Some of our fall plantings: Successions of lettuces, fennel, chard and green onions!
Thoughts from Farmer Anna:
We are feeling ready to go for the second half of the CSA season here on the farm. Many of our fall plantings are either in the ground, or will soon be planted. It's actually a bit of a weird feeling to be so close to finished with planting. Our very first transplants and seeds of the year go in sometime in late March, and then the work of bed prep and planting is fairly constant until mid-September. So even though we still have half of our CSA shares yet to be delivered, much more than half of the work to produce those veggies has already been done. Once everything we'll be planting for the season is in the ground, we'll still have the work of weeding and harvesting, washing and packing, but we'll also have more time for farm planning and projects that don't get priority during the very busy summer months. I'm very fortunate that my apprentice this year, Cole, will be staying on for next year as well. We are looking forward to lots of planning and project work together during the cooler months of the year. Since my husband Steve currently works full-time off the farm, it's been critical for me to hire on folks to help me with the day-to-day running of the farm. I've been searching for someone like Cole for several years. He is interested in farming as a career, was willing to commit to two years with us, and is a super hard worker. We are even talking about how his future farm might collaborate with our farm to bring even more value to our CSA members and market customers. Lots of exciting ideas being tossed around while we work up on the hill!
We have a few new and exciting items in the share this week. The delicata squash top my list. These small winter squash are super sweet, with a hearty texture and flavor. Maria has a couple of great ideas for using them. If you've never tried delicata before, I'd suggest doing the simple maple roasted recipe. Roasted delicata makes a perfect side dish! The lentil soup would be great if you want something heartier for a full meal. You could even use your rainbow carrots in place of the beets. And of course, the rainbow carrots are another one of the new items this week. We planted yellow, orange, red and purple carrots together for a beautiful mix of colors. If you want the biggest color impact, I'd suggest cutting the carrots in rounds and using them raw in a salad or lightly cooked. The purple color especially doesn't stand up well to cooking. The pink onions in your share this week are an italian type that look a bit like a lighter colored red onion and aren't quite as pungent as red onions. I hope you enjoy them!
Recipes from Maria:
Most of the items from this week’s share would make a terrific summer salad, paired with this basil vinaigrette.
Sweet Basil Vinaigrette
1 cup fresh basil leaves loose
1/2 cup salad oil your choice, I use olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 clove garlic crushed
3 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
Serve over your favorite salad!
Spiced Lentil Soup with Delicata Squash and Roasted Beets
2 medium whole beets, scrubbed and ends trimmed
1 delicata squash, washed and diced
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup dry red lentils
5 cups vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. coconut oil (I like unrefined)
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Sprinkle of crushed red pepper
Pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
1 15 oz. can of full-fat coconut milk
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 400 F. Wrap the whole, scrubbed beets loosely in tinfoil. Place on a baking sheet. Toss the diced squash in olive oil and scatter on the same baking sheet. Roast at 400 F for about 30 minutes. Stir the squash at 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, transfer squash to bowl for later and turn over the beets. Allow the beets to cook for an additional 15-30 minutes, until fork tender. Remove when done and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, bring lentils and vegetable broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Make sure to watch it or it could boil over. Reduce to low and simmer for about 15 minutes. Then, remove from heat.
In a medium frying pan, heat the coconut oil over low. Add the onion and garlic and sauté a few minutes.Next, add in the turmeric through and including the nutmeg, stirring well and scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan. Sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onion begins to brown.
Once lentils are done, add the coconut milk through and including the salt to the lentils and broth. Also, add the squash and onion mixture. When the beets are cooled, dice and add to the soup. Stir well to combine.
Serve hot, garnished with parmesan cheese!
Maple Roasted Delicata Squash
1 delicata squash
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking pan with foil. Baked on squash juice is hard to remove so make sure the foil is covering the entire pan.
Slice the squash in half the long way. Scoop out and discard all the seeds and loose pulp. Put squash on the roasting pan cavity side up.
Divide the maple syrup evenly between the squash halves. Grind on plenty of pepper and shake on some salt.
Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 1-2 hours until squash is tender when poked with a fork. These squashes come in a range of sizes but the average needs to cook for about 80-90 minutes.
Scoop the squash into a serving bowl. Stir until creamy and adjust for salt and pepper. Alternately, serve chunks in the rind hot from the oven.