THIS WEEK IN THE BOX - week of September 28th
Arugula - 1/2 lb. bag
Lettuce Mix - 1/2 lb. bag
Red Radishes or Baby Salad Turnips - 1 bunch
Green Long or Bell Peppers - 1-3 pieces
Green Beans - 3/4 lb. bag - The beans are now coming in nicely, making picking a little easier!
Kiddie Sized Sweet Potatoes or Russet or Yellow Potatoes - 1 1/2 lb.
Acorn Squash - 1 piece - We did not have a large yield of this variety, so you're all receiving 1 to kick off the winter squash season. There will be lots more winter squash to come!
Cherry Tomatoes - mixed colors - 1 pint
Green Kale - 1 bunch
Broccoli or Cabbage - 1 piece - Look out for a few worms on the broccoli when you wash it.
1 bag mixed Bosc Pears & Apples - Bosc pears are ripe when they turn an even brown color. They are still firm when ripe! Refrigerate immediately when ripe. If left to soften, they will be rotten when you cut them open, so be careful!
Be sure to remove fruit from plastic bags immediately when you get them home. They can ripen out on the counter or in a paper bag. Store ripe fruit in the fridge.
LETTER FROM YOUR FARMER - SEASON UPDATE - PART 3
...Picking up where we left off last week with our seasonal crop update...
Winter Squash - Just like the sweet potatoes I told you about last week, the winter squash was yet another crop that almost did not get planted this season. What would Autumn be like without a few winter squash decorating your table, porch, or balcony? Of course we don’t like to grow food only for decoration, so you must eat them!
We grow a few different varieties of winter squash on our farm, including Butternut, Buttercup, Sunshine, Kabocha, Sweet Dumpling, Acorn, and occasionally Spaghetti (although not this year). We typically direct seed winter squash into the soil with a vaccum seeder driven by a tractor (and a human!). They are seeded 12 inches apart, and after germination they are thinned by hoeing out the extra plants so they are spaced 24 -30 inches apart in the row. Depending on the variety, they can be very large rambling vines that stretch out more than 10 feet! It’s a great place for kids to hide, or even a woodchuck. Every season a couple of woodchucks move into the field when the canopy fills in and covers the soil completely, thinking they have found the best home ever-- A well hidden home stocked full of more food than one could ever eat, until the evil humans come and harvest it. Arggh!
As a CSA member it’s important to realize that there are many competitors drooling over your CSA share. Woodchucks are kind of cute until they eat the romaine lettuce you were supposed to get in your share, or your squash, or your watermelon, or your radicchio, or your baby bok choi, or your beans, or your… Well, you get the idea. Who else is on the list of veggie predators? Crows, various birds, deer with their cute little eyes peering through the deer fence, and even other CSA members!
Timing is essential when planting winter squash, because it only happens one time during the season-- usually seeded anytime between the end of May and the end of June, but preferably toward the beginning of June. As with the sweet potatoes this year, the winter squash planting date kept getting postponed because we couldn’t get into the fields to prep and plant. There were about 7- 10 days left in our planting window and the weather report forecasted high chances of rain for many days. It looked like seeding was not going to happen. Luckily, winter squash can also be grown from transplants seeded in the greenhouse and then planted into the field. So right away we planted over 200 flats of the various varieties. They germinated, and grew like crazy like good little squash plants do. They will actually grow so fast in flats that they can get too big to pass through the transplanter, so you have to watch them very carefully. A couple of weeks later we had a break in the weather and we planted all the squash. And it took off! I've noticed that they are a little smaller than last year, but the ones I’ve tasted so far have been great.
Some squash varieties, such as Sweet Dumpling and Acorn, do not need to be cured before eating, as curing actually deteriorates their quality. The others (Buttercups, Butternuts, and Sunshine) should be cured in a similar manner as sweet potatoes, in a warm, humid environment for 1-2 weeks. This heals any skin wounds so they can be kept for a few months, and the process also seems to improve their flavor. Last year was our first trial with storing Butternuts into the winter, and although our storage room was not perfect, we had a lot of good squash through the end of January.
You will soon be seeing some squash at your table, with a story of course, of how it trembled each time the woodchuck came out of its burrow to see if it was ready to eat!
Be well - Farmer Matt
THIS WEEK'S RECIPE SUGGESTIONS