We still have CSA shares available.
I promised to share the results of our end-of-season survey. Participation was terrific – over 50% of households responded. Thank you for participating! Here’s what you told us.
The Good News
The two questions below are important benchmarks for us. We found high satisfaction with the amount and value of produce we packed for you.
Did we send the right amount of produce? Look at the chart above and you’ll see that the results could not be more balanced. 13% said they could have eaten more produce and 12% would have preferred less each week. With our existing structure (one size box per week), I do not think we could do much better. These results mask a lot of individuality, from weekly to every-other-week shares, from single households to multiple families splitting a share. We conclude that most of you have found ways to make the deliveries work.
Do you feel you’ve received a fair value for the cost? This is an important question and we’re very happy with the result. Averaged over the season, our weekly boxes contain extra value over purchasing the same organic produce at Willy Street or Outpost Coops. It’s part of our commitment to taking care of you. We are glad you recognize the value packed in those boxes.
The Other Good News
We polled you about the crops you want MORE of and the ones you want LESS of. Fortunately, the strongest responses were all for crops that behaved poorly in last year’s wet weather. Given a normal year, we will return to typical amounts of these crops.
- LESS bell peppers. This is the only thing you clearly asked for less of! Yes, we did sent more bell peppers than usual last season. It was a good pepper year, at a time when some other crops failed. We were generous with peppers because we had fewer options to feed you. Peppers remain a very popular crop with CSA members, so I won’t reduce them needlessly. However, I won’t go overboard again this year. Those of you who froze your excess peppers last summer tell us you enjoyed them this winter.
- MORE Brussels sprouts, MORE cauliflower, MORE winter squash. Yes, these all did terribly last year because of the wet weather in late summer and fall. Should bounce back this year. We’ve trialled new winter squash varieties over the last few years, and have a few new ones for this season.
- MORE lettuce later in the summer, to go with the tomatoes and other salad ingredients. Mid-summer lettuce is tricky but we’ve identified a few varieties that do well for us. Heads will be smaller than the spring lettuce, but that’s a good thing in summer when the boxes are so full.
- MORE spinach, later in the season. We attempt fall spinach year-after-year and it fails. We have a few ideas to try. Who knows? This could be the year we crack this nut.
- MORE strawberries, sweet corn and sweet potatoes. I’m sorry but we’re at the maximum we can produce (and pick!) of these crops. We might be able to add another sweet potato delivery. The Extension and Storage shares are likely to have sweet potatoes, so those are good options for sweet potato fans.
We can do these.
Here are changes planned in response to your requests.
- Some of you asked for earlier notice of what will be in the box. I will post the box contents in the sidebar of our website at 7:00 pm on Wednesday night. That’s a few hours earlier than you receive my weekly email. Also, check our weekly newsletter for the next week’s forecast. It’s not a complete list; it’s just the items we are confident will be ready to harvest the next week. The forecast is listed at the bottom of our weekly Veggie List.
- Many of you asked for more information about freezing food from the boxes. I’ll incorporate this into the newsletter.
- Some of you have asked for help finding someone to split a share with. It’s definitely best if you arrange this yourself but I can help. Send me your name, email, pickup site, and the share arrangement you want. If I get multiple requests from one site, I’ll put you in touch with each other.
- Some of you asked for less frequent deliveries. Your lives have changed, whether through retirement or an empty nest, and you need more flexibility. We’ve created a new share, called the ‘Sampler Share.’ The Sampler Share is one box per month (June through October), with the option to reschedule up to two of the five deliveries.
- Many of you recognized that we sent more garlic this past season. Thank you for noticing!! We should be able to deliver the same amount this season (weather permitting) and might be able to increase it next year.
- We will continue to get recipes from Pat of Local Thyme and from Lauren. Members were evenly split in their favorite source. Many of you asked for simpler or quicker recipes so we’ll try to shift focus in that direction a bit.
- Recipe presentation will be similar to last year. Lauren’s recipes will be in the newsletter. Pat’s will be on her website, with direct links from my email and newsletter.
- I encourage everyone to register for Pat’s website this year. I realize there were technical issues with Pat’s website a few years ago but those problems are in the past. Many of you expressed a desire for extra support with the produce, whether photos, or organized access to the previous weeks’ recipes. All of that is built into her website, plus other features like the option to build a shopping list based on your recipe choices. We hire Pat to provide this support, so let’s explore what she offers. I think it’s an excellent resource to help everyone enjoy their CSA produce.
- Quite a few of you are interested in sharing cooking ideas and recipes among the membership. I have a few ideas to explore and will get back to everyone once I’m ready to brainstorm the best way to do this.
Our field work is moving along smoothly. It is so energizing to get plants in the ground.
We hired local carpenters to rebuild our pack shed this winter. They did a beautiful job and we will enjoy the improved space. My favorite part of the project? The carpenters sang while they worked, and their music changed as they built the building around themselves.
