October — our final month for the CSA — has arrived. Temperatures are dropping, sunlight graces our farm later each morning, and our fields often greet us with a blanket of fog. Despite the weather, the harvests continue!
We are all looking forward to our annual CSA Potluck this Saturday, October 4th, at 1pm! We hope you’ll plan to come with a friend and bring a dish to share. Forecast for this Saturday’s potluck may be a little chilly, so wear an extra layer! We’ll provide some warm drinks, too.
Next week, we’ll be sending out a survey about your experience with the CSA this year. We would appreciate it if you take 5 minutes to complete the survey when it is emailed out.
Note From an Apprentice
By Dave Brown
My name is Dave Brown. I am supposed to be writing a summary of my experience as an Apprentice on UK’s South Farm this summer. It is a difficult task because serenity and joy are difficult to reduce to writing.
This summer was a watershed period in my life because for the first time since I have been sober (8 years so far), I felt comfortable around other people. I think when a group of people are thrust into a vast row of green beans and told to pick them, something about the repetition and redundance of the act (or art) of picking beans is hypnotic and somehow therapeutic. When the mind numbs after an hour or so, people being to communicate with each other just to confirm they are still part of a society and not each an omnipotent God of Beans. When you think you are sick of hearing someone talk, you just walk away a few feet and get back into the beans. When you then realize that you miss hearing that lovely voice, you wander back into closer beans. The beauty of this Dance of Beans (like Dance of Bees; get it?) is that the body movements to and fro and fore and aft of each apprentice or staff member in the field is also a form of communication, whether they are aware of it or not. So, I was forced to communicate with a greatly varied group of people for a greatly extended period of time, well beyond what my normal comfort levels would have allowed. And I am a better person for it.
We had many characters on the farm this summer, all led by a farm manager who could be compared to Linda Hamilton’s character in Terminator 2, the brash and bold Sara Connor. We have a professor who could be compared to MacGyver; he repaired an entire irrigation system with a rubber band and a spatula. There is another guy who is actually from Indiana. I had never met a person from Indiana before! The amazing thing about him is that he has a hydrophobic beard which repels water exponentially better than Rain-X. There were a couple of motherly figures who educated me to a level they will never know, although only one actually had a motherly figure and that was because she was carrying a child internally while carrying buckets of your kohlrabi externally. They were what grounded us as a unit. Have you ever heard the saying ‘big things come in small packages’? That perfectly describes another girl who I had the pleasure of working with and getting to know.This was Dave helping us dig carrots earlier this summer. He forgot to mention one real fun character on the farm this year: himself!
I hate to do a disservice to the rest of those that I haven’t mentioned specifically, but I did have an obligation to write something here and without the detail I have provided this would have been more of a blurb than a blog. I hope you all know how much of our hearts went into your shares. We were motivated by seeing you pull up every week and pick out your food, by talking with you about the wonders of eating organic, and by the questions from your kids asking about the different varieties of tomatoes, telling us a bit about themselves, and occasionally telling us our hair was pretty (not me, but I know at least one girl got this compliment).
Thank you all for everything I have gained (friends, knowledge) and lost (15 pounds) this summer and fall.
What’s In Your Share
For October 2nd, you’ll receive:
+ Easter Egg Radishes
+ Sweet Potatoes
+ Kennebec Potatoes
+ Bok Choy
+ Napa Cabbage
+ Salad Mix
+ Acorn Squash
The following crops are available for U-Pick:
Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!
+ The Kale in your share today is a variety called Lacinato, which is also known as Dinosaur Kale, Tuscan Kale, or Black Kale. The texture of this kale will keep some firmness after cooking. Try braising it in broth, saute it, and sprinkle with salt and lemon.
