Thanks to Wright-Locke Farm for hosting this week’s share pickup! With forecast saying below freezing temps all day today, we–and the veggies–will be much better with more shelter and the cozy wood stove at the farm.
Wright-Locke Farm is a beautifully maintained historic farmstead and working community farm, adjacent to conservation area trails (also good for XC skiing when there is enough snow) and skating pond. This publicly owned farm and conservation area is a beautiful place to explore in all seasons. A trail map and more information can be found on the farm sign by the road and inside the stand.
During the share pickup, if you do choose to stay a while, please move your car to the soccer field parking lot across the way or park on an adjacent neighborhood street to make room near the farm stand for pickups.
Have you ever seen Brussels Sprouts harvested (or grown them yourself)? For Brussels Sprouts fans, November is a great time of year!
There are 2 stalks from Riverland Farm in each of the shares this week.
For those who think they don’t like these little “mini cabbage” greens (like my little brother who used to drown them in applesauce to get them down), fresh Sprouts from the farm in November are definitely worth checking out, esp. roasted with garlic, olive oil, and salt!
In the unlikely event that you have more than you can eat in the next week, Sprouts can be blanched in boiling water for 3 or 4 minutes, or steamed briefly, then frozen for later use in soups, pies, etc.
A rainbow of color in the share again this month!
From Cider Hill Farm: Apples–in the midst of some varieties that store well, the gold and red ones are galas, which are sweet and crispy now but should be eaten soon (Gala is not a storage variety.)
From Picadilly and Riverland Farms: Brussels Sprouts, Red Cabbage, Carrots, Garlic, Leeks, Red Russian Kale, green Curly Kale, red Lettuce, Popcorn, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Squash (butternut), Turnips (Gilfeather), Onions, Potatoes
It’s Drenching rains may be starting to melt away the hard memories of this summer. With way too many days of challenging irrigation work, steadily learning ever more nimbleness with best laid planting plans, and now persevering through the still demanding “catch-up” workload, our farms have once again yielded a harvest cornucopia as vibrant and colorful as the marvelous foliage that graces our rural mountainsides. Those colors and the gratitude that has come with the return of the rain will surely brighten the outlook (and also what may be a moist., cloudy morning share pickup tomorrow!)–onward to the kitchen with deep gratitude and a rainbow of inspiration!
Find a great plan for 3 weeks of deliciously using your October share in Jackie Starr’s October Menu (Jackie put this together for last October, 2015, with a similar list of share contents). Examples of recipes include escarole with white beans, lemon, and parsley, Mexican roasted beet salad, with poblano chili and lime, and Sweet potato and quinoa burgers, with leftover beet salad, With links to recipes for each item, she plots out a nice flow for using the most perishable items first and making and using a pot of stew or roasted veggie dish creatively in several different meals over the weeks. It is a really delicious looking menu, conscientiously made to inspire and be practical. She’s a working mom of 2 kids (at least), so she knows about busy, picky eaters and the helpfulness of a well-thought out week’s menu!
Here are some storage and use hints for this months share contents. There is also much more info under the Storage tips and Recipes Menu
Beets Refrigerator or cold cellar in plastic bag with holes
Carrots Refrigerator or cold cellar, in plastic bag or buried in leaves. Keep dark.
Store in a plastic bag in the back of the refrigerator. Carrots will keep for months this way. After being stored a long time there may be a white root substance on the carrot. Not to worry. Just peal it off. As long as the carrots are bright orange underneath they will taste wonderful. Organic carrots actually gain sweetness when stored.
Carrots and other roots can do quite well also at 33-50 degrees buried in moist leaves or sand (you’ll need to periodically re-moisten the leaves or sand with a watering can.)
Cabbage Refrigerator or cool cellar, or Fermented
Store cabbage in a plastic bag. When you take it out some of the outside leaves may look mildewed but not to worry. Simply strip off the outside leaves and the inside is as good as new. Cabbage will keep this way in the back of the fridge often for three months.
Kale Refrigerator, Freezer, Dehydrated, or Fermented. Kale made into chips (dry pieces in a low temp oven coated lightly with olive oil and salt) gets eaten pretty quickly but leftovers will store several days at room temps in an airtight container. See more info under other leafy greens, too.
Salad greens, Lettuce, Napa Cabbage, Escarole, Collard Greens, other leafy greens, Cauliflower Refrigerator, Freezer, Dehydrated, or Fermented.
