CSA Newsletter- Box 16-October 5

by jennifer on October 5, 2011

From left to right: rutabaga, Scarlet Queen turnip, Purple Top turnip, Gold Ball Turnip

This is the last delivery week for the HEIGHT OF THE SEASON shares. REGULAR SEASON SHARES end the week of October 19th. FALL SHARES start the weekend of October 29th. There are still fall shares available. Download this form and send it in with your payment.

ON THE FARM: It is as if nature flipped a switch. Last week it was corn and tomatoes with every meal and now I just want soups  and oven roasted veggies that will warm my kitchen and my belly. It looks the PNW rains have moved in for good, though hopefully we will be graced with an occasional sunny day while we all make the transition. Last week was like the “big horrah” on the farm. In the last days of sun and dryness, the crew managed to get all the winter squash and potatoes out of the field and tucked safely in the barns. Jim disked and tilled in all he could and got the cover crop down before the rains came. The crows have been out there grazing on the seed, but it should all germinate quickly and be safe from all those pesky pecking beaks. It was the last week for 4 of our 9 remaining crew. It is now down to just 5 of us: Jim, Isaac, Jonathon, Lauren , and myself. With all the big fall jobs done and less crops to harvest we should be able to keep our heads above water…right?

We have a new vegetable to introduce you to today. (Drum roll please…) RUTABAGA!!!! I don’t think I had ever eaten a rutabaga until yesterday when Jim and I did the turnip and rutabaga taste test. We pulled  rutabagas of various sizes and one each of the 3 turnip varieties we are growing. We peeled and sliced them all and did a tasting; much like a wine, cheese, or chocolate tasting. Imagine if you will 2 farmers in muddy rain gear standing in front of the wash table peeling, slicing, and sampling the offerings and saying to one another,  “This one is sweeter, this one is crunchier, this one has a hint of spice.”  All that was lacking were the pretentious industry terminology and observations about “bouquet” and “finish”. But I digress.  Oh my goodness, who knew how amazing rutabagas are? How are these crazy looking things not a staple in every household? Don’t be put off by their gnarly and freakish appearance. Looks are deceiving. I did some research online and looked in some cookbooks for suggestions on how to prepare them. (See recipes below). Rutabagas and turnips are somewhat similar, though rutabagas are far sweeter. Here are some conclusions we drew from our turnip and rutabaga sampling and my research:
1. Firstly we grow 3 types of turnips in addition to the rutabaga (see photo). They are Gold Ball, Purple Top, and Scarlet Queen. All but Scarlet Queen should be peeled.
2. Even gargantuan turnips and rutabagas are crunchy and sweet, not woody or pithy.
3. Order of sweetness: rutabaga, gold ball, scarlet queen, purple top.
4. Purple top turnip is the only one of the bunch with any hint of spice, and it is subtle.
5. All are FABULOUS raw. Grate them into a salad. Cut them into matchsticks for snacking and lunches. Cut up like apple wedges.
6. From my research it looks as though turnips cook quicker than rutabagas, so if you are using both start the rutabagas first and give them a 15-20 minute head start.
7. Picky kids or spouses at home? Sneak either root into mash potatoes. They’ll never know.

Jim and I always take a moment at this time of year to make observations about the season while it is still fresh in our minds and think about changes for next year. If any of you have suggestions for crops to grow, crops to drop, additional pick-up site locations (must be centrally located and have a minimum of 12 full season shares), or any other aspects of the CSA we’d love to hear your ideas. One goal of mine is to add tons of new recipes and photos to the website this winter. We hope you will check the site over the winter for new cooking ideas. As always we welcome any of your tried and true recipes.

In Today’s Box:
acorn squash (note: the skin on these is pretty tough, so you’ll have to flip them over to check if they are done)
pie pumpkin
beets-topped
carrots
ailsa craig onion
copra onions
shallots
leeks
french fingerling potatoes
scarlet queen turnip
rutabaga
red slicing tomato
red pepper
English cucumber
lettuce

Recipes:
cinderella pumpkin muffins-great use for leftover squash
pumpkin pie
pumpkin cheesecake
crock pot beef stew
meatloaf with lots of hidden veggies
kohlrabi carrot bake (use turnip or rutabaga instead)
rutabaga fries
turnip or rutabaga puree with leeks
buttered turnips or rutabagas
oven roasted root vegetables

I hope you enjoy these recipes and a week’s worth of cozy comfort food.

Jen

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