+ One item in your share this week is Napa Cabbage, also commonly known as Chinese cabbage. This cabbage can be used in stir fries, or used raw as in coleslaw. Another great use of Napa Cabbage is for kimchi (recipe below)! Napa may lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It also has plenty of dietary fiber. Both Napa and Bok Choy, another leafy green in your share today, have lots of vitamin C and K, and nearly zero calories! Bok Choy can also be called Chinese cabbage or pak choi. Bok Choy resembles collards, with a stem that can be used as you would celery. This green also contains lots of iron and calcium. Try it in salads, soups, stir fries, or in dumplings.
+ We have Pumpkins to give out this week! While these pumpkins will look pretty as decoration, they are certainly edible. Not sure how to cook the pumpkin? First, scrub the outside of the pumpkin with a vegetable brush. Cut the pumpkin in half and use a spoon to scrape out the fibers and the seeds. (Save the seeds and roast them!) Cut the pumpkin halves into smaller pieces, then place them skin side up in a shallow baking dish. Add water to just cover the bottom of the dish, and cover tightly. Bake in the oven at 325 degrees until the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced with a fork. The time will vary depending on the size of your pieces. Let it cool, and then either cut off the peel or scoop out the flesh. You can puree it in a food processor if using in a recipe for a pie, for example.
+ Beets are back! The bunches you are receiving still have their greens attached, so be sure to use those greens! There are two varieties in the bunches: a hybrid variety, Red Ace, and an heirloom variety from Italy called Chioggia. The chioggia beets have a pink and white candy striped flesh, but the stripes will fade when cooked. They are sweeter than the Red Ace beets. Try either variety steamed, roasted, pickled, or sauteed.
Three Greens Stir Fry
From “Simply in Season” Cookbook
1 large clove garlic (minced)
1 Tbs ginger root (peeled, minced)
1/8-1/4 tsp crushed hot chilies
12-16 loosely packed cups of green, stemmed and chopped (bok choy, kale, spinach, napa cabbage)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame seed oil
Salt and Pepper
Heat 1 Tbs oil in large frying pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add ingredients, cover, and cook until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Add water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar immediately before serving.
Kale and Potato Soup
From Alice Waters’ “Chez Panisse Vegetables”
This recipe is SO simple. Feel free to enrich the basic ingredients with other vegetables and herbs. She recommends to stew shallots and garlic separately and then purée them with the kale and potatoes at the end.
“A Portuguese recipe, called caldo verde (green broth) in Portugal, where cabbage is often substituted for the kale.”
1 bunch kale
2 pounds potatoes
2 quarts water (or chicken/vegetable broth)
1 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1 garlic sausage
Extra virgin olive oil
Remove stems from kale, wash the leaves, and cut them into a chiffonade. Peel the potatoes and chop them up very fine. Bring the water to a boil with the salt. Add the chopped potatoes, return to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes, covered. Add the kale and cook 2 minutes more. Taste for seasoning. If desired, serve with sliced garlic sausage heated briefly in the soup and a splash of the olive oil. You can also serve it as a purée, moisten it with chicken stock or enrich it with other vegetables.
2 large heads napa cabbage (3 1/4 pounds each)—halved, cored and cut into 2-inch pieces
2/3 cup kosher salt
10 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 small onion, chopped
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
1/2 pound daikon, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
3/4 cup gochugaru (Korean coarse red pepper powder)
In each of 2 very large bowls, layer the cabbage with the salt. Let stand for 45 minutes. Toss the cabbage well and let stand for 45 minutes longer.
Fill a sink with cold water. Swirl the cabbage in it to remove the salt; drain and repeat. Drain the cabbage well, lightly pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a very large bowl.
In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, onion, ginger and sugar and puree. Add the fish sauce and process until blended.
Add the daikon and scallions to the cabbage and toss. Add the garlic mixture and the red pepper powder and toss thoroughly. Pack the cabbage into three 1-quart jars. Press plastic wrap on the surface of the kimchi and put the caps on loosely. Let stand at room temperature for 3 days, until the cabbage is tangy and bubbling. Store in the refrigerator.
MAKE AHEAD: The kimchi can be refrigerated for up to 6 months.
NOTES: Korean red pepper paste and powder are available online at hmart.com.