A Little Bit of Farm News
Busy times on the farm. There’s a whole lot of field prep and planting going on. I’ll have some farm-work pics and video coming soon.
We are about to come into some phenomenal greens of all types: lettuces, baby chard, baby spinach, and a lot of different Asian greens (a Farmer Steve specialty.) My favorite is the brassica salad mix below, but there are a lot of close seconds, too, particularly Hon Tsai Tai and Baby Red Ruby Chard.
Check Out This Cold and Dry Storage Guide
–From Carol W. Costenbader’s The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest
This Week’s CSA Box – More New Stuff!!!
We call this “green squash” on the farm 🙂 They are in another large, well-represented plant family, Cucurbitaceae, which includes summer squashes, winter squashes, and melons. This variety is called Green Machine. We are still harvesting these as long as the plants are still producing and I’m including them in the box along with the newer Fall crops.
There are myriad ways to prepare zucchini. The most basic of which, and one that would work very well with this week’s CSA Box, is to simply cut them in rounds with the yellow squash, and saute them in olive oil, S&P. Slice up those spring onions and add them in too for extra flavor.
<<<Our fellow CSA Member Jacqueline sent me this picture a while back of broiled zucchini with radish and it looks amazing. It’s as simple as olive oil, S&P over medium thin sliced zucchini. I’ve tried this and it’s just as good as it looks in the photo.
All the Kales are in the Brassica family with the turnips, mustards, and cabbages. This old standard variety of green kale is my second favorite full-size kale – my favorite is lacinato. It’s extremely hardy, both heat and cold tolerant, and bug and disease resistant. It’s also easy to harvest. Even when it bolts (goes to flower) the flowers are great tasting in a salad or even a wilt.
This time of year I would generally use this kale in a wilt – like cooking spinach – just don’t overdo it. It’s still pretty good raw, but will get better for raw eating as we get into colder temps. We will have it in a mix next week.
Another top notch crop. If you’re interested in the exceptional nutritional properties of our brassicas, Dr. Rhonda Patrick is always fascinating. Check out her explanation here.
Sweet potatoes are the main edible plant in the Convolulacaea (Morning Glory) family. The other is an Asian Water Spinach, aka “Swamp Cabbage” that I think is probably left in that distant hemisphere. Next year we will be growing some specialty white and red sweet potatoes.
One of the easiest and best ways to prepare sweet potatoes is to cook them in the microwave before finishing them in the oven until they are roughly 200 degrees on the inside, then move to a 425 degree oven to bake for an hour. Seems like a lot I know. I got this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine/website and I consider them the best resource for all things culinary. THIS POST HERE is EXCELLENT. I promise it’s worth reading. If you’re like me, you want to understand the “why,” and Cook’s always gives you the best information.
I promise. You’ll never forget this preparation and you’ll make the best sweet potatoes you’ve ever had every time from then on.
Arugula is another wonderful brassica. It is one of the varieties in the baby leaf greens mix we grow, but I like to grow it as a stand-alone, separate crop, too. This is the first crop of the Fall season so it should be the spiciest. Like most brassicas, the flavor mellows with cooler weather and I expect this crop to do the same over the next several successions.
Culinarily speaking, you can’t go wrong with a sweet (ish) dressing. You cannot go wrong with a simple honey dijon like this Tyler Florence recipe.
This week’s radishes are a variety of Daikon radish called “Red Meat,” an improved “Watermelon Radish.” They are another crop in the Brassica family and we will have all types of Radishes throughout the Fall and most of the Winter.
This type of Radish is fundamentally different in that it stores quite a long time in the refrigerator. Because they can grow larger than regular round radishes, it’s easier to use them for interesting things like pickling and fermenting.
Please check out this beautiful Watermelon Radish salad HERE from Alexandra’s Kitchen
Acorn squash is in the Cucurbit family and is a wonderful addition to the CSA box in the Fall. I like Winter Squashes so much that I’m considering planting them as early as possible next year – possible even the last week of March. To me they are much more interesting culinarily than the Summer Squashes, though more difficult to process.
Here’s an idea. Take my awesome (no, really, it is) Carrot Bisque recipe, swap out the carrots for diced Acorn Squash. Then take the second Acorn Squash, cut it in half, de-seed it, and roast the halves at 350° but don’t over-roast it. To serve, cut a flat spot on the bottom of each half, set each in a shallow bowl, and pour the bisque into the halves. Garnish with something green… 🙂
I bet that would be crazy good and look great on the plate as well. I’ll be sure to put extra Acorns in the boxes so everyone has enough. They store up to 3 months without losing flavor if kept cool.
Thanks Again, Everyone!