Hello, shareholders! This is Mini Harvest Season week number 3 out of 3 (the extension for those of you in the summer program who missed sign ups for the full fall program). We're so happy to have welcomed more of you to the farm family and that so many of you continued on during the extended portion of our season. This week, we say "goodbye for now" to many of you, with an emphasis on the "for now" because we know we'll see you again either later this season or next year!
This is Fall Program week 3 out of 8 for those of you enrolled in the full program. 5 more weeks of goodness to go!
This past weekend, we notified our winner of the Most Creative Soup contest...
Congratulations to Dana! We had originally intended to have our crew pick the winner, but you all let us off the hook (phew, thank you!) Dana emailed this submission over, and I posted it to our social media stories. We were instantly flooded with "reactions" and messages asking for the recipe for her Cauliflower Chowder, and we knew she had to be the winner. Here's the link to the recipe:
https://damndelicious.net/2014/03/22/cauliflower-chowder/ Dana recommends adding a can of creamed corn to the soup, too, for some sweetness.
On Friday night, we said goodbye to all of our summer crop plants. The squash, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes were all lost in the first snow storm of the season. But who can be upset after the run we had this year?! We had a few early light frosts, but other than that, we have no complaints at all. It's the beginning of November, and we still have some tomatoes left after the last harvest... we feel pretty lucky! Here are some photos of the destruction:
This shifts our focus heavily to clean up. Randy and his crew harvested a ton of peppers that were left behind on these plants and then focused his energy into mowing down the plants with his tractor. One of the other big aspects of clean-up is picking up all of the drip irrigation lines that helped to water our rows all season long. Here's a shot of crew member Ethan winding up a bunch of line.
A few years back, Randy switched to using biodegradable plastic mulch on his raised beds to help with weed control. We used to pick it up by hand and throw it away... which was extremely beneficial to reducing our chemical inputs, but obviously still not eco-friendly. Now we plant on biodegradable plastic whenever possible, which means it can be harrowed under and added to the soil. This also helps us to cut down on our labor after the main growing season is over.
A few years ago, we hosted our first annual Thanksgiving Centerpiece Workshop in our barn, and since then, it's been a beloved event here at the farm. Katelyn of Rustle Floral Co. shows you how to make a centerpiece using one of our sugar pumpkins, and it's a beautiful experience. We heard from so many of you that you'd still be interested in attending, and we're talking about how to make it happen with COVID-safe protocols. Stay tuned, and check out some pre-COVID footage in the meantime:
Spotlight on Napa Cabbage:
Napa cabbage is a delicate, Asian cabbage with a slightly more bitter flavor than its European relative. It is extremely tender with a light crunch and is perfect for slaw, stir-fry, or noodle soup. Personally, it's our favorite green to grill: simply chop it up, toss it in olive oil and seasonings of your choice, and grill it on high for about 20 minutes. Believe it or not, Napa cabbage is thought to have been accidentally cross-cultivated between the bok choy and turnip plant. The name Napa cabbage may come either from the word nappa, which in Japanese refers to leafy greens, or the Northern California area where it was first commercially grown. So delicious!
A Message from Randy (Including a little tour and some discussion about prep for next year!):
Contents (In approximate order from shortest shelf life to longest):
1 head of Napa cabbage
1 1/2 lbs. of beets
1/2 lb. of tomatoes
1 head of cabbage
1 red onion
1 butternut squash
1 large head of Napa cabbage
2 lbs. of beets
1 bunch of carrots
1 lb. of tomatoes
1 head of cabbage
1 red and 1 yellow onion
1 large butternut squash
Caring For Your Share:
Wash all before using:
Store the tomatoes out of the fridge on the counter, but do not put them in direct sunlight.
Keep the outer leaves on the cabbage and store in the fridge as is. The outer leaves will keep the inner head fresh, but remove any bad outer leaves before using.
Twist the tops off of the beets and carrots and store them in separate Ziploc bags in the fridge. Removing the greens will keep the roots firm. Freeze the carrot tops for later use in soup and eat the beet greens within a few days.
Store the onions, garlic, and butternut squash in a cool, dark place such as a pantry. Put them in a mesh bag or a location where they will get some air flow. Keep them out of the fridge.
Wrap the head of Napa cabbage in a moist paper towel or a Ziploc bag for some protection. Put in the crisper section of the fridge.
