September is one of our favorite months on the farm. Fall crops are starting to mature, some summer crops are still hanging on, and the weather is starting to cool off enough that we actually don't mind spending time in our kitchens cooking the bounty! Aside from the food, though, fall farm tasks are pretty satisfying too. Some of the clean-up has pretty immediate results: a quick walk-through our Brussels sprouts to pull the last stubborn weeds produces a pristine looking field; 2 minutes on the mower cutting down picked-over lettuce beds creates an unobstructed view of the remaining colorful lettuce successions; a few passes with our discs to incorporate cover crop seed (Austrian winter peas and triticale) yields a clean bare field soon to be filled with bright green, nearly weed-free growth. Other clean-up tasks are not so quick - I'm thinking mostly of the lengthy project of pulling out all the plastic mulch, landscape fabric and drip tape from our summer crops. While those tasks are more physically demanding, they are nevertheless rewarding. Though our arms feel like jelly after carefully rolling up 200 foot lengths of landscape fabric (that we will unroll again next year!), we enjoy seeing our fields slowly return back to a simpler state.
In the CSA:
- Broccoli - it's looking beautiful! We haven't sprayed the broccoli at all this season, so we recommend soaking it at home for a few minutes in lightly salted warm water to help separate out any cabbage worms.
- Spinach - spinach tends to perform much better for us in the fall than in the spring. We're hoping to get a couple of harvests from each planting.
- Buttercup or Red Kuri squash - the skins of both these types of squash are thin and edible, so no need to peel them if you don't feel like it! Our favorite way to eat them is to slice in 1/2" thick half moons and roast on a greased baking sheet. The buttercup is sweeter with a very smooth texture. Red kuri is slightly drier with a chestnut-y flavor.
- Tendersweet Cabbage
- Mustard Greens or Red Russian kale
- Peppers - green, purple, red, yellow and orange
- Tomatoes - we will have red slicers available for sure on Tuesday. With the heavy rains predicted it's possible they won't hold through the end of the week, though.
- Cherry Tomatoes and cocktail tomatoes - Sungold, jasper, black cherry, yellow mini, cherry bomb, red grape, Juane Flamme, pink boar, bumblebee, and Wapsipinicon peach will hopefully hold up through the rains this week.
- Hot peppers - serrano, jalapeño, ancho, cayese and habanero (the spiciest one we grow)
- Purple tomatillos - pick when husks are filled out.
- Husk cherries- Pick dry husks that have fallen on the ground under the plants. To eat, remove the husk and eat the yellow fruit inside.
- Herbs: dill, cilantro, sage, thyme, mint, oregano, chives
In the store:
In addition to the items also available in the CSA, we will have baby boo choi, salanova, escarole, potatoes and leeks. We will also continue to have Verrill Farm corn, Fat Moon mushrooms, and Pete and Jen's eggs. Fat Moon shiitakes are abundant this week, so we will likely have 8 oz shiitake mushroom bags on sale!
PYO Flower CSA:
Flowers available for picking this week include zinnias, bachelors button, celosia, scabiosa, verbena, amaranth, cosmos, strawflower, snapdragons, gomphrena, sunflowers and more. There is also Sweet Annie and broom corn.
Green pancakes with lime butter
from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Grated zest of 1 lime
1 1/2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 tsp chile flakes
1/2 lb (about 8 cups) spinach, washed
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
2/3 cup milk
6 medium green onions, finely sliced
2 fresh green chiles, thinly sliced
1 egg white
Olive oil for frying
To make the lime butter. Put the butter in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until it turns soft and creamy. Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Tip onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends of the wrap to seal the flavored butter. Chill until firm.
Wilt the spinach in a pan with a splash of water. Drain in a sieve and, when cool, squeeze hard with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Roughly chop and put aside.
Put the flour, baking powder, whole egg, melted butter, salt, cumin and milk in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the green onions, chiles and spinach and mix with a fork. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and gently fold it into the batter.
Pour a small amount of olive oil into a heavy frying pan and place on medium-high heat. For each pancake, ladle 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and press down gently. You should get smallish pancakes, about 3 inches in diameter and 3/8 inch thick. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until you get a good golden-green color. Transfer to paper towels and keep warm. Continue making pancakes, adding oil to the pan as needed, until the batter is used up.
To serve, pile up three warm pancakes per person and place a slice of flavored butter on top to melt.