Monday, September 16, 2013

CSA Newsletter - Week #13 (2013)

Good morning members!

Just a few quick notes about the CSA this year; a rainy spring presented us with some growing issues, some of which we were unable to recover from.  We would have liked to give you a more diverse box every week (10-12 items) but we managed only to give you about 8 or 9 items instead.  We gave you more of those 9 items to try and match the amount you paid but were trying to be careful not to overwhelm you with too much of one thing.  By the end of the CSA, you will have received your equivalent payment in vegetables but that means you'll be getting extra squash and garlic (crops that did well for us) and luckily, these items will store for winter.
Another issue we had this year was staffing; the second intern we hired, decided after two weeks that the job was too physically demanding.  We weren't able to replace her for 6 weeks or find a third intern, as we had planned.  This set our planting schedule back, causing the crops to mature later than usual.

Finally, we're experiencing colder-than-normal nighttime temperatures for August and September.  This has slowed down many of the crops, including tomatoes, eggplants and peppers (cold temperatures cause their flowers to drop, which means no fruit) but will make other crops taste sweeter, like carrots and winter squash.  Since our first few plantings of carrots were washed out by the rain, we hope to give you a large bag of storage carrots to make up for it, before the CSA is over.  They should be nice and sweet!
This hasn't been the ideal season for us but I assure you, if you stick with the CSA, you will experience better seasons to come with more diverse boxes.  That's the risk you take when joining any CSA; some years are better than others and like buying shares on the stock market, you are better to invest long term to reap the benefits.  We hope you enjoy the remaining boxes and consider giving us another chance next year.

Week 13 veggies:
  • Gold Rush potatoes (Russet variety) * potates Gold Rush (Russet variety)
  • butternut squash * courge musquée
  • acorn squash * courges
  • yellow beans * haricots jaunes
  • green tomatoes * tomates vertes
  • mixed greens * mesclun
  • carrots * carottes
  • beets * betteraves
  • garlic * ail
Butternut and acorn squash are on the menu this week!  I had an incident with the butternut squash (I turned on the cold room, took the baby inside for her nap and completely forgot about the fridge, so your butternuts froze) but they still taste fabulous (I cooked one this morning to make sure) and I highly recommend that you cook yours this week, just in case they decide to get mushy.  However, the acorn squash can be left on your kitchen counter for months and eaten well into the winter.  Don't forget to roast your seeds - with a little salt and seasoning, they're delicious!  Here are some squash recipes:
Roasted Squash
Fresh and Spicy Squash Soup
Butternut Squash, Pancetta & Sage Risotto (scroll down page for squash variation)
Butternut Squash and Cream Cheese Soup
Baked Acorn Squash
Acorn Squash with Apple Ale & Garlic
Squash are high in fibre, low in fat and a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C (an antioxidant), vitamin B6 and folate. Read more about the health benefits of winter squash here.
Remember this?
I'm very sad to report that the sweet potatoes did not grow this year.  Jonny just dug up an entire bed to discover a few measly potatoes, not even enough for a meal.  Last year, we had the biggest, most beautiful sweet potatoes I've ever seen (may I remind you of the drought last year).  We need to do some investigating, but I suspect it's due to poor drainage and again having too much rain in the spring.  We are working in a new part of the field this year and I doubt we'll grow anything there again until we can put in tile drainage.  

So instead, you will receive regular potatoes, of the russet variety.  Here are some tasty recipes.  There are recipes for your yellow beans in the post following this one.  If you don't get around to eating them, blanch your beans and freeze them for winter soups.  The green tomatoes will turn red and orange if you put them on your counter or window sill.  You can use them right away to make fried green tomatoes or green tomato chutney, relish or salsa.  Your mixed greens include a blend of lettuces, kale and mustards, so they have a nice bite to them and are more nutritious than simply lettuce.  Try roasting your beans, sweet potatoes and squash with beets, carrots and garlic for a full-flavoured dish.  We'd love to hear your feedback so please email us with comments or complaints so we can keep on improving!  Happy cooking!

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