LGF Cooking Club:
Napa Cabbage Wedge Salad with Apples and Buttermilk Dressing:
Napa Cabbage Spring Rolls with Asian Chili Dipping Sauce:
Napa Cabbage, Carrot, and Almond Slaw with Honey:
Butternut Squash Tacos:
I shared my photo of these Butternut Squash Brownies on our social media last week, and we got a lot of requests for the recipe. Beware: Add 1/4 cup of oil to this recipe and consider omitting the cinnamon for a truly fudge brownie. Otherwise they are cakey and a bit dry.
This Butternut Squash Cake is AMAZING:
Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets (We've got syrup and maple sugar in our store, which is perfect for this. Large share members, you can add the carrots in, too!)
This Cabbage Roll Soup is awesome. Thanks for the inspiration last week, Terry!
30-Minute Kielbasa and Cabbage Skillet:
Old-Fashioned Ham, Cabbage & Potato Soup. Randy's mom Dawn made this last week and it was so good!
12 Nourishing Recipes That Use Up Those Beet Greens
Roasted Beet Hummus:
How to Roast Garlic in the Oven:
Cooking Tip(s) of the Week:
5 Smart Tips for Cutting Winter Squash (not just for butternut!) https://www.thekitchn.com/5-easier-ways-to-cut-winter-squash-250121
How to Peel Beets: Two Easy Ways:
Biweekly Catch-Up Time:
Broccoli is one of our hottest items! We caught some flak this past weekend for not bringing broccoli to the markets. But we said, "Sorry! We're saving the good stuff for our subscription members!" Many of you upgraded to the large share for the fall for some of these exact crops, so we really wanted to make sure we had enough. Cauliflower probably won't come in abundantly enough. It gets fungus very easily and this year is no exception (and no surprise since it's been nothing but cloudy and wet lately...) P.S. Note the head of "cheddar" (yellow) cauliflower on the back of the truck. It's a different variety and yes, supposed to be that interesting color!
One of these heads was 2.16 lbs! Heads can vary a lot which is explains why some of you are either receiving a larger head or a smaller head and an extra bonus item to make up the dollar difference.
Brussels sprouts are in this week, too. Just twist and snap them off of the stalk when you're ready to use them and toss them in a bowl of cold water to give them a quick rinse. Eating those Brussels sprout tops a few weeks back sure paid off!
Speaking of market-going, last week we wrapped up our Monroe Farmers' Market and Trumbull Farmers' Market for the 2020 season. They were both super different because of COVID, but we're grateful that they were still able to happen. The Shelton Farmers' Market will continue this coming weekend.
And speaking of this weekend, on Halloween we're going to have a little extra fun in the store! Check out this farm family of mummies that my aunt made. Kids, wear your costumes and come trick-or-treating. Adults, there will be a treat for you, too. We'll play some music, decorate for the holiday, and enjoy a special Saturday here. Even if you don't pick up on Saturdays, you're welcome to come by from 9 to 4!
Peter loves to play with squash - probably because it's fun to roll and easy for him to hold. He's all about the bright yellow delicata. Delicata gets its name because its skin is delicate. No need to peel it! Delicata is also known as sweet potato squash because it's very similar. Delicata is probably my favorite winter squash because it's sweet, soft, and nutty. I love it with butter and salt to balance out the sweetness, but many people recommend nutmeg, cinnamon, or even maple sugar. Delicata is very trendy right now. Many people are cutting it into rings that resemble flowers, roasting it, and putting it on pizza.
We're reflecting on a few failures from the year. We don't do a good job with some things around here, and sometimes it's out of our control and sometimes it's not. Sometimes we're too stubborn about saving onions for the later weeks of the fall subscription and we end up losing half of them to rot too soon. We've been spending some time separating out the good from the bad onions to see what we've still got left and wondering when we'll ever learn to change some of our ineffective habits...
Randy's not happy with his sweet potatoes, either. Potatoes were misshapen, yields weren't good, they have tons of open wounds and blemishes... He's just not sure if he's interested in growing these anymore. Needless to say, we're unsure about having enough high quality ones for the shares, but the good ones will be available in the store. As you can tell from his message this week, he's super into potatoes lately and his focus has been on making sure they're dug up and heading into storage for the remaining weeks of the subscription. This week, everyone will receive some red potatoes for something a little different than the gold potatoes we've been receiving.
To close out this newsletter, here are a couple more pretty shots from the week:
That row of bright yellow-green in the second-to-last row is a new loose-head Asian cabbage green we're growing called Tokyo Bekana and should be ready soon. The really awesome thing about this experience is getting to try new veggies. How many people can say they've eaten Tokyo Bekana before?!