In the share this week:
2 lbs rutabaga
1 bunch salad turnips
1 bag carrots
1 head treviso radicchio
2 lbs sweet potatoes
1 bag arugula (pictured below)
1 bunch lacinato or red curly kale
Thoughts from Farmer Anna:
The end of the CSA season has really crept up on me all of a sudden. A couple of months ago, it seemed like the season would go on forever. Of course, I was a lot more tired at that point and I was still adjusting to having the kids at home for school. Now, with this weirdly warm weather, it doesn't feel like the season should be ending. The birds are singing like it's springtime and I almost feel too hot in the afternoons. The plants know it's fall though. The hours of sunlight each day are getting shorter and shorter. In fact, it's just about this week that the day length falls to 10 hours per day at our latitude. This period of less than 10 hours of sunlight lasts until late January here, and has been coined the 'Persephone Period'. Typically you'll have very little plant growth during this period. I've read in the past that plants don't grow at all during this period, but I've found that to be untrue. If we have warm or sunny enough days, our hoophouse greens definitely put on some growth during this time. It's also true that they start to speed up growth as the day length really starts to increase at the end of January. We do have some crops left in the field that we'll continue to have available for pick up at the farm, the Ft. Thomas farmers market, and possibly some limited delivery if there is enough interest. Crops available over the next few weeks include carrots, turnips, rutabagas, radishes, kohlrabi, cabbages, sweet potatoes, salad mix, kale, herbs and spinach.
Thinking back over the growing season, I have to say that it was certainly our best year yet. We had an awesome team - many of which had returned for a second year. We streamlined our work so that it was more efficient and enjoyable and we really focused on crops that members and customers really like and tend to do well for us. I think we gave you all some pretty awesome, balanced shares this year. My thoughts are only part of the equation though. We would love to hear your thoughts about the season. What you liked, what could have made the experience better for you, and any other thoughts or suggestions you have. I will send another email with a link to a survey sometime next week. We very much appreciate your feedback, as it helps us to improve our shares each year!
This last share of the season includes plenty of long storing root vegetables: sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips and rutabaga. If you've never had rutabaga before, it's pretty similar to a hearty turnip. One of my favorite rutabaga recipes makes an excellent side dish at Thanksgiving: Rutabaga Gratin. It's cheesy and creamy, and the flavor of the rutabaga really shines against those rich ingredients. If you want to use your rutabaga in something more everyday (and much less heavy), Maria's root vegetable puree soup would be wonderful on a chilly fall day with some crusty bread. The other half of this weeks share is hearty greens: kale, radicchio and arugula. If you haven't used your radicchio from last week, you could combine these two to grill or roast together. Or you could mix radicchio in with some of your other greens, all sliced thinly, for a hearty cool weather salad, like the recipe Maria has below.
Well, to finish up I wanted to thank each and every one of you for supporting our farm this season. You are the backbone of our operation. Knowing that the veggies we grow are getting out to so many tables in our community makes all of our hard work feel really worthwhile. Thank you so very much!! I know this winter will be tough for many, so if you ever need a place to get outside, walk around and get some fresh air, please feel free to stop by the farm. Just send me an email letting me know you'll be coming. We want our farm to serve the community, even during the cold months!
Recipes from Maria:
Root Vegetable Puree
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup chopped onion
2 large rutabagas peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 parsnip or carrot peeled and sliced
3 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Chopped red onions or sliced scallions to serve
In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for about 4 minutes, until tender. Add the rutabagas and parsnips and stir, then pour in the broth, raise the heat to high and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium and simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes until the vegetables are tender.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer the vegetables to a food processor or blender. Pour in about 1/2 cup of the remaining cooking broth and puree with the sage leaves and honey until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Add more liquid until you’ve reached your desired consistency, as thick or thin as you like (you may not use all of the broth). Serve hot with the onions or scallions sprinkled on top.
Radicchio & Arugula Salad with Dried Figs, Walnuts & Pecorino
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon dried coriander
¼ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup olive oil
1 medium head radicchio sliced in ¼ inch thick ribbons (about 6 cups)
arugula, approximately 4 -5 cups
1 cup walnuts, toasted
¾ cup dried figs, stemmed and sliced
½ cup grated pecorino
Whisk together lemon juice, honey, coriander, and salt in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil, season with salt and pepper as desired.
Assemble immediately before serving
Toss radicchio, arugula, and walnuts with two-thirds of dressing.
Add figs (reserving a few for garnish) and cheese. Add more dressing if desired. Toss. Top with remaining figs.