CSA Newsletter Week #14, August 27th

Farm Notes

What absolutely beautiful fall-like weather we are having! Our fall fields look fantastic and can you believe it – some crops are already ready for harvest! As the summer crops continue to slow down, you all can start to look forward to winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and lots of green leafy veggies to come in the following weeks.

We’ve got a bountiful share this week, so please don’t forget your bags and boxes!

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Note from an Apprentice

This week’s note is from Clifton Matekovich.

Sometimes you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it.

That pretty much sums up my feelings towards farming.  It’s difficult to explain how much of a breath of fresh air this class has been for me, but being on the farm has truly been a therapeutic experience.  I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here since most of the people reading this, I’m going to assume “get it”.  I, on the other hand am quite new to the farming game.  In fact I was completely unaware of the program until one evening out, having a few beers, I overhead someone talking about UK’s “very well renowned” Sustainable Ag program.  It peaked my interest and reenergized the notion of exploring a different career path.  So after some digging around, here I sit.

I thought it was important to get my rookie status out there before I start in on what I think is the coolest, most interesting, best smelling aspect of the farm.

Dirt.

Yes, there were a few of the other apprentices that made it close, but dirt takes first prize.  I went back and read through some of the other apprentice’s entries and saw quite a bit about squash, tomatoes, blueberries… pssssht.  Mere window dressings.  Dirt is where it’s at people.  Microbiome?  It sounds like magic because it is magic.  The vast of amount of processes and interactions going on in the ground beneath our feet is mind blowing.  Not only that, but almost every aspect of the farm revolves around keeping that dirt good and dirty.  The good kind of dirty.  A healthy soil that aids the plants you know and love in the absorption of the nutrients they so vitally depend upon.  Googling “microbiome” will give you a much more detailed explanation but for fun I’ll list my top 10 reasons for keeping the dirt dirty, otherwise known as soil management.

10 Qualities of Healthy Soil:

  1. Good soil tilth (good for planting and cultivating)
  2. Sufficient depth
  3. Sufficient, but not excessive, nutrient supply
  4. Small population of plant pathogens and insect pests
  5. Good soil drainage
  6. Large population of beneficial organisms
  7. Low weed pressure
  8. No chemicals or toxins that may harm the crop
  9. Resilience to degradation and unfavorable conditions
  10. You win at farming
Here is Clifton weeding the carrots earlier in the spring.

Here is Clifton weeding the carrots earlier in the spring.

What’s In Your Share

For this week, you’ll receive:
+ Delicata squash (first of the winter squash)
+ Potatoes (of the Magic Molly variety)
+ Garlic
+ Aristotle Bell peppers (green and red)
+ Sweet peppers
+ Mild Peppers (Banana and Shishito)
+ Eggplant
+ Tomatoes
+ Corn
+ Radishes
+ Butterhead lettuce
+ Onions

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You-Pick

The following items are available for You-Pick:
+ ground cherries
+ hot peppers: jalapeños, serranos, and capperino cherry peppers
+ cilantro
+ dill
+ cherry tomatoes
+ okra
+ Herbs: onion chives, garlic chives, flat parsley,  curly parsley, thyme, marjoram, savory, lavender, chamomile, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil*
+ flowers
* Note: some of the herbs are still very small, so please be mindful to only harvest a small portion of each plant. In particular some of the rosemary plants and basil are still quite small.

Please remember to bring your own pruners or scissors for harvesting U-Pick items!

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Veggie Tips

Delicata Squash are an excellent source of vitamin A and C and are also fat free. They hold their shape well during cooking making them a great choice for stuffing with other vegetables, grains and meat. The skins of the delicata are also edible if it gets cooked long enough. You can store this squash in a cool dry place for up to 3 months.

+ Here is a neat trick to keep your radishes fresher for longer. After rinsing and removing the greens from your radishes, place them in a gallon size bag or a wide mouth glass jar, alternating a layer of paper towels and damp radishes. If keeping in a bag, squeeze the air out before sealing. These will keep your radishes crisp all week long and beyond.

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Recipes

Stuffed Delicata Squash
From Eating Well magazine

Ingredients:
2 small delicata squash, about 12 oz each, halved and seeded
6 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz lean ground beef (90% or more)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup nonfat or low fat plain yogurt
4 tsp toasted pepitas

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Brush the cut sides of the squash with 2 tsp oil and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt. Place facedown on a large baking sheet. Bake until tender and browned on the edges, 25 to 30 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring bulgur and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
4. Heat the remaining 4 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add beef, chili powder, and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt; cook, stirring and breaking up with a spoon, until the meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in the bulgur and cook 1 minute. Stir in yogurt.
5. Spoon about 3/4 cup filling into each squash half. Serve sprinkled with pepitas.

Serves 4, 1/2 squash each.

+++

Creamy Radish Soup
From Eating Well magazine

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups sliced radishes (from 2 bunches), divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 medium Yukon Gold potato (about 8 oz), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups low-fat milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp white or black pepper
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 Tbsp chopped fresh radish greens or parsley

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 and 3/4 cups radishes and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are beginning to brown and the radishes are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add potato, milk, salt, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potato is tender, about 5 minutes more.
2. Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender (or in the pan with an immersion blender) until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids).
3. Slice the remaining 1/4 cup radishes into matchsticks. Serve each portion of soup topped with 1 Tbsp sour cream, some radish matchsticks, and a sprinkling of radish greens (or parsley).

+++

Country Cooked Beans with New Potatoes
Ingredients:
1 lb Runner Beans, strung and broken
4 oz Salt Pork, Bacon, Jowl, or Butter
1/2 lb New Potatoes, scrubbed
Salt & Pepper

Directions:
Place green beans in a large pot and push salt pork into center.
Add water to cover beans and bring to boil.
Reduce to medium-low heat and cover.
Simmer until beans are tender (about an hour) then taste, adding additional salt and water if necessary.
Lay potatoes over beans and replace cover to simmer another 30 minutes.
Serve hot.

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