Farm News 9/6/16
Important Announcements & Reminders
- This is a pickup week for members registered for weekly and biweekly vegetable & fruit shares.
- This is also an egg and dairy week for members picking up at the farm and at neighborhood pickup sites.
- If you have any of our plastic fruit or vegetable boxes, please return them to your pickup site ASAP. We are running low and would appreciate having them back. Thanks so much!
- Upcoming dates to keep in mind:
- September 20-22 Final summer meat deliveries
- October 4-6 Final summer veg, fruit, egg & dairy deliveries
- October 11-13 First fall vegetable deliveries
- October 18-20 First fall meat, egg & dairy deliveries
- November 15-17 Final fall season deliveries
This Week's Vegetable Share
- Heirloom and/or Beefsteak Tomatoes
- Spaghetti Squash
- Sweet Italian Frying Peppers
- Rainbow Swiss Chard
- Head Lettuce
- Seedless Concord Grapes
- Golden Supreme Apples
- Parmesan from Nordic Creamery
- Baby Swiss from Alp & Dell Cheese
- Garlic Basil Butter from Nordic Creamery
- Plain Yogurt from Country View Dairy
Monday morning found us feeling refreshed in body and spirit after a long weekend in the beautiful Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. Matt and I had spent the week leading up to our trip going in opposite directions as we hurried around the farm, preparing animals, crops and people for our four-day absence. By the time we found our seats on the plane, it seemed like it had been days since we'd had a conversation lasting more than five minutes.
The long weekend away provided the perfect chance for these two slightly-frazzled farmers to reconnect. It's not often that we get to work side-by-side anymore, preoccupied as we are with managing many different projects. That's why I was so excited on Monday morning when, realizing that our bare-bones holiday staff was going to have trouble finishing the day's to-do list, Matt asked me to spend the afternoon harvesting squash with him. Just the two of us. My heart was all aflutter! And so I half-convinced myself that our vacation had extended into Monday as we worked together, just the two of us, hauling in bins of beautiful winter squashes.
It put me in such a good mood that I convinced Matt to let me take the first-ever selfie of the two of us. Leaning up against the John Deere in the late-afternoon sun and grinning for our silly self-portrait, it occurred to me that while this might not be everybody's idea of the perfect Labor Day activity, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wondered what Jen and Jeff might be up to at the Grayslake farm, and so I sent Jen a text asking if she would snap a photo showing what the two of them were doing that afternoon.
This is what she sent back. I love this picture! Jen informed me that she and Jeff were out in one of the carrot fields trying to decide which carrot varieties to dig for this week's CSA box. Again, it might not be everybody's idea of a good time, but at this time of year on the farm, a stroll through the carrot field practically counts as a date!
Here's hoping that your holiday was a good one and that you were able to spend some time with the ones you love!
Notes from the Farm Kitchen
Spaghetti squash (the light-yellow squash in the picture below) has become a real late-summer favorite on the farm. Here's a simple method for preparing it. Preheat the 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.
The texture of spaghetti squash is a bit like angel hair pasta. Although it definitely has a squash flavor, it's very mild compared to other winter squashes. It can be topped with marinara sauce, a bit of butter and garlic or a just a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Concord grapes are another favorite fall treat. They ripen in September 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 some of the nicest ones for us and for his farmers' market customers. Concord grapes make a great snack, but they do require a bit of work. They are a “slip-skin” variety of grape (as opposed to “fixed-skin”), which means that they pop right out of their jackets when you give them a little squeeze.
Recipes from the Farm Kitchen
Carrots with Pine Nuts, Raisins & Parsley
6-8 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 pine nuts
large pinch of sugar
small handful of parsley
Put the carrots in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 6-8 mins until just tender, then drain. Melt the butter in the same pan, add the pine nuts and raisins, and cook for 2 mins until the pine nuts start to lightly brown. Return the carrots to the pan with the sugar and parsley. Season with salt to taste. Toss everything to coat and serve warm.
Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Apple & Swiss Chard
2 teaspoons olive oil
5 large Swiss chard leaves, stems removed and leaves thinly chopped
2/3 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 heaping tablespoon finely minced shallot
4 1/2-inch slices whole grain bread
1 thinly sliced apple
1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard (optional)
Heat olive oil in a medium cast iron skillet and sautee Swiss chard 5-6 minutes. Transfer chard to a small bowl and set aside. Meanwhile, combine grated cheese and finely chopped shallot. On two slices of the bread, divide the mustard and spread to all edges of the bread. Layer slices of apple on top, followed by cheese/shallot mixture and then chard. Top with the remaining slices of bread.
Return cast iron skillet to medium-high heat on the stovetop. Drizzle olive oil on top of the sandwiches and place in the hot skillet, oiled side down. Cook 2-4 minutes, or until golden brown. Drizzle oil on top and flip the sandwich over, cook for another 2-4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Cut in half and serve warm.
Baked Spaghetti Squash with Parsley & Garlic Butter
1 small spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup finely minced parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Lemony Chickpeas with Tomatoes, Carrots & Chard
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup dry white wine
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
Next Week's Harvest (our best guess)... radishes, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, potatoes, cilantro, apples and more!
- Margaret Sheaffer