Our summer crew has dwindled over the past week as folks return back to school as students or teachers. Last week we said goodbye to Rachael, Dave, Ione and Leah, and this week we will say goodbye to AnneMarie and Ali. We’re hoping to see many of them again next season on the crew (though if not we’d also love visits!). Thanks to the great summer crew and our strong core season-long crew of Sarah, Rebecca, Molly and Brian, we feel in pretty good shape with our field tasks going into September. We’ve already begun our fall clean-up project of removing plastic mulch and drip tape from finished plantings and seeded over 2 acres of soil-replenishing cover crops.
We’ve also made good progress in harvesting winter squash, which is a crew favorite activity as it involves tossing squash to another crew member, who drops it gently into a bulk bin being driven down the field on a tractor. We are hoping the butternut will be ready to harvest by the end of the week while we still have a few extra hands to help with the harvest. Once the squash is harvested, it will cure in our barn for a couple of weeks. The curing process sweetens the flavor and also improves it’s storage quality so that we can begin selling and distributing squash in the store and CSA over the remainder of the fall.
This week in the CSA:
Tendersweet cabbage - we are moving on to our fall cabbage harvest! Tendersweet cabbage taste like they sound - sweet with a soft texture.
Watermelon - We’re starting to harvest a different variety this week: Blacktail Mountain! The outsides look different (solid dark green instead of striped) but on the inside it is a similar red watermelon with excellent flavor. The Blacktail right now seem to be sweeter but the Starlight seem to have a more intense watermelon flavor.
Sweet Italian and bell colored peppers - Yellow, Red, and orange peppers are starting to ripen! The red Carmen variety are my favorite! Their elongated shape leads some folks to think they might be spicy but they are sweet like red bell peppers!
Spaghetti squash - Cut in half, remove seeds and bake in oven. When soft enough to easily pierce with a fork scrape, let cool and then scrape out the inner “spaghetti” and top with your favorite pasta topping!
Heirloom tomatoes - We grow Striped German and Pineapple (yellow with pink stripes), Cherokee Purple (purple with greenish shoulders), Cherokee Green (greenish yellow) and Pruden’s Purple (actually pink).
Slicing Tomatoes - Big Beef (red), Bigdena (red), Mountain Merit (red), Chef’s Choice (orange) and Damsel (pink)
Green bells and purple “Islander” peppers
Yukina Savoy or arugula
Edamame - pick pods that have filled out.
Tomatillos - Tomatillos should be picked when the fruit has filled out so much that the husk has split, they can be green or purple.
Husk cherries - Husk cherries should be picked when the husk is brown and papery, to eat remove the husk, the berry inside will be yellow. Husk cherries usually fall on the ground when they ripen, hence why they are sometimes called “ground cherries”!
Cherry tomatoes - We have longer beds than usual this season (about 250' feet long), but those who walk to the back of the beds will be amply rewarded with very fast picking (it’ll probably take less time overall than if you try to hunt for tomatoes at the front of the beds)! If you’re looking for a really quick pick, Mountain Magic will fill your quarts very fast.
Hot peppers - Jalapeños (green), fresno (red) and ancho poblanos (green, about 4” long).
Herbs: parsley, dill, dill seeds, dill flowers, cilantro, coriander seeds, Italian basil, Thai basil, chives, peppermint, spearmint, thyme, oregano, tarragon and sage. For Italian basil, please pinch the tops only so that the plants will branch and grow bigger.
Tuesday and Thursday 11am-6pm
We’ll have snapdragons, bachelor’s buttons, calendula, orlaya, gomphrena, cosmos, strawflower, statice, star flower, verbena, rudbeckia, scabiosa, celosia, decorative basil, sunflowers (in the flower field this week), zinnias, and more. Picking is open to PYO Flower CSA members as well as to the public for purchase by the bouquet (we provide the a jar for measuring your bouquet size and you fill it with the flowers you’d like to take home!).