Things you need to know about your winter share
* Your delivery will consist of two different boxes, labeled “A” and “B”. Take one “A” box and one “B” box. The boxes contain different vegetables.
* Please pick up your boxes on the day of delivery, during the normal hours for your site.
* Outpost members, please get your boxes on Friday. This is the busiest weekend of the year for the Outpost staff, so we cannot ask them to hold boxes past Friday.
* Members at outdoor sites, please carefully put the blankets back on the boxes. That keeps everyone’s produce in good shape.
* The boxes are heavy! It’s OK to take home the packed boxes, then return the empty boxes to your pickup site within two weeks. We’ll swing back and pick them up.
Veggie List and Storage Info (Storage share, Nov. 17/18, 2016)
We hope you enjoy this shipment of veggies! Strategize to use them well, as some will last longer than others. It was not a good winter squash year for us, so there are fewer squash than last year. Fortunately, the sweet potatoes over-performed to compensate.
* These vegetables are the most perishable: broccoli, Romanesco cauliflower, celery.
* These are the next-most perishable: Brussels sprouts, cabbage, leeks and onions. Keep an eye on your butternut, potatoes and sweet potatoes. The last two are susceptible to drying out.
* These will last the longest: Beauty Heart radish, beets, carrots, celeriac, garlic, parsnips.
Beauty Heart winter radishes, 1 to 3
Beets, 3 lb
Broccoli, 1-2 small head(s)
Brussels sprouts, on stalks
Carrots, 6 lb mixed colors
(orange 4 lb, yellow 1 lb, purple 1 lb)
Celeriac, 1 or 2
Leeks, 2+ lb
Parsnips, 3 lb
Sweet potatoes, 14+ lb
Butternut squash, 1 or 2
Russet potatoes, 5 lb
Superior (white) potatoes, 5 lb
Yellow onions, 5 lb
Beauty Heart radishes (round, white with pale green shoulders and bright pink interior) – Refrigerate. The interior color is lovely. Slice thinly and add to salads, cook lightly in mixed vegetable medleys or cut into matchsticks and add to pasta salads. We enjoy grated carrot and Beauty Heart salads all winter.
Beets – Refrigerate in a bag or container. Beets will store for two months or longer.
Broccoli – Refrigerate in a bag or container.
Brussels sprouts – Pluck from stalks and refrigerate in a bag or container. Eat soon.
Butternut winter squash – You will receive one or two Waltham butternuts, depending on size. Store your butternut in a cool, dry place. 50 F is ideal. Do not put in a plastic bag. Inspect your squash frequently and cook promptly if you see any soft spots developing. You can cook, mash and freeze the squash for future use. I find that you can refrigerate cut raw squash for up to one week. This runs counter to the accepted way to store squash, but is useful if you want to cook just half a squash. Try microwaving your squash for one to two minutes before cutting or peeling. This softens the squash and makes a large butternut easier to handle.
Cabbage – Refrigerate. Cut off chunks as needed.
Carrots, orange. Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Will keep for several weeks.
Carrots, yellow and purple. These varieties are pretty AND they taste good. The purple carrots will turn your tongue green. That should get the kids interested.
Celery – It took all year but the celery is finally ready, just in time for Thanksgiving stuffing. Cover and refrigerate.
Celeriac – Will store for months in your fridge. Cut off chunks as needed. Peel before using. I find it easiest to cut the celeriac into flat slices, then peel.
Garlic. Can be stored at room temperature.
Leeks. Refrigerate and eat within three weeks. Leeks are not a long-storage crop. You may need to strip off one or two outer leaves to freshen the leeks before you cook them. Your leeks will probably need washing. We finished preparing them after dark and didn’t realize how much soil was still on them.
Onions: Refrigerate or store in a cool, dark spot and protect from light. Exposure to light stimulates sprouting.
Parsnips (These look like large white carrots.) – Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Parsnips will store for two months but will darken in color. That is a harmless change.
Potatoes, Russets and Superiors – Can be stored at room temperature or in a cool spot, but must be kept in the dark so they do not turn green. A cloth or loose plastic bag draped over the paper bag will help avoid moisture loss, but do not close the plastic bag. Both types will store longer if kept cool. Around 40 – 50 F is ideal. The Superiors were grown by our friends/neighbors Peg and Matt Schaeffer. The Igl family near Antigo grew the russets.
Russets– We got the big ‘baking’ grade from Brad Igl so you have nice bakers for Thanksgiving. Excellent for mashed potatoes.
Superiors– Matt says these are good all-purpose potatoes, their family’s favorite for oven fries or for potato salad.
Sweet potatoes – These are a mix of the Covington and Beauregard varieties. Both types have developed excellent flavor and sweetness. This was our best-ever sweet potato crop. Store at room temperature, no lower than 55 F. Keep them on your kitchen counter where it’s easy to keep an eye on them. I like to keep ours in a paper bag so they don’t dehydrate. Cook promptly if they start to soften. The roots come in a wide ranges of sizes and all are good.
