Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CSA Newsletter

The walk to the field
Greetings from the Garden! This box has celery, sorrel, arugula, kale, cabbage, parsley, green onions, leeks, carrots, winter squash, what may be the last tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and the first potatoes.

Field Notes.  The big dig has begun!  Friday Ken and Loyal with some help from me, dug and picked the potatoes.  Yields were better than last year's low, but far from stellar.  And for the first time in memory we had some potatoes with scab.  I was not happy with consistency within the varieties and believe this was inferior seed potatoes.  My old reliable company was sold and the new company has been disappointing.   I will ask other farmers where they get seed and order from a different company next year.  Good seed and seed potatoes are important.  Low germination, incorrectly marked seed, and poor performers affect results.  I have always been willing to pay more for better seed.

earlier in the season
Ken and Loyal also dug some carrots and beets for me to start root cellaring.  I have tried many things over the years, but burying roots in sand keeps them best - going directly from soil to loose sand maintains their fresh quality.  It is more work tan putting them in a cooler, but the better results make it worth it.  And it seems more earth friendly to use a cool space over using electricity.

Ken has been monitoring the tunnels and will be determining when it will be time to move the mobile high tunnel and clear out hot weather crops.  The lows in the teens are making us think it is time to move on to greens for winter or next spring.  As the days shorten, the plants grow more slowly, and we  are still learning about the capabilities of the tunnels.

a preview of things to come!
Ken has also been setting up his "hoopettes."  These small tunnels in the garden have provided us with extended season greens for years.  They are small, flexible, and have some benefits over the large structures. Ken is comparing and contrasting what each ecosystem grows best.

Ken picking potatoes
From the Kitchen. Potatoes. After a gap between the early potatoes and full season one, it is nice to have potatoes again.  Everyone seems to like them.  And they combine well with other vegetables.  Here are some ideas: 
1) Potato leek soup.  Clean the leeks, saute, add peeled chopped potatoes and some soup stock.  Boil so the potatoes soften.  Process or puree to smooth.  Add some milk or cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with chopped sorrel.

2) Create a "German" dinner with boiled potatoes, cabbage and meat. I would probably saute onion add chopped cabbage, and some carrots cut julienne in one skillet.  Boil or make American fries in another skillet, and cook some meat like pork chops in a third skillet. 

3) Make a hearty chicken soup with celery, onion, carrots, potatoes and either kale or cabbage.

Ken made a great cooked red cabbage this week with apples.  He followed the recipe in Fanny Farmer cook book (unusual for Ken to follow a recipe).  Quite good.  And he made an excellent lentil soup with a meaty bone, onion, a couple celery stalks, carrots, and some tomatoes.  And he has made his first squash pie with a couple squash that had blemishes.  So in this cold, damp October weather start the soup, light the oven and savor the flavors of autumn!

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