What's beautiful in the share this week?
See the end of the newsletter for the list of veggies and their storage and prep information.
Farmer's Field Notes
This email comes a bit later than usual thanks to the flu and a power outage! Thankfully we're back up and running now and almost well. This month we had a devastating amount of deer pressure. The deer waltzed through our deer fence and into our fields, wiped out all our remaining kale, and stomped through every bed with row cover to eat our remaining crops, including pawing up large swaths of root vegetables. We've got some organic farmer friends in the wings who are helping us with our greens situation, thank goodness. While it's pretty frustrating to see the fruits of our labor gone to the deer, in some ways it also forces us to take a break in a way that we might not have otherwise. We still have a large quantity of root vegetables in the walk-in cooler, something that makes this farmer super happy. We hope you're all feeling healthy and warm, and that you have power wherever you are!
If you haven't signed up for your pick up day and time, please do so now! We want to have your bag ready for you.
Please bring cash or check with you to pay for your share if you haven't sent your check in yet.
The Summer CSA will go on sale starting in January, with 2022 CSA members getting first chance at the share before we open it up to the public. Keep an eye on your inbox for the email with sign-up info at the end of December/beginning of January.
December CSA Recipes
In light of the lateness of this email, I encourage you to browse through our library of recipes from this summer's CSA. You can find these recipes in this folder in the CSA Member Resource Library. There are some truly excellent ones in there, please take a look! You can also check inside our private Facebook group to find your fellow members sharing ideas for what to make with their veggies.
Vegetable List and Storage Information
BABY GREENS - This is a mixture of mild and spicy baby greens that you can eat raw or cooked. To store: Keep dry, unwashed greens in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. To prep: Wash leaves in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. Spin dry. To cook: Add uncooked greens to a mixed green salad. Blanch green until they wilt, 2-4 minutes, or steam for 5-8 minutes. Sauté greens until tender in a covered pot or large sauté pan with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and garlic or onion. Watch for color to brighten as this signals it is done. To freeze: Blanch washed greens for 1 minute. Rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process, drain, and pack into airtight containers. Freeze.
CABBAGE - To store: Place dry, unwashed cabbage heads in the refrigerator, preferably in the vegetable bin. The outer leaves may eventually get floppy or yellowish, but they can be removed and discarded to reveal fresh inner leaves. Store for up to 3 months! To prep: Rinse the cabbage under cold water before use. Cut cabbage head first into quarters, then diagonally across the wedge. Be sure to remove the stem end and triangular core near the base. To use: Eat raw in salads, steamed, braised or fried. Turn raw cabbage into coleslaw or sauerkraut. Roast cabbage steaks/slices at 400 F drizzled with olive oil and salt. Or try stir-frying shredded cabbage in olive oil until wilted with a little bit of minced garlic. To freeze: Choose how to cut your heads based on your end use. Cook in boiling pot of water for 90 seconds. Douse in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the cabbage and dry as much as possible. Place in Ziplock freezer bags based on your portions you plan to use, and remove as much air as possible. Put in freezer.
CARROTS - Carrots are sweetest in the fall and winter when they start to store their sugars in the root! To store: Refrigerate these carrots in a plastic bag. You can also store them in a bin of water (like celery) to keep them crisp, hanging out the water every few days. Save the tops in a plastic bag. To prep: Organic carrots don’t need to be peeled. Boil 2-inch cubed carrots in rapidly boiling salt water, uncovered, for 7-10 minutes. To freeze: Blanch cut coins for 3 minutes in boiling salt water, dunk in cold ice water for 3 minutes, drain, let dry, and pack in airtight container.
DAIKON RADISH - To store: Remove radish leaves if they are still attached. Store the unwashed greens in a loosely wrapped plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. Store radish roots unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 1 week. To prep: Scrub radishes well. Trim off the stem and rootlets. To use: Eat radishes raw with a sprinkle of salt. Grate radishes into slaws and salads. Try small young radish leaves in salads or scrambled eggs. Blanch whole radishes in boiling, salt water for 5-10 minutes, or steam them until just tender, 8-12 minutes. Top with butter, salt, and pepper or with a vinaigrette. They’re also great grilled and pickled. To freeze: Blanch for 3 minutes, then dunk in ice water for 3 minutes. Drain. Pop in a freezer bag and freeze. The radish greens can be blanched as well -- but only for 2 minutes.
KALE - Kale is a member of the brassica family. Kale comes in blue-green, reddish green, and red varieties and may have flat or curly leaves. All types of kale have thick stems. It has a mild cabbage flavor when cooked. To store: Place kale unwashed, wrapped in a sealed plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Best used very fresh, but may last for a week. To prep: Wash leaves in basin of lukewarm water to remove grit. If your greens have thick stems, you must remove them. Fold each leaf in half and slice out the stem. Then stack the leaves up and slice them diagonally into 1-inch-wide strips. To use: Sauté in olive oil. Use in soups, spaghetti sauce, pesto, quiche, or kale chips. You can also eat the stems. To freeze: Blanch washed greens for 2-3 minutes. Rinse in cold ice water to stop the cooking process, drain, and pack into airtight containers. Stems can also be frozen.
