Seeds of Hope Farm CSA Newsletter, Week 22, October 11, 2013

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This week you’ll find in your share:

Winter Squash (Delicata or Acorn*)
Sweet Potatoes
Mustard Greens
Malabar Spinach***

Next week you might find in your share:

• Tomatoes
• Beets
• Broccoli?
• Potatoes
• Peppers
• Garlic
• Winter Squash?

From Your Farmers…

Hello all,
The wind down continues, and we’re really relieved. Each day we learn how to do our jobs a little better, and this time of year, each day there seems a bit less to do. Cover cropping and field cleanup are the largest tasks on hand, both of which leave a person feeling quite satisfied at the end of a day.
With such losses in broccoli, kale, and cabbage, we’re trying to get one last round of cooking greens into the ground. With less and lower sunlight each day, whether or not things will come around in time is quite uncertain.
While fall is definitely the most rewarding and enjoyable time of year for growing, it can also be the most challenging. Dry spells and established pest issues can quickly swallow the fruits of labors.
Last week and weekend, most of St. Louis saw lots of rain. Here, Thursday morning’s rain pelted the church and parsonage, but left the field completely dry. Saturday, at both Pierre Marquette (north of the farm), and South City, rain started just after noon and continued into Sunday morning. The farm received less than a quarter inch from those clouds, and I found myself irrigating by Sunday afternoon. The plot overall continues to resemble a dustbowl. Such events can leave us feeling aggravated at what we believe we deserve or need. Or, we can again accept, and marvel at the mystery at what we cannot control. –Gabriel

Food For Thought (AND RECIPE GUIDES)

For the Bel-Ridge Gardeners/CSA Members who are receiving Malabar Spinach:
We’re glad to introduce a few of you to Malabar spinach, a heat-loving tropical vine that we grew in our Summer in St. Louis demonstration garden this year. It tastes like spinach, and it’s a dependable source of cooking greens when cool-weather greens, including spinach, are not growing. We suggest tossing the smaller leaves in a salad with a tangy dressing. The larger leaves sautee nicely.

Thanks, Randy

*Acorn and delicata squash are also new to this year’s share. Both are renowned for their delicious and distinct flavors. Delicata is my second favorite of the winter squash types, but for some reason makes me the most excited. Half, seed, oil, garlic, salt, bake face down, done. (somewhere between 300 and 400 degrees should work, and remember to add a bit of water to that baking pan to keep it moist.)
*Acorn is nice to half, seed, and bake as above, then use as a bowl. Fillers: mashed potatoes, any hot soup, rice, rice mixed with dried nuts and fruit like dates, raisins, or apricots. If not that, why not toss in some fried apples and sprinkle it with sugar and cinnamon?
Seasonings for a plain squash: cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, or any combination of. Butter is nice too. The options are again endless.

Our sweet potato harvest wasn’t near what we had hoped. The yield was light, and many more spuds went to the mice than into the harvest bin. You may wonder, ‘why are my sweet potatoes dirty?’ We didn’t remove all of the dirt because 1) they’ll store longer without being washed and 2) we found that the skins were rubbing off as we tried to clean them, whether by brushing, rubbing, or washing. We left the skins so they’ll hold up longer for you.

A list of do’s and dont’s for storing sweet potatoes:

Do: keep them out of sunlight. Some prefer to individually wrap the potatoes and store them in a cardboard box. One site suggests placing an apple next to these to prevent them from sprouting. I found keeping them in a cool pantry or in a cardboard box alone worked fine for about 6 months; I did not wrap or use an apple. Keep them away from any heat source, like a heating vent, stove, or back end of a refrigerator. 55-60 degrees is ideal.

Do Not: store them in the refrigerator, store them directly against onions or garlic.

We will have at least one more round of sweet potatoes this year. Even so, if you are a bi-weekly, this may be the only round you receive. But keep in mind, the so similar butternut squash will definitely be coming your way.

Farm Wish List:
– hands to help us shell beans
– bread racks, large plastic grids for table tops,
– compost (your food scraps, coffee grounds

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