My November Guest
My Sorrow, when she’s here with me,
Thinks these dark days of autumn rain
Are beautiful as days can be;
She loves the bare, the withered tree;
She walked the sodden pasture lane.
Her pleasure will not let me stay.
She talks and I am fain to list:
She’s glad the birds are gone away,
She’s glad her simple worsted gray
Is silver now with clinging mist.
The desolate, deserted trees,
The faded earth, the heavy sky,
The beauties she so truly sees,
She thinks I have no eye for these,
And vexes me for reason why.
Not yesterday I learned to know
The love of bare November days
Before the coming of the snow,
But it were vain to tell her so,
And they are better for her praise.
Large shares: Butternut squash, rutabaga, beets, purple potatoes, red cipollini onions, chard, vitamin green, Italian parsley, carrots
Small shares: Butternut squash, beets, purple potatoes, red cipollini onions, vitamin green, Italian parsley, red cabbage, carrots
Dear CSA members,
We have made it through October, and it has been the wettest ever recorded in Western Washington! Amazingly more than 10 inches of rainfall was recorded for our area, and it temperatures were very warm, though I am not sure about any temperature records. It seems extremes in weather patterns are occuring with ever more frequency these days. Our hot dry summers are record setting temperature and drought, while our wet periods are extreme rainfall records, flood events, and wind and hail storms.
Our recent wind storm wasn’t nearly what was predicted, but we have experienced first hand what extreme weather can and will do to our river valley! The big floods of 2007 and ’09 as well as several major wind events and a significant ice storm in the last 10 years have taught us to continue to be prepared.
As farmers we are naturally constantly adapting our operation to deal with climate and weather fluctuations, but it seems inevitable that we will suffer losses to our crops, equipment and materials with increasing frequency in the years to come. We will need to adapt and be ready for heat and drought stress in the summer, increased pest pressure, and very wet soils, floods, wind and hail storms in the spring, fall and winter. This will mean fine tuning our planting and harvesting schedules and variety selections to meet the changing conditions, as well as learning to conserve water in the summer months and preparing/planning for flooding in the winter months.
We have spent part of this week preparing for winter flooding by moving materials that are no longer essential on a daily basis into the barn loft and moving tractors and equipment that is not in immediate use up to a non floodplain storage barn that we rent. We are also thinking about increasing drainage around barns where we do most of the washing/packing to reduce mud situations and ponding of water. In the future we would also like to build barn doors to reduce the wind tunnel effect in our barn and install more lighting and heat for comfort and saftey.
Here is a quick run down of some of this week’s harvest:
Butternut squash: this large yellow bell shaped squash has a sweet and slightly nutty flavor. When ripe the flesh is deep orange in color. Butternut squash is best eaten roasted, grilled, or mashed to make soups, or desserts like pies and muffins. To roast: cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds (reserve them to roast in the oven with salt or soy sauce if desired) place cut side down on a oiled baking sheet, and bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until softened. Once cooked the flesh can be used in a variety of ways or just eaten as is with butter and brown sugar! Will keep for many weeks if kept cool and dry.
Rutabaga: this cross between a cabbage and turnip is one of the many edible manifestations of the brassica family. Rutabagas have been eaten for centuries by humans and are excellent roasted and mashed. They are very high in nutrients and fiber and low in calories. Will keep for many weeks in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
Red Cipollini onions are Italian varieties that are small and flat. They have high residual sugars that make them excellent for roasting and caramelizing. The red variety seems to be an excellent keeper and in my mind, lends itself to warming, sustaining, meals during cold weather.
Vitamin Green: White stalks and very glossy green leaves. Mild-flavored for salad, steamed, or stir-fry. Easy to grow, unfazed by heat, very cold-hardy. Good choice for winter and early spring salads. Eat stalks, leaves, and flowers! Very tender, use up a.s.a.p.
Purple potatoes: these beautiful tubers originate from heirloom varieties that have been cultivated for thousands of years in the Andes mountains of South America. Purple potatoes are beautiful in color and very high in an anti-oxidant called anthocyanin that is a known cancer fighting substance. Their texture is slightly dry compared to a yellow finn or a fingerling but they are nonetheless excellent roasted, fried or used in soups and stews.
