Dear CSA members,
Thanks so much for your support throughout this past growing season! The year certainly had its challenges, but in the end the plants came through and produced some pretty good food, didn’t they? We’ve enjoyed growing your vegetables this season and getting to know all of you a little better. Your commitment to our farm allows us to focus our energies on growing good food in sustainable ways and for that we are very grateful.
We’ll have an end-of-season survey for you to fill out at the Saturday celebration so that you can give us a view of the season from an eater’s perspective and help us figure out how we can better serve your needs next year. (I’ll send this survey out electronically too, for those of you unable to make it on Saturday.) John, Diane, and I have some hard thinking to do this winter about how we’d like to develop this business and what it’s going to take to get there. We’ve got some ideas about how we might improve the long-term sustainability of the CSA and increase the diversity of our offerings, but we’ve got to free up some of our time and energy in order to pursue these visions. Once we put the farm to bed, we’ll be brainstorming ways to make the CSA run more efficiently and we hope that some of you might be willing to join in these conversations with us. We hope to host a dinner sometime early in 2014 where we can share some of our long-term visions for the farm with you and hear your ideas for how the farm might best serve your desires for your own futures.
Several of you have asked for reminders about the times for next Saturday’s celebration. Here’s the general plan & schedule:
Third Annual Joyous Harvest Potluck Party!
When: October 26, 3pm-midnight
Where: 1141 124th Avenue, Shelbyville, MI
What: Potluck on the farm
Drop by anytime after 3pm to meet your farmers, tour the gardens, hike the fields, carve pumpkins, share food with friends and neighbors, and learn about our plans for next year’s growing season. We will be giving her tractor-drawn hayrides in the afternoon and we’ll build a bonfire to warm us in the evening. If you are musically inclined, bring your instruments and/or your favorite songs!
In the past we’ve set the potluck time for 6pm, but what actually happens is that everyone just starts eating as soon as food starts showing up, so we’ll just plan on a “rolling potluck” this year!
Here are a couple of recipes to help you use up your final veggies. If you have never had real pumpkin or squash pie, you are missing out on something good! This recipe makes a rich, custardy pie filling. It could be made with a sweet, dense squash like butternut or a sweet pie pumpkin, like the Winter Luxuries we grew this year.
REAL Pumpkin or Squash Pie
Ingredients: 1 medium pie pumpkin or butternut squash; 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger; 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 4 eggs, lightly beaten; ½-1 cup honey, warmed slightly (I used ½ cup, but maybe you’ll want a sweeter pie); 2/3 cup half and half (the recipe called for 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, but I didn’t have those so I used half and half instead); Prepared pie shell
Cut pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Bake cut-side down on a lightly greased baking sheet at 350 degrees F until tender when poked with a fork. Cool until just warm. Scrape the pumpkin flesh from the peel. Mash together approximately 2 cups of the cooked pumpkin with the spices and salt. Beat in eggs, honey, milk, and cream (or half and half). Pour filling into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted 1 inch from edge of pie comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Wait–don’t throw out those squash and pumpkin seeds! Toasted, they make delicious snacks.
Stove-Roasted Pumpkin or Squash Seeds
Separate pumpkin seeds from pulp and place in a bowl. Fill bowl with water and swish seeds around to clean off final bits of pulp. Dry on a towel. Heat skillet to medium low. Add seeds and either dry-roast until crunchy or can add a bit of oil and salt. (The oil helps the salt stick.) Sesame oil is nice. You can sprinkle on some tamari partway through roasting for a tamari-flavored seed or chili powder for a little spice. You’ll need to stir these every now and then so that they roast evenly. You can also do these in the oven on low heat.
Thank you, chef Jamie Oliver, for helping us use up our abundant pac choi with this recipe! To go vegetarian, use tempeh and veggie stock instead of beef and chicken broth.
Beef with Pac Choi, Mushrooms, and Noodles
Ingredients: 2 ½-3 oz thin rice noodles; ¼ lb quality beef sirloin; olive oil; 1 teaspoon ground cumin; sea salt; ½ red onion, finely sliced; 1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced; 1 fresh red chili, deseeded and finely sliced; 1 small handful shiitake and oyster mushrooms, brushed clean and torn up; 1 cup organic chicken stock; 1 head pac choi, quartered
Cook noodles according to directions. Meanwhile, rub the beef with olive oil, sprinkle with the cumin and a small pinch of salt and rub all over. Place in a really hot frying pan and sear on all sides. Add the onion, ginger and chili and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, stock and pak choi. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan. Stir around, and correct the seasoning. Slice up the beef and serve the noodles and pak choi in a big bowl, with the beef slices on top. Pour over the broth from the pan.
Thanks again for all of your support and encouragement this year. Your appreciation makes our hard work worthwhile!
In gratitude, Amy (and John and Diane)