Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fall CSA
2nd Week

I'll just tell you what Farmer Vicki said about this week's box:

Welcome to week two of our fall CSA. We have a treat this week - brussel sprouts - thanks to our friends at Growing Power. Mine got tied up in weeds this summer and did not produce, so I was delighted when Amy had enough to share with us. We also have Napa cababge. It is a taller, looser head with a mild sweet flavor. You can eat it raw or cook it. Another goodie for the week is Boc Choi. THis is an Oriental veggie used in sitr fry. I find it is an excellent addition to chicken soup - great eating on a cool fall evening with squash muffins. I am also including fresh thyme - an herb that is good with poultry, pork and as an addition to salad dressing. If you do not use it all fresh, it dries nicely on a paper towel or hang it with a ribbon in the kitchen to dry. This variety is German Winter Thyme and is very flavorful. Also, included is rutabaga. Rutabaga and turnips (included) cooked together with carrots is a wonderful Irish treat. Peel and cut into hunks. Boil until tender. Rice together with a little milk, butter, salt and pepper. Each flavor blends together and yet remains distinct. Even the pickiest eaters love this dish - a great way to introduce young ones to the delights of the fall veggies. Our winter squash varieties for the week are Carnival (multi-colored) and butternut. Carnival are of the sweet dumpling types and are very sweet and moist and tender.

My youngest, Jon, has always refused to try squash until this year. Miguel's wife made butternut squash and he offered some to Jon. He did not want to refuse him, so he took one bite and found a new love. Last night he specifically requested that I cook him squash for dinner - and ate almost a whole squash himself.

This week we have been busy taking out all of our plastic and drip tape. Today we finishsed up the job. Chad mowed down the last of the peppers, and then Miguel and Jose began pulling things up. I drove the truck and they pulled and piled into the bed of the truck. When Chad got done, he joined in the "party" and before long they were done. They worked hard and even with it being cool, they were sweating. These guys are great! They made a difficult job seem easy. Isn't that the way it is with someone who has expertise in an area?

With winter coming we are looking forward to having a little bit of a break - shorter hours and some days off. But, we have lots to do before spring comes. One major task we are undertaking is the renewal of a neglected apple orchard. Jon and Jay have begun taking out every other tree. They have completed two rows (out of 40). Now they have to trim the branches off the trunks and cut the wood into usable pieces. We can't begin pruning until January and February. The coldest months are the best time to prune. BRRRRR!!!!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Find THAT Food Blog

Someone takes the time to organize a bunch of food blogs. Great job! (Via Foodblog who does a great job of keeping up with this stuff as well!)
Fall CSA
First Week

As I have noted many times, the ability to eat local falls off considerably once the Farmer's Markets ends, and my Oak Park market ended a week ago. To continue to eat local one has to work at finding sources as well as live off of products stored. Now, I have always been frustrated that there have not been more local sources to buy local all year round. For one thing, even in our northern climate, things continue to grow past October. For another thing, vendors can maintain good stores of items like apples, cabbages, onions and potatoes. Finally, I would hope that vendors could sell stocks of items preserved themselves. For instance, my beloved Hardin Farms froze or dried any fruit not sold in season; the problem is, Hardin does not market this stuff post Farmer Market. Besides these natural cold weather products, modern technology allows farmer's to grow certain items in greenhouses.

Farmer Vicki DOES do all of this with a fall-winter CSA. She is still picking items from her grounds. Her first box included turnips with greens, serrano peppers, chard and lettuce from her farm. From her sheds, we got potatoes, onions and squash--one large acorn and one spaghetti. From who knows where, we got one, still fresh, tomato and some very sweet for green, green peppers. It was more than enough product for a week. There was also a bunch of fresh herbs including rosemary, and cilantro. The products came in enough quantities that it would not just be CSA salad and CSA eggs for the week--the result of CSA boxes come insufficient amounts of stuff.

Next week's box arrives on Wednesday.