If you are interested in purchasing bulk quantities of potatoes, beets, winter squash and more for winter storage you may place orders on our webstore and we can deliver the produce with your next CSA share. Next week will be our last delivery so this if your last week to order. Please indicate in the comments area of check out what drop site you would like the produce delivered to and place orders by 10 am on Monday for Tuesday delivery.
Thank you and have a great week,
Maple-Braised Butternut Squash with Fresh Thyme: Melt 6 tbsp butter in a heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add 1 3 to 3 1/2 lb butternut squash, halved lengthwise, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes, sauté 1 minute. Add 1 ¼ cups low-salt chicken broth, 1/3 cup pure maple syrup. 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme, 1 tsp coarse sea salt, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer, to cook squash until almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer squash to a large bowl. Boil liquid in skillet until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Return squash to skillet. Cook until tender, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with more pepper, if desired. (From Bon appétit.)
Butternut Squash Cheesecake with Chocolate crust and Salted Caramel: Make crust: Preheat oven to 350. Whirl 9oz of chocolate wafer cookies in a food processor until finely ground. Whirl in ½ cup melted unsalted butter just until incorporated. Pour crumbs intp a 9-inch springform pan and press over bottom and about 1inch up the sides of the pan. Bake 7 min, then let cool on a rack. Reduce heat to 300. Make filling: In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 3 8oz pkg cream cheese, at room temp, ¾ cup sugar, and ½ cup light brown sugar, and 1 tbsp flour until smooth. Beat in 4 large eggs, one at a time. Add in 1 cup of cooked, pureed, butternut squash, ¼ cup each heavy cream, sour cream, and maple syrup, the zest of 2 medium oranges, 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Beat until just blended. Wrap the bottom of your pan with foil, pressing it up the outside. Set the springform pan in a roasting pan and pour filling into the crust. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come about halfway up the side of the sringform pan. Bake until the cheesecake barely jiggles in the center when gently shaken, about 1 ¼ hours. Let cheesecake cool on a rack 1 hour, then chill until cold, at least 5 hours. Whisk 6 tbsp store-bought caramel topping with 1/8 tsp table salt in a bowl and spoon over the cheesecake. Arrange ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans around the rim and sprinkle flaked sea salt over pecans for garnish. (adapted from a recipe in the November 2011 issue of Sunset Magazine.)
Rutabaga and Carrot Soup: In a large saucepan, sauté 1 medium onion in 1 tbsp butter for 5 minutes. Add 3 small carrots and 1 small rutabaga peeled and chopped. Add ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp ground ginger, and ¼ tsp nutmeg. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock and cook covered, on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and tender. Puree the soup with 2 cups orange juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with unsweetened whipped cream and a dollop of cranberry sauce.
Honey Balsamic Beet Salad: place 2 lbs trimmed and scrubbed baby beets in a baking pan. Combine ½ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp honey, and 1 tbsp olive oil; pour over the beets. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until tender. On a platter combine ½ cups cooked quinoa, 2 cups watercress or arugula, and the beets and roasting juices. Top with chopped fresh tarragon.(from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine November 2012)
Caramelized Onions: Heat 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp olive oil over med-high heat until the butter is melted. Add 3 lbs yellow onions, thinly sliced. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Cook stirring constantly, 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and brown, about 40 minutes. Add ½ cup dry white wine or water. Stir and scrape the pan to dissolve the browned bits. Remove from heat and season well with salt, black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese.
Red chard and Rice: heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a saucepot over medium heat. Add 4 slices bacon, finely chopped. Cook 2 minutes. Add 2 cloves garlic and stir 1 minute. Add 1 small bunch red chard, stemmed and chopped, season with a little nutmeg, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and paprika. When the chard is wilted add 1 cup white rice and stir 1 minute more. Add 1 ¾ cups chicken stock or water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot. Cook 15 to 18 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Fluff with a fork and serve