Dear CSA members,
What wonderful weather we’ve had this past week! In between weeding, watering, and harvesting this year’s fall crops, we’ve taken advantage of the sunshine and warmth to work on our preparations for next year. We’ve tilled in the buckwheat crop along with several loads of dairy manure from our neighbors across the expressway and have now planted that field to a mixture of oats and forage radishes. The large taproots of the radishes will loosen the compacted soil in that area and the oats will provide more organic material that we can incorporate in the spring. We hope that with all of the soil improvement work we’ve done this year, that field will become fertile enough to be used as one of our primary growing areas next season.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves with plans for next year, though, we want to invite you and your friends and families out to the farm to celebrate all we’ve shared during this growing season. Saturday, October 26 will be our Third Annual Joyous Harvest Potluck Party! We’ll plan on partying and potlucking from 3pm-dark. More details to come soon!
We harvested our first winter squashes this week—the oblong, stripy delicatas. These sweet, moist squashes have thin, edible skins and don’t keep as long as some of the other winter squashes. You’ll probably want to plan to use them within the next couple of weeks. An easy way to prepare delicatas is to cut them in half length-wise, scoop out the seeds and then bake them cut side down on a lightly greased baking sheet at about 350 degrees F until a fork slides easily through the skin. Then turn them over, slip a pat of butter or spoonful of coconut oil into the scooped-out middle and use a spoon to eat the sweet flesh right out of the bowl of its skin.
Here’s my favorite delicata recipe. It’s almost as simple as the one above.
Roasted Delicata Squash with Apples
Ingredients: 1 or 2 Delicata Squash; 1/4 tsp pepper; 2-3 medium apples; 1 Tbsp light brown sugar; 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil; 1 tsp chili powder; 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out the seeds. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. (Since the skin is edible, you don’t need to peel it.) Core and cut apples into similarly sized slices. Toss together in a large bowl with oil, salt, pepper, brown sugar and chili powder. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, 20-30 minutes or until tender.
As many of you know, we lost our first two plantings of potatoes to the spring rains, so we have less of those for you this year than we’d hoped for. We did manage to get in a small planting of late red potatoes, though, and we’ve harvested those for you this week. I love red potatoes simply steamed and buttered, but the following two recipes from Martha Stewart’s website are really good too.
Ingredients: 1 pound new red potatoes, cut into chunks; 1/3 stick butter; 1/4 cup milk; salt & pepper to taste; 1 tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens, plus more for garnish
In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with salted water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, and return to pot. Add butter, milk, salt, and pepper. Using a potato masher or fork, mash potatoes until chunky. Mix in scallions or chives. Serve garnished with more chopped scallions or chives.
Or try this variation—when your potatoes are just tender, throw some chopped kale into the pot. Continue to cook until kale is wilted but still bright green. Then drain and smash.
A different variation on this is to throw some snap beans into the pot when the potatoes are almost done and continue to cook until the beans are tender. Drain, but don’t smash. Omit the milk and simply stir in butter or coconut oil and season to taste.
I’m actually not a big potato salad fan, but this simple recipe made with fresh red potatoes I like a lot:
New Potato Salad
Ingredients: 1 pound red new potatoes, sliced 1 inch thick; 2/3 teaspoon lemon zest; Juice from one or two lemons (1/8-1/4 cup, to taste); Coarse salt and ground pepper; 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh herbs, such as dill, scallions, or parsley (add more or less to taste); 1 1/3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Set a steamer basket in a large pot with a lid. Fill with enough water to come just below basket; bring to a boil. Place potatoes in basket; reduce heat to a simmer. Cover pot; steam, tossing potatoes occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, place lemon zest and juice; season with salt and pepper. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to bowl. With a rubber spatula, gently toss potatoes with lemon juice. Refrigerate until cool, at least 1 hour.
Toss herbs and oil with cooled potato mixture; season with salt and pepper. If storing, cover and refrigerate up to 1 day; bring to room temperature before serving.
Happy eating, everyone! And mark your calendars for Oct. 26—we’d love to see you all at the farm. -Amy