Thursday, September 17, 2015

Butternut squash and the truth about carrots

Hello from the farm, 
The season has turned a wonderful corner and we are reveling in the cool sunny days that make working on the farm a delight!  And...there is moisture in the ground making those fall crops grow nicely. In short, nothing to complain about and just about everything your farmers could wish for.  

This week we are harvesting the Indian corn and curing it (it will make amazing corn meal in future weeks for corn bread), bringing in the butternut squash for the harvest, admiring the fall seedlings as they grow, turning the compost pile, not irrigating! (woohoo), checking the sweet potatoes for maturity so we know when to harvest them, and feeling very pleased to have carrots to speak of, and eat. 

Treatise on Carrots: When have you seen fresh local carrots at a farm stand or market around here?  Probably never, and with good reason. Carrots are difficult to grow well and consistently.  Their tiny dill-seed size, their hesitance and finickiness to germinate,  and their inability to compete with weeds because they are slow growing and they never really make a canopy to shade out young weed upstarts, means that very few farmers around here, other than CSA farms like ours will put the effort into growing them.  But with that said, when we've got carrots, we are like the thieves who pulled off a jewel heist.  Yes, we've got carrots. 
fresh organic carrots are so sweet and crisp!
time to get down to work, carrots are a labor of love
Farmer Taryn happily bands a fresh bunch of carrots

Abendessen Fresh Bread:Stephanie is not able to bake bread this week, but plans to have bread at the farm next week. 
Picnic in the Fields  
Sunday, September 27 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Join us in a celebration of food to preserve 14 acres of farmland.
Music, child-friendly activities, and a spirit of community!
 ADULTS: $25 in advance, $30 at the door YOUTH 13–17: $10 UNDER 12: FREE Drop-in whenever — Gates open at 10:30 


Buy tickets at

A limited number of tickets may be available at the door. Questions? Email 
Suggestions for the Harvest: 
Carrots: these carrots are better than candy--simply refrigerate and then eat washed and unpeeled for a snack.  

Butternut Squash: butternuts have great flavor and can be used for making pumpkin pie. See recipe below for one way to prepare it
Pawpaws: best to keep them in the fridge until they are soft so the fruit flies don't find them. Cut in half the short way and spoon out like eating a kiwi fruit.  Don't eat the seeds or skin. The pulp is good fresh or added to a smoothie. 
Beets:  Beets are back in town. We grow red, orange and striped beets, beautiful.  mmm, I used to love to eat these after my mother had blanched them and slipped the skins off and they were cooling on the counter.  Super nutritious, they can be roasted, grated for salad, boiled or steamed, then eaten hot or cold, and of course, made into pickled beets or used for pickled beet eggs.  Makes me hungry writing about them.
Sweet Peppers: wow, it's been a great season for these lovely peppers. They are slowing down now with the shorter days. Sweet peppers come in all shapes, colors and sizes.  Carmen, a long horn-shaped pepper is a perpetual favorite among your farmers.  We like to snack on them as if they were candy.
Tomatoes: these have also peaked and are descending:  tomatoes seem to stand for themselves without words of introduction, but here are some words anyway: delicious, great in sandwiches, BLTs, tomato & cucumber salad, cooked down for sauce, chopped in salad, fresh or canned salsa and more.
Eggplant: The Italian and Asian types differ only in shape and color, they are used in the same manner.  I like them sliced and grilled or pan fried with soy sauce, oil, miso etc until browned and crispy.  
Garlic: woohoo for our farm's garlic, so fresh and tasty. It goes really well in the tomato cucumber salad I talked about last week. 
Storage Onions:  the red and white storage onions should keep for a month or two in cool dark storage.  

Potatoes: well, that's the hardest we ever worked for potatoes and for not a lot of them unfortunately. We did get some, and for that we are glad. 
Scallions: We had a great run of scallions, but they are done now. These mild-mannered onion family folks give an easy onion flavor to salads, sandwiches, stir fries and more.  Or you could do the old classic buttered bread and sliced scallion treat: my grandparents talked a lot about enjoying them in spring.  
Chard: this cousin to the beet is appreciated for its leaves instead of its roots.  Use for salads, or as a spinach or kale substitute in cooking.  
 Green/Purple/Yellow Beans: they are a bit mature this week, but should still be pretty tasty.  Older beans can be saved for vegetable soup, which is what we did growing with vegetables that were a little on the mature side. These beans are so amazingly good it almost puts frozen beans to shame.  The purple variety is beautiful--if heated they turn green, if used in salad their purple looks great.  To cook, bring to a boil in an inch of water or so, then turn down to three lines or so until tender. Yum yum!
 Watermelons: the watermelon plants have done their duty and given us some great melons.  Shareholders have told us that the Yellow Moon and Stars was not very flavorful, so we will not grow much of it next year.  Sorry it did not live up to its billing.  We may do a small test planting next year to see if it does any better second time around. 
Cantaloupes:  the cantaloupes had a fantastic run, but their time in the sun is done. Law Reh mowed down the spent and weedy patch with quiet glee.   
Cucumbers:  these are all done and and vines shredded to compost them back into the field 
Kale/Collards/Senposai:  these are surrendering to the hot summer weather as usual.  We like to fry these in a skillet with butter or coconut oil until crisp, add some onions and saute them as well--a superb topping for rice, fried eggs or stand alone too.
Cabbage: great for a cabbage and chopped peanut with vinegar salad. Simple and surprisingly good in spite of its simplicity. 
Garlic scapes:  these are the would-be flowering stems of garlic--soft, tender, easy to use for stir fries, diced for salad, really anywhere a mild garlic flavor is desired. We like to use it for pesto here at the farm. 
 The Pick Your Own Field:There are amazingly nice flowers in the Pick Your Own Field. Feel free to pick abundantly. There are also green and ripe chili peppers, okra, tomatillos and Sungolds and other gourmet type tomatoes

General rules of thumb:

If plentiful, take a little more, if scarce, go easy on the crop

For herbs--pinch only the tops of stems so that they can regrow. 

We hope you are enjoying the fall harvest,

Your farmers


Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1-1/4 hours
Makes 4 cups
  • 1 butternut squash, about 1-1/2 pounds, washed well
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 apples, cored, chopped into half-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (don’t skip)
Set oven to 375F. Place a glass or ceramic baking dish in the oven to preheat.
SQUASH Place the squash in the microwave for 3 minutes to soften (see TIPS). Remove the skin, seeds and membrane, then into half-inch cubes (see How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash). In a large bowl (see TIPS), toss the squash with remaining squash ingredients, coating the cubes well with butter and spices. Transfer to baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
APPLES Combine apples, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Arrange apples over the squash. Re-cover with foil, bake for another 10 minutes.
Uncover the dish, stir and bake for about another 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the squash is fully cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately.

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