In your box
- Head Lettuce
- Sweet Peppers
- Sweet Turnips
- Tat Soi
- Winter Squash: “Jester” Delicata
The harvest season is winding to a close, but I’m still staying busy with jobs around the farm. This year I’m using a lot of white clover seed as a cover crop, so as soon as a crop is finished for good I pull out all the remaining plants, add them to the compost, and sprinkle tiny clover seed over the bed area. I rake it into the soil so that it has good contact and can germinate, and then wait for rain. We picked up 2.5” of rain on Monday, so all of the seeds I had planted will get a good start.
My goal is to cover the entire garden with live plants as we head into winter. This helps to hold on to the nutrients I’ve added to the soil through fertilizer and compost, adds more organic matter to the soil, and leaves a living root in the soil over the winter. It also helps with erosion. In the winter there’s not much on a farm to hold the soil in place, so after our neighbors harvest their corn and plow it under, the winter winds scatter their precious topsoil into the road, ditches, and waterways. As long as I can get clover planted before the ground freezes up, I’ve got a living plant through the winter to hold our great soil in place.
This week’s box
This week brings our first winter squash of the year. Delicata are among my favorite squash, with an appetizer-sized shape and great flavor. Unlike other winter squash, the skins on these are quite thin and edible. To prepare them, just cut them in half the long way, scoop out the seeds, and place face-down in a casserole dish. Add about an inch of water and bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, depending on how large the squash is. Remove from the oven, add a little brown sugar and butter if desired, and eat the skin and squash together.
This weekend we will be harvesting all of our other winter squash. From walking through the field area, it looks like we’ll have an acorn squash and butternuts available for the final two weeks. All squash are happiest at room temperature and should not be refrigerated.
Sadly, this will be our last week of tomatoes for the year. The harvest is falling off sharply and we’ve got a lot of disease pressure building on the plants, so we’ll wrap up a great tomato season with just a few more this week. Sweet peppers still look good, so we’ll keep those up until we get a frost or we run out.
This week brings two new greens: Arugula and Tat Soi. Arugula is the bunched green known for its spicy flavor. I like a pure arugula salad, but it can also be mixed with lettuce to lessen the flavor. If it’s still too spicy, you can lightly wilt it over the stove.
Tat soi is similar to bok choy in its growth and usage. I think it’s one of the prettiest greens we grow, with its spoon-like leaves and crisp white stems. To use, just cut off the base where the root was and chop up the leaves, stems included. Tat soi is great in a stir fry or Thai meal.
- ½ lb carrots, peeled and grated (about 3)
- ½ lb kohlrabi or turnip (about 1 medium-large), peeled and grated
- 1-2 tart apples, such as Granny Smith, Spitzenberg or Pink Lady, quartered and cored
- ½ lb beets, peeled and grated (about 3)
- ¼ cup safflower or grapeseed oil
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp honey or agave nectar, warmed
- 1 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, torn
- Combine carrots, kohlrabi, apple and beets in a salad bowl.
- Whisk oils, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over vegetables; toss to coat. Add parsley leaves; toss again.
Next week we are expecting red onion, beets, bok choy, salad mix, lettuce, turnips, aronia berries, sweet peppers.