As expected, Saturday morning we awoke to fields covered in white frost. This wasn’t our first frost this season - we had a very surprising light frost in mid-September - but it was the first killing frost. The only crops impacted were the summer crops that had already been limping along for weeks in the reduced daylight. An appropriately timed October frost is a bit of a relief to us, as our small fall crew no longer needs to scrounge for crops with rapidly dwindling returns. We spent Friday doing our best to clear out the eggplant and sweet peppers from the field and fill our coolers for distribution this week. Tomato plants in our high tunnels survived, but fruit ripens very slowly in these shorter days (we have well dipped below 12 hours of daylight by now!) so it is still only just enough to stock our store.
Though summer crops are finished, we are very excited about cooking with fall crops. It’s soup, stew, quiche, casserole and roasting season! Time to turn back on those ovens, plug in your slow cooker and simmer pots on the stove top. We’re also excited about some new crops we get to enjoy in the late fall. We just picked up a beautiful crop of organic cranberries from Fresh Meadows Farm in Carver, MA. We are also harvesting our first ever experimental crop of high tunnel-grown ginger this week. We had trouble sprouting it at the beginning of the season and then nowhere to plant them initially as we were still constructing the high tunnel where they were to go. We have a small yield, but we are better set up to try again next year. In the meantime, we’ll have fresh ginger for as long as it lasts this week in the store!
This week we will begin 2020 CSA renewals and sign-ups! There will be renewal letters and forms for each CSA membership when you check-in this week. Sign-up forms for new memberships will also be available in the farm stand this week and online (http://www.barrettsmillfarm.com/sign-up). 2020 Barrett’s Bucks memberships are also now available with an early sign-up bonus credit until March 2nd, 2020. Next year will be our 7th season at the farm, we hope you will join us again!
This week in the CSA:
Decorative Gourds - Just for fun!
Yellow Storage Onions - we had a great crop this year and we solved our storage issue that we had last season, so looking forward to enjoying for the rest of the year!
Escarole - This cooking green is great in Italian soups and pasta dishes! It looks like lettuce but is best cooked. It has a bitter flavor, in a delicious way!
Potatoes- Peter Wilcox (purple skin and yellow flesh) or King Harry (yellow skin, white flesh).
Eggplant and/or peppers - We picked out what we could before the frost last Friday. We will have these items limited in the CSA, as we are hoping it will hold through the end of the week. However, it is possible that by Saturday we won’t have enough still in good condition after a week in the cooler.
Romanesco Cauliflower - With a fun green pyramid shape and a nutty flavor these cauliflower are a great addition to roasted veggies and curry recipes. Like our broccoli, they do have cabbage worms on them so soaking before cooking is suggested.
Fennel - maybe the last week for fennel. It has truly been a lovely fall crop, but we have almost harvested out the entire crop, and it doesn’t hold up as well in colder temperatures.
Baby bok choi
Mustard Greens - We grow a purple variety called “scarlet frills.” It is spicy in salads but becomes more mild when lightly cooked.
The frost Friday night (and then another even harder one Saturday night) finished off most of the PYO field, but we still have some herbs for picking, including the following: parsley (it has made a resurgence), cilantro, chives, peppermint, spearmint, thyme and oregano.
Tuesday and Thursday 11am-6pm
The PYO flowers were mostly killed off in the frost. There are still some cosmos, amaranth, strawflower, statice, gomphrena and verbena, so if you have a bouquet left in your PYO Flower share, and you’d like to make a bouquet for drying, you are welcome to come by!
This week in the farm stand:
We will have all of the veggies listed in the CSA available in the farm store as well as tomatoes, our own high tunnel grown fresh ginger (Refrigerate or freeze it if you won’t consume within a week. Please note that fresh dug uncured ginger is milder than what you get in the store, so use more than recipes call for!), lemongrass, shallots, kale, and decorative corn stalks. We will also have organic cranberries from Fresh Meadows Farm, Double B Honey (from hives on the property), jack-o-lantern pumpkins and corn from Verrill Farm, eggs from Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds, mushrooms from Fat Moon Farm and organic raspberry jam and vinegar infusion from Silferleaf Farm in Concord.
Roasted Carrot Ginger Soup
3 lb carrots, peeled
Salt and pepper
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger (our ginger is milder, so use two or three times as much, depending on preference)
5½ cups vegetable broth, divided
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp allspice
1½ cup heavy cream (or fat-free half and half, for a lighter version)
Fresh mint for garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Arrange the carrots on a large lightly oiled baking sheet. Season the carrots lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes, turning over mid-way through. When carrots are fork tender and nicely caramelized, remove them from the oven and set aside briefly. Once cool enough to touch, cut the carrots into chunks and place them in a large food processor with the garlic, ginger and 3 cups of the broth. Puree until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the carrot puree into a heavy cooking pot. Add the remaining broth, corridor and allspice. Place the pot on medium heat and watch carefully as the soup will bubble. Stir occasionally. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir in the heavy cream. Once heated through, remove from the stove. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with fresh mint leaves. Serve with your favorite rustic bread.
Ginger Cranberry Sauce
by Sheila Lukins from Parade, November 2008
Yield: Makes 10 servings
16 ounces fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
Finely grated zest from 1 orange
Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries pop open, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Skim foam off the surface with a metal spoon and discard. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 months.
White Bean and Escarole Soup
from Bon Appetit | March 1996
• 1 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 cup chopped onion
• 1 large carrot, cut into small dice
• 5 large garlic cloves, peeled, flattened
• 3 cups (packed) 1-inch pieces escarole (about 1/2 large head)
• 4 cups (or more) canned vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth
• 3 1/4 cups cooked Great Northern beans or two 15-ounce cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
• 1 14 1/2- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
• 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in heavy large Dutch over medium-low heat. Add onion, carrot and garlic and sauté until onion is golden and tender, about 7 minutes. Discard garlic. Add escarole; stir 3 minutes. Add 4 cups broth, beans and tomatoes and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until escarole is tender and flavors blend, about 20 minutes. Thin with more broth, if desired. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before continuing.) Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.