What are you cooking for Thanksgiving?
We are creatures of habit when it comes to Thanksgiving. Here are our plans so far: brined roast heritage turkey (Beth), Brussels sprouts with garlic-mustard vinaigrette (Steve), roasted sweet potatoes with garlicky yogurt dip (Sophie), glazed butternut squash (Beth), crunchy carrot-Beauty Heart salad with sesame-seed dressing (Steve), pickled onions (Beth & Ari), pickled peppers (Beth & Ari), pickles (Beth & Ari), homemade applesauce (Ari), and apple pie (Sophie). I’ll probably make stuffing with lots of celery, onions and mushrooms but that might be overkill. We love celebrating Thanksgiving and the end of harvest season!
There are many terrific Thanksgiving menus and recipes online right now. Many include vegetables that you will receive in this delivery. Search any of the sites below if you are stumped about what to do with your storage share. Check out the Thanksgiving collections online soon; they get taken down quickly after Thanksgiving.
* The New York Times Cooking app keeps getting better and better. They post appealing recipes and recipe collections every day. They have gone completely overboard for Thanksgiving this year, and have posted a Thanksgiving menu planner with 14 sub-categories, e.g. “Thanksgiving desserts that are not pies,” and “Thanksgiving appetizers,” and “Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes.” In my opinion, Melissa Clark is the best NYT food writer. She’s practical and her dishes are always flavorful. David Tanis is my second-favorite. Recipes from Mark Bittman and Martha Rose Shulman are always worth a look. The app and recipes appear to be free to the public, but I think you need to be a NYT subscriber to save recipes.
* I like the lively Food52.com site, and always read the community comments.
* Smitten Kitchen is our go-to site for dessert recipes but has excellent veggie recipes too. Plus blogger Deb Perelman is funny. She has posted her Thanksgiving recipes and says that, this year, she is all about Team Casserole.
* The Kitchn. I found this site after wandering over from their Apartment therapy home-design site. Good recipes. Right now, they are featuring “Twenty Thanksgiving side dishes that travel well.”
* 101cookbooks. Always has good vegetarian and whole-grain recipes.
* Finally, remember that we have access to the entire catalog of Local Thyme recipes all winter. Check them out for Thanksgiving ideas.
Do you have favorite menu sites for fall and winter recipes?
If so, please share in a comment!
RECIPES FROM LAUREN
Autumn Root Vegetable Gratin
Adapted from Food 52
As much as I love stuffing (and that is a whole heck of a lot), I may go so far as to deem this the most festive Thanksgiving recipe that ever existed. It’s something about the abundance of local veggies effortlessly sliced and stacked high and the creamy richness that reminds me of all of my mother’s homecooking. This dish is elegant, decadent and exactly what you need on your Thanksgiving table. Oh and when I mention all that effortless slicing, note that I own a mandoline.†
Takes 90 minutes
3 cups whole milk
4 smashed garlic cloves
Pinch or two of ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium to large sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced (1/8-inch)
1 celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced (1/8-inch)
1 pound Superior white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (1/8-inch)
1 pound parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced (1/8-inch)
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
2 cups of your favorite melty cheese (I always lean towards Gruyere or Fontina), shredded
2 cups finely shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add milk and garlic cloves to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium low heat until it just begins to bubble. Remove from heat and add nutmeg.
- Find a casserole or baking dish that is oven-safe and holds at least 12 cups. Rub the bottom and all sides with olive oil.
- Now you start stacking. Layer the veggies into the baking dish alternating sweet potato, celeriac, potato, parsnip, etc. in concentric, overlapping circles. You should use about 1/4 of the veggies for each layer. After each layer, season with salt and pepper, a sprinkling of the dried herbs and 1/4 of each cheese. Continue until you use up all the ingredients.
- Remove the garlic from the milk and pour evenly over the gratin. Bake for 45-60 minutes until bubbly and golden brown on top. Let the gratin sit and set for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Cornbread Stuffing with Leeks, Brussels Sprouts & Celery
Good stuffing takes a while. There is nothing you can do about it. The most time intensive part of this recipe comes after you pour everything together and get it roasting in the oven. I stirred my stuffing every 15 minutes to get an even browning, but if you want to run away from the kitchen for the 90 minutes it takes to roast, I’d tack on an extra 30 minutes and just expect the edges and bottom to be a little more browned than the center. Both methods will taste delicious.
Takes 2 hours, 30 minutes
3-4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large yellow onion sliced
2 leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved and sliced
1 head celery, leaves removed and sliced
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups halved Brussels sprouts (quartered if large)
1-1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Large pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups whole milk
10 cups dried cornbread cubes* (see note below)
*For the cornbread you can use leftover stuff that you froze from an earlier meal or make it from scratch. You can also use store-bought. Regardless of what you decide to use, make sure you cut it into crouton-size pieces †the day before you plan to make the stuffing and leave them out on a single layer on a couple baking sheets. You want the cornbread to really dry out. It will still break up a bit when you add the liquid, but don’t distress!
