End of the CSA Season

Wow, quite a season!  After just coming  back from the last CSA delivery, I’m always reflective.  This season was probably the hottest since I’ve been farming in Otter Tail.  It was also one of the driest.

Kids on Way to Farmers Market

This made for great crops which love the heat like melons, tomatoes, and anything in the cucurbit family like cucumbers and summer and winter squash.  The way the season ran allowed these plants to get established well with heat and moisture and then ripen under dry conditions.  It’s a good recipe for good looking produce.  Some other things, however, didn’t like this weather.  For example I always plan for  a planting of brassicas like broccoli and kohlrabi in the fall as well as the spring, but the fall set didn’t go anywhere with little fall rain.   Any which way, each season is it’s own beast and I thank each of you sharing the ride with us.  

In the box: 
Komatsuna bunch: a green with a stalk kind of like boc choy.   This is an Asian green which is good in a stir fry.  You simply chop up and add at the end until wilted a bit.  Here’s a link to a Komatsuna recipe which looks simple and quick since it’s one of those odd “crazy” greens:
Spinach: the one with dark green and round leaves.  You could use for either a salad or cooked. 
Butternut squash: big tan squash 
Celeriac: The strange-looking bulb on the end of a small stalk of celery.  You can use it in replace of celery in recipes  It has the same flavor and also keeps well in the crisper in your fridge.    
Delicata squash: yellow and green-striped squash.  This one should be baked without a water bath because the outside shell is pretty thin. 
Buttercup squash: the dark green squash with the little button the bottom
Russet potatoes
Carrot bunch 
A couple onions 
A head of garlic
A few small turnips
“Better than Nothing” beets

Hot but Still Fall

This past week felt like summer even though the tasks were fall in nature.  Typically when I think of work at the end of september/early october, I think of dunking my hands in freezing water trying to hold a brush to clean squash, but not this year.  Today we were cleaning squash outside with a slight breeze in the air and a warm sun in the sky.  It was nice.  Also I was out pulling in the turnips this morning and it didn’t seem right that I was harvesting this crop in a t-shirt.  However, it’s undoubt-ably fall because everything in the fields just doesn’t grow.  Even with warm days, the loss of sunlight and shorter days really slows things down.  I keep having high hopes that the carrots in the last bed will bulk up, but they just seem to sit there.  There’s no issue with greens bolting too soon, however, so let’s be thankful.

On Monday we had the Pelican Rapids Early Childhood classes out and it was a real blast to have that many people here.  Our quarter-mile driveway was lined with cars and I had to do three groups for the haywagon ride.  The kids got a kick out of throwing old tomatoes to the pigs, seeing the sheep and our one donkey, and finding a pumpkin to take home.  I made sure to do a little ag education when taking people on the tour, pointing out how we graze our sheep in rotation and giving the lowdown on what’s alfalfa and hay vs. straw.

In the box:
Braising mix: this is a mix of greens you can use at the end of a stir fry or as a cooked side green.  Simply start with some garlic and oil in a skillet, chop the greens, and saute until wilted a bit.
A turnip or two
An onion or two
Brussels sprouts: the big ugly stick in the box.  You don’t eat the stick, just the sprouts
Acorn Squash
Spaghetti Squash: See video below to see how to prepare as a pasta.
Long Island Cheese Squash or Kakai Pumpkin: The Long Island Cheese looks like a cheese wheel and is the color of a Butternut.  Mar and I really dig the flavor of this squash and Maree makes these pumpkin-cream cheese bars with them.  A Kakai pumpkin is dark green and orange and is supposed to be super for pumpkin seeds.

Vegetable Garden Spaghetti Squash: