Tuesday, September 10, 2019

BGF News - September 10, 2019-Vol. XLII, No.15

Thelma Sanders Acorn Squash

In this week’s box:

Acorn Squash: Thelma Sanders
Asian Pears
Beans: Carson (yellow) and/or Provider (green)
Beets: Ace (red), Chioggia (red/white) and/or Golden
Cherry Tomato Mix
Eggplant:Orient Charm (lavender) and/or Orient Express (dark purple)
Sweet Peppers: Assorted
Summer Squash: 8 Ball (green,round), Golden Glory (bright yellow zucchini) Patty
      Pan (scalloped white, green or yellow), Slik Pik (thin, yellow) or Zephyr (green & yellow)
Tomatoes: see descriptions in 7/30 newsletter post

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail..." below)     

Broccoli: Imperial or Belstar
Okra: Bowling Red and/or Candle Fire

For those with the Egg option [Full and Half shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (asst. colors)
For those with the Herb option: Sweet basil, rosemary, par-cel
Leek harvest

Featured Recipes:  ** indicates a BGF favorite 
Roasted Acorn Squash and Leek Soup
Acorn  Squash with Leeks and Lemons
Beet-and Sorrel Tart (use roselle in place of the sorrel)

What’s up on the farm?
Precipitation in the past week: 0.4"

Well, it looks like we get at least one more week of summer temps. It's always remarkable to us this time of year, how quickly we lose our tolerance for warmer temperatures. All it takes is a few days of fall-time weather and we are suddenly back to thinking mid-80's is hot! The new fall crops certainly think that it is, some of our new head lettuce is bolting before it even reaches harvest size. Ah well, Fall will be here soon enough, in all it's glory. The signs are all around us, the trees are losing their intense green color, fading first before turning to their autumn wardrobe. The fall wildflowers are in full glory right now, a golden riot of color in the ditches, field edges and prairies and we are starting to see the first "frost flowers" or fall asters in shades of purple, lavender and white. My grandpa always said when you see the first frost flowers bloom, the first frost is 2 weeks away. So far we haven't found that to be very accurate, but they are always a harbinger of big weather changes to come in the not-to-distant future. Our first average frost date is October 10th, just a month from today.
Harvesting Delicata Squash
The gardens and fields definitely look like a change of season is in swing. We've cleared all the  tunnel cucumbers and melons and those beds have been prepped for the latest fall crops. We've seeded more cool weather greens and transplanted more fall lettuces. Yesterday we started the first big winter squash harvest, or as I like to call it, "Squash Your Boss" day, since the crew throws the harvested squashes at (to) me to load into the crates as we drive past. It's a fun way to make light of what can be a heavy harvest day. We harvested all the mature acorn and delicata squashes, with more to come later. It was the best crop we've had of either of those and we are extra pleased with them given the tough growing season. There are still lots of squash in the field and storage space is about to be an issue, but one we appreciate!

We are sending out an extra little (seriously, they are little!) treat today. We harvested the Asian pears yesterday and while we lost the majority of the fruits during the tornado, one tree held on to a relative abundance of little pears. They are tiny, but tasty and we wanted to share them with you. We hope you enjoy them.

A little detail on your produce this week:

Acorn Squash: Acorn squash can be stored at room temperature for up to one month.  It is so easy to bake.  After washing the outside, slice in half lengthwise,  scoop out the seeds and fiber, and place face down in a baking dish.  Add a little water to avoid drying out and to speed up the cooking process.  Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork.

Asian Pears:

Asian pears are like an extra juicy apple, delicious eaten raw, out of hand or used in nearly any apple or pear recipe. Store in the fridge for up to 3 months or on the counter for a week.

Beans: Fresh beans are an easy "store."  Just leave them in their plastic bag and keep them in the produce drawer.  Can last up to 2 weeks.

Beets- Cut off greens, leaving an inch of stem. Refrigerate the unwashed greens in a closed plastic bag and use with your chard mix as beets and chard are closely related. Store the beet roots, unwashed, with the rootlets (or “tails”) attached, in a plastic bag in the crisper bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks, but their sweetness diminishes with time. Just before cooking, scrub beets well and remove any scraggly leaves and rootlets. If your recipe calls for raw beets, peel them with a knife or vegetable peeler, then grate or cut according to your needs baby/young beets usually don't need to be peeled.

Broccoli: Wrap broccoli loosely in a plastic bag and keep it in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator for up to a week. Immediately before cooking, soak broccoli, head down, in cold, salted water (1 teaspoon salt to a 8 cups of water) for 5 minutes. Any [organic] critters will float to the top where you can rescue them or allow them to suffer a salty death. (Note: If you soak broccoli in salt water before storing, it will become too rubbery and wilted to enjoy.) Slice the juicy, edible stems and use them wherever florets are called for. Peel particularly thick skin before using.

Leeks: Loosely wrap unwashed leeks in a plastic bag and store them in the vegetable bin of your refrigerator. They will keep for a couple of weeks. To use- Cut the leek about 1 inch above the white part, where the leaves begin changing from dark to light green. (Save the unused greens; they’ll give great flavor to your next vegetable stock.) Fan the leaves under running water to dislodge any dirt collected there, then pat thoroughly dry. You can julienne a leek by cutting it lengthwise, or slice it crosswise. If you want to clean a leek that you will be cooking whole, make a slit down one side to within an inch or two of the root end. Then spread the leaves under running lukewarm water to clean the leek. During cooking the leek will stay whole. When serving, arrange the leek with the cut side down.

Peppers:  Place whole, unwashed peppers in a plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for a week or more. Rinse peppers just before use. For sweet peppers, cut around the stem with a small knife and lift out the core. Slice down the side to open it up and then cut out the inner membranes. Store unused portions in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator.

Summer Squash/Zucchini: Refrigerate unwashed zucchini and summer squash for up to a week and a half in a perforated plastic bag or in a sealed plastic container lined with a kitchen towel. These do not need to be peeled to use, just slice them up and go!

 always store whole tomatoes at room temperature, out of direct sunlight. A light "squeeze" is the best test for ripeness. Once cut, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.  

A few other details: All of your GREENS will keep best if stored in a plastic bag, with the top folded over and placed in the produce drawer of your refrigerator.  

** NOTE: You will notice over the course of the season that some box contents listed above say "Perhaps one of the following..."  These are items that we can’t harvest in sufficient quantities for the whole CSA to receive at one time.  We do track who gets what and we will do our best to ensure that everyone eventually receives each item.  On some items this may take several weeks, so please be patient.

Is a weekly newsletter not enough for you and you want to read more about our daily adventures or see pictures of the farm?  Follow us on Facebook at Blue Gate Farm and/or share your recipes, experiences and questions with other BGF members at Blue Gate Farm Community.

That’s about it this week, if you have any questions or comments be sure to let us know. 
Best from the farm,
Jill & Sean (and Luci, Indigo & Sky)

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