- In a large cast-iron skillet, add 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add onions, leeks and celery to pan along with salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes more.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil at this time if the pan appears to be getting dry. Add brussels sprouts and sage to pan. Bring back up to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add wine to pan and reduce until liquid is gone. It will probably be simmering pretty aggressively. Turn down to medium low if there is too much splatter. Add 2 cups of chicken broth and continue to simmer and reduce. This will help make the veggies more tender and flavorful. You want to keep simmering for 5-10 minutes until the liquid is mostly reduced. Add maple syrup and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Turn off heat. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. It may be a little salty, but that’s alright. You won’t be adding salt to egg mixture.
- In a large bowl, combine remaining chicken broth, eggs and milk. Whisk until smooth.
- In the a large, deep baking dish (at least 9×11), combine cornbread cubes and cooked veggies. Evenly pour egg mixture over cornbread vegetable mixture. Stir gently with a spatula to just combine. The cornbread pieces may fall apart. It may look like a big sloppy wet mess. Okay, it definitely will. Don’t stress. Let the oven work it’s magic!
- Bake for 90 minutes, stirring with a spatula every 15 minutes for more even baking and moisture.
- Serve warm with all the turkey and mashed potatoes you can get your hands on!
Last week, we said “thank you and good bye.” Just kidding. Now it’s time for an encore.
This is the first time we have offered an optional Extension share. We made the change to ease a work crunch that occurs this time of year. Our carrots, cabbage and other storage crops are all harvested during an intense two weeks in November. Packing CSA boxes in the midst of that effort has always felt insane and risky. The days are short and often cold by now. The weather is mild this fall but we have harvested during snow storms in other years. We feared that, some year, working on a CSA delivery would cost us a storage crop.
This year, we shortened our regular CSA share from 26 weeks down to 24 weeks. Adding this week’s extension share allows 25 consecutive weeks for you folks, and frees one week for us to focus on field work. I think allowing ourselves one streamlined week will ease our lives greatly.
Our fall crops are not great this year but there’s still work to be done and coolers to fill … halfway. Quality looks excellent but the amounts to harvest are simply smaller than last year.
In two weeks, we will pack Storage shares for those who signed up. We will update you then on how our fall work proceeded. We’ll be in touch soon once we open our 2017 registration. After that, we say goodbye until spring.
Billy, Charlotte and Kristin wash your sweet potatoes, another job that’s uncomfortable during typical November weather. Our seasoned crew members are tough enough for any conditions but, honestly, no one wants to be cold and soaked.
Veggie list and veggie notes (Extension share, Nov. 3/4, 2016)
Beth’s box logic. We are sending an array of root crops to roast together. I am intrigued with Pat’s recipe for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts with Miso Vinaigrette. I’ve never tried that combination, although we often roast root vegetables this time of year. Here’s how I would roast this week’s roots. Start with parsnips, carrots (and turnips). Add potatoes if you have them. Even when roasted together, the roots retain their individual flavors. Cut in 1-inch chunks, toss with oil, spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet and roast at 400 F until tender. Stir once or twice while cooking. We add thick onion wedges at the beginning, but only a few because they release moisture. Turnips will flavor the other veggies so roast separately if you wish. Sweet potatoes cook more quickly so roast separately and combine with the other roasted roots at the end. Serve with Brussels sprouts steamed and dressed with slivered onions and a mustard-vinaigrette. Alternatively, make a batch of bean and leek soup with roots or cauliflower. Cook sliced collards in the soup for a one-pot meal.
I was eavesdropping in the grocery store and overheard this: “Just steam the cauliflower until tender, then puree it in the blender. Melt the cheese into the cauliflower and your sauce is done.” I thought to myself “Why have I never done this??” I wish I’d asked the young woman how she uses the sauce but we can figure that out on our own.
Sweet potatoes, ~ 3 lb
Brussels sprouts, ~ 1 lb
Parsnips, 1.4 lb
Carrots, 2 lb
Leeks, 1 lb
Collard greens, 1 bunch
Some sites get cauliflower (white or orange or purple).
Some sites get Romanesco.
Some sites also get a little broccoli.
Sweet potatoes – These are from our second Beauregard harvest. The roots are bigger than the last Beauregard delivery; they really bulked up during the three weeks between harvests. As usual, we will distribute a range of sizes. All are good.
Brussels sprouts – This is terrific Brussels sprouts weather and they are finally plumping up. This week’s sprouts are noticeably larger than the ones we sent last week.
Parsnips (tapered, cream colored roots) – Those long, white roots are not carrots, they are parsnips. The two vegetables are related. When cooked, parsnips are sweet and starchy. For the best flavor, brown them to caramelize the sugars. Here are a few ideas for parsnip preparation:
– Caramelize the parsnips by roasting them in a vegetable medley.
