Farm News 9/27/16

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Important Announcements & Reminders

  • This is a pickup week for members registered for weekly vegetable & weekly fruit shares.
  • Next week we will also deliver eggs and dairy to neighborhood pickup sites.

This Week's Vegetable Share

  • Spinach
  • Green Onions
  • Butternut Squash
  • Curly Kale
  • Radishes
  • White Salad Turnips
  • Fennel
  • Cabbage
This Week's Fruit Share
  • Bosc Pears
  • Empire & Gala Apples
  • Niagara (White) Grapes

Jen's Journal
For me, autumn is a time of welcome change.  We move from rapid pace decision making in the field to a slower pace of decision making indoors.  In the summer time, Jeff and I stand in the field together and decide on questions like, "Will this arugula benefit from one more days worth of growth or do we need to harvest it right now?"   In the fall time, we sit together with maps and calculators and consider questions like, "When can we plan to harvest 1500 lbs of parsnips and 600 lbs of rutabagas?"  
 
When we sit around the kitchen table together to plan the upcoming autumn harvests, I often wonder if family farms across the Midwest also relish these these same cycles of weather, harvest, change and togetherness.  I also wonder if these are the same conversations our grandparents had around this time of year. 
 
Jeff comes from Illinois farmers on both sides of his family.  Jeff's maternal grandfather grew up in the early 1900s on a family farm in Sugar Grove, Illinois where his family raised corn, soy beans, chickens and livestock.  Jeff's paternal great grandparents farmed corn in Atlanta, Illinois.  His great grandfather, Arthur, and his brother (pictured here), helped to bring in the autumn corn harvests, just as we've asked our boys to help with the big fall vegetable harvests.  
 
When I look at the pictures, it makes me proud that we can continue these family traditions with our children.  Here's to a great fall harvest season!
 

 
Food Notes: Making the Most of your Share
We are big fans of some of the newer apple varieties such as Honey Crisp (which will be included in next week's fruit share), but a number of old-fashioned varieties will always have a special place in our hearts. While the Empire apple is not exactly an antique variety (it was introduced in 1966), it does bear a resemblance to McIntosh, one of our old-fashioned favorites. It is juicy and bit tart like a McIntosh but slightly sweeter. It's perfect for snacking, but it also works really nicely for saucing and baking. Remember to refrigerate your apples until you are ready to eat them.
 

Of all the winter squashes, butternut is probably the easiest to work with. It has thin skin, dense sweet flesh and relatively few seeds. Store your squash in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. There are probably a hundred ways to use butternut squash. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Peel, cube, boil and puree. Add pureed squash to pancake batter, creamy soups or smoothies.
  • Peel, slice and roast. Add roasted squash to fajitas, risotto or vegetarian lasagna.
  • Peel and grate. Add grated squash to latkes, breakfast hash or muffin mixes.

Recipes from the Farm Kitchen
 

Cider Poached Pears
zest of 1 lemon, cut into thin strips
1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
2 cups apple cider
5 bosc pears, peeled and cored from bottom

In a large saucepan combine lemon zest, cinnamon stick, allspice, pepper, cider and 3/4 cup of water. Add pears and simmer until pears are easily pierced with the tip of a fork, 15-20 minutes. Remove pears from liquid and transfer to a bowl.

Raise heat to high and boil until liquid is reduced to a syrup, about 15 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. To serve, slice off a sliver from the bottoms of the pears so they stand upright, and pour syrup over them.


Shaved Fennel, Radish & Apple Salad
1/4 cup fresh grapefruit or orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large medium fennel bulb
6 radishes
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the grapefruit (or orange) juice, lemon juice and honey. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, whisking until well blended. Set aside.

Cut off the feathery tops of the fennel bulb and discard, reserving some fronds for garnish. Cut the bulb into quarters and slice very thinly. Quarter the apple and slice very thinly. Add the radishes and apple to the bowl with the fennel. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss well to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Garnish the salad with the reserved fennel fronds. Serve immediately. www.blog.williams.sonoma.com


North Indian Spiced Cabbage & Fennel
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 medium fennel bulb, halved and thinly sliced
1 large onion, halved and sliced into half-moons
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon garam masala or curry powder

Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel seeds and cumin seeds, and sauté 30 seconds. Add fresh fennel and onion, and season with salt, if desired. Sauté 5 minutes. Carefully pile cabbage into pan, cover, and cook 15 minutes, or until cabbage has cooked down, stirring often. Add cayenne pepper, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 20 to 30 minutes, or until vegetables are browned and caramelized. Stir in chickpeas, lemon juice, and garam masala, and cook 5 minutes more, or until chickpeas are heated through. www.vegetariantimes.com


Braised Kale with Butternut Squash & Bacon

1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion (cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise)
3 cloves garlic (thinly sliced)
pinch red pepper flakes
4 cups diced butternut squash (3/4-inch dice)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth (or more as needed)
1 bunch kale, ribs removed, chopped into 1-inch pieces

Heat a large skillet over medium heat; when hot, add the oil and bacon. Cook, stirring frequently, until the bacon is crisp. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Add the onion to the skillet with the bacon fat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes, and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes.

Add the butternut and broth to the skillet and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the kale, cover and cook until the butternut and kale are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, adding more broth if needed. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot. www.earthboundfarm.com


Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Kale
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
1 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 8 cups)
1 17.5-ounce package potato gnocchi
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the squash and cook, stirring, until slightly soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the garlic is soft, about 2 more minutes.

Preheat the broiler. Add the chicken broth to the skillet. When it starts to simmer, stir in the kale and cook until it wilts slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the gnocchi, stirring to coat. Cover and cook until the gnocchi are just tender, about 5 minutes. Uncover and stir in 1/4 cup parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan; transfer to the broiler and cook until golden and bubbly, about 3 minutes.

Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... fresh ginger, apple cider, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, yellow onions, celery root, peppers, honey crisp apples and more!

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  • Margaret Sheaffer