Share Notes Oct 15 & 17
CSA Share Notes:
The late summer crops (peppers, eggplant, etc) are still hanging on! But with the cooler night time temperatures, they’re slowing down so you’ll see less of them in your shares over the next week or two till they’re pretty much done. Luckily, the fall crops are going crazy over all the perfect combination of lots of sunshine paired with cool night time temperatures we’re getting this week. Its possible we could have a little broccoli ready next week and I am tellin’ you, we NEVER have broccoli ready this early. Lucky you!
Also, we found a surprise in the garden this week. Back in the summer we lost nearly all of our labor to COVID. No one actually got sick, but with unemployment issues, and other job constraints, every last employee we had but one trusty gal either quit or moved on. We were in a huge bind without the manpower we needed to accomplish everything on time, and there were a few crops we had to give up on, with no time to get them harvested. The potatoes were one of those crops. We harvested all we could in June and July (which was quite a lot!), but about 3 rows got flooded with rain and covered with weeds and mostly rotted in the ground.
Low and behold on Tuesday Justin spotted some leafy potato tops sticking out of the thick mat of dead grass that has since laid over into a beautiful mulch over the potato beds. The potatoes that didn’t rot had re-sprouted and grew a big healthy yield of potatoes! The mild and rainy August we had must have given them everything they needed to grow a fresh crop. So crazy. We have enough for everyone this week and we’ll see what else we can get for you for next week.
Here’s the vegetable line up for your first week:
- Genovese Basil—Another big leafy bunch this week! This might be the last week of basil. We have some 40 degree nights coming and basil really doesn’t like to get below 50 so it could be toast. If you already have basil overload, hang these stems upside down in a dark, well ventilated room and the leaves will dry very nicely to store for use in your Italian cooking this winter. Storing you basil: Get your basil out of the box quickly as it’s the most delicate thing in your box this week. Trim the stems 1/4 in. and place in a glass of cool water and store on the counter out of direct sunlight. Change the water every few days and you’ll have fresh basil all week. Do not store your basil in the fridge. It cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees and will turn black.
- Squash Blossoms— Large shares received this delicacy! We’ve used this list many times to gain inspiration for cooking with our squash blossoms. They’re so delicious. You’ll want to use them up within a day or two as they have a really short shelf life.
- Bell Peppers—Large shares received a few Purple and Green, Regular shares received purple, and Mini received green. We grow a huge array of colors, and each color has a slightly different flavor. Red and orange will be the sweetest, purple, or green will all taste more like your standard green bell pepper.
- Italian Peppers— Mini shares each received one big, slender Italian pepper. These are a great substitute for bell peppers, a little more mild and sweet.
- Poblano Peppers— Regular shares received our poblanos this week. I suggest making a batch of poblano cornbread. Delish!
- Jalapeño — I suggest you whip up a pot of our super delicious Spicy Sweet Potato Soup with Greens this week when the weather cools. It’s excellent served with buttery corn bread, traditional sourdough, or even black bean quesadillas, and it really is a crowd pleaser.
- Sweet potatoes—This is the only crop we have for you that we do not grow ourselves (we just don’t have the space or equipment for a big sweet potato crop). These beauties are grown by Tony Philips, a great farmer just up the road from us here in Van. While Tony doesn’t grow in full alignment with organic practices, we’ve got a whole handful of reasons why we love eating these locally grown sweet potatoes, even though they’re not organic: 1. the soil of Van Zandt County is so incredibly perfect for growing sweet potatoes, they are a breeze to grow without chemicals. Very few pests bother them, so very few chemicals ever get applied. 2. Whenever he has needed to use any products on the crop to combat pests, only the leaves of the growing plant are sprayed while the harvestable potatoes are safe underground with little to no contact with the products, and 3. Unlike your conventional grocery store potatoes that have anti-sprouting chemicals sprayed on them (recently found to be quite serious hormone disruptors, specifically effecting they thyroid) Tony doesn’t apply anything to the potatoes post harvest. His team just sorts them for size and runs them through a quick rinse under plain, clean water to get the sandy soil off of them. All of this makes us feel really good about enjoying these awesome quality, 100% ETX local potatoes, even though they are not organic. We hope you feel the same!
- Japanese Eggplant—Everyone received just a couple of these pretty eggplant. These are great sliced down the middle and grilled, or roasted at high heat and sprinkled with parmesan, .
- Potatoes—White Kennebec or White Yukon, a few to everyone! These make really great home fries served with veggie-egg omelette.
- Kale—Large shares a nice big bunch of super nutritious greens. Red Russian kale or Lacinato. Both are perfect for soups, sautes, veggie-egg-scrambles, making green smoothies, etc.
- Swiss Chard—For the regular shares this week. This crop makes a lovely fresh or “massaged greens” salad with pine nuts, parmesan, and dried cherries. Top with a white wine or parmesan focused dressing and you’ll have a wonderful side salad. If you wanna cook yours up with your collards, they’d be really nice that way too.
- Onions—lots of yellow and red onions. They’re tiny so you’ll have to do more work to peel and chop, but they taste great.
- Garlic—Heirloom Red Hardneck garlic, bred in Louisiana so it’s perfect to withstand our humid conditions. This is the end of the garlic! We’ll have lots more next summer so come back for more.
Veggie Storage tips:
The hot peppers, sweet peppers and eggplant can be stored at room temp for a couple of days, or they’ll last at least a week in the fridge. The leafy greens like kale and the squash blossoms will want to be kept really cold. Make sure they’re sealed up in a bag or container so they don’t get wilty. Onions and garlic prefer to stay at room temp. Everything will need a significant washing before cooking, but leave the dirt on until you’re ready to use them to prevent faster spoilage.
We’d love to hear stories and recipes of your culinary adventures this week. Send us a note or post a comment of how you’ve used your CSA share.
Jess & Justin
Large Share: (top row left to right) Kale (Red Russian pictured, but you may have received Lacinato instead) Green and purple bell peppers, jalapenos, Japanese eggplant and Basil. (Middle:) Squash blossoms, red and yellow onions, garlic. (Bottom) sweet potatoes and white kennebec potatoes.
Regular share: (top row left to right) Swiss Chard, poblanos, purple bell peppers, jalapenos, Basil. (Middle:) red and yellow onions, garlic Japanese eggplant. (Bottom) sweet potatoes and white kennebec potatoes.