– Parsnip fries are delicious: cut like French fries, coat very lightly with oil, place on a cookie sheet and roast in a hot oven until brown and cooked through.
– Try substituting grated parsnips in a potato pancake recipe. They brown beautifully and are very tasty.
– Steve loves pan-fried parsnips with onions and garlic.
Turnips (round root, white with purple shoulders) – Add these earthy roots to hearty grain-based stews or include in a pan of oven-roasted roots. Lauren offers some good ideas in her recipes.
Storage: Cover and refrigerate. Will store well for about one month.
RECIPES FROM LAUREN
ROOT VEGETABLE POT PIE
I love pot pie. I absolutely adore it. It’s not an everyday or even an every week kind of meal, but a few times per year, we make pie dough from scratch, stuff it†with all the savory things and just love every bite of flaky, creamy, rich delicious goodness. This pot pie is a little different than normal. It’s totally vegetarian and packed full of everyone’s favorite fall root vegetables. If dining on veggies and butter along is not your thing, you could buy a rotisserie chicken, shred it and add it to the mix. You could dice up some ham or some bacon if you really need some meat in this dish, but I love to let the vegetables sing all on their own.
I prefer the pie dough made from scratch and always, always follow Smitten Kitchen’s directions for the perfect each pie crust. Make the pie dough the day before and stash it in the fridge for a super easy weeknight dinner.
Takes 1 hour, 15 minutes (excluding time to make pie crust because hopefully you made it the night before or bought the store-bought stuff)
4 tablespoons butter
1 pound leeks, white and pale green parts only, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
2 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 cup peeled and diced turnips
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth if vegetarians), plus more if needed
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 cup milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 batch Smitten Kitchen All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough, preferably made ahead of time & chilled
1 tablespoon water
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a Dutch oven or stock pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add leeks along with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips. Cook for 5 minutes until soft.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour. Stir well so that it evenly coats all the veggies. Keep cooking and stirring occasionally for a minute or two so that the flour starts to turn a light golden brown.
- Add chicken broth (or veggie broth), thyme and sage. Stir well to evenly incorporate the flour. Simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add a quarter cup of milk. Continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes. If the mixture seems too thick, add a little more broth. You want it to be a little thicker than a soup and a little less thick than a regular white sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out half of your chilled pie dough to fit in a deep 10-inch pie pan. (If you don’t have one, roll it a little thinner and fit it into a casserole dish). Add mixture.
- Roll out the remaining half of of the chilled pie dough on a well-floured surface. Lay it on the top of the dish and press down the edges to seal. Use a knife to cut little vents on the top crust.
- Combine egg and water in a small bowl until smooth. Brush over pie crust. Bake for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Enjoy!!
BRUSSELS SPROUTS & PARSNIP HASH
Adapted from a New York Times recipe
Takes 45 minutes
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons oil
1 pound Brussels sprouts
1 teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Generous freshly ground black pepper
2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 pound pork sausage, cooked
1 1/2 tablespoons dried sage
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep your Brussels sprouts by cutting them in half (quarter especially large ones; leave especially small ones whole). Toss with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, generous amount of black pepper and red pepper flakes.
- Place on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until nicely brown and crispy around the edges, turning occasionally for even browning.
- Put parsnips in large oven-proof skillet. Cover with water. Simmer over medium heat for 3 minutes. Drain and remove from pan.
- Melt butter in same large skillet. Add onion along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and more freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat until soft. Add garlic and cook 3 minutes longer. Add cooked parsnips, pork sausage and sage.
- Turn heat to medium-high and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. The idea here is to brown the parsnips but not burn them. Your pan should be so hot that you can leave it for 2 minutes without stirring and when you come back, things will just be nicely browned. If the parsnips or onions burn in 2 minutes, your pan is too hot.
- After things are nicely browned, put pan in the oven. Roast for 10 minutes. (This timed nicely for me, as my Brussels sprouts had exactly 10 minutes left). Toss hash with roasted Brussels sprouts. Top with some fried eggs and bam! Vegetable-centric meal in 45 minutes or less.
LOCAL THYME RECIPES
Outside the Box Recipes
Quick and Easy Meal
This is the final box of our regular season. Thank you Tipi members! We truly appreciate your commitment to our farm. We could not farm without you.
Many of you have signed up for continued deliveries with our extension and storage shares. We will be in touch with more information as those deliveries approach.
We will open registration for our 2017 season within a few weeks. Watch for emails from us. In the meantime, you can continue eating our produce through the winter. Our stored cabbage, carrots and other roots will be on the shelves at these stores: Willy Street Coop (Madison, Middleton), Outpost Natural Foods (Mequon and Milwaukee area), Basics Coop (Janesville), Whole Foods (Madison only), Good Harvest Market (Pewaukee), and Health Hut (Brookfield).
