Wobbly Cart Farm CSA week #18

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10-13-15

Day in Autumn

by Ranier Maria Rilke

After the summer’s yield, Lord, it is time 

to let your shadow lengthen on the sundials 

and in the pastures let the rough winds fly. 

As for the final fruits, coax them to roundness. 

Direct on them two days of warmer light

to hale them golden toward their term, and harry 

the last few drops of sweetness through the wine. 

Whoever’s homeless now, will build no shelter; 

who lives alone will live indefinitely so, 

waking up to read a little, draft long letters, 

and, along the city’s venues, 

fitfully wander, when the wild leaves loosen.

Large shares: Delicata squash, red fingerling potatoes, yellow onions, Korean red garlic, mizuna, rapini, eggplant, watermelon radishes, cherry tomatoes, butterhead lettuce, rosemary

Small shares: Delicata squash, red fingerling potatoes, cabbage, vitamin green, yellow onion, Korean red garlic, sweet pepper, green beans, rosemary

Dear CSA members,

We have, at long last, arrived at our 18th and last delivery for the summer CSA. It has been an amazing journey from the delicate lettuces and strawberries of early summer to the heavy cabbages and winter squash of this last box. It all seems to have gone by so fast, and yet mid June seems so long ago at the same time. We, as a farm crew, are all ready for a bit of respite. But we will also be sad to see the season end, as many of our long time crew members will be moving on to bigger and better after this season.

This, being our 11th season as a small organic farm, in some ways blends together with the many seasons we have behind us. A few things stand out in my mind however.  It was the hottest, driest spring/summer that I can ever remember. In years past, we have always worried that we could get enough warm, sunny dry weather for our heat loving crops to mature. In fact too much water has always been a bit of a problem around here (big floods of 2007 ring a bell?) This year we had the opposite, with crop failures/yield reductions due to the hot dry conditions. Beans dropped blossoms during the hottest part of the summer, tomatoes experienced sunburn, sections of the potato and winter squash didn’t get the water they needed and had a smaller yield or in the case of the potatoes that did get water, grew so fast they developed hollow centers. Overall though, these crops as well as most of the fall greens and root crops experienced a nice comeback once we got that big rainstorm in late August and things cooled down a bit.

Second: we have some serious disease challenges that weren’t around when we started farming in this area 15 years ago. We have experienced an upswing in major diseases such as downy mildew in the onions, leaf rust fungus in the garlic, and clubroot in the brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage etc.). We trialed some new onions varieties with the help of High Mowing Seeds that are possibly disease resistant and are working on solutions for the club root as well as other pests such as flea and cucumber beetles that are continuous challenges for us. One thing that I know will be a positive for us is leasing 5 new acres for next year! Good crop rotation/fallow cycles are of the utmost importance when it comes to pests and diseases, as well as fertility management of our soil.

Third; thanks to you, our CSA had its most sucessful year ever! Our membership increased to the largest yet, and we had a higher percentage of folks pay in full, which really helps out our finances in the early season. We also had a higher percentage of returning members than ever, which is always a great feeling. Despite the challenges of the hot, dry season, and Joseph breaking his ankle, we were still able to deliver 18 weeks of gorgeous produce, with the large share receiving 15% more than they paid for in produce.

We are certainly appreciative of the support you have given us by becoming members of our CSA, and hope that you have been satistifed with your experience and the produce that you have received. We will be continuing on for four more weeks with our fall CSA option if you are interested in joining us and haven’t already done so. The majority of the crops that we produce in the fall can be stored for several weeks if not longer, so it is a great way to stock up on local produce for the winter months.

Wobbly Cart will also continue to be at the Olympia Farmers Market  through October Thursday through Sunday. November and December Saturday and Sundays. We offer 15% off for all our CSA customers at the market stand so come on down and see us this fall and winter!

I also thought I would go over a couple of crops that may be unfamiliar to you:

Mizuna is a Japanese green that has a mild earthy, peppery taste. It is very tender and makes excellent salads and stir-fries. It will keep for 3 to 4 days loosely wrapped in plastic and stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Delicata Squash: These are, in my humble opinion, the best winter squash there is. Delicata have excellent sweet flavor, tender skins, and a very manageable size that make them easy to transport and process. Kept cool and dry, these squash will keep for several weeks and possibly months. Their flavor will improve over time if you can hold off from eating them tonight!

