Wobbly Cart Farm Fall CSA box #1
Large share: Acorn squash, leeks, fingerling potatoes, celeriac, vitamin green, carrots, butterhead lettuce, cherry tomatoes, shallots, thyme
Small: Acorn squash, leeks, carrot, vitamin green, celeriac, mixed potatoes, cherry tomatoes, thyme
Dear CSA members,
Welcome to the first box of the fall season! We are so happy you have joined us/ continued on from the summer season with us. We have so much delicious produce available in our pacific-northwest fall/winter and it’s exciting to be able to share it with you!
When we first started Wobbly Cart Farm 10 years ago we were for the most part done with our season by mid November. Winter was a time of rest and recuperation. These days, through planning, infrastructure, and having a market for the produce we now continue on virtually year round. Most of our fall and winter crops get deeded and transplanted in the month of August, which gives them ample growing time before the short wet days of late October come along. The moisture and lack of light dosen’t allow for much growth past late September, so we must get the crops in early to size up before that time. We also have 2 high tunnels (greenhouses where we grow in the ground) that have further extended our season and crop options. We also have a lot of produce such as winter squash, potatoes, and onions in storage that we rely on for the weeks to come.
What you see in your box this week is a great example of the crops that we do have available this time of year!
Acorn squash: this winter squash is a very familiar one to most of us. Acorn squash has a sweet, nutty flavor and is excellent baked, sautéed, or steamed. Acorn squash is also delicious made into soups. The seeds can be cleaned and roasted and make a tasty and nutritious snack. This squash will keep for quite some time in a cool dry place.
Leeks: this long and lovely member of the Allium family (onions, garlic and the like) is one of our star winter performers. They will stay alive through most winters here as long as the temperature dosen’t go below 10 degrees or so. They are much prized by chefs for their mild and tender flavor. To use them, first slice the whole thing vertically. Then fan out the many layers under running water to remove any trapped sediments. Slice off the tougher deep green tops, and use the white and light green parts in your recipes. Leeks will also keep for many weeks in your fridge crisper drawer. By peeling away outer layers, you can remove any discolored parts if you do decide to keep them for an extended time.
Vitamin green: this asian green is similar to bok choy but more delicate in texture. I noticed that this batch is extra tender and likely to get slightly bruised. I would attribute this to the warm growing conditons we have been having this October. That said, you should probably use these up very soon! Vitamin green is also very sweet and delicious so that shouldn’t be a problem. They are great sautéed, or eaten fresh.
Celariac: the large and unusual knobby root with celery-like tops is celeriac. When the root is scrubbed and peeled, inside is a firm ivory flesh. The celeriac roots is very low in starch and is a nice alternative to potatoes and other starchier root vegetables. It tastes like a subtle blend of celery and parsley. You can use it in soups, grated into salads, roasted in a pan of other root vegetables, or even French fried instead of potatoes.
Thyme: is an herb from a low growing woody perennial plant. This aromatic herb can be used for cooking, medicine, and aromatic purposes and stands up very well to our robust fall and winter vegetables. The leaves are excellent fresh added to your dishes near the end of cooking to preserve the delicate flavor. Also, you could easily dry your thyme for later use by spreading the sprigs out in a warm dry location for a few days, then stripping the dry leaves off into a storage container.
Shallot: large shares received 2 shallots. Shallots are another member of the onion family, and are used similarly to onions and garlic, but are generally milder and sweeter in nature. Shallots also incorporate themselves into dishes more fully than onions and leave a greater depth of flavor. Shallots are prized in many cuisines around the world and are excellent caramelized, fried crisp as a topping, pickled, and cooked with meats.
I hope you enjoy this week’s box and thank you all for joining us!
Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart
Fall Potato Salad: Toss 2 lbs cubed potatoes with salt and olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Roast in a 450 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes. Combine with various fall vegetables of your choice; onion, shallot, garlic, carrots, roasted winter squash,celariac or parsnips for example. Toss with fresh tomato wedges, basil, thyme or other herbs of your choice. Dress with ¼ cup olive oil whipped with 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar.
Leek and Potato Gratin: Preheat oven to 375. In a large pot of salted boiling water, parboil 3 lbs red potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick, for 5 minutes. Drain potatoes well and set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp unsalted butter over medium heat. Saute 10 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1 inch pieces (washed thoroughly), and 4 chopped garlic cloves until leeks are tender about 7 minutes. Set aside. In a buttered 9 x 13 inch baking dish, arrange half of reserved potatoes in an overlapping pattern. Pour 1 cup cream and ½ cup milk over the top and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt. Top with reserved leeks and arrange remaining potatoes. Pour another cup of heavy cream and ½ cup milk and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Bake until potatoes are tender, top of gratin is golden brown, and most of the cream and milk have been absorbed, about 45 minutes. Garnish with parsely. Serves 12. From November 2011 issue of Country Living magazine).
Celariac and Apple Slaw: Trim, peel, and cut into 1 inch matchsticks, 1 12oz Celery root. Cut 1 large Johnagold apple into matchsticks (2 cups). Combine together with 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp fresh cider, 2 tsp sugar, 2 tsp dijon mustard, and 2 tsp chopped fresh parsley. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving.
Celeriac Mash: Peel and dice 3 ½ cups of celeriac. Cook celeriac in a large saucepan of boiling slated water for 15 minutes. Add 1 12 oz potato that has been peeled, and cut into 1 ½ inch chunks, and boil until celeriac and potato are very tender, about 15 minutes longer. Drain. Return to same saucepan; stir over medium-high heat until any excess liquid in pan evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup heavy cream and 2 Tbsp butter; mash until mixture is almost smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Frizzled Leeks: Cut 2 leeks (white and very light green parts only) into 2 inch lengths and then cut lengthwise into very fine shreds. Rinse the shreds thoroughly, using your fingers to separate the pieces and remove any grit hiding there. Drain thoroughly and blot dry with a clean towel. While the leeks dry, heat 2 to 4 cups canola oil in a deep pan. The pan should hold about 1 ½ inches deep of the oil. When the oil surface is shivering, add a few leek shreds and fry for 10 to 15 seconds. Remove the leeks to a paper towel lined platter to drain and cool. The oil should be hot enough to crisp the leeks golden brown in about 10 to 15 seconds, adjust temperature as needed. Fry the leeks in small batches until all are golden and crisp. Lightly season them with salt and use for snacking or to top salads and creamy soups. They will keep in an airtight container for 3 days at room temp.
Baked acorn squash with brown sugar and butter: Preheat oven to 400. Cut 1 acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds and stringy pulp. Mix together 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 tbsp softened butter, 2 tbsp maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. Rub the inside of the squash with this mixture. Place the squash cut side up on a baking sheet and bake the squash for about 1 hour or until tender when pierced with a fork.