These are not long keepers. Best to eat them within two weeks of the delivery. Immerse in cold water, wrap in a cloth dish towel, and place in your fridge. Or, for non-lettuce type greens, remove stems and slice or tear and blanch and freeze. Or, ferment as per directions at the fermentation… link under storage tips menu.
Fennel: Refrigerator drawer or other cold, moist storage. Fennel bulbs will last a few weeks if kept cold and moist. (The bulbs are easier to store if you remove the stem and fronds and use those in fine slices for more of an herb type flavor addition to a cooked stew or garnishing a salad.)
Acorn Squash (or other Winter squash other than Delicata) moderate indoor temps, dry pantry Keep in single layers in a cardboard or seedling tray in your kitchen, pantry, or moderately cool basement area. Inspect regularly for blemished pieces and use those first. If you have a lot that needs using right away, consider peeling, seeding, steaming and pureeing or cut in chunks for the freezer for later use. Butternut is among the best for long term storage and makes excellent soups and purees to freeze for soups or pies later.
Garlic Cellar, cool and damp
Store in paper bags or open box. Likes to be stored at temps between 33 and 40 degrees. A closed jar in the refrigerator can work as well.
Leeks Refrigerator or cool cellar, or Freezer
Remove any yellowing leaves, store in a plastic bag or crisper drawer in fridge. Or chop to desired cooking size and freeze.
Potatoes Cellar, cool, damp corner
Potatoes will usually store 2-3 months. Potatoes like to be stored at 45 degrees with high humidity. If possible store on flat trays. The benefit is the avoidance of the “bad apple” syndrome, and one can inspect all the potatoes as you use them up permitting you to take ones that are beginning to sprout. A soft potato usually means that it is rotten, but cut it up to make sure. Plastic bags are not recommended for storing potatoes.
Sweet potatoes Moderate indoor temperature Unheated Entrance, Attic Space or Unheated Spare Room in paper bag or tray
“Sweeties” store best on trays or in paper bags at temps between 55 and 65 and relative humidity around 60-70%. They can do well in these conditions for many months. Plastic bags are not recommended for storing sweeties.
Our online signup form is here.
Below is a bit more info about what is happening at the farms.
Awe and gratitude to our tenacious farmers for producing a plentiful harvest in collaboration with the plants and soil in this a historic DRY season. In spite of zero rain until just a couple weeks ago, Picadilly has been sending perfectly flavorful melons, loads of tomatoes and the first of the potato harvest, along with greens, cucumbers, herbs, peppers, and more. Wow. Thankfully, as the farms have pretty much started their coasting (with a lot of juggling!) portion of the season–where planting and weeding is mostly done, most of the labor is in catching as much of the harvest as possible at the right time, and farm managers begin some exhales of relief–a few inches of rain have fallen there in the Pioneer Valley and here in Eastern Mass. So expect plentiful share boxes right into the fall and winter, and send words of congratulations to the farmers!
We just had our first bit of cool last night as the temps finally dipped into the lower 50s here in Arlington overnight and the humidity has been wiped away for a bit. Nice to get some temporary hints that summer won’t last forever in New England and eating well all year requires advanced planning! So, as you pick an extra quart of berries to freeze or preserve or turn your summer cabbage into kraut, it’s time to go ahead and sign up for your share of fresh cold season veggies and apples through Shared Harvest.
Choose whichever months you’d like a share, even if they are not contiguous. e.g. November, January, February or October, December, and February. Each month you’ll get enough fresh veggies to last a month for a heavy-veggie eating couple or omnivorous household of four, for instance. All the vegetables in our shares are certified organic from small-scale family farms and are a nice variety including mostly the basics.
Shared Harvest is offering 15% off our 2016-17 winter share price in celebration of CSA Sign-Up Day! Buy your winter share now to help the farmers as they start growing for the season. See below for more details.
We wound down the shared harvest season with a relatively easy weather (well before the heavy snow and cold snap) and still quite a nice variety coming from the farms (see below). And we were lucky to get some bright add-on greens: plentiful salad-worthy pea shoots from the Food Project in Dorchester and some beautiful kale from Clark Farm in Carlisle. Thanks again to Wright-Locke Farm for lending us the use of their cozy farmstand and outside spaces.
Back from winter travels (or just journeys through the seed catalog perched by the woodstove), and with the daylight lengthening, Wright-Locke, Picadilly, Riverland, and other local farmers are seeding in the green house or will be any day now.