How was the season? Our thoughts.
It has been a challenging year for us but you probably did not notice. It was a good year to test our version of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). In the classic CSA model, you as members, would share in the risks of the farm. We operate a little differently. More than half the crops we grow are intended for our store customers but are available to the CSA as needed, providing a reliable buffer in a poor season. We dipped into that reservoir this year to make sure you got your expected value of good produce. For example, beets, summer carrots, and leeks all had smaller harvests than expected so we put them all into your CSA boxes. We were glad to have that supply at hand.
It was an unusually long growing season, with a record-early start. We were in the fields planting radishes and spinach in mid-March. The season extended with a mild fall, allowing us to harvest peppers right up to this week. Humid, rainy days in August and September did not do us any favors. The greatest effect was on our fall crops, then in their adolescent phase. This is why we grow 40 different crops. Each year, something will do poorly but something else will do well and take its place. That’s the nature of a mixed vegetable farm like ours.
It was a good year for peppers and watermelons. The greens and most summer crops thrived. The sweet potatoes are terrific. The cauliflower and Romanesco were late to produce heads but we are thrilled with how much we’ve had to harvest recently.
Our work crew was wonderful this year, both newcomers and old hands. They were a joy to work with: smart, diligent, thoughtful, and kind to each other.
Our field work will continue for another three weeks, as we bring in cabbage, carrots and other roots to store and sell through the winter. It’s always a big effort, so we are preparing mentally and physically. Steve has run through his checklist. The carrot harvester is ready to go, with new modifications. The wooden storage bins are all in good shape. Steve and Roger are tightening up the coolers for winter. We expect to have all the crops out of the field by mid-November. Then we can slow down for a few months. Our crew drops from 25 people down to five. That’s enough people to prepare and deliver our winter crops. In December and January we will mull over our 2017 plans so we can order seed. Greenhouse work begins by early March, and everything flows from there. Soon we will wrap up our time as the Organic Farmers of the Year. It has been a very special year for us.
Thank you again for your patronage. We are already envisioning changes and progress for next year. Join in and give us your feedback.
Beth and Steve.
How was the season? YOUR thoughts.
Now it’s your turn to share your thoughts. Please complete our annual survey. I sent the link in our 10/27/16 email, and look forward to poring over the results. This is an essential part of the CSA model – we need to hear from you to make the CSA work for you.
This week on the farm
We kept ourselves busy with farm maintenance, in anticipation of our big upcoming harvests.
Our beautiful barn, before and after painting. Roger completed the project in a day and half, with helpers, a lift, harnesses and an extended handle on his paint sprayer. We almost made it to the roof peak. The top gap will have to wait until a friend’s taller lift is available.
Veggie list and veggie notes (Oct 27/28, 2016, week #24, purple EOW)
Sweet potatoes, 2+ lb
Brussels sprouts, 0.6 lb
Kale, 1 bunch
Beets, 2 lb
Celeriac, 1 or 2
Yellow onions, ~2
Carrots, a few
A pepper of some sort
Jalapeños (HOT), 2
Baby ginger, 1 knob
Most sites get cauliflower (white or orange or purple) but we might pair it with Romanesco broccoli for some sites.
Sweet potatoes – These are the Covington variety. This is an especially tasty batch. Let’s repeat my newsletter information from a few weeks ago.
Here are a few things we’ve learned about sweet potatoes:
– For best flavor, cook your sweet potatoes so they brown and caramelize. We have a simple, favorite way to roast sweet potatoes. We used to prepare sweet potato fries. Now we just quarter the potatoes, rub with olive oil, dust with salt and place cut-side-down on a cookie sheet. Roast in a 450 F oven without turning until soft. The flavors will caramelize (like sweet potato fries) but preparation is simpler and the cooking time less exacting. Slender sweet potato fries go from undercooked to overcooked in the blink of an eye. Larger slices are less exacting, and therefore are easier. Small sweet potatoes can be cut just in half. Jumbos will need to be chopped into pieces. Otherwise, they will take a long time to cook.
– Store your sweet potatoes at room temperature. They suffer chilling injury below 50 F.
– The sweet potatoes we grow require slightly longer cooking than ones from the supermarket, perhaps because they contain higher moisture so soon after harvest.
– Sweet potatoes are good at any size. We have cooked everything from tiny to jumbo and consistently find that all sizes taste good.
Brussels sprouts – The B-sprouts have taken their time sizing up. Sprouts are small. I’ve given you our usual cooking instructions below, but recognize that all of this week’s sprouts are small.
