Monday, September 17, 2012

Watershed Farm CSA - 18 September 2012 - Delivery #14

Hi everyone!

Yesterday we hosted about 150 people from far and wide for NSFA Open Farm Day.  It was a great day that just flew by, as we sold snacks and refreshments and gave guided tours of the farm.  Our turkeys were good sports and even showed off for the company- puffing up and "being turkeys", which they rarely do for us.  The sheep and chickens were somewhat less gregarious, but I suppose "being a sheep" and "being a chicken" is a little less entertaining than "being a turkey".  The ducks were shy as ever and the bunnies were happy for the few children that found them and fed them some grass.  Even a few CSA members managed to make it out, and we were glad to see you!

Jon giving a tour to one of many groups yesterday at Open Farm Day.

There's a bit of a bottleneck happening with our bags, so if you have any extra CSA bags lying around that you keep forgetting to return, I would love it if you did!  It's my job every week to sort out the bags, which is always a daunting task that never quite gets fully completed until Monday.  And for those of you who faithfully return your bags every single week without hiccup- THANK YOU!  Believe me, I do notice!

In your basket this week:

Getting ready to pack bags a few weeks ago.  We have a very fool-proof system for making sure no one gets missed and there is no mis-counting!

The carrots are arriving in a bag this week, as they are getting larger and harder to bunch.  That being said, the longer they go the sweeter they get, and I think they just keep getting better and better each week.  The white ones were truly stars this year, with the purple and red being fun to look at, and the orange being a solid staple.

The cooler weather has really slowed down the tomatoes, but there are still lots on the vine to ripen slowly this fall.  Eventually we'll take the frost warning seriously and have to go pick them all, which means you may look forward to green tomatoes for something that I have just recently heard of: chow chow.  Not sure if this is a Maritime thing, or if I am just sheltered, but we've had a few people buying green tomatoes from us for just this purpose the last few weeks.  Anyhow, you're getting vine-ripened ones, picked this morning, and there may not be too many in the future, so enjoy every last flavourful bite!

Butternut Squash:
We are thrilled to have enough butternuts that everyone is getting one!  This is my favourite squash, even though I know there are so many different and interesting ones that could be my favourite.  I just find butternut super easy to deal with (it just has the one pocket of seeds in the rump) and a really sweet flavour.  These were just picked today, and you can eat them now if you want, but if you want to store them, make sure you do so in a warm place.  In order to cure properly, squash prefers a room-temperature or warmer climate: so don't leave him rattling around in your root cellar!
You can make a truly stellar soup by roasting your butternut and pureeing it with 1 can of coconut milk and 2-4 cups chicken broth (depending on the size of your squash and how thick you like your soup).  Season to taste, and serve!  This soup is really simple and free of dairy and gluten, and it comes out a really beautiful colour.

This is the one thing in your bag that you may not have seen before.  Celeriac, also known as celery root, is actually not the root of a celery plant, though they are in the same family.  If you're lucky to get one whose tops are still on, make sure you use that to flavour your next soup pot.  The veggie you're after is the round-ish, light brown root at the bottom.  This can be peeled and chopped and added to beets and carrots for a great roasted vegetable medley, or put in soup or stew, stir-fry, or even eaten raw.  It has a mild celery flavour with earthy undertones.  My favourite way to enjoy it is to boil it along with my potatoes for a bit of a different flavour in my mashed potatoes.

For those of you who are not fans of cilantro, we hope your friends or neighbours will enjoy it for you.  For the rest of you: why not try making some salsa fresca?  That's fancy-speak for fresh salsa, which you can add all sorts of things to, especially your tomatoes and garlic.  I first found a place in my life for cilantro by making fresh salsa out of heirloom tomatoes, and you can too!

Lisa's mother sent her this recipe for Swiss Chard Rolls, which we are going to try this week.  Judy is inarguably our biggest fan and reads our blog and facebook page regularly.  Anyway, she's awesome and here's her equally awesome recipe:
"rolled /stuffed these blanched Swiss chard leaves with cooked brown rice, mushrooms, garlic, thyme, olive oil, and a lot of garlic. Sliced tomatoes on the bottom.
Poured tomato juice over too, baked 35 min
Served with ricotta on top"

This is really just a ploy to get you to come to our Stinking Rose Garlic Festival on October 27th:

This is a great day where you can learn all about garlic, and I really hope you can make it.
If you've never made roasted garlic, you haven't lived.  What I do is wrap the entire head in tinfoil with a little oil inside and bake at 350 for about half an hour.  The cloves turn to mush and you can squeeze the contents out once it cools.  It's a very different flavour than raw garlic, and it would go great in the butternut soup recipe from above, or in a tomato sauce, or anything that would benefit from some roasted garlic goodness.

Full-size shares also get:
Though I wasn't this morning picking them, I'm so glad for the late planting of beans that has just come on.  They are stunning and remind me of when the very first beans were ready in early summer.  At the markets, beans have ceased being a hot item, but I'm not tired of them and you shouldn't be, either!

Brassica Mix
I was about to change this to "broccoli-cauliflower mix", but then decided that you should know the family name of some vegetables you see all the time.  The "brassica" family includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, asian greens, arugula, kohlrabi, turnips, radishes, kale, and many others- and in your bag this week you'll find a very nice head of broccoli, cauliflower, or romanesco broccoflower. 
Here's something that came up from Open Farm Day that I thought you might be interested in:  The brassica family is the favourite snack of the flea beetle and the cabbage looper, which is why they spend the entirety of their lives under a very light white fabric known as floating row cover.  The fabric is held down with sand bags and the edges kept taut to keep unwanted visitors out.  It does block some of the light, but in the peak of summer plants receive over three times the amount of sunlight they need, so it doesn't do them any harm.  The heavier version of this actually offers frost protection to the plants by being a physical barrier to frost settling on the leaves.  Row cover is a very common tool used by organic growers and growers looking to cut down their use of pesticides.  It's not always necessary in the home garden, but if you have problems with any of these pests it may be a good solution for you!

Jon made tacos a few weeks ago, so I can speak from authority that some of these peppers are wickedly hot!  Some of you may also get some bell peppers, or a mixture of a few peppers.  Very unofficially, I smell them to tell how hot they are.  I'm sure there's a better way to tell, but if they're burn your nostrils, chances are they'll burn your mouth too!

And finally, here's a photo of a young gentleman I had to escort off the farm this morning.  He and a friend have been getting into our chicken yard at night and making unwanted deposits on the roof of their shelter, as well as eating a poor chicken on Saturday night.  If you see him or any of his friends, let them know that I have a live trap and I'm not afraid to use it!

Have a great week,

Teri Dillon

Watershed Farm
768 Allen Frausel Road
Baker Settlement, Nova Scotia
B4V 7H8
c. 902.212.2301 | p. 902.685.3901
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