Dear CSA members,
Here it is, your final newsletter for this year! We hope you’ve enjoyed being a part of our CSA. Every growing season has its ups and downs—thanks for sharing the adventure with us.
Even though the harvest season is almost finished, we’ve still got lots of work to do before winter. During the next couple of months (or until the weather stops us), we’ll be clearing plant debris, weeds, and trellises from the beds, laying down mulch, doing some fall pruning, building compost piles, and cleaning and organizing our tools and supplies. We’re hoping for a nice long lovely fall so that we can get all this done without too many winter coat and numb-finger days.
We’ve also got our fingers crossed for a day of nice weather on Oct. 17 for our harvest party! As I mentioned in last week’s newsletter, we’ll have a potluck starting at 1pm and then you can explore the land and glean from the gardens. If the weather cooperates, we’ll get a fire going, crank out some fresh cider, and have a hayride. Also, if the weather cooperates, we should have a few more vegetables that you can pick: carrots, yellow beets, Chinese cabbage, and pac choi are all still in baby stage—with a couple of weeks of nice weather they may be just the right size.
I’d hoped the Hakurei turnips would have grown a bit more by now, but I picked them for your shares today anyway because I was afraid bugs might get into them before the harvest party as they sometimes do in the fall. They are tiny, but tender and tasty. The greens are good too—try a spinach and turnip green salad with baby turnips sprinkled on top like radishes. Here’s a modification of a recipe that I found on the Rose Creek Farms CSA blog. You can find the original recipe here: https://rosecreekfarmscsa.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/honey-mustard-turnip-green-salad/.
Honey Mustard Turnip Green Salad
Ingredients: 2 tsp honey; 1 tsp cider vinegar; 1 tsp lemon juice; 1 tsp mustard; 2 tsp olive oil; salt to taste; turnip greens; spinach; cut fresh vegetables; almonds; cooked diced chicken (optional)
Wash and dry spinach and turnip greens and set aside. Add the first six ingredients to a small pot to make the dressing. Warm the dressing on low heat to soften the honey and blend the flavors. Turn off the heat, cool briefly, and then toss in turnip greens to coat. Toss and remove from the pot quickly so they don’t wilt. Toss the turnip greens and dressing with the spinach in a big salad bowl and top with the other veggies. Add almonds and chicken if desired.
We’ve got an assortment of squashes for you this week and some instructions to go with them. The acorn squashes (both the tan colored and green ones; the tan colored acorns are an heirloom variety called Thelma Sanders), like the delicatas from last week, are ready to eat now, though they might be even sweeter in a couple of weeks. The pumpkins and butternut squashes will be taste much better if you let them cure for a month to six weeks in a dry warm place. You could use them as indoor fall decorations before you eat them.
Once they are ready to eat, you could make pie! One of our favorite garden writers, plant breeder Carol Deppe, believes she has perfected the art of the pumpkin pie. I think I have to agree with her—this pie filling recipe is amazing. Carol doesn’t use a crust with her pies, but you could put this filling in whatever crust is your favorite. We’ve made this with cooked pumpkin and with cooked squash—both were delicious.
Carol Deppe’s Perfect Pumpkin Pie Filling (makes one pie)
Ingredients: 3 cups baked mashed squash or pumpkin; 1 cup eggs; 1 cup heavy whipping cream; ½ to 1 ½ cups packed brown sugar (depending on the sweetness of the squash); 1 Tbsp Carol’s Perfect Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix (16:4:4:1 cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves); ½ tsp real vanilla powder; 1/8 tsp salt.
Measure and combine the mashed squash, spice mix, vanilla, sugar, and salt in a large stainless steel bowl. Add the eggs. Use a hand mixer to beat the eggs (on top of the squash mix) for a few seconds, then add the cream and blend everything into a smooth batter. Any strings from the squash end up wrapped around the mixing blades and are thus automatically removed.
Pre-warm the batter by placing the bowl with the mixed ingredients inside another bowl or pan filled with hot water to bring the batter to lukewarm. (This shortens cooking time, and the edges and center of the pie cook more evenly.) When the batter is warm to the touch, pour it into the pie plate. Put the pie on the second rack from the bottom in an oven preheated to 350°F. It takes about 45 to 55 minutes to bake the pie. (This cooks the pie more gently than the standard bottom-rack position.) When the pie is done, it puffs up into a convex shape as if it thinks it’s a rising cake, and it has a thin, light golden-tan crust over the entire pie, including the middle. (If the edges are puffed up but not the middle, it isn’t done yet.)
Remove the pie from the oven and put it on a rack to cool. During cooling, the pie surface sinks down to become ordinary concave pie shape and the delicate crust disappears. Now, here comes the hard part. Cover the pie and refrigerate it for a day. It takes a day in the refrigerator for the full flavor to develop.
We spent Sunday afternoon pressing cider for you, mostly from Gala and Ginger Gold apples. Unlike most supermarket ciders, our cider is unpasteurized and un-preservatized. If you know you won’t drink it all up before it starts to turn, you can freeze it to enjoy later. For a hot treat on a cool fall evening, heat cider in a pot over low/medium heat or in a small crockpot on low. Add a couple of cinnamon sticks, a dash of nutmeg or ginger, and/or a pinch of allspice or cloves. Rum is optional!
Thanks again for supporting us this year! We look forward to visiting with you on Oct. 17!
–Amy & John
Gala & Ginger Gold Apples, ready for the pressing: