this week in your csa share {october 2}

Welcome to week 18 of the P&C CSA!

Here’s what’s in the box:

  • 2 Siskiyou Sweet Onions
  • 3 Heads of Garlic
  • Broccoli
  • French Filet Green Beans
  • Fingerling Potatoes
  • Acorn Squash – though most winter squash are cut in half and baked face-down, acorn squash is great baked face-up with some butter and brown sugar or maple syrup
  • Fennel
  • Tomatoes – These are the last of the tomatoes folks.  A few heirloom slicers and a handful of orange banana paste tomatoes.
  • Butter Lettuce

This week we’re asking you to fill out the Pitchfork & Crow CSA survey which has been e-mailed to you.  We’re nearly two-thirds of the way through the season and Jeff and I are eager to hear what your thoughts have been thus far.  Many of you have heard our own reflections already.  Our hopes for bringing back the heirloom sweet corn failed miserably.  Our initial cauliflower choice was also a dud, though our faith in open-pollinated cauliflower was renewed once we planted the variety known as ‘Amazing’.  We missed a lettuce succession which resulted in a lettuce shortage.  An irrigation issue took out a good portion of our fall brassica planting including cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli.  Also, we would have loved to see more folks at our on-farm events, though we know schedules are often difficult to wrangle.

On the other hand we’ve been pleasantly surprised many times over this year.  We had a great time getting to know the folks that did make it out to the farm and it’s been fun checking in with everyone each week at the pick-up.  Weekly we’re thankful for the plants that continue to provide us fantastic vegetables such as the kale that we continue to harvest from that was planted back in the spring.  It’s been a trial year as we’ve tested out new-to-us open-pollinated varieties, the best part of which has been discovering varieties that don’t just hold up against common hybrids but exceed our expectations such as a few of the carrots, broccoli, and cabbages.

Of course if you’d like to hear more of our thoughts on the CSA we’d be more than happy to share them.  However, we’d really like to hear what you have to say about it.  As we begin planning for next year we want to incorporate your feedback to ensure an even better season in year 2 of the P&C CSA.

Enjoy the veggies this week!

Your farmers,
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler

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Reminder: CSA Open House & Pumpkin Patch Event

We’ll be hosting an open house and pumpkin patch event at the farm on Sunday October 17th from 3pm to 5pm.  We promise farm tours, tasty snacks, and pumpkins of all sizes and colors!  We hope you’ll mark your calendar and plan to come out to tour the field and choose a pumpkin!

As a side note, there is a large farm down the road from us that offers the traditional ‘pumpkin patch’ experience including hay rides, a pumpkin cannon, corn maze etc.  Stop by to see us and check in on your vegetables in the field, than take the kids to the big pumpkin patch to round out the trip.  Here’s a link to their website: http://www.heiserfarms.com/index.html.

___________________________

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Recipe inspiration for this week’s vegetables:

Previously posted fennel recipes –

Fettuccine and Fennel Alfredo

Fennel with Butter and Cheese

Roasted Fennel

Fennel, Bean, and Pasta Salad

Barley Soup with Greens, Fennel, Lemon, and Dill

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Green Bean & Fennel Ragout

3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 cups chopped onions
2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1-1/2 pounds green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
2 cups sliced fennel bulb (1/4-inch thick slices)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pinch of saffron threads
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or saucepan. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent but not browned (about 5 minutes.) Add the water and tomatoes and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the green beans, fennel, thyme, saffron, orange zest, lemon juice, and a touch of salt and pepper. Cover the pot and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the green beans and fennel are tender (15 to 20 minutes.) Add more salt and pepper if needed and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

From elliemay.com, http://www.elliemay.com/vegetables/GreenBeanAndFennelRagout.html

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Acorn Squash with Wild Mushroom Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or currants
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 4 ounces fresh wild mushrooms (such as shiitake), stemmed, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1 cup fresh whole wheat breadcrumbs

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place squash cut side down in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Cover dish tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high 10 minutes. Pierce plastic to let steam escape. Uncover and turn squash halves cut side up. Season cavities with salt and pepper.

Combine dried cranberries and hot water in small bowl. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion and sage and sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add breadcrumbs and stir until crumbs brown lightly, about 3 minutes. Mix in cranberries with soaking liquid. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Mound stuffing into squash halves. Dot with remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Bake until heated through and crisp on top, about 10 minutes.

From epicurious.com, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Acorn-Squash-with-Wild-Mushroom-Cranberry-Stuffing-1042

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Acorn Squash Soup

2 acorn squash
4-5 cups mushroom or vegetable stock (depending on how thick you like your soup)
1 cup milk

1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup fennel root
1 chopped lemongrass stalk
1/4 cup minced galangal
2 tbsp minced ginger
1 sprig rosemary
2 tsp nutmeg
3 tbsp butter/olive oil

.

Topping

1/4 cup minced fennel
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tbsp butter

.

1. Cut the acorn squash into quarters and coat it with a little olive oil. Top the squash with the one third of the aromatics (reserving the rest for later) – onions, celery, carrots, ginger, galangal, lemongrass (bruise this with a knife to release the oils first), and rosemary. Roast this in the oven at 400 degrees F till fully cooked (approx 40 minutes).

2. Heat some butter in a heavy bottomed soup pot (I like cast iron dutch ovens or enameled cast iron) and add the remaining ginger, galangal, rosemary and lemongrass. Don’t let these herbs/spices cook too much – just let them get hot and release some flavor. Toss in the remaining mirepoix and fennel and saute till the carrots are soft. Add the nutmeg.

3. Add the mushroom stock and salt the contents of your soup pot. Keep the heat at a low simmer.

4. Pull the acorn squash out of the oven. Let them cool a little, then peel the skin off – all you need to do is gently tug at it and the flesh will separate from the skin. Taste the aromatics in the roasting pan- if they’ve browned too much and taste a little bitter, discard them. Otherwise, it’s just more flavor in the soup! Add the contents of the roasting pan to the soup pot.

5. Once the flavors have melded together a little, it’s time to force them to meld even more. Enter your trusty kitchen blender – I can’t say enough about Vitamix. Since K and I have started using a Vitamix (thank you, in-laws!), I have never had to strain a soup! If you have a less powerful blender, just blend for a longer time – sometimes as long as 3 to 5 minutes. Grrrowwrrrr! until the mixture is extremely smooth.

6. Return the mixture to the soup pot and stir in a cup of milk – you could always whisk in a half cup of creme fraiche, but your arteries will thank you for using fat-free milk.

7. For the topping, fry the fennel in some butter until it becomes crisp, add the garlic for a minute (garlic cooks quickly and turns bitter even more quickly). Salt and pepper to taste.

8. Top the soup with the fennel mixture, and a few fennel fronds – Voila!

Notes from the author:

  • Substitute all butter with olive oil for a lower cholesterol levels.
  • If you don’t have access to galangal, just skip it – ginger is NOT a substitute. The two roots look a bit similar but do not taste similar. Besides, there’s already ginger in the recipe!
  • If you’re not up for lots of chopping, you can leave out the onions/celery/carrots. They should already be in your stock. I prefer adding the mirepoix in both – kind of a double-strong stock. Besides, the additional veggies are good for you too! This recipe is something your mother will love – it makes you eat your vegetables and drink your milk.
  • Similarly, you don’t necessarily have to add the aromatics to the roasting pan – it’s just really nice how the aromatics roast into the squash.
  • Buy a Vitamix. It’s awesome!

From Married to a Desi, http://www.marriedtoadesi.com/2010/01/acorn-squash-soup.html

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