Thursday, September 17, 2009

Red Springs Family Farm

September 17, 2009, Week #17

Vegetable medley:

Lettuce Green Beans Garlic

Summer squash Sweet Pepper Cucumber

Acorn squash Swiss Chard Okra/Tomatillos

Melon or tomato Herb bag: Basil Arugula Parsley

Well, it’s a good day for ducks. Your leafy greens today will need a good washing, tho they’ve been washed well in the field over the last few days. We’ve received over three inches of rain, and it is still falling. This tropical remnant seems to have parked in our region.

We hope that this new Farmer’s Market works out well. It’s exciting to change, and nice to be able to spread out. We are grateful to New Century Books for supporting us over the past three years. It was a great incubation. Lulah can still be found over there with her Momo, if you want to go visit, browse, and support local business. We do encourage that.

We’ve done a lot of growing this year, besides all the veggies. We outgrew our old truck, and outgrew the veggie nook in the bookstore. We’ve utilized almost every patch of arable land on our property now, too. What will we grow into next?

If you take the time to look, you can see what a predicament we are in over our tomatoes. It’s sad. From the edge of the garden, looking at the row, there seem to be some pretty red blushing tomatoes. But upon closer examination, they’re all damaged by the blight. To add insult to injury, now most of them have split from the excess rain. When it dries up enough, we’ll probably quit torturing ourselves and just take them OUT. It will be a sad relief.

Summer crops are on fast decline now. The good news is that the Fall crops look great. As long as the seeds and baby seedlings survive this hurricane, there will be a nice selection of herbs and greens to come for the fall.

Acorn squashes, yummmmmmmy. This variety is called Paydons. It is an heirloom that some friends of ours grew last year. It looked good and has proved up well by us, out-producing the standard Table Queen variety in both size and number. If you’re not sure what to do with acorn squash, the answer is NOT TOO MUCH. Our experience is that their nutty flavor and creamy texture doesn’t need much help. Some basics and a recipe included below.

You will be seeing more winter squash in the baskets to come. These tips apply to all of them. Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation. Acorn squash will keep for a few months. Butternuts and pumpkins will keep for 6 months or more, thought their taste peaks in mid-winter. Once squash has been cut, you can wrap the pieces in plastic and refrigerate them for five to seven days. To make it easier to prep winter squash for your recipe, try the pre-baking method: pierce the squash to allow heat to escape while it is in the oven, then bake the squash whole at 350° F until it is just barely tender to the poke of the finger, 20 to 30 minutes. This softens the shell and makes cutting and peeling much easier.

To get more specific, acorns are among the easiest to handle of the winter squashes. They don’t take too long to bake. They’re not terribly difficult to cut. They’re not overwhelmingly LARGE. So, take your squash, cut it in half lengthwise, spoon out the seeds, and plop it into a baking pan with ½ inch of water in the bottom. Bake in a medium oven until the squash pokes completely soft (1/2 an hour or so?). Let it cool abit then turn the squash over, dress with butter, salt and pepper, or just butter and a little cinnamon. The squash keeps well in the fridge once baked. It can be a nice quick fix to just scrape out the cold baked squash flesh into a hot pan with some butter or oil, seasoned to your liking. Hope you will enjoy.

If you want something unique, try this:

Acorn Squash Salad from The Real Dirt on Vegetables

2 medium acorn squash ½ cup olive oil

1/3 cup fresh cilantro 6 Tbsp orange or tangerine juice

3 Tbsp maple syrup 2 Tbsp minced candied ginger (1 Tbsp fresh raw sub)

½ tsp salt 1/8 tsp cayenne

Salad greens, washed, dried, and lightly dressed in olive oil

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2) Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30-45 minutes. Cool completely, scoop out eh soft flesh, and roughly chop. Place the squash in a bowl and set aside.

3) Combine the olive oil, cilantro, orange juice, maple syrup, ginger, salt and cayenne in a blender or food processor. Blend well.

4) Pour the dressing over the squash and toss gently. Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to combine. Serve on a bed of lightly dressed greens.

And, to re-introduce cooking greens, here’s a nice idea that could probably be used with several kinds of cooking greens:


2 tbsp. canola oil 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 onion, peeled and chopped 4 cups chard, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp. butter 1 tbsp. flour

1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

6 corn tortillas 1/2 cup hot salsa

Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat oil; saute garlic and onion until golden. Add chard (in small amounts) until it is cooked down. Make a bechamel sauce: melt butter, stir in flour, add milk and cheese. Stir until thick, then mix into cooked greens. Fill center of each tortilla, roll up, place in lightly oiled baking dish. Spread salsa over all; bake in hot oven for 25 minutes.

Recipe developed by Ellen Ogden. In "The Cook's Garden" catalog. Vol. 8, No. 1. Spring/Summer 1991. Pg. 7.

Next week we may be sending out the first of the butternuts. More white potatoes to come, and cooking greens, too. Hopefully another small run of green beans.

Thanks for your support. Eat well and be well.

Paul, Coree, and Lulah Entwistle

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

~Michael Pollan

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