NAPA CABBAGE - Napa or Chinese cabbage has tall leaves, and the heads are not as tightly bunched as green cabbage. To store: Place whole in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Use quickly before the leaves yellow. To prep: To prepare the entire head at once, cut it in half lengthwise, remove the core, and chop as desired. You can slice the leaves from the stem. Chop the stems and use them in stir fry. To use: Napa is great sliced and sautéed with onions and garlic. It goes well in a stir fry. For a caramelized flavor, cut the cabbage into wedges and roast them until the cabbage is tender. Or slice in half and grill the entire wedge until charred. To freeze: Cut into quarters, wedges, or shred it. Cook in boiling pot of water for 90 seconds. Douse in ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain the cabbage and dry as much as possible. Place in Ziplock freezer bags and remove as much air as possible.
ONIONS - To store: Red and yellow storage onions may be kept in any cool, dark, dry place with adequate air circulation for several months if they are cured. Do not store them next to potatoes. Fresh onion will need to be stored in a plastic bag in the fridge and use within 2 weeks. To prep: Peel the onion’s skin and cut off the roots and top. Save your papery onion skins in a bag in your freezer reserved for making vegetable stock. If you encounter a little rot in your onion, just cut away the bad sections. If there are a few black spots, rinse the whole onion in cool water and rub the spots off with your thumbs. To freeze: Cut or slice onions to desired size and place in freezer Ziplock bag. Remove all the air and seal. It helps to freeze them in 2-3 cup increments.
POTATOES - We have partnered with a neighboring farmer in Springfield to bring you these potatoes, grown using only organic methods. To store: Keep unwashed potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard. They will keep for two weeks at room temperature. Light turns them green, and proximity to onions causes them to sprout. Don’t put them in the refrigerator, as low temperatures convert the starch to sugars. To prep: Scrub well and cut off any sprouts or green skin. Peeling is a matter of preference. In soups, the skins may separate from the flesh and float in the broth, but when baked, pan- fried or roasted, the skins acquire a crisp, crunchy texture. To cook: Boil potatoes in water for 20-30 minutes until tender. If desired, mash them. Use potatoes in soups, hash browns, and salads. Roast sliced or whole small potatoes with fresh herbs, salt, and olive oil at 400 degrees until tender, about 20 minutes. To freeze: Cool cooked or mashed potatoes and freeze them in a Ziplock bag.
RUTABAGA - Rutabaga is a close relative of the turnip, though larger, sweeter and more tan. They have yellow flesh, with a slight purple tinge near the top. It can be used as a substitute for turnips. To store: For short-term storage, stand upright in a container Keep unwashed rutabagas in a plastic bag in the fridge for a month or longer. To prep: Take a thin slice off the top and bottom. Peeling the skin is optional. To cook: Rutabaga can be grated raw into salad. Or steam 1-inch chunks for 35 minutes until tender. Mash and serve with butter and pepper. This vegetable really shines when it is roasted in olive oil at 400 F. You can also boil rutabaga in 1-inch chunks for 25 minutes until tender, and add to casseroles or stuffing mixtures, or mash cooked rutabaga with carrots and potatoes. To freeze: Freeze by cutting into cubes and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool, drain and pack into freezer containers or freezer bags.
SWEET POTATOES - To store: Keep unwashed sweet potatoes in a cool, dark, place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard, and use them within a few weeks. Do not store sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. To prep: Scrub them well. The skin can be eaten, but peel them if you will be eating them raw. If you will be pureeing or mashing them, bake or boil them whole and then remove the skins. To cook: Try raw sweet potatoes cut into sticks for dipping, or grate them into salads. To bake, place whole potatoes (poked with a few holes) each wrapped in foil in a pan and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes until the centers are soft. Boil whole sweet potatoes in salted water until very tender, 25-40 minutes. Then mash. To freeze: Place puree into ice cube containers and freeze. When frozen, put cubes in Ziploc freezer bags.
WINTER SQUASH - One of these varieties: Butternut, Red Kuri, or Spaghetti. The first two squash varieties have thin skin and orange to yellow flesh. Spaghetti squash has yellow skin and yellow, stringy flesh that holds its spaghetti shape when cooked. These squashes are harvested in the fall. To store: Store in a cool, dry, dark place at around 50 degrees, but make sure they do not freeze. Under the best conditions, they should keep for 3-4 months. They get sweeter in storage as the starch converts to sugar. To use: To bake, slice in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds, and place facedown on cookie sheet. Add 1/2 inch of water to pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour until shells are soft and starting to collapse. Remove from shells, and for spaghetti squash, fill with butter and garlic. For the other two, fill with butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, seasoning or fillings. To freeze: Pour pureed squash into ice cube trays and freeze. Pop the frozen cubes into freezer Ziplock bags.