Tuesday, September 30, 2014

week 18

one bag: Lettuce Basil Arugula
Lacinato Kale one last Tomato

in another bag: Onions Garlic Potatoes
Variety Peppers Summer Squash Eggplants
Okra Sage and a Fairy Winter Squash

Just to quickly reiterate the plan here – there will be no veggie deliveries for the next two Tuesdays. We will miss our gardens, and we hope you miss our produce, but we'll be back to share whatever this Autumn has to offer. I'll drop a line out to you as a reminder when we return.

I love that somehow, as all the summer greens begin to turn earthward, we can coax a dark succulent green from the garden one more time. The kale this week is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy it. After the break, we will (God willing) have turnips and radishes and more good greens, along with the sweet potatoes and more squash. If it frosts while we're away, the peppers, eggplant, and basil will be gone, but the arugula will carry on through the first couple cold snaps.

It's time to start praying for rain again. Sometimes I think the NOAA weather predictions keep rain in the forecast just so we don't fall into despair. It was amazing that the last round missed us. But it did. So, it's dusty now, and slow, but good for drying out the field corn and beans. There's always a up-side, somewhere.

If you are struggling with your arugula, allow me to suggest you try it on pizza. As I was packing bags this morning, I was imagining a pizza, with grilled vegetables – like eggplant and patty pan squash, sliced thin and grilled before the pizza baked. The last thing to go on the very top would be a handful of sliced arugula. Cooking mellows the taste.

You can even grill pizza. A friend introduced me to this concept and it's wonderful. Start with your dough (if you've got time – make your own – it's not hard) rolled out and a hot grill. Put the dough on the grill, covered, for just a few minutes. Take it to the kitchen and dress the grilled side (NOT the raw side) with all your pizza fixings – don't load it up too much – and then put it back on the grill for about 5 minutes more. This time, obviously, the 'raw' side is going to go onto the grill. OH, so good.

Even though I hope you will come along with us into the Fall for as long as you like, I just want to take a second and thank you for sharing this season with us. You have been wonderful eaters. Thank you for not complaining about too many tomatoes, for enjoying eggplant, week after week. It is a joy to share our abundance with you. I hope your freezers are all stocked with some goodies for winter, and your memories stocked with good memories of the flavors of summer.

See you soon! Paul, Coree, Lulah and Levon
Red Springs Family Farm

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

week 16

one bag: Lettuce Basil Cilantro Arugula
Sage Cucumber
in another bag: Onions Garlic Okra
Variety Peppers Summer Squash Eggplants
And the first Winter Squash plus a few Tomatoes

We did an experiment with our winter squash this season, and it failed. What we did was try to contain the sprawling squash in the patch of field corn. In years past, we have rather successfully planted squash and corn together. We noticed that the squash set its best fruit when it crawled out from under the shade of the corn, but it still held some ground under the corn and kept down some weeds, so it worked out alright. This year, we put a little more space between each corn plant, and tried to keep the squash IN. If we persist in this experiment, we're going to have to put even more space between each corn plant, because it has grown quite obvious that winter squash wants more light than we've been giving it. We learn a lot from reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books. Farmer Boy, in particular, is a sort of an informal farm manual for Upstate New York a couple hundred years ago. Evidently, corn was planted VERY farm apart – so that the horse team could be driven between the rows, going both ways. After a certain amount of cultivation was done, the pumpkins could go in between the corn. It must have been beautiful to see. But it would take A LOT of room to grow enough corn that way.

So – these lovely squash are from Long Hungry Creek Farm. Enjoy.

There's something about sage and squash that really worked together, in my opinion. And the sage gets really big about now, just when the squashes are harvested. I like to gently fry a few leaves in butter as a tasty garnish. It's hard to go wrong with that combination.

We're thinking hard about planting garlic now, and will probably begin digging up sweet potatoes later this week.

The little patty pan squash are like tender buttery morsels out in the garden. It's a thrill to find them each time I harvest, though inevitably a few hide out and manage to sit on the vine until they become more like small alien spacecraft. They make a fine zucchini bread, now that it's gotten cool enough to want to bake again.

One of our favorite treatments for squash is Vegetable Fritters – very satisfying flavor, forgiving recipe, and easily doubled (from Simply In Season):

1/3 cup flour ½ tsp baking powder ½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper 2 eggs Mix to form a smooth batter. Add...
3 cups shredded summer squash 1/3 cup onion or 2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp fresh herbs – your choice Add to batter and then drop onto a hot greased skillet by the spoonful. Fry until golden on both sides and enjoy.
Have a great week!