First deep winter share pickup–spring weather and a bit of summer in the box

Our first ever deep winter share pickup yesterday went off pretty well for the most part–it’s easier to keep things running smoothly when your brain and fingers aren’t frozen, of course!  Coupled with the spring weather, we also got a waft of summer time in the box with Riverland’s  tomato puree (canned in jars)–yum!  Unfortunately, the farmers at Riverland (Rob and crew, including Andrew which some of you met giving you your shares at the Winchester pickup site) were in DEEP winter freeze as they were harvesting, cleaning, and packing this week.  They learned a lot from the experience, for instance at such frigid temps, the hydraulics on the tractor forklift and the wash water system might not work as they usually do.  So, things took quite a bit longer and the spinach harvest had to happen after the boxes were packed because they had to wait for the spinach (in the low tunnels, which are warmer than the outside temps.) to thaw first. Upside for us is that the spinach is sweet and incredibly fresh!  See more about the week at Riverland…

So, even more gratitude as we enjoy our meals in our warm kitchens this month : )

Also a big thank you to Wright-Locke Farm for hosting our Winchester pickup site–it was so pleasant to have some sheltered space to set up in, the beautiful historic farm setting, and happy chickens right next door.  Thanks, too, for Winchester pickup shareholders’ patience in finding the location and creative, careful parking at the farm, and, JP pickup site folks for your part in the swift pickup in the windy rain.

Here are some storage and use guidelines for your share contents.  Enjoy a new sample menu plan for the week using share veggies thanks to Jackie Starr; also check the recipes page for more ideas.

Share contents for Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014:

Use or process these within a week (keeps longer if fridge is cold, near 32 degrees):
Spinach bag, can be blanched and frozen for later use.

These will keep for many weeks in cold storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation, not tightly sealed):
Carrots – 8#,
Potatoes – 5#,
Beets – 3#,
Kohlrabi—peel and slice or grate as an excellent salad or stirfry ingredient
Cabbage—if you are making sauerkraut or kimchi, do that asap
Celeriac–mildly celery flavored root great for mashing with potatoes, roasting, or for soups and stews.  Peel and cut up.
excellent for stews and soups, nicely pairs with curry flavors and ginger, also see Jacqui Starr’s idea for parsnip muffins!  For the larger ones, you may want to remove the woody core and use that for making stocks (or just compost)

Turnipspurple top and scarlet beauty–great for soups, stews, crudite, and also fermenting/pickling (grate and salt ferment per the recipe in our recipes Menu “Fermentation for Taste and Preservation”)

These will keep for many weeks in cool, dry conditions (40-55 degrees), like a shelf in your basement or unheated room as long as it doesn’t freeze:
Garlic ½ #(can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator)
Butternut Squash–can store in your kitchen for a few weeks, cooler temps with ventilation for longer (not in a plastic bag), store in single layers/separate, not in pile.  Any with blemishes should be used right away or peel, chop and freeze.

Popcorn–once it is good for popping, remove kernels and put in sealed jar so they don’t get too dried out.

These will keep for a year or more in dry conditions (closed jar), not too warm:
Dried beans 2# –your choice of black turtle, light red kidney, or Great Northern (all organically grown)

Tomato Puree–canned in jars, organic summer tomatoes from Riverland.  These are shelf stable on your pantry shelf.