Wednesday, November 6, 2013

CSA Newsletter

Brussels in the field
Greetings from the Garden!  This box has Brussels sprouts, potatoes, carrots, beets, salad mix, the last sweet potatoes, leeks, apples, squash or pie pumpkins, shallots and garlic, and winter tomatoes.

Walk to the field before snow today

Field Notes.  Fall is upon us.  How do I know?  The majority of the roots have been harvested, and most are in the root cellar.  Monday the pigs left.  Soon the surplus cockerels will go into the freezer.  And Sunday Ken planted the garlic and shallots. Once the time changed to standard time, our focus returns to morning; it gets light earlier and gets dark earlier than before the time change. 

The leaves are nearly gone - there are a few stubborn oak leaves left.  And our woods opens up to the sky.
Ken got more hoopettes set up in the garden before the last blast of cold.  Those greens will benefit if we have some sunny days.  He continues to harvest, plant green manures and get beds ready - some for fall plantings, some for early spring planting. 

Ken works to keep soil covered. "Open soil is dying soil," he says.  Ken just finished reading "Dirt, the Erosion of Civilizations."  The book explores how each civilization neglects or abuses its soil; once the soil has eroded, the civilization declines.  Ken previously read "The Intelligent Gardener." Both books promote caring for the soil. They confirmed Ken's often stated belief that, "If it isn't in the soil, it cannot be in the food."

From the Kitchen.  Before the clock change it would be dark when Ken got up  so he would cook.  He made a great batch of kohlrabi and rutabaga au gratin.  He cubed and parboiled the vegetables, drained them, placed them in a cream sauce with cheese and baked at 350 degrees for about a half hour until the top had begun to brown and the sauce was bubbling on the sides.

Soup!  Soup for breakfast with poached eggs, or now that we have leeks and potatoes, cream soup is on the menu.  Saute leeks.  Boil potatoes.  Run both through a food processor or blender with soup stock.  Return to heat, and add cream just before serving.

Today's potatoes are two different varieties:  The red are an American standard great all purpose potato - Red Norland, and the yellow are a taste test winner good baked or in soups - Carola.
Kitchen tip: to clean leeks easily slice the root base until you see the first bit of dirt, then cut lengthwise and rinse out any sand between layers. 

Brussels sprouts need very little cooking time.  My favorite way to prepare them is with matchstick shaped carrots - nice color, texture and flavor contrast.  Cook carrots about five minutes add Brussels sprouts and cook an additional three to four minutes, drain, and season with butter or oil and herbs. 

Winter tomatoes have gotten mixed reviews.  We are getting many repeat orders from the home gardeners who order from us.  To review care and handling: these tomatoes ripen best when each is placed in a small paper bag in a darker place.  As you open the bag to check them, they will start to give off tomato aroma.  The skin color goes from green to yellow to an orange blush - they are ripe at the blush.  Don't wait for a soft, red summer tomato; it won't happen.  The inside will be orange and the flavor will be a good tomato taste.  Please continue to experiment and give us feedback.  If the CSA members all dislike these, we have plenty of other items to put in the box.

Today's box has French grey shallots.  These have great flavor - some of the best salad dressing and  turkey stuffing ever had shallots in place of onions or garlic. Kitchen tip: To peel shallots easily, dip them in boiling water just as you would when you want to peel a tomato or peach, and they will peel easily

'Til November 20th, 

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