Sunsetting on the 2015 harvest season
A mysterious mushroom graced the herb garden this past week. Unappreciated but utterly important to the farm ecosystem, mushrooms remain an enigma.
A panoply of radish varieties keeps farm produce interesting. Shown here, left to right, are bravo, amethyst, watermelon, and nero tondo.
Notes From The Field
The Final Two Weeks
By Derek McGeehan
We have two more weeks until we reach the proverbial end of our climb or two more weeks until we've descended off our mountain; either is analogous to the way we feel when we approach the end of the Main Season. Though now that we're offering the fourth annual Winter CSA we still need to trek for six more weeks out of a jungle or through a desert before we reach the comforts of modern civilization again. See, this is what happens when a farmer reads a new National Geographic magazine sandwiched between verbose Stephen King and Dean Koontz fiction books. How do I have time to read you may be asking. Good question. A newborn, a 2-year old, and a farm to run. It must be the reduced amount of daylight. Speaking of daylight, let's welcome back Standard Time after the hiccup of Daylight Savings. Moving man-manufactured time around always seems a bit out of sync with the natural world but we'll adjust and be able to wake up at an earlier time to begin harvesting this week. I'm sure the farm staff is as thrilled as I am.
A frosty morning sunrise is almost always pleasurable to look at.
Enough rambling, what goes on at the farm right now? Well, we need to plant 13,000 garlic cloves and mulch the beds this week. Those 13,000 garlic cloves will sprout and become next year's garlic bulbs, and the cycle continues. Anchor Run has been saving garlic for 12 seasons now and we've basically created our own unique variety, or so I am told. We'll also continue to retrieve irrigation components and fabric row cover from the fields as well as harvest roots and other storage crops. It is forecast to be warm and balmy most of the week so working outside will be pleasant. Thankfully we received ample rain last week which brought October's total to 3.3 inches, a perfect amount. We sowed the season's last planting of cover crops, winter rye and hairy vetch, which will overwinter and produce a large amount of organic matter in the spring to feed the soil and the following late summer vegetable crops. Besides mowing, discing, and plowing in crop residue to break up the pest cycle, practically all of our tractor work is finished for the season, which I appreciate. Breathing in diesel exhaust gets old after a while. Very soon we'll earnestly begin planning and prepping for next season but first we'll relish the successful completion of our 7th season at Anchor Run.
Kale, Potatoes, Radishes, Oh My
By Derek McGeehan
Harvest #25 (Week A) should include potatoes, sweet potatoes, kale, leeks, radishes, garlic, lettuces, bok choy, escarole, arugula, broccoli raab, napa cabbage, cauliflower, fennel, and winter squash. There will be choices. U-pick this week should include herbs.
Workshifts Over For Season
By Derek McGeehan
Workshifts have ended for the year. If you weren't able to finish your hours, please send your $15 per missed work hour check made payable to "Anchor Run CSA" as soon as possible (half share - $60, full share - $120). This fills out the balance of your share cost and saves us the need to contact you for payment.
2015 Winter Share
By Derek McGeehan
The Winter CSA will begin on Tuesday, November 17th, 1-8pm, for Full Shares and Week A Half Shares. Week B Half Shares begin Tuesday, November 24th. The season runs for 6 weeks through the week of December 20th. (Half share folks, we will try to keep your same Week A/B designation you had for the Main Season). CSA members can still sign up for a winter share but we do need payment by Friday, November 13th, to confirm our harvest numbers. Prices are the same as last year, $200 for a full share and $110 for a half share. New this year are string construction lights to get you safely from the parking lot to the barn; a project on our to-do list for years. Six more weeks of harvest sounds great to me!
So many choices!
By Linda Dansbury
I am sure you have noticed the many choices in the pick up room the past couple weeks, a trend I think should continue. It is great for members who don't care for certain veggies or do/don't want to stock up on items. For me, figuring out what to write about is a bit of a challenge because I don't know what members need help using. So, as I did a few weeks ago with items we were receiving at that time, I will give a brief overview for the current list of greens/veggies.
Broccoli raab - many don't like this bitter green, but when paired with white beans, pasta, sweet sausage and cheese, it is delicious. When doing research for this article, I learned that it is also delicious roasted - cut into 3-4" lengths, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and some red pepper flakes. Roast at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the stems are tender and leaves slightly crunchy. I am going to try this one! Broccoli raab will only store for about a week in the fridge.
Fennel - I have talked about fennel quite a bit - it is equally happy being used raw in salads, braised in soups and stews, or roasted. The trick to successful roasting is to cook it at a lower temperature than many other veggies - 375 and allow 45 minutes or so - when it is fork tender, it is finished. Fennel keeps well in the fridge for several weeks.
Arugula - Many think that arugula is just for salads, but think again! It can be used as an ingredient in pasta dishes - add to the cooked pasta and just let it wilt. It is great as a pizza topping or as part of a filling for meat and chicken or as an addition to potato or green bean salads. My new favorite this year is arugula pesto - it is delicious as a topping for almost anything.
Escarole - Yet another versatile green and one that makes me happy when I see it in the pick up room. Yes, it is delicious in salads, and is great paired with sweeter fall produce including beets, apples and pears. As with broccoli raab, escarole loves pasta, sausage, white beans and cheese. Use escarole in any recipe that calls for broccoli raab. It keeps for a couple of weeks in the fridge.
Napa cabbage - is in the same family as the "globe" cabbage but somewhat more delicate - it is more mild in flavor and although it stores well, it will not keep for months like other cabbages. Obviously, cabbage makes tasty slaws and stir fries. Don't forget to add it to soups - a nice minestrone perhaps? Also, roasting or braising on the stove top (as I have been saying) brings out a nutty deliciousness that was unexpected when I first tried it years ago.
Most of these techniques can be found in recipes on the website - just hit search; then in the pull down select recipes, and you can enter any veggie of your choice. Enjoy! And, if you have any ideas, please send them to me at email@example.com.
How I enjoyed my harvest this week
By Linda Dansbury
I didn't cook anything complicated this past week, but I did use a number of our veggies. Below is some of what I made:
Sweet potatoes - I simply baked them until tender, split them open, and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. I found them to be so sweet and delicious, that I sent D & D an e-mail that very night.
Cauliflower - Roasted it and then topped it with a combination of fresh grated ginger, soy sauce, a dash of sugar, chopped scallion and toasted sesame seeds. It was very tasty.
Beets - roasted and then pickled them using the directions I posted last week - I did not do it with the eggs. I ate the beets one night along with my meal, and have just been reaching in the container and getting a taste or two every so often.
Onion and leek - used one of each as the aromatics for a dish I make a couple of times during the fall - I'll call it "Stove - top Braised Pork Chops with Apples". It is exactly as it sounds - season, then brown the pork chops. Remove from pan and add the chopped leek and onion to the pan - saute until slightly softened and barely browned. Add some white wine to de-glaze the pan. Add chops back to the pan, then add chicken stock, enough to barely cover the pork. Cover and let simmer until the pork chops are just tender. Add peeled, chopped apples and let simmer for another 15 minutes, or until tender. Top with chopped parsley.
Cabbage and onion - sliced cabbage thin, as I would if making slaw, and chopped the onion. In a large pan, heat a little butter and oil. I added the onion and cooked for a few minutes, until slightly softened. Added cabbage, and cooked, turning frequently, until tender and lightly browned. Added salt and pepper to taste and topped with a little parsley.
Last night I was tired from a very long week, so I took a container of Roasted Tomato Soup out of the freezer. Being able to do that is such a welcome event.
Please let me know how you enjoyed your harvest at firstname.lastname@example.org.