Here is our method to cook Brussels sprouts. Wash the sprouts and trim the cut ends. Cut an X in the stem end of large sprouts. Cut a single slit in small or medium sprouts. This does two things. It helps the Brussels sprouts cook evenly, plus it allows them to soak up any marinade or dressing. Place sprouts in a pot with one inch of water in the bottom and steam until tender, 7 to 10 minutes. If the sprouts are uneven in size, then set aside the smallest ones and add to the pot after the larger ones have cooked for a few minutes. Don’t overcook them! You can also oven-roast Brussels sprouts. Here are a few dressing ideas for cooked sprouts:
– Sherry vinegar/olive oil/Dijon mustard/garlic/white wine/salt and pepper. This is our favorite, especially when you combine the Brussels sprouts with slivered peppers and thinly sliced onions. Delicious warm, cold, or at room temperature.
– Balsamic vinegar/olive oil/garlic/salt and pepper
– Lemon juice and zest/melted brown butter/poppy seeds/white wine/garlic/salt
Celeriac (knobby, round, bizarre-looking vegetable which smells like celery) – Flavorful celeriac is good raw or cooked. It is excellent in mixed roasted veggies or in soup. It’s especially good in cream soups, alone or mixed with potatoes. Grated raw celeriac is a great starting point for winter salads. Celeriac will store in your refrigerator for months. Cut off chunks as you need them. Peel before using.
Baby ginger – Wrap in a damp cloth or paper towel, and keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag. Eat soon; baby ginger is perishable. It bruises easily so we gave it a light washing, and figured you could do the fine washing when you use it.
RECIPES FROM LAUREN
GINGER, TURMERIC & COCONUT SOUP
Takes 40 minutes
2 tablespoon butter
2 carrots, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 celeriac, peeled and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 can coconut milk
1 bunch kale (6-8 leaves), stems removed, leaves roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fish sauce
Lime wedges, to serve
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, melt butter. Add carrots, onion, celeriac, jalapeno and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes until fragrant. Add turmeric and salt and saute 5 minutes longer.
- Add rice. Stir for about a minute to combine rice and toast it gently. Add chicken broth, bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until rice is cooked, about 15 minutes. Add coconut milk, kale and fish sauce. Simmer gently until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Serve with lime wedges.
SWEET POTATO & BRUSSELS SPROUT TACOS WITH RED CABBAGE SLAW:
Takes 1 hour
5 cups diced and peeled sweet potatoes
1 cup Brussels sprouts, left whole if small, halved if a little larger
2-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Red Cabbage Slaw:
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 red pepper (bell or fryer), seeded and diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Sour cream or Greek yogurt
Hot sauce, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and chop vegetables while you wait.
- Toss sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts with olive oil and spices in a large bowl to coat. Pour out onto a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 40-45 minutes rotating occasionally.
- While the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts roast, prepare the slaw. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.
- To serve, top warm tortillas with a spoonful or two of sour cream. Add avocado, followed by warm roasted vegetables and cabbage slaw. Add hot sauce if desired. Enjoy!
- Roast at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes
LOCAL THYME RECIPES
Outside the Box Ideas
Quick and Easy Meal
This is the final delivery for our green EOW members. Thank you for joining us this season! We hope you enjoyed the produce and the experience. We will be in touch with a survey in the next few weeks.
Here is our remaining schedule:
Oct. 20/21 (this week) – final week for green EOW members.
Oct 27/28 (next week) – final week for weekly and for purple EOW members
November – Deliveries are available in November for members who signed up for our extension or storage shares. Those already registered should have received a recent confirmation email from us. We still have a few shares available. If interested, go here to sign up. The deadline to register and pay is this Sunday Oct. 23.
Getting ready for the big push
By mid-November, our coolers will be stuffed with crops to sell through the winter. It’s almost time to begin these harvests. The carrots and other roots are growing happily underground, so we don’t want to interfere yet. We think carrots, in particular, improve in quality if they get a month of cool nights as they mature. In the meantime, we continue our usual CSA work, as well as preparations for the big upcoming harvests.
Steve is making improvements to his carrot harvester, the one we imported from Sweden last year. It is a monster! He loves the thing! It operates best with a team of two or three people but, in a pinch, Steve can run it solo. He beams after a successful run with this machine.
Looks like Ireland, doesn’t it? As each crop finishes, we plant the empty field with cover crops. The rye and vetch are in full, lush growth, a beautiful shade of green. The cover crops keep the soil from eroding over the winter then burst into growth in spring.
It’s not too soon to ponder improvements for next year. Steve and I visited neighbor Matt Schaeffer of Sandhill Family Farms to pick up his potatoes for this week’s CSA box. Matt and wife Peg raise organic vegetables about 15 miles south of us. It’s interesting to swap farming notes because they are so close, and grow many of the same crops. Steve and I wanted to see the tomato fields that Matt mulched with a thick layer of straw and hay. It gave him good weed control in a rainy, challenging season. It’s an approach we are considering for next year, so it’s helpful to see it in action on another farm.
I also checked out Peg and Matt’s winter squash, to compare notes on disease problems we saw this season. I showed Matt our stored squash a few weeks ago, ranting about how tantalizingly close they got to harvest before rot set in. Matt looked at me and said in his calmest voice,
“I’ve had enough time to come to terms with the winter squash problems. But you aren’t quite there yet, are you?”
