Thursday, November 6, 2008

newsletter week#23 - storage tips

Red Springs Family Farm
November 6, 2008, Week #23

This week:
Lettuce Kale Winter Squash
Sweet little Pac Choi Beet Greens
Parsley Mizuna Radishes & Sorrel
Garlic Thyme Rosemary & Oregano
White Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes

What a beautiful time in the garden. The hollow is bathed in the rusty gold color of the oak leaves as they twinkle and blow down the hills. We have so much food – it’s really outrageous. If you or anyone you know would enjoy extra greens - let us know! We would love to sell nice sized bags of kale, on its own, for $5. Same goes for Asian stir fry greens. Extras of winter squash, especially butternuts, and sweet potatoes are available for $1 per pound ($25/half bushel, $45/full bushel). White Potatoes also at $15/half bushel and $30/bushel (60 cents/lb). This is a great deal on organic food. If you want to put up food for mid-winter use, now is the time.

The gardens are astounding. I really thought that we would be sending two kinds of kale today, but after picking the Red Russian Kale, it was clear that more would not be needed. We’ll have either Dinosaur (Nero di Toscano) Kale or Collards next week, along with more sweet potatoes and spinach, too.

The length of the day is in steady decline. It seems like the stars are out by 3 in the afternoon down in the hollow. Shadows get long early. It’s such a nice time to be getting other things done! I’ll not bore you with the entire to-do list, but we’ve been busy bees working on projects that have been neglected since April. Paul painted the exterior of the house addition this week, so the two halves of our home match now. We also hope to lay the floor on the deck extension, making the new front door functional, soon. AND, Lulah’s new birthday swing set should go up this weekend – now THAT’S some exciting news.

Some of you will have some cute little mini pumpkin looking squash this week. They were a wild card in our garden. For a couple years now we’ve saved seed from a special Japanese squash called Black Futsu. This year, something happened to that seed, and these little buttery nuggets are the result. Oh well. We do love biodiversity.

I’ve been enjoying the squashes so much. We sometimes bake them on a cool morning that doesn’t need a fire in the woodstove, just to warm the house, then use them however seems fit. They are a wonderful nutty, creamy addition to oatmeal or morning porridge. They also make a nice fit blended with pesto and pasta. They make soups creamy, and sweeten the acidic edge of tomato soups in a pleasant and gentle way.

If you are not keeping up with eating the squashes and potatoes – here’s some storage tips:

Winter Squash
Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation. Porches and garages work well as long as they don’t freeze. They should keep for several months depending on the variety. We’ve had butternut squashes keep well into the next summer. Acorns go more quickly than butternuts and pumpkins. You can also incorporate winter squash in to a beautiful table arrangement. They won’t keep quite as long at room temperature, but if they’re already on your table, you might be inspired to eat them more quickly. Once squash has been cut, you can wrap the pieces in plastic and store them in the refrigerator for five to seven days.

Sweet Potatoes
Keep unwashed sweet potatoes in a cool (not cold), dark place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard or cool basement, and use them within a few months. Do not store sweet potatoes in the refrigerator; cold temperatures can darken the potatoes and will adversely affect their taste. While we have kept sweet potatoes in good form until the following summer, the peak flavor and texture is definitely in the winter months.

Keep unwashed potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place – such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard. They will keep for weeks at room temperature, longer if you can provide their ideal temperature of 40-50 degrees. Beware: If your refrigerator is set at the normal refrigerator temperature, somewhere in the 30s, the low temperature will convert the starch to sugars. Moisture causes potatoes to spoil, light turns them green, and proximity to onions causes them to sprout. You can trim off sprouted eyes and small green spots and still have a find potato experience.

Kale and White Bean Soup with sun-dried tomatoes and saffron, serves 4-6
Adapted by Angelic Organics from the Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ tsp ground fennel seeds 1 ½ cups chopped onion
1 medium potato, diced 1 small carrot, chopped
1 small parsnip, chopped 1 ½ cups chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
6 cups veg or chicken stock 2 bay leaves
6-7 lg kale leaves, chopped 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
¾ cup cooked or canned (rinsed and drained) white beans
½ cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained)
Pinches of saffron, salt, and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and fennel seed; cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the parsnip and cook, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes more.
2. Add the fresh or canned tomatoes. Pour in the stock. Stir in the bay leaves and oregano. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat so that it continues at a simmer.
3. Add the kale, beans, and sun-dried tomatoes. Simmer until the vegetables are just tender, 15-20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat; add the saffron.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Enjoy the season’s fluctuations – eat well – be well.

All our best regards,

The Entwistles

“…marketing is not community, and merchandising is not CSA. CSA is about a direct relation to the Earth and the people who work the Earth on your behalf. To the extent that this is understood and embraced, CSA will continue to thrive, whether as a parallel polis, or as a widely understood and appreciated part of the world economy.” – Steve McFadden, Farms of Tomorrow

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