Fall CSA: 3rd Pick Up

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Potatoes and Onions on their way to the root cellar.

We still have a lot of vegetables! Our 10×10 cooler is almost full of carrots (mostly carrots), beets, radish, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, celeriac and cabbage. Our greenhouse has several tons of butternut squash and sweet potatoes, plus a few other varieties, and is growing lettuce and spinach.  The field still has more than an acre of crop to harvest, including lettuce, arugula, cilantro, kale, swiss chard, spinach, dill, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower (fingers crossed) and more carrots.

We borrow root cellar space from a friend (really fancy, built last year, “state of the art”) in Dover and we are allowed 2 pallets stacked 7 black crates high.  Last week we brought onions and potatoes, which stored really well there last year, 70 crates, roughly 3,300 pounds.  I picked up almost every crate twice in that process and had a lot of help from Erin and Kevin and our friends who lend us the space.  Yikes.  Plus we had to drive the produce to Dover, and now we’ll have to go back and forth to get them for the winter shares (yes, all of those potatoes and onions are just for the winter share).

Not having secure land tenure is the reasons for this great vegetable shuffle.  It is incredibly inefficient and my back won’t tolerate it much longer.  If we owned land, or at least had a long-term lease, we would build the storage infrastructure we need (and make sure we could put down entire pallet of produce with a tractor, or at least use a pallet-jack). I’d love a concrete floor.  Except I just saw this reminder on BBC News yesterday about how our culture’s desire for concrete is one of the many ways we are rapidly destroying our planet.  Luckily a quick google search shows I can source recycled concrete when the time comes.

All this is a lead up, to let you know that we are going to be giving you large quantities of sweet potatoes, onions and regular potatoes this week.  We had great yields on these crop this year and just do not have the make-shift storage needed to keep them all.  We will provide paper bags for the sweet potatoes and potatoes.  I wouldn’t wash them right away when you get home, they are better kept with soil on them until you are ready to use them.  But you can and if you use them all by the end of the Fall share (mid-December) they should be fine.  Keep the potatoes in the dark though, sunlight causes them to turn green. Onions are fine on the counter or in a cabinet, and we’ve got some nice variety so they will look pretty.

You’ll be picking up:

8 lbs of sweet potatoes (store in paper bag in cabinet)
8 lbs of potatoes (store in paper bag in cabinet, or basement, a cool place that doesn’t freeze)
5 lbs of onions (store on counter, or in bag near potatoes)
Plus the rest of the share.

This is your allotment of these items for the rest of the fall share.  For those of you worried about having space for these, know that they are pretty dense and don’t take up that much space.  Plus, you can feel really good about utilizing the temperature controlled space of your home to reduce your carbon footprint!!  Plus, you have more control over when and how you use these items.

This means your last two fall shares might feel a little smaller (about 7 lbs smaller each), but its because you’ll have already picked up of some of the vegetables this week.

We’ll have some cool varieties to choose from if you want to pack you own bag, and we will be pre-packing bags for those of you who want to grab and go.  Our sweet potatoes are all the same this year (the white and Japanese varieties are cool, but the yields are so low by comparison that we just couldn’t justify growing them again this year).

We’ll mark the varieties on the onions and potatoes so you know what you are picking from.  There is a variety of potato called pinto gold which we strongly recommend. And a flat white onion called cippolini which is definitely worth a try.

What’s in the rest of the share

Brussels Sprouts
Maybe Broccoli/Cauliflower choice
Carrots, 2lbs
Mix and Match Choice 2lbs: Rutabaga, kohlrabi, purple top turnip, beets, watermelon radish
Lots of lettuce, small heads and lettuce mix
Choice, 2 items: Kale, chard, spinach, escarole, frisee, cilantro, maybe a few other items
Winter Squash (5-6lbs): Butternut, pie pumpkin, carnival
Sweet potatoes
Potatoes
Onions

Recipe Ideas

Brussels Sprouts.  The sprouts are small and tight this year.  I prefer the larger, looser sprouts, personally, but these poor plants suffered through what we all thought was the July/August Brussels Sprouts Apocalypse.  No rain for about 3 weeks after planting and the WORST flea beetle pressure I have ever witnessed.  Somehow they pulled through, a couple varieties better than others, and we’ve had a few good frosts, so we are pretty excited about this first harvest.  We give them to you on the stalk.  It’s very easy to break them off with your fingers, which is what we recommend, or you can use a knife.  We’ll have a station a the farm so you can break them off there and leave the stalk for us to compost (we really want the stalks to be composted so if you don’t have a home compost, please consider leaving the stalks). This is a fun activity for your kids.

Storage Radish. We grow larger radishes that keep well in a cooler for winter use.  They are sweeter than their summer cousins and great shredded on salads or even cut up on a veggie plate.  Plus they are beautiful!

Rutabaga.  We didn’t actually manage to get any of these out for you guys last time, but there are lots now!  These are one of my favorite fall crops.  I love to roast them cut into small cubes with oil, maybe add a little thyme and salt.  They are great mixed with other veggies for roasted roots.

Chocolate Beet Cake. For those of you who have been with me for a while, you know I love chocolate beet cake but I haven’t made it in a while.  But after Harvey asked for red cake the other day, I realized I had the answer (the batter looks more red than the result, which looks like chocolate cake).  I had some leftover small beets that I had boiled and then forgotten about in the fridge.  I just cut the top and roots but left the skins and put them in the blender.  It looked like it would be about what the recipe called for so I didn’t measure.  I make the whole recipe in the blender so I don’t have to wash a third bowl and it works out well.

Purple Top Turnips. Harvey ate a whole one of these raw on Saturday.  He asked for it.  I’m serious.  We gave a friend some vegetables and Harvey saw us giving him the turnip (I think it was the first one he has seen) and really wanted to keep it for himself.  Luckily I had another in the fridge so we didn’t have to do a deep dive into a sharing and generosity struggle.  He carried his around with him for a little while, then handed it to me and said, “Mama, peel it.  Cut it.  Big pieces.” The boy knows what he wants. So I did and he ate almost all of it. I don’t usually eat them raw, but check out these 20 recipes that can give you some inspiring ideas for what to do with these super healthy roots.

Butternut Squash. These have had plenty of time to cure and sweeten (it takes about a month after harvest for butternut to realize the true potential of their flavor).  I’m sure most of you are familiar with this yummy winter treat provided by the cucurbit family (yep, this is cucumber and zucchini’s cousin). Here are 26 ideas of what you might do with your butternut squash (besides just roasting and eating, or soup, which are both amazing choices).

Enjoy!!

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