Sigh. Two weeks have passed and I’m getting close. Beth
Veggie list and veggie notes (Oct. 20/21, 2016, week #23, green EOW)
Carola potatoes, 3 1/3 lb
Leeks, ~1 lb
Green frying peppers, ~2
Bell pepper, ~1
Poblano chiles (HOT, in bag), ~4
Carrots, 2 lb
Beauty Heart radish
Some get cauliflower (white or purple or orange)
Some sites get broccoli.
Some get Romanesco broccoli.
Who knows, you might get a mix.
Butternuts – Like last week, many of the squash we send this week have flaws. Cut the flawed areas away before cooking because they are difficult to recognize once the squash is cooked. The squash are very good cooking quality, worth the bit of extra effort. The plants made beautiful squash before the rainy weather caused problems. We’re packing a mix of different butternut varieties. If you receive a small squash with very dark orange color, that’s the ‘Honeynut’ variety. They are quite small and very tasty, a result of breeding program directed at high quality, ‘single-serving’ squash. They are too small to send on their own, so I will pair it with other small butternuts.
Storage: Store at room temperature with good ventilation. Eat soon – these might not store for long.
Organic Carola potatoes – Carolas are small to medium potatoes with yellow skin and flesh, grown by Matt and Peg Schaeffer of Sandhill Family Farms. Matt says they are his favorite potato and referred me to this description online: “These yellow-fleshed potatoes have moist, creamy-sweet flesh and satisfying texture; a favorite for oven roasting to a rich golden-brown, as well as grilling, steaming, mashing or frying. They add sensational flavor and texture to soups and stews.”
Storage: Can be stored at room temperature or in a cool spot. Keep in the dark so they do not turn green. The Carolas are thin-skinned and prone to drying out, so keep an eye on them.
Yukina (large heads of dark green leaves) – This is my favorite fall green. It is nutritious, delicious, a great combination of mustard-like leaves with crunchy stems. These yukina look big, but will shrink once cooked. We usually steam and drain chopped yukina, then dress it with a cooked mixture of fried garlic and ginger simmered with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, a little sugar and a lot of paprika or hot pepper flakes.
Poblano chiles (triangular, shiny, green or red) – These are mildly hot. Poblanos are the creme de la creme of chiles. They have lots of great flavor in combination with manageable heat. Steve protected these plants from frost so we would have the chiles for you. Roast and add to soup or casseroles. For our household, they are emblematic of fall cooking.
Beauty Heart radishes (round, white with pale green shoulders and bright pink interior) – Refrigerate. The interior color is lovely. Slice thinly and add to salads, cook lightly in mixed vegetable medleys or cut into matchsticks and add to pasta salads. We have sent the Beauty Hearts in combination with carrots because they make lovely, mixed salads, like Lauren’s dish below.
RECIPES FROM LAUREN
BEAUTY HEART RADISH, CARROT & AVOCADO SALAD
Takes 20 minutes
Makes 4-6 servings
1 giant Beauty Heart radish, peeled and cut into 1/16-inch slices
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/16-inch slices
1-2 avocados (I always opt for more avocado when there’s an option), cut in half and sliced
Orange Garlic Vinaigrette:
2 garlic cloves, minced as finely as you can
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Pinch black pepper
- Combine radish and carrots in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine all vinaigrette ingredients. Whisk until well combined and creamy in appearance (this means it has emulsified and will hold together well–mustard helps you achieve this emulsification so don’t leave it out!). Taste and adjust seasonings (some people will like more vinegar, salt or sugar).
- Pour dressing over radish and carrots.
- Lay out 3-5 avocado slices on each plate. Top with radish and carrots. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with any dressing that remains in the bowl.
FALL HARVEST RISOTTO
Takes 1 hour
4 tablespoons butter
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise and sliced
2 cups Carola potatoes, diced
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 cup arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add leeks along with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
- Reduce heat to medium low. Add potatoes, butternut squash and a few more pinches of salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes until soft, stirring every couple minutes. The bottom of the pan may brown a little, but don’t worry about this. It will just add flavor!
- In a separate large sauce pan, bring broth to a low simmer.
- Add rice and stir to combine. Stir for a couple minutes to toast the rice. Add wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
- Use a ladle to add a couple spoonfuls of simmering broth to the stockpot. Stir to combine and continue stirring every minute or so to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The idea is to stir it often enough that it has no chance to stick, but not so frequently that it doesn’t have a chance to simmer. Add sage after first addition of broth. Continue adding ladlefuls of stock every few minutes. You will keep adding and stirring and adding and stirring (slowly) for 30-35 minutes. Taste occasionally to test the texture of the rice. You want it to be cooked but not too mushy at the end. Adjust seasonings as desired.
LOCAL THYME RECIPES
Outside the Box Recipes
Quick and Easy Meal