Farm News (09/16/14)


Reminders & Announcements

  • This week we are delivering vegetables and fruit.
  • Next week we will deliver vegetables, fruit, dairy, meat & eggs.
  • We will make our final Summer Share deliveries the week of Oct 6th.
  • The Fall Share starts the week of October 13th and runs through the week of Nov 17th.
This Week’s Vegetable Share
  • Radishes
  • Acorn Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Red & Yellow Onions
  • Leafy Asian Cabbage (Tokyo Bekana)
  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Chives
  • Romano Beans or Green Beans
  • Tomatoes

This Week's Fruit Share

  • 'Encore'  Peaches
  • 'Empire' Apples
  • Seedless Concord Grapes

Fall Festival at the Farm in Grayslake
Together with the Liberty Prairie Foundation and several other local farmers, we will be celebrating another successful farming season at our farm in Grayslake. Please join us from 10 am to 1 pm on Saturday, October 18th.

There will be hayride tours of the farm at 10:15 and 11:15. Learn about topics such as composting, fermentation,pastured poultry and check out a display of farm-themed art courtesy of the Lexicon of Sustainability, which explores sustainability concepts through art installations throughout the U.S.

The farm address is 32140 Harris Road in Grayslake. Enter the farm through the Prairie Crossing subdivision and follow the “Farm Event” signs. Post-event traffic will exit through the gate, allowing access to Route 120.

Field Notes
Last week's newsletter made mention of the fact that peach season had come to an end. This was, as you have probably figured out by now, a misprint. We had forgotten that there was one last peach variety to pick. 'Encore' (fitting name, don't you think?) is a late-maturing variety whose flavor is every bit as good as some of the mid-season varieties. 

Though we're pretty confident that this really is the final week of peach season, we're not nearly as certain about when tomato season will end. In a typical year our tomato crop will continue to produce pretty heavily right through the end of September and even into October. This September, however, has been so wet and chilly that plant health has suffered and fruits have been very slow to mature. A stretch of warm, sunny days would allow us to pick tomatoes for another week or two, but we'll just have to see what Mother Nature has in store for us.

The annual squash harvest has officially commenced! Our squash crop is harvested all at once and stored in big wooden bins until it's time to fill CSA boxes. This year we're starting with acorn and spaghetti squash, and then we'll move on to butternut and delicata. Spaghetti squash is new to our CSA lineup and has already become a favorite in the farm kitchen. The basic method for cooking spaghetti squash can be found in the recipe section below.

Acorn squash can be prepared in many different ways.
Try slicing it in rings and roasting it with a maple syrup or brown sugar glaze. You could also roast acorn squash halves and then scoop out the cooked flesh for use in soups. Another of our favorites is to bake the squash and then use it to make quick breads and muffins.

Winter squash does best when stored around 50 degrees. It can be stored at room temperature, but we only recommend that if you are going to cook it within 2 weeks. Otherwise, it's best to refrigerate it.

Concord grapes ripen in September and October and are the type that are used to make grape juice. Some of Mick's grapes are sold to Welch's for juice, but he has reserved the nicest ones for us and for his farmers' market customers. The Concord is a “slip-skin” variety of grape (as opposed to “fixed-skin”), which means that the grape pops right out of its jacket when you give it a little squeeze. When snacking on Concords, some people like to eat the entire grape while others prefer to discard the skin.

                                                     (photo by CSA member Maryanne Natarajan)

This Week’s Featured Recipes

Potage Crécy (Creamy Carrot Soup)
from Martha Rose Shulman in The New York Times, January 22, 2009

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 pounds sweet carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon sugar
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
6 tablespoons rice, preferably Arborio
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives for garnish
1 cup toasted croutons for garnish

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium-low heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots and 1/2 teaspoon salt, cover partially and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender and fragrant. Add the rice, stock, salt (about 1 1/2 teaspoons), and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until the carrots are tender and the soup is fragrant.

Blend the soup either with a hand blender, in batches in a blender (cover the top with a towel and hold it down to avoid hot splashes), or through a food mill fitted with the fine blade. The rice should no longer be recognizable (it thickens the soup). Return to the pot. Stir and taste. Adjust salt, add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper, and heat through. If the sweetness of the carrots needs a boost, add another pinch of sugar. Serve, garnishing each bowl with croutons and a sprinkle of chives.

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Ginger Pork & Asian Cabbage
8 ounces rice noodles
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch leafy cabbage (Tokyo Bekana), leaves and stems thinly sliced
1 pound ground pork (or ground chicken)
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
4-5 radishes, cut into matchsticks
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 limes, halved
chopped fresh chives for garnish
additional lime wedges for garnish

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add noodles; stir, and remove pot from heat. Let stand until tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, and rinse with cold water.Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok or large pan over medium-high heat. Add half of the Tokyo Bekana. Cook until slightly wilted, 1 minute. Set aside. Repeat with remaining Tokyo Bekana.

Reduce heat to medium. Add remaining tablespoon oil, the pork, garlic, ginger, radishes and onion. Cook, stirring constantly, until pork is thoroughly cooked. Stir in fish sauce. Toss in rice noodles and Tokyo Bekana. Add soy sauce to taste and remove from heat. Squeeze limes over noodles. Garnish with chopped chives and additional lime wedges. Serve immediately.

Spaghetti Squash with Fresh Tomatoes & Herbs
1 spaghetti squash (2-3 lbs)
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 cup diced fresh tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh chopped chives

Preheat oven to 375°F. Halve squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray; lay halves, flesh side down, on sheet. Bake 35 minutes or until you can easily pierce shell. Remove squash from oven. Scrape crosswise to pull strands from shell. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle fresh tomatoes on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and chives.

Romano Beans Marinated in Olive Oil & Wine Vinegar 
1 pound fresh Romano beans, trimmed
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons wine vinegar (red or white)
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add beans and cook until nearly tender, about 4 minutes. Drain well. Place beans and onions in a bowl. Pour olive oil and vinegar over beans and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.

Next week's harvest (our best guess)... pears, raspberries, plums, broccoli, green onions, beets, dill, potatoes, mushrooms, sage, tomatoes, white salad turnips and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer