Winter Share: December

First Winter CSA pick up is this Saturday and Sunday, 10am-2pm. 28 South St, Ashland. Not a share member? See you at the Hopkinton Winter Market on Sunday, 12-4pm at Weston Nurseries!

Saturday looks like it might be really rainy, so wear rubber boots – its going to be a slop fest! Pick up is in the blue greenhouse. Bring at least two bags, we have extra if you forget.

Butternut, Carnival Squash, Carrots and Sweet Potatoes . . . these are the highlights of the first December share! Luckily, winter squash and sweet potatoes store nicely in your home, at room temperature – and they are sweet and delicious. And carrots are just so easy to eat . . .

And you’ll have to make a choice! Just two of these beauties are coming home with you this week. Greens in December are a wonderful treat, but we have limited greenhouse space, and we don’t have enough of each for everyone, so we’re giving you a choice. Choose two between bok choy, hakurei turnips, pea tendrils and cabbage (napa or savoy).

But everyone gets spinach and lettuce! We know you love it!

And then you get to make some choices: potatoes, beets, onions, kohlrabi (green not purple), rutabaga, watermelon radish, purple top turnips, red and yellow onions, and (not pictured) celeriac and parsnips.

And how on earth could I forget the leeks!!! We just spent Tuesday morning, in the best weather we could have hoped for, harvesting the leeks from the field. They weathered the snow and single digit temperatures with respectable resolve, and after stripping some layers off they are practically perfect. There is probably a lovely and poetic comparison to be made between a December leek and the human condition, but I’m not ready to use up this precious 1.5 toddler nap time to try and write it . . .

I think there are less than five new members in the winter share, most of you have been with us for years now, or at least with us for a share earlier this year. I say it every year (and I said it pretty well last year if you feel like reading it), eating locally in winter in New England can be a challenge, but the reward is pretty spectacular. We get to eat local food we grew ourselves and only really cool people want to eat locally in winter so we get to see all of you once a month. Our spirits get lifted, we see a little silver lining in the grey clouds of our impending socio-political/environmental doom, and we get a great work-out carrying a few tons of produce around in the slush.

This share is great. Eat up. There is lots more to come the first week of January. We had a really good butternut and sweet potato year, so you’ll be getting lots more in about 3 weeks.

What’s in the share (more specifically):

Butternut: 5-6pounds
Carnival and other specialty squash: 3-4pounds
Sweet Potatoes: 4 pounds
Carrots: 2 pounds
Leeks: 2 pounds
Spinach: 1 bag 1/3-1/2 pound
Lettuce: 2 heads
Choose 2: Sweet Turnips, pea tendrils, bok choy, napa/savoy cabbage
Mix and Match 7 pounds: potatoes, onions, watermelon radish, beets, parsnips, celeriac, more carrots, purple top turnips, rutabaga . . . maybe something else I’m forgetting.

What to do with your vegetables:

Jess’s Recipes
(please note, that when I told Jess what would be in the share, kale was going to be a choice but then the deer punched through the row cover and ate it! You can sub spinach or turnip greens for a lot of these recipes)

So many goodies in this month’s share! I tried to mix up the recipes so you’ll have some quick and easy ones, and some that are still relatively easy but fancy enough for your holiday table.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH CASSEROLE WITH LEEKS, PROSCIUTTO & THYME

This hearty casserole is perfect for a cold winter night but would also work beautifully for a holiday breakfast or brunch.

https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/butternut-squash-casserole-with-leeks-prosciutto-and-thyme

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND KALE

Looking for something different to do with your kale than another salad? This one is easy enough for a weeknight and would pair well with pretty much any chicken or pork dish.

ROASTED MAPLE WALNUT CARNIVAL SQUASH

Fancy enough for your holiday table but easy enough for any night of the week.

GOLDEN SWEET POTATO SOUP (WITH OPTIONAL BURRATA AND SAGE PESTO)

If you need a quick meal to get on the table this soup is great all by itself. If you’re feeling like you have a little more time on your hands (and some burrata cheese in your fridge) then go all out. You won’t be sorry!

ROOT VEGGIE BAKE

1 1/2 pounds Spicy Sausage (casing removed)
2 Parsnips (peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks)
1 Rutabaga (peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks)
1 Butternut Squash (peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks)
2 Golden Beets (peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks)
1 Sweet Potato (peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks)
2 tablespoons Flour
2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/2 cup White Wine
1/2 cup Milk
2 1/2 cups Gruyere Cheese (grated)
Salt
freshly cracked Black Pepper
1 Apple (peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks)
1/3 cup Dried Cranberries
Olive Oil

1. Preheat oven to 425F. In a large saute pan, cook sausage over medium heat, rendering fat. Remove sausage from from pan and discard fat.

2. Spread cut vegetables onto a lightly oiled baking sheet in one layer. Use two baking sheets if needed. Bake for 20 minutes but still firm. Remove from oven and set aside.

3. In a sauce pot over medium heat, melt butter and stir in flour to form a paste. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly golden. Whisk in the wine breaking up lumps and cook for 1 minute. Stir in stock and milk and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minute. Add 2 cups cheese, remove from heat and stir to melt.

4. Combine the sausage, vegetables and fruit in a baking dish and pour cheese sauce over top. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

VEGETABLE PANCAKES

1/2 small head cabbage, very thinly sliced (1 pound or 5 to 6 cups shreds)
4 medium carrots, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
5 kale leaves, ribs removed, leaves cut into thin ribbons
1 small leek, white part only, thinly sliced on an angle
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Cooking oil – canola or olive
Asian Dipping Sauce

DIRECTIONS: Toss cabbage, carrot, kale, leek and salt together in a large bowl. Toss mixture with flour so it coats all of the vegetables. Stir in the eggs. Heat a large heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Coat the bottom with oil and heat until shimmering but  not smoking.

Add 1/4 of the vegetable mixture to the skillet, pressing it out into a 1/2- to 3/4-inch pancake. Gently press the pancake down flat. Cook about 4 minutes per side or until browned.

Keep them warm in a 200 to 250 degree oven until needed.

SWEET POTATO STACKS WITH SAGE BROWNED BUTTER

Delectable little stacks topped with crispy sage and parmesan cheese. Try swapping out some of the sweet potatoes for regular potatoes or parsnips!

https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/sweet-potato-stacks-sage-browned-butter

ROOT VEGETABLE GRATIN

This amazing gratin can be MADE AHEAD and frozen or refrigerated so you’ll have one less thing to stress about when you’re down to the wire.

As always, thanks to Bob Durling, of Bob Durling Photography for the great shots of our produce!

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