CSA Newsletter-Box 17-October 10, 2012

by jennifer on October 10, 2012

It is really and truly fall. Looking around, the trees are a burst of color. Flocks of geese pass by daily on their way to warmer places. The summer crops are definitely done. Tomato vines are mere skeletons with a few stubborn tomatoes dangling. Summer squash plants are dry and shriveled. I do not despair, however, as there is tons of kale, leeks, carrots, and such that will feed us through the fall and beyond.
The clouds are slowly moving in, priming us for the many, many months of rain that we all knew would one day descend upon us. I found a new weather website; thank s to another farmer-neighbor. It projects the forecast for a whole month. I know the accuracy goes downhill after 3 or so days, but it is interesting nonetheless to get a general idea of what we are in for. As farmers, we are so at the mercy of the weather. We’ll take all the tools we can get. It sounds like rain is likely by Friday. That gives us only a few more days to finish the beans, potatoes, and cover crop. We have made great progress on all three fronts, but the mechanical powers that be are having a bit of sport with us. The thresher and the potato digger are having minor, but un-ignorable issues. Thankfully the machines are old and fairly “simple” in the way they run (no computers) and Jim is pretty savvy at fixing things. All it means is yet another road block on our way to finishing the fall field tasks.

newly sprouting cover crop

The cover crop that we have already sown is coming up nicely! The crows usually eat a fair share of the seed before it sprouts, but thanks to warmer temperatures and the new bird scare sound recorder I got, they hardly ate any. I bought this devise to keep the sparrows and swallows out of our barn. It has several bird settings, one of which is crows. The way it works is every ten minutes it emits a distress call of that bird species followed by a predator call. This goes on for two (annoying) minutes. When I saw the crows out eating the seed, I thought I would try it. I put it in the pump house in the field and turned it on. All at once the crows started rising out of the field and began circling and cawing in a confused manor. As I walked back to the house I swear they were following me, that murder of crows. It was a little creepy. Rather Alfred Hitchcock.

Start bringing back your boxes. Come the last week with your own bags and you can leave your box. You can also return boxes at the Olympia Farmers Market.

If you wish to order additional quantities of onions, potatoes, shallots, beets, carrots, or winter squash for the winter, let me know by Monday, the 15th and we can deliver it with your last box. After that date you can pick up such orders at the farm or the Olympia Farmers Market.
The crops and prices are as follows:
Yellow storage onions:
10 lbs -$15
25 lbs-$27
5 +lbs: $3.75/lb
Cipollini onions:
5+ lbs: $3.75/lb
Potatoes: yellow Finn, red chieftain, Russian banana, French Fingerling
10 lbs-$12
25 lbs-$25
Beets: round red, Chioggia, or cylindrical
5 lbs-$7.00
10 lbs- $13.00
Seconds-10 lbs – $9.00
Winter squash:
smaller varieties like acorn and delicata 10+ lbs $1.50/lb
larger varieties like spaghetti, pie pumpkin, butternut, or butter cup 10+ lbs $1.00/lb

Jim and Isaac threshing the dry beans

What’s in the Box:
Spaghetti squash
Acorn squash
Pie pumpkin
A medley of potatoes
Cylindrical beets or chard
A bag of small Copra onions
Sweet white onion
Red cabbage
Green kohlrabi
Garlic- Music
Red and yellow cipollini onion
Popcorn-read the next section to find out how to cure and use it.
Tomatoes-really and truly the last of them. (Oh, but we had a good run, didn’t we?)

Further Description of Box Content:
Cylindrical beets: They taste just like regular red beets. The shape just allows for uniformity of slices. People who pickle beets especially like these.
Parsnips-The giant white carrot-looking thing. The flavor is sweet like a carrot, but a bit earthier. It is definitely better cooked. We often roast them with carrots, beets, and potatoes. They make a nice addition to winter vegetable stews and mashed potatoes.
Acorn squash: As with the delicate squash you got last week, let this and all of your squash sit around for a few weeks to sweeten up. Acorn is probably the most familiar winter squash. It is semi-creamy and semi-sweet. People often doctor it up with butter and brown sugar or honey. I’ll leave that one up to you. Acorn squash to me is another example of a vegetable variety that is so popular and familiar, yet it is probably one of the least interesting and tasty winter squash there is. Don’t get me wrong. They are good. But when you have delicata, pie pumpkin, kubocha, and others to choose from, why stick with acorn? (Iceberg lettuce, red delicious apples, and standard cucumbers are other examples of popular but unimpressive varieties.)
Spaghetti squash-This is a fun one. It looks like a giant yellow football (though less pointed). Please try to refrain from tossing it to other family members across your kitchen. I won’t be responsible for broken windows. The flesh is sweet and stringy, like strands of, well, spaghetti! To cook this one, cut it open, scoop out the seeds and place cut side down in a shallow baking dish with about a ½ inch of water in it. Bake at 375 until you can pierce the outer skin with a fork. When done, flip it over and drag a fork through the squash running the fork in shallowly across the squash lengthwise. You will thus loosen all the strands. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce.
Pie pumpkin-these little babies are so sweet and creamy. Great for soups, pies, muffins, etc. We have recipes for all of the above in the recipe section of the website. And don’t forget to toast your pumpkin seeds! We have a recipe for that as well.
Leeks-Leeks are in the onion family and can be used as such. They have a fresher, more distinctive flavor. The classic combo of course, is potato leek soup. You just can’t go wrong with that one. Dirt can get trapped in the layers, so you should slice your leeks in half length-wise and rinse under running water to clean them.
Popcorn-Putting this in your box will be the true test of how many of you read the newsletter. We grew popcorn this year just for kicks. To cure your corn, peel off the husks and silks and let the cobs sit out in an airy place for a few weeks until the kernels dry. They will become less milky-looking and more like the shiny kernels you are used to. When dry, you can pry the kernels off by grasping the ear in both hands and twisting your hands around the cob. Pop as you would any other popcorn. Care to place bets on how many calls and emails I get from people who try to steam this corn to eat for dinner and are sorely disappointed????

Check out the recipe section or the tag clouds at the bottom right of the page for all sorts of recipes for leeks, winter squash, parsnips, etc.

Happy eating! Jen

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