Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Last CSA week

A couple of the beds of chard.
They have provided so abundantly for us this year.
We love how their leaves shine in the sun.

We spent most of the day today harvesting. It is an overall more pleasurable task this time of year. I say this as one who does not care for the heat. And though it rained early this morning before dawn, we did not actually get rained on while harvesting, which is always more pleasurable. But we did get .29 inches of rain this morning and with the soil already saturated one would think we got about 5 inches of rain just by looking at our fields. We can't drive the truck all the way out into the field for fear of it getting stuck - or at least making an even bigger mess - even though its a 4x4!

All of the potatoes are out of the ground now and stored away safely in the cooler. As are all of the watermelon radishes and most of the beets. The only storage crop still left in the field are the carrots. We are leaving them in the ground until after we've gotten a couple nice, solid frosts so they can sweeten up.

With many of our crops stored in our walk-in cooler, once the temperatures outside start dipping into the upper 20s, our refrigeration system will be turned off and instead we will use an incandescent light bulb in the cooler to keep the temperature inside around 33-35 degrees. This will take some trial and error to get the temperature just right - we may only have to have it on at night. And then when it starts getting really cold we may have to put a small heater inside. But we learned last year not to set the heater above the "low" setting. One night when it was going to get down to 10 or 15 degrees, we turned the heater up a bit only to come out before bed to check on it and find the temperature in the cooler to be about 85 degrees! Whoops!

What to expect this week:
We will not have eggplants or peppers
We will have parsnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts
Everything else will remain as it has been the last few weeks

Don't forget our Nov/Dec CSA option! We still have a few shares available!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Portugese Sausage and Kale Soup

lovely chard!
we tilted the solar panels to their winter position this week (a little late), the panel on the left is still in the summer position, right panel is the angle to catch the low winter rays.

hellooooooooo wet fall! This fall is the perfect bookend to the wet spring that we had. our fields are just about the muddiest, wettest, soppiest mess we have ever seen (they were also this bad this spring, which i guess is what makes it a bookend, i could have done without matching this particular item, though). We are starting to worry that the carrots that we are leaving in the ground to size up a little might rot! YIKES! Also the celeriac, potatoes, parsnips, and more are worrisome.

we've been making some progress on planting the garlic, 7 beds of the 11 or 12 are all done! Today i learned to keep my legs pointed downhill as if they were pointed up hill, water ran into my rain pants and up my legs! IT IS A MESS OUT THERE RIGHT NOW! each garlic is surrounded by its own little puddle.

thanks to all who are interested in the new fall/winter CSA. Spots are filling fast, so don't delay in getting your payment in. If you are not interested in the CSA, you can still make to the trip to Watkins Glen to shop at the new market, right now we have bread, organic beef, dried flowers and wreaths, honey, dried fruit, veggies, local flour, and beans lined up to attend the market!

This week and next week you will see some of the traditional fall foods arrive on our table! The last several years it has been a dance for us to decide when to start bringing them to market. Brussels sprouts and parsnips, as well as kale, and cabbage sweeten with a frost and several freezes can have them at their delectable best! we have not yet had a killing frost here, so these lovely fall delights have not come into their fullest, but, if we delay any longer, you our summer CSA will not get to have them at all, so we have decided that the final two weeks will contain these true signals of fall eating.

if you brought home parsnips and don't know what to do with them, try sauteing them in butter (you can precook them a little first to soften them up, or just saute them with a splash of water at first). or try this recipe from martha stewart living: smashed potatoes and parsnips
heat T of olive oil and cook 1/2 cup parsnips cut into half inch pieces with a 1/4 t salt for five minutes. add 1 1/2 lbs potatoes, cut the same size and 1 1/2 t salt. cover with water. bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until parsnips and potatoes are very tender, but retain shape- 12-14 minutes.

drain. add 1 t thyme leaf to 3 T olive oil to the empty pot. cook until thyme starts to sizzle, 1 minute. add parsnips and potatoes, mash until combined but chunky season with salt and pepper. drizzle with oil.

Portuguese Sausage and Kale Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups Portuguese Sausage (Linguica or Chourico), about 14 ounces, sliced, 1/2-inch thick
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
10 to 12 cups unsalted chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups curly kale, about 4 ounces, stems trimmed, torn in pieces
2 bay leaves
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons Bayou Blast
5 turns ground black pepper
1/3 cup minced fresh mint

Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add Portuguese sausage and onion; cook, stirring, until onions begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add potatoes, parsley and garlic. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Add 10 cups stock or broth and kale; heat to a boil. Add bay leaves, salt, thyme, pepper flakes Bayou Blast and black pepper. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are tender, 20 to 25 minutes, adding more stock if necessary.

