Happy October! This past week it felt like we turned a corner on our to-do list. We have been laser-focused on addressing immediate needs for the current season, but last week it felt like we were finally able to carve out some time to prepare fields for next season. After bringing in the last bulk squash crate (an experimental crop of Honeynut squash, as well as decorative gourds), we mowed in the winter squash field and some older greens plantings, pulled up plastic mulch and drip tape, disked in crop debris and seeded 3 acres of Austrian winter peas and barley for cover crop. It always seems funny to tell people that as vegetable farmers, some of our favorite sights are mowed in crops and cleanly tilled fields, but for us it feels great to start fresh after a tough season (that’s one constant in farming - every season is a little tough, but always for different reasons!). Clean fields mean that we can seed cover crops, which are an important investment we make every year in the health of our soil. We may arrive in the fall feeling a little weary, but cleaning up the field and filling them with nutrient-replenishing cover crops fills us with optimism for the next year.
Speaking of next year, we are planning to have CSA renewal forms ready next week! After this week, there are 2 weeks left in the Main Season CSA, and then another 4 weeks of veggies for the Late Fall CSA.
This week in the CSA:
Pie pumpkins - Also known as sugar pumpkins, you can use these for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup and more. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds and roast until you can easily stick a fork through it. Scrape out the cooked pumpkin flesh, puree, and use just like you would canned pumpkin.
Butternut squash - This classic fall squash is sweet and versatile. Great in curries, soups and risottos. We love to add it to chilli.
Decorative gourds - We grow two gourd mixes (Autumn Wings and Daisy), as well as mini orange and white pumpkins. Not for eating, but the are great for decorating your table!
Broccoli or Eggplant - Our broccoli has suffered from Alternaria this year, which has dramatically reduced yields and caused cosmetic damage to the broccoli heads. This is a disease that likes humid weather and is spread by rain - two things we’ve had plenty of! We have a second succession of broccoli that might not be as badly affected, but supply from our current planting is limited. Since we also have a limited supply of eggplant, we will be offering a choice between the two this week (after two seasons of eggplant bumper crops, this year was a bit of a dud, likely due to blossom drop in the extreme heat this summer).
Herbs - cilantro, thyme, chives, basil
We may still have a limited supply of cherry tomatoes, tomatillos and husk cherries for picking this week, but the pick-your-own component of the CSA is mostly done for the season
In the farm store:
We will have most of the veggies listed in the CSA available as well as red kuri squash, buttercup squash, beets and decorative corn stalks. We won’t have corn anymore this season, but we do now have jack-o-lanterns from Verrill Farm. We’ve also got mushrooms from Fat Moon, honey from Double B (produced by bees right here on the property!), and Silferleaf Farm’s raspberry jam and raspberry infused vinegar. Hopefully we’ll have more eggs from Pete and Jen’s back in stock later this week. Finally, we’ll be getting organic cranberries from Fresh Meadows Farm in Carver, MA at the end of the week!
Pumpkin Mushroom Soup
½ Pound Mushrooms
½ Cup chopped Onions
Butter or Oil
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
3 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth
1 Pound of cooked Pumpkin
1 Tablespoon Honey
2 Tablespoons Dash of Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1 Cup Evaporated Milk
Sauté mushrooms and onions in the butter (or oil). Add flour and curry powder and stir. Slowly add the broth and stir. Add pumpkin, honey and spices. Stir and simmer 10-15 minutes. Add evaporated milk. (Do not allow to boil after milk has been added.)
from Smitten Kitchen
1 3/4 cups diced leeks, white and light green only
3/4 cup diced onion
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons butter, diced
4 eggs, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sour cream
1 1/2 cups diced ham (1/4 -inch dice; I used about 1/2 pound)
3/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
1. Heat a large sauté pan over low heat. Sauté the leeks and onions in the olive oil 30 to 40 minutes until caramelized, occasionally stirring. Remove from heat and cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch and one-fourth teaspoon salt. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, fork or two knives until it is in very tiny bits. Add one egg (a fork works great for this) and mix it until a dough forms. (Dough can also be made in a food processor, or in theory, and as the original recipe suggests, in a stand mixer.)
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle. Place the dough in a 9-inch pie plate (I used an 8-inch deep tart pan, though ended up with extra filling) and press to remove any air bubbles. Crimp the edges, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. While the quiche shell chills, mix the heavy cream and sour cream in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining three eggs. Add a pinch each nutmeg, salt and pepper and combine to form a batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
5. Remove the quiche shell from the refrigerator and spread the leek and onion mixture evenly over the base. Sprinkle the ham and then the cheese over the leeks and onions. Pour in the batter and place the quiche in the oven.
6. Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 to 30 minutes (a deeper pan, such as the one I used, will require extra baking time). Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.