Seeds of Hope Farm CSA Newsletter, Week 16, November 6, 2012

This Week you’ll find in Your Share:

• Garlic

• Tomatoes

• Head Lettuce

•Swiss Chard

• Carrots

• Acorn Squash

• Leek leaves

• Cilantro

Next Week You Might Find in Your Share:

• Winter Squash

• Leafy green

• Garlic

• Radish

• Green Tomatoes

• Lettuce

• Beet??

• Carrot?

• Herb

Winter isn’t far away. Though  it’s a welcome change after this summer days like today are the ones we don’t tend to remember..cold, dreary, wet…pretty tough without a mug of coffee and a good book.

In field news, much of the garden didn’t seem to suffer from the cold until this Sunday morning. You’ll notice the number of items in the bag this week really dropped off…but that’s ok. A person really only needs one vegetable and some water for a soup.

But, we’re excited about what we have- acorn squash, deep red lettuce, the likely last of red tomatoes, leek leaves, the colorful chard, and carrots. Carrots like sandy soil they can easily push down into. Here in Missouri we tend to have clay, hence our carrots look like they’re from a page of Dr. Seuss. You’ll find dark ones, light ones, dull ones, bright ones. Some have one, some have two, some are long, some are small, some we didn’t want to dig at all. But the colors and some of the shapes chosen are on purpose. In addition to orange, we grew white and purple. The whites are especially tasty.  Some of the short orange ones we chose because they do well in a clay soil, and are mature while short, not needing to dive 12 inches into the ground. Big thanks to Jehad for bunching all those carrots! We left the tops on for decoration, but they’ll store longer without.

One of our farm members, Dora Gianoulakis, was so generous to let us come dig some leeks out of her raised bed garden. We did so, planted them, and we’re giving you the leaf trimmings to use in a soup stock. As Randy put it, leeks occupy that magical realm between onions and garlic. They can be boiled in water, strained out and then brought back to us for composting. A handful or two with some meat makes a great base. If making a stock now doesn’t fit your schedule, chop the leaves into ½ inch lengths and freeze them until you’re ready.

See you for the next two weeks-


Food for Thought…

This week you’ll find chard in your share.  Chard is my wife’s favorite cooking green because it is versatile and delicious.  It is also very beautiful, with its deep colors and thick crinkly leaves. Chard is easy to grow for any home gardener.  I have grown it through extreme temperatures, when it would freeze every night with some cover over it and then thaw the next day, or through this summer’s intense heat and drought conditions.  It is fine from 0 through 100 degrees!  Chard is a very generous vegetable.  You can ignore it for months and the leaves will just grow larger and larger until you’re ready to harvest.

Last night, for Meatless Monday, we started with garlic and onion in a pan with some oil and soy sauce and added chard, some chopped carrots, a bag of frozen peas, stirred some eggs into the mix, and turned it into a really satisfying vegetarian fried rice.

You’ll find that chard has a nice earthy flavor, sort of like a beet.  This is because chard and beets are botanically the very same thing.  Beets were selected over the years fthe size of their big edible taproot and chard was selected for its leaves.  So chard is essentially beet greens.  Also, unlike some other greens with unpalatable stems like kale, you can savor the stems of chard, sweet and crisp, by just sautéing them a bit longer than the leaves.  It is almost like two vegetables in one.

You’ll also see lettuce in your share this week.  Fall is a good time to enjoy fresh salads.  Have you ever made a quick homemade dressing?  Gather some olive oil, a vinegar like apple cider or balsamic, something sweet like honey or sugar, a squirt of grainy mustard, salt and pepper, perhaps some herbs.  You can give these ingredients a healthy shake in a jar.   Adjust the proportions to see what you and your family like.  Experiment.  The great thing about making your own salad dressing is you control exactly what goes into it.  No mysterious artificial unpronounceable ingredients.  And you’ll notice some worthwhile savings as you avoid paying for bottled salad dressing at the store.

We hope everyone makes it out to the polls on this Election Day before dinnertime!


This Week’s Recipes…

The beloved acorn squash

Acorn squash doesn’t tend to store as long as other winter squashes, so try to use it in the next several weeks rather than the next several months. If you’re wanting to save it for Thanksgiving, it should hold up just fine. Our squashes didn’t turn out quite as sweet as I’d hoped, so adding a lil sweetness may not be a bad idea. Each share received at least 3 lbs of good acorns, with one bonus squash that may not be as high of quality, but should be just fine.

Cooking acorn squash can be simple, or it can be a hassle. We’ll offer the former.

Cut your squash in half, scoop out the seeds, set them and the stringy stuff aside. Coat the flesh  with oil, maybe some garlic and salt, bake, and enjoy about thirty minutes later.

Some (Randy) may bake it with butter and brown sugar melted in a pool inside the halves. Yum! (highly suggested)

Follow any of above, and fill with a soup, enjoying the squash as a new ingredient. I find this a great way to make leftover soup a whole lot better.

—The seeds are great baked as well. Remove the stringy stuff, rinse, dry. They can marinate in soy sauce for about thirty minutes, then be baked. Or, coat in oil and salt and bake. Lower temps, like 200 seem to work better.

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