplish leaves and more jagged leaf tips. It can be used in any recipe calling for bok choy or kale, and the stems are edible as well. Keep this crop for up to a week in the fridge, preferably in a plastic bag or the hydrator drawer.
Sadly, this week we bid farewell to our Sweet Peppers after the single greatest pepper year known to this farm. Each year on our farm we have a “Year of the….”, and this year was clearly the year of the pepper. We’ve never had the quantity or quality of peppers we’ve had this year, and hopefully you’ve been able to find a use for all of them. Our peppers are finally slowing down and they will certainly die off this weekend with the freezing temperatures, but after all the delicious peppers this year I think they’ve earned their hibernation.
This week brings our first Brussels sprouts of the year. Brussels sprouts get a bad rap, usually from overcooking them into a mushy, tasetless side dish. To use them, try boiling them in water for no more than five minutes (3 might be enough). They are also great baked in the oven with oil. I recommend mixing them with chopped potatoes, coated in olive oil, and sprinkled with cumin and thyme. Cook at 350 degrees for 50 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time. Sprouts only keep for a week or so off the stalk, so be sure to use these soon. We’ll have another serving coming next week as we wrap up the season.
Expected next week: Potatoes, carrots, Napa cabbage, leeks, celeriac, Brussels sprouts, kale, and hibernation.