Tuesday, October 1, 2019

BGF News - October 1, 2019-Vol. XLII, No.18

In this week’s box:

Fennel harvest
Cherry Tomato Mix  
Fennel: Preludio
Lettuce bouquets or Head Lettuce: Muir
Kale: asst.
Onion: Candy (small but tasty!)
Potatoes: Asst.
Sweet Peppers: Assorted
Tomatoes: see descriptions in 7/30 newsletter post
Winter Luxury Squash

and perhaps one of the following: (please see **NOTE  after "A Little Detail..." below)     
Beans: Carson (yellow) and/or Provider (green)

For those with the Egg option [Full shares]: one dozen free-range eggs (asst. colors)
For those with the Herb option: garlic chives, chocolate mint & oregano

Featured Recipes:  ** indicates a BGF favorite 
Precipitation in the past week: 1.9 "

While the start of the week didn't feel much like fall, all of the other season cues are happening. We cleared all of the warm weather crops from the high tunnels and are part way though transplanting and sowing the fall crops there. The last of the field crops are sown and we even got some cover crop seed sown over spent beds in our east field right before the rains started. It's such a relief to see a luxurious carpet of green start to form over all that open soil. The oats will die over the winter and hold the soil in place, protecting it from erosion, then break down and make beautiful seed beds for spring planting.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves, back to fall...

Winter Luxury squash
We have now harvested all of the winter squash and are pretty pleased with the yield on nearly all of our varieties. One of the new ones is headed out to you today. Winter Luxury squash is an heirloom pie pumpkin with sweet, rich flesh that is supposed to make the best pumpkin pies but you can also use it just like you would any other winter squash. Or if you aren't a squash fan, we think they are pretty cool looking as a decoration. They won't last forever though, if you want to eat it, please plan to use by Thanksgiving

Just a little potato love
One of the other big tasks of the past week was harvesting the potatoes. It was a cause for celebration and disappointment both, earlier in the season we though we had lost the entire potato crop due to excess rains in May. Then it appeared that some had survived (and we replanted one bed) and we started to hope we might get some potatoes and we did. Not a great crop, in fact the worst yield we've had in years which is disappointing, but it was much more than we thought we would have. So we are sending them out today and we hope you enjoy them.

Later this week we are forecast to get down into the mid-40's. That is going to mark a real change in the gardens. It will likely be the end of tomato season, as the plants are already failing. The same will go for the beans, roselle and maybe the eggplant. Other crops like the new kale and chard plantings along with other fall greens and root crops will only be improved by those temperatures, as long as they aren't overwhelmed by the rains that are also forecast. So enjoy those tomatoes this week and get ready for hearty soup season coming soon!

 The end of the season is drawing near, so here's the current plan:
October 15-  Final CSA delivery
October 26- Final Farmer Market
November 5-  First VegEmail Sale

A little detail on your produce this 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.

Fennel: Cut off the stalks where they emerge from the bulb. To use the feathery foliage as an herb, place the dry stalks upright in a glass filled with two inches of water, cover the glass loosely with a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator for up to five days. The unwashed bulb will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for at least a week. To use, remove any damaged spots or layers. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise and check the inner core. If it’s tough, remove it with a paring knife. Fennel should be washed carefully, because dirt can lodge between the layers of the bulb. Chop or mince the leaves.

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.

Potatoes: Keep unwashed potatoes in a cool, dark, dry place, such as a loosely closed paper bag in a cupboard. They will keep for weeks at room temperature, longer if you can provide their ideal temperature of 40 to 50 degrees. Beware: the low temperature of your refrigerator will convert the starch to sugars. Moisture causes potatoes to spoil, light turns them green, and proximity to onions causes them to sprout. (You can still use a potato that has sprouted, however; simply cut off the “eyes” before use.) Scrub potatoes well and cut off any sprouts or green skin. (Clean delicate new potatoes gently.) Peeling is a matter of preference. Cut potatoes according to your recipe. If baking a whole potato, be sure to prick the skin in at least two places to allow steam to escape.

 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.

 Winter Squash:  Store winter squash in a cool, dry, dark place with good ventilation for up to a month, depending on the variety. Once squash has been cut, you can wrap the pieces in plastic and refrigerate them for five to seven days. To make it easier to prep winter squash for your recipe, try the prebaking method: pierce the squash to allow heat to escape while it is in the oven, then bake the squash whole at 350° F until it is just barely tender to the poke of the finger, 20 to 30 minutes. This softens the shell and makes cutting and peeling much easier. 

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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