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 summer squash and bunches of Swiss chard. We are also excited to now have lemongrass from our high tunnel! This was an experimental project this year and one that we think we will repeat next year! Lemongrass generally grows in more tropical climates, but it has done well in our high tunnel. It is great in teas, sauces and stir fries. We will also have sweet corn from Verrill Farm, eggs from Pete and Jen’s Backyard Birds and mushrooms from Fat Moon Farm.
1- pound block extra-firm or firm tofu, cubed
2 stalks lemongrass, minced fine
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons chopped Thai red chile (or an other type of hot pepper)
1/4 teaspoon dried red chile flake
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons agave
big pinch salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 onion, sliced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
4 tablespoons chopped peanuts
chopped cilantro, for garnish
steamed brown rice, to serve
Combine the lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, chilies, chile flakes, turmeric, agave and salt in a bowl. Add the tofu cubes and turn to coat them evenly. Marinate for 30 minutes.
Heat half of the oil in a medium to large non-stick skillet over moderately high heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the onions are soft, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Wipe the pan down and heat remaining oil over moderate heat. Add the tofu mixture and, using chopstick or wooden spoons, turn the pieces so they cook evenly, about 4 - 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture and cook, uncovered, for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add half the peanuts.
Remove from the heat and transfer to serving bowls. Garnish with the remaining peanuts and cilantro and serve immediately over steamed brown rice.
from Cookie + Kate (cookieandkate.com)
1½ pounds tomatillos (about 12 medium), husked and rinsed
1 to 2 medium jalapeños, stemmed (omit for mild salsa, use 1 jalapeño for medium salsa and 2 jalapeños for hot salsa, note that spiciness will depend on heat of actual peppers used)
½ cup chopped white onion (about ½ medium onion)
¼ cup packed fresh cilantro leaves (more if you love cilantro)
2 tablespoons to ¼ cup lime juice (1 to 2 medium limes, juiced), to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
Optional variation: 1 to 2 diced avocados, for creamy avocado salsa verde
Preheat the broiler with a rack about 4 inches below the heat source. Place the tomatillos and jalapeño(s) on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until they're blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, carefully flip over the tomatillos and pepper(s) with tongs and broil for 4 to 6 more minutes, until the tomatillos are splotchy-black and blistered. Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the chopped onion, cilantro, 2 tablespoons lime juice and ½ teaspoon salt. Once the tomatillos are out of the oven, carefully transfer the hot tomatillos, pepper(s) and all of their juices into the food processor or blender. Pulse until the mixture is mostly smooth and no big chunks of tomatillo remain, scraping down the sides as necessary. Season to taste with additional lime juice and salt, if desired. If you'd like to make creamy avocado salsa verde, let the salsa cool down before blending in 1 to 2 diced avocados (the more avocado, the creamier it gets).
Vegan Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Spaghetti Squash
adapted from minimalistbaker.com
4 red Carmen peppers
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
2 small red onions (finely chopped)
4 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
Sea salt and ground black pepper (to taste)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder (or other thickener of choice)
1 pinch red pepper flake (optional // for heat)
12 ounces spaghetti squash (about 2 medium spaghetti squash)
FOR SERVING optional
Vegan parmesan cheese
Finely chopped fresh parsley or basil
Cook spaghetti squash. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half, scoop out seeds and place cut side down in a casserole dish filled with about 1/2 inch of water. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the skin. Remove and let cool.
Heat oven to 500 degrees F and roast red peppers on a baking sheet until charred - about 25-30 minutes. Cover in foil for 10 minutes to steam, then remove (peel away) charred skin, seeds and stems. Set aside.
While the red peppers are roasting, bring a large skillet over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until golden brown and soft - about 4-5 minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Remove from heat and set aside.
Transfer sautéed onion and garlic to blender with roasted peppers, almond milk, red pepper flake, nutritional yeast and cornstarch. Season with desired amount of salt, pepper, and red pepper flake.
Blend until creamy and smooth, taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper or nutritional yeast for flavor.
Once blended, place sauce back in the skillet over medium heat to thicken. Once it reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and continue simmering.
Once sauce is thickened to desired consistency (see photo), scrape the spaghetti string out and add the “noodles” to the sauce.
Serve with vegan parmesan, red pepper flake, and fresh chopped parsley or basil.