Welcome to the 18th week of the Pitchfork & Crow Summer CSA! Here’s what’s in the share:
- Head Lettuce
- Garlic – Yeah, yeah, we had a weird garlic year. Here’s some more tasty garlic but again, it won’t store as long as other garlic so use it up.
- Bok Choy
- Jimmy Nardellos Sweet Frying Peppers – Some of our favorite sweet peppers!
- Jalapeno Hot Peppers
- Acorn Winter Squash – This variety of acorn squash is called Gill’s Golden Pippin and after a taste test last fall we knew we had to add it to the planting plan.
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Tomatillos – It’s salsa verde time!
- Graventstein Apples
Wednesday marks the official change of the season with the arrival of the autumnal equinox and it’s not a day too soon. We’re in full fall mode here on the farm. The winter squash harvest has proceeded thanks to some nifty new harvest bins Jeff constructed and we continue to make headway on the apple/pear harvest. The jack-o-lantern pumpkins have nearly all oranged up and are awaiting the CSA Pumpkin Patch day on October 17th. Hopefully you’ll be able to make it out to the farm to choose one for yourself.
This past week an article came across my Facebook newsfeed that caught my attention. It was an opinion piece from a self-proclaimed “failed” CSA subscriber published in the Chicago Tribune. The author writes about her struggles through the season to keep up with her CSA share. As CSA members you’re probably familiar with the list of common CSA-related complaints including too much food, unfamiliar vegetables, and the guilt associated with wasting uneaten vegetables. As CSA farmers it’s good to hear that these issues exist for folks and we’ve tried to address similar concerns in our own CSA program over the years.
The “too much food” issue I can understand to some degree. Once upon a time we were CSA members challenged to eat through a full share each week and it was indeed a challenge at times. The trade-off was that we were introduced to some new-to-us vegetables along the way that we would have never purchased on our own. Also we got to experiment with unfamiliar vegetables several times throughout the season that we may have written off if we’d tried once and didn’t love. But of course that was part of the adventure of the commitment we’d made to the farm.
The “guilt” issue associated with wasting unused vegetables is a complaint that’s harder for me to understand. Guilt is a tricky feeling that’s difficult to remedy for someone else. What’s the source of the guilt? In this piece the author suggests she feels guilty wasting vegetables that were lovingly grown and packed by her chosen CSA farmers. I’d bet her farmers were just happy to be paid to grow food and give her the opportunity to eat vegetables. Eating them all and enjoying them all is just a bonus.
The author’s realization that CSAs are not for everyone is an excellent point. Joining a CSA is a big commitment to a farm and, like most things, not all CSA farms are created equally. The experience can differ from farm to farm and writing off all CSAs after a single bad season isn’t the answer. You wouldn’t stop seeking medical help if a single doctor wasn’t the right fit, you’d find a doctor that was right for you. The author suggests she’ll be supporting her farmers at the Farmers’ Market in the future, which is a great option for purchasing vegetables and supporting farms without making a season-long commitment. For folks seeking to forge a relationship with a farm, their food, and the intersection of the two, I’d say CSAs are still the way to go. I’d love to hear your thoughts from the member’s point of view! How has the season been going so far?
Enjoy the vegetables and we’ll see you next week!
Jeff Bramlett and Carri Heisler
Here are a few recipes to get you inspired:
Apple Bok Choy Salad
- 6 cups finely chopped bok choy
- 1 large apple, shredded
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy, hemp, or almond milk
- 1/2 cup raw cashews or 1/4 cup raw cashew butter
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Combine bok choy, apple, carrot, and chopped onion in a large bowl.
Blend soy milk, cashews, vinegar, raisins, and mustard in a food processor or high-powered blender. Add desired amount to chopped vegetables.
From Epicurious via Eat to Love Cookbook by Joel Fuhrman, M.D., http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/apple-bok-choy-salad-56389418
Curried Cauliflower Apple Soup
- 1 small onion, chopped fine
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 large Granny Smith apple
- 4 cups cauliflower flowerets (about 1 small head)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart saucepan cook onion, garlic, and curry powder in butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened.
Peel and core apple. Chop apple coarse and add to curry mixture. Add cauliflower, broth, and water and simmer, covered, until cauliflower is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.
In a blender or food processor purée soup in batches until very smooth, transferring as puréed to another saucepan. Stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste and heat over moderate heat until hot.
From Epicurious via Gourmet, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/curried-cauliflower-apple-soup-11367
Pork Chops and Squash with Pumpkin Seed Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 3 pounds winter squash (such as acorn, kabocha, delicata, or butternut), halved, seeded, cut into 1″ wedges
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 4 1″-thick bone-in pork chops
- 1/2 small garlic clove, finely grated
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro plus leaves for garnish
- 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 425°F. Spread out pumpkin seeds on a large rimmed baking sheet. Toast, tossing once, until just beginning to darken, about 4 minutes. Let cool. Coarsely chop; set aside.
Toss squash with 1 tablespoon oil on a large rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast squash, turning occasionally, until golden brown and tender, 35-40 minutes.
When squash has been roasting for 30 minutes, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and cook until brown, 5-8 minutes. Turn over and cook until pork is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
Whisk garlic, 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice, reserved toasted pumpkin seeds, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a small bowl to combine. Season vinaigrette with salt, pepper, and more lime juice, if desired.
Divide squash and pork among plates; spoon vinaigrette over. Top with cilantro leaves.
From Epicurious via Bon Appétit, http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/pork-chops-and-squash-with-pumpkin-seed-vinaigrette-51148610