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.

Rapini is essentially the Italian equivalent to turnip greens. Used extensively in Italian and Chinese cooking, it is not as popular in the United States but is gaining popularity. The stems are generally uniform in size (hence cook evenly) and need not be peeled. Clean it as you would other greens, removing the bottom portion of the stems which appear tough (sometimes the stems are tougher than other times depending on the age of the rapini). They stems can be removed up to where the leaves begin, and sautéed before adding the leaves to the pan. This vegetable is a source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium.  To maintain crispness, refrigerate, unwashed, loosely wrapped in a plastic bag or wrap for up to 3 days.

Thank you all and we hope to see you in the Fall CSA as well as in the 2016 Summer CSA!

Asha, Joe and the crew at Wobbly Cart

 

Delicata squash with rosemary, sage and cider glaze: Peel 2 medium delicata squash, cut lengthwise in half, scoop out the seeds. Cut each half lengthwise again, and then into 1 1/2 inch slices. Melt 3 tbsp butter in a large heavy skillet over low heat, add in 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh sage, 1 tbsp coarsely chopped fresh rosemary and cook 3 to 5 minutes, just until the butter begins to brown. Do not brown the herbs. Add the squash to the skillet, then add 1 1 /2 cups fresh apple cider, 1 cup water, 2 tsp sherry vinegar, and 1 tsp salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the glaze is reduced and the squash is tender about 20 to 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet Pickled Onion Watermelon Radish Salad: Slice 1 small sweet onion into thin rounds, slice 1 large watermelon radish into thin rounds, Add 1/3 cup orange juice, 2 Tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp sea salt, ½ tsp pepper, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and a splash of rice wine vinegar. Toss well. Place in fridge to chill overnight. Serve!

Rapini and garlic: Chop 3 cloves garlic. Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet add the garlic and then the bunch of rapini that has the bottom of the stems removed and then been chopped. Turn the greens to wilt them and coat with the oil. Add 1 cup chicken broth, cover the pan, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve.

Watermelon Radish Chips with Cumin Salt: Peel 4 to 6 Watermelon Radishes and thinly slice. If you have a mandolin, this is ideal for getting the most uniformly thin slices. Heat 2 cups of vegetable oil in a small pot. When hot, toss a handful of radish, making sure you don’t crowd the pot. Fry for about 8 t 10 minutes until really brown. You’ll be tempted to take them out earlier, but you need them to crisp up. They do take longer than potato chips. Continue until done. Season each batch separately and set aside. To make cumin salt – add one tsp salt and ½ tsp cumin and mix in a small bowl, season the radish chip with this. Makes a great appetizer. (From janespice.com.)

Delicata Squash Rings: Preheat oven to 375. Take a whole delicata squash and slice it across sideways. This will make ring shapes out of it. Scoop the seeds out of the middles of your squash rings. Lightly oil a large cast iron skillet with olive oil. Lay the rings out in a single layer across the skillet. Place in the hot oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. Then flip the rings with a spatula. Bake the other side until both sides are lightly browned and the squash is tender. Remove from oven and serve.

Mustard Greens turnovers (could use rapini, vitamin green, or mizuna here): prehat oven to 400. place 1 lb mustard greens (stems removed) in a colander, rinse with cool water, and set aside. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 cup chopped onion and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add 1 garlic clove, minced, and cook 1 minute more, add the chopped greens and cook unitl they wilt and are tender, about 5 minutes. transfer the green back to the colander and press to extract any extra liquid. place them in a large mixing bowl and stir in 5 oil-cured black olives that have been chopped, 8 slow-roasted tomato halves that have been finely chopped, and 1/4 cup feta cheese. You should have about 1 1/2 cups filling.

Unfold 2 sheets frozen puff pastry that has been defrosted onto a lighty floured surface. depending on pastry size, cut each sheet into four 4 inch squares. Divide the filling amongst 8 pastry squares, leaving a 1 inch border. Fold each square into a triangle, enclosing the filling, and seal the pastry by firmly pressing fork tines along the open edges. Use a sharp knife to make 2 1/2 inch long vents in the top of each turnover. Place the turnovers on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and brush their tops with beaten egg. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.

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