Check out the links in the text to be part of the growing: sign up for your CSA share for the summer months or plan a visit or volunteer to get your hands dirty and a breath of fresh air along with those great summer veggies! Picadilly and Riverland deliver excellent box shares to Eastern Massachusetts all summer and into the fall. The Food Project runs CSA shares out of their Lincoln and Beverly sites. Depending upon your location, these are a couple of other farms offering summer season CSAs: Lexington Community Farm, First Root Farm in Concord, Brookwood Community Farm in Milton/Canton, and Bay End Farm in Buzzards Bay. Wright-Locke Farm and many others also have spring and summer classes and series for kids and adults.
And follow this link for Jackie’s menu suggestions for your end-of-winter veggies and beans: Jackie Starr’s Fabulous Menu for our February share.
This is what came in the Share box earlier this month:
Baer’s Best Beans:
Two 1# bags, choice of black bean, Cannelini, and Vermont Cranberry
From Riverland Farm
2 Heads Cabbage
1/2 # Garlic
4# Sweet Potato
1 Tomato Puree
From Picadilly Farm
gold potatoes 5-6 pounds
parsnips 3 pounds
celeriac 1 pieces
rutabagas 2.5-3 pounds
popcorn 2 pieces
butternut 2-3 pieces
plus onions 2 pounds
From Harlow Farm in VT: 2# onions
We’re in the green for our share tomorrow! With the relatively mild winter and moderate snow, Riverland’s winter greens have been happy under their winter cover and are accessible to harvest right from the field today. In case we get a February dump of snow like we did last year when the harvest became impossible*, Rob and Meighan at Riverland are opting to keep the bird in the hand and harvest both kale and spinach, instead of saving one for next month. So, expect extra greens this time and perhaps put some up (freezing, soups, drying into kale chips) for next month, when we may just have cabbage.
See below for the share contents and also check out Jackie Starr’s Fabulous Menu for January, customized for our share contents this Saturday, to help you plan out the 3 weeks till the next share!
*For the curious: How do our farms grow greens in the winter? The greens you’ll get in your share box tomorrow were transplanted into the field in late August or early September, and grew to their current size in about a month and a half. When the days get really short and the sun is closer to the horizon, the growing essentially stops. Then it’s just a matter of protecting the crop somewhat from the deep freeze–this is accomplished with either laying a row cover over short metal hoops (“low tunnels”) right in the field, or planting into a well-ventilated unheated green house (“high tunnels”) and letting it stay there in the ground to keep fresh until it’s cut. At harvest, the greens must not be in a frozen state or they will be mush. So, the cover and bit of sun shining on it, ideally keep the greens in an unfrozen state as the covers get pulled back or the farmers go into the high tunnel for the afternoon harvest. If the tunnels are completely buried in snow and no sun can get through (like last February) or the weather is super cold, then the greens will be frozen and harvest must wait till another day. Many gardeners know that a good covering of snow over spinach or kale will keep the plant alive, yet dormant, till the spring. If you are hoping to harvest mid-winter, however, then you’d need the cover and a bit of sun.
Enjoy the share!
Share contents for Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016:
Use or process these within a week (keeps longer if fridge is cold, near 32 degrees):
Spinach, 1# bag, can be blanched and frozen for later use. Kale, big bag (harvest will determine actual amount), can be made into soups, marinated salads, or dry kale chips all of which will keep longer.
These will keep for many weeks in cold storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation, not tightly sealed):
Carrots – 6#,
Potatoes, white – 6#,
Beets – 3#,
Kohlrabi, 1—peel and slice or grate as an excellent salad or stirfry ingredient
Cabbage, 1 green—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.
Parsnips —excellent for stews and soups, nicely pairs with curry flavors and ginger, also see Jackie 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)
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:
Onions, yellow 2# (from Harlow Farms) Garlic ½ #(can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator)
Butternut Squash, 1 or 2–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.
These will keep for many months in room temperature, dry conditions (keep the dirt on and in a breathable paper bag or box: Sweet Potatoes, 4#, Dried Herbs (rosemary and thyme)
These will keep for a year or more in dry conditions (closed jar), not too warm:
Dried beans 2# –your choice of black turtle, yellow eye, and Jacob’s Cattle Tomato Puree, 1 jar–canned in jars, organic summer tomatoes from Riverland. These are shelf stable so store on your pantry shelf–yum!
The ground has already frozen many times in the Pioneer Valley where Picadilly Farm and Riverland Farm are. Most if not all roots have already been pulled. Kale and other hardy winter greens are still in the fields, though, and can be harvested just as long as the afternoon is above freezing temps. And they just get sweeter the frostier it is.
Here are some tips on how to enjoy and store this winter veggie bounty.
