This Week you’ll find in Your Share:
• Cherry tomatoes
• Banana and Hot Peppers
• Mustards or Spicy Mix
• Basil and Parsley
• Melon or Radish****
Next Week You Might Find in Your Share:
• Cherry tomatoes
From Your Farmers…
Wow! October. We’re going to be in winter before we know it. We’ve got seven weeks after this one, and we’ll do our best to keep your shares full. As things slow down, (even more than they already have) the quantities of certain crops will dwindle and we want you to be prepared. Mother Nature is preparing our cellars and our bodies for winter. The sweet and bright colored crops so famous in summer will lessen and we will focus on the hardy building blocks that either tolerate the coming cold, or store long to keep us nourished. Winter squash, roots, and leaves will be a bigger part of the share. So will herbs.
****We expected to have enough melons to give to the nine of you who didn’t get them last week. Thursday night’s rain led to other results. We’re giving radishes to those who got melons last time, and vice versa. If you got radishes last week and don’t get a melon this week, you will get a melon when a ripe one comes available. We won’t short you.
As far as your tomatoes, we picked a few of them slightly under ripe to prevent splitting. Plus, it’s October and they just don’t ripen on the vine as they do in July. So maybe give them a few days to ripen on the counter. If you’re using this week’s recipe, the parsley will definitely last, and the green onion should too.
Last Thursday was the Seeds of Hope Benefit Event. It was AWESOME. The event drew a great crowd, faces familiar and new. The night swung from last minute stress into a casual drink, from formality to dance party to the sharing of souls. People’s hearts and generosity and belief in this project really came through, while several others behind this project were given a moment to shine.
As Randy put it, the night definitely brought a sense of momentum to the farm and gardens projects. And to ourselves. The night also brought an air of accomplishment- something that’s easy to lose sight of as a grower and manager. Each day, the field beckons for care, and beyond the field there are people in the neighborhood we haven’t yet reached. But we’ve rooted and are growing. As per the event, another round of thank yous is in order:
To Alicia Michels for her vision, Johnny Greer and St Peter’s Lutheran for the sacred ground, enabling us to partner in being stewards of the land, Pastor Paul and Bethany Peace for spreading the good word and connecting our community, the crew at the Helping Hands Food Pantry, Dennis Potter for his Friday hand and good vibes, Kathi-Lucas Johnson for leading the event planning, Lisa Sword for the room and good digs, event sponsors and attendees, all of our farm members, those who helped our planning and press, and many many more. I’d also like to thank Georgie Donahue, CAASTLC Director of Programs and farm member, for her endless support of this project and guiding me through this job. – Gabriel
Hanging herbs: Make note of these tips for future weeks. We’re giving it to you now so you’re acquainted with it, and will put a reminder in future newsletters so you can use this guide for reference.
Some tips for drying your herbs, from Randy:
Rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme, and oregano are very popular and easy to grow herbs in the mint family. As fall is upon us, we’ll be offering bunches of fresh herbs to enhance your dishes. Try preserving them for use throughout the winter. First, check to see if the leaves are clean. If you like, you can rinse your leaves and let them dry for a day or two on a paper towel. Otherwise keep them banded and put them into a brown paper lunch sack. You want to tie the bag shut around the point where the herbs are banded together as well. Then hang the bag somewhere out of the way, perhaps with a clothes pin, and punch a few holes in the side or bottom of the bag to allow for ventilation. The reason to hang herbs from the stem is so the essential oils in the stem can run downward into the leaf matter, and the reason to keep the bunches in bags is to keep off dust and limit light exposure which can fade the colors of the leaves. After a couple weeks your herbs should be sufficiently dry to take down and store in sealed jars until using. First check to make sure they crumble under pressure, and that they smell fragrant. If they emit any peculiar scent be sure to discard the bunch. Dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor and scent than fresh herbs, so a little can go a long way. Try crumbling sage leaves into a tomato sauce or a holiday stuffing.
Parsley is ready for cutting as well and since it is not very fine as a dried herb we suggest eating it fresh.
Jehad has a great tabouli recipe to share from his native Jordan. You won’t be the only one enjoying parsley at this time of year. In the last few weeks a very colorful caterpillar has arrived on the scene to eat parsley and other members of the Umbelliferae family, which include fennel, dill, and carrots including the wildflower Queen Anne’s Lace. Its name is Swallowtail. It is worth looking up, and come visit the farm for a closer look!
Food for Thought…
As I may have mentioned, I’m not much of a science guy. Following nature’s suggestions is more my tea. There are probably fact sheets and lots of big words to describe why winter squash and sweet potatoes last, and what they do for our bodies, and why in winter, we need what they have. I figure, they’re foods that last during a season when most things won’t grow. We should probably eat them during that time. They have what we need. And they have subtle, earthy color and hardness that matches the tones of late fall and winter, not the brightness and lightness of summer.
Winter is hard. The delicate things fade in the late seasons. The sweets are gone too. The softness of tender leaves fade away, as does the sound of the breeze passing through them. The tender fruits and flowers no longer bear. Bark, acorns, hardy greens, roots and other hard things remain. So we are provided with foods that follow this pattern.
Winter squash and sweet potatoes have a degree of sweetness but overall are slow burning and long lasting compared to things like berries and fruits found in the heat of summer. I think of them to our bodies as oak logs to a fire- long lasting, warming, almost a radiant heat. They are also best enjoyed warm, unlike a cool cucumber or juicy berry. Now for when or where it’s cold: Storage vegetables last when most things won’t grow: except greens. Spinach, chard, mache, and kale- all super cold tolerant. I think it’s nature’s way of saying ‘eat your greens.’ And most of these also fare through summer. So greens are needed for anything else to grow, they’re the base. On the globe, most of what’s not blue is green. Being that our species barely has canines, we should probably do as most omnivores do, and eat greens as the base of our diets, and surround the green with splashes of color- mimicking the pattern we see across most landscapes. This week we still have a broad range of color, but look for those colors to fade and provide long lasting sustenance in the coming weeks.
As some of these crops aren’t as high in flavor as the luscious summer offerings, Mother Nature has our taste buds taken care of with hardy herbs. And as Randy mentions, we can cut and dry these now before it gets too cold for them to grow.
This Week’s Recipe …is brought to you by Jehad Almaharmeh
(though the measurements are based on a foodnetwork.com recipe)
1 cup water
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
3 tomatoes, diced
3-5 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
In a large mixing bowl, pour the water over the bulgur wheat and let stand until wheat is tender and water is absorbed. Add the chopped parsley and vegetables and toss. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt in a separate bowl. Add to the wheat mixture and mix well. Chill, serve and enjoy!
Jehad suggests topping with the green onion included with your tomato and herb bag!!!
Hints/Suggestions: some diced cucumber can be added to the mix, and the lemon juice can be added at time of serving for a fresh, moist feel and taste.