Skim fat from surface and ladle into large bowls. Top with mint; let stand a minute or two before serving.

*Note: Be sure to use curly kale rather than decorative or ornamental kale. Curly kale, a non-heading member of the cabbage family, has frilly, dark green leaves and is sold in bunches

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes 16 cups

found on

have a tremendous week!

Liz and Matthew

Saturday, October 15, 2011

fall's bounty

wish i had thought to take a photo of fall's bounty at market today! People often think that things are winding down as the days shorten, but that is not the case at all! There are a few of the last hanger ons of the warm season summer crops, there are still fresh greens, and roots with fresh edible tops like beets and turnips, there are storage crops that will sustain local eats through the fall and winter and the amalgam of the three makes for a great spread for cooking local foods!

Turnips are the word right now, the lovely white salad turnips shine and if you haven't tried them yet, don't miss out! they are crunchy and sweet and lovely raw or it turns out- cooked! i had always thought they wouldn't stand up to cooking but a CSA member undeterred by my warning tried them cooked, and reported that they are great that way. Bolstered by the report we have since had them roasted with other veggies as well as stir fried. they did hold up! Also this week really pretty red turnips! Nice raw as well as cooked!

A few ideas for your produce!
Try your watermelon radishes in this pretty salad!

Confetti Salad: from the asparagus to zucchini cookbook
3 watermelon radishes
4-6 medium carrots
8 ounces few cheese or substitute fresh chevre
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2-3 T rice wine vinegar
2 T fresh chopped fresh mint
2 T chopped fresh dill
1 T chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper to taste

This is a fun cake that is blushed red, has a hint of the earthy beet flavor, and actually contains more beets than sugar!

Beet chocolate cake:
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 t salt
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
3-4 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil (walnut is nice)
3 cups of shredded beets

heat oven to 325 degrees. grease two 9 inch cake pans. Wisk dry ingredients together. melt chocolate very slowly over low heat or in a double boiler. cool chocolate; blend thoroughly with eggs and oil. Combine flour mixture with chocolate mixture, alternating with beets. Pour into pans. Bake until fork can be removed from center cleanly, 40-50 minutes. from asparagus to zucchini cookbook.

this is a yummy dessert, too! found on the early morning organic CSA blog.
carrot brownie (or aubernies as they are more auburn than brown, since they don't contain any chocolate, but they are nice with a good texture and great flavor!)

1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar firmly packed (can be halved)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
2 eggs
2 cups finely grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

preheat oven to 350.
in saucepan melt butter or margarine, add brown sugar and stir until well blended.
remove from heat, beat in eggs. cool
sift together flour baking powder and salt.
stir butter mixture into flour mixture.
add carrots and walnuts; mix well.
spray or butter a 9X13 pan. fill with brownie mixture.

bake 30 minutes until center springs back when pressed with finger.
cool completely.
frost with cream cheese frosting or dust with powdered sugar, then cut into squares.

happy eating this week! liz and matthew

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Where are the pests?

Our wonderful drip tape winder that Liz built this Spring allows us to easily roll our driptape up for winter storage in large rolls and then just as easily unroll it next spring! Hooray for efficiency and making things easier!

Throughout this past spring and summer, we noticed less pests. Compared to last year we had far fewer cabbageworm butterflies flitting about this growing season. I did not see more than a few Japanese beetles about the farm this year. In autumn we normally have gray aphids congregating on all of our kale plants, but we have not seem a single one this fall. Don't get me wrong, we still have plenty of pests left to complain about - cucumber beetles, squash bugs, voles, rabbits, flea beetles. We just thought it was strange for so many of our usual pests to be missing or reduced in numbers. Did anyone else have similar experiances in their garden? We would love to hear any anecdotal evidence you've observed this year.

Expected vegetables:
The same minus tomatoes, cilantro, beans, and sweet potatoes
Butternut we'll have this week.
Next week look for parsnips, cabbage, and Brussells sprouts

note: I'm unsure why the last post is screwy with the webdings. I already changed the font once and it just reverted right back. Try viewing in Mozilla or something other than Explorer.

Last CSA event of the season: Garlic Planting Sunday October 16 at 2:00
We were worried the rain would not stop in time to prepare the beds for garlic but the past week of sunshine and temoeratures in the mid-70s did it. We were able till the beds today before more rain sets in tonight.
Don't worry if you can't make it right at 2:00. We'll be working for a few hours and you can show up anytime (and leave anytime, too!).