Jackie Starr’s Fabulous Menu Suggestions for our December Share: Shareholder Jackie Starr has pulled together 3 weeks worth of dinner recipes customized to our share contents list. She welcomes us this way into her kitchen to see the possibilities she sees…very cool and helpful!
Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing):
Shares contained two of the following 3 leafy greens plus a bunch of green curly kale:
Siberian Kale, Lettuce, Young Arugula
Curly Kale—1 bunch, from Riverland—great in soups, grated and marinated for a salad, or kale chips!
Store these in their holey bags in the refrigerator or Cool Cellar, high humidity
Beets, carrots, cabbage, celeriac, parsnips, rutabaga, winter radishes.
Potatoes do best in 80-90% humidity. Ideally bring potatoes back to near room temperature in the week before you eat them (just transfer to your kitchen) to make them “Potato-ey” again, i.e. more starchy and less sweet.
Tips for all roots: To maintain high humidity store in plastic bags with some holes for some airflow. Carrots and other roots can do quite well also at 33-50 degrees buried in moist leaves or sand (you’ll need to periodically re-moisten the leaves or sand with a watering can.) If your roots become soft, it is likely they have become dehydrated and just need more moisture. If they are rotten (discolored and with squishy brown-ness), it is likely they are too warm. Cut off the rot and put the remaining (which would be just fine) in a cooler place.
Kitchen, pantry, basement, or cooler room 55-70 degrees, 70% humidity
Beans (dried), butternut squash, sweet potatoes will store for months at medium room temperature and humidity. If squash has any blemishes, use those first. You can peel, chop, and freeze squash for later use.
Onions and garlic will store for weeks in the kitchen, but long term storage should be colder and lower humidity. Can store garlic in closed jars in the refrigerator.
New England is turning more grey and brown, typical of November. Our rainbow palette of fresh food will surely brighten the day, though. Giving thanks to the hard work of all the farms this year–it’s been an amazing harvest!
The hyperlinks on the vegetable names take you to a lot of recipes and information about those vegetables. If you’ve never had popcorn from the farm, please check out the tips at the end of this post and Enjoy!
Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing):
Brussels Sprouts, 2 stalks, from Riverland (pop off stalks and roast, steam, braise, or blanch for the freezer), from Riverland
Lettuce-1 head, from Picadilly
Bok Choy—1 bunch, from Riverland
Kale—1 bunch, from Riverland—great in soups, grated and marinated for a salad, or kale chips!
These will keep for a couple of weeks in your fridge crisper drawer:
Leeks—keep whole or chop for soup and freeze (no need to blanch) from Picadilly
Kohlrabi – a bunch (cut off the greens and use them first), from Riverland
These will keep for many weeks in cold storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation):
Apples–storage variety, 5#, from Cider Hill. Most sources recommend storing apples separately from other cold storage items as they have a ripening agent which may hasten other items past their prime.
Carrots – 5#, from Picadilly
Cabbage (red or green), from Riverland— sauerkraut or kimchi ideally is made asap
Celeriac (celery root) from Picadilly–this groovy (okay, gnarly-looking) root in your box is full of flavor. Peel and grate into salads or steam or roast to add to root mashes or soups. Will store for a long time, even if you use just half at first and store the rest in your fridge drawer.
Potatoes – 5.5#, white from Picadilly
Gilfeather Turnips, from Picadilly, delicious mashed like potatoes or french fried, these are milder and sweeter than turnips, are more like a rutebaga but with white flesh. Listed as an heirloom by Slow Food. Try them out–there are some champions–have fun playing “guess the weight” with the kids. There is a whole festival celebrating Gilfeather Turnips in Vermont!
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; store in paper bags:
Garlic ½ #(can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator), from Riverland
Onions, yellow, 2#, from Harlow Farm in VT
These will keep for a several weeks in your kitchen or in a cool dry cellar:
Butternut Squash, 3 pieces, from Picadilly
These will keep for months at 50-70 degrees—NOT COLD STORAGE:
Sweet potatoes 4#’s, from Riverland
Popcorn Cellar, cool, damp, or room temperature if using within a couple of months
Once a week, shell a few kernels and try popping them. When the test kernels are popping well and tasting good, shell and store the rest of the kernels in sealed, airtight containers. If stored popcorn fails to pop, it may be too dry. Add 1 tablespoon of water to a quart of popcorn. Cover and shake at frequent intervals until the popcorn has absorbed the water. After 3 or 4 days, test pop a few kernels to see if it is ready. A number of winter shareholders have had good luck putting the cob of popcorn directly into a microwave.