Sweet and hardy after the frost! Late October Farm Share


Hard frost hit the Pioneer Valley this week spelling the end of summer crops, but the beginning of wonderful for many of our fall and winter foods which get their best flavor and storage quality after such cold temperatures.  The fields are getting tucked into bed with their cover crop covers now nicely green and established, feeding the soil for next spring and summer’s plantings.   However, many fields are still occupied by this year’s food, such as kale, brussels sprouts, leeks, still yet to be picked and brought fresh to the kitchen table and home stores.

 

Carnival Squash curing in storage at Picadilly Farm

Leeks can be pulled from the ground even after a freeze once the soil warms a bit (Picadilly, Oct 2018)

The squash, sweet potatoes, onions and garlic have all been curing at just the right temps and timing for the best eating and storage quality. All the potatoes and some of the roots, the peppers and tomatillos, and cabbages have all been harvested ahead of now and in cold storage, washed and packed yesterday and today for our shares.

Lettuce, spinach, herbs still happily sizing up in unheated “high tunnels” at Picadilly (Oct 2018, Picadilly Farm)

Lettuce, herbs, and other more tender greens, if grown under shelter of a hoop house or covered with insulating fabric for a heavy frost, can be harvested well into the colder months of fall. And Brussels Sprouts are the best after a hard frost–the farms are able to harvest these and other greens once they’ve spruced up in the warmth of the day.

As this page from Cedar Circle Farm in VT explains, there’s nothing like Brussels Sprouts harvested at their peak, after a hard frost:   “It is well worth noting that often store bought Brussels sprouts are picked too early, and it shows in their bitter flavor and tough texture. Picking them fresh from the farm or garden after a few frosts sweetens the flavor and makes them tender, offering a whole different experience!  Try them roasted, along with some other yummy fall veggies.”

What to expect in your October share (# means “pounds”):

White Salad Turnips–mild, sweet and easy to enjoy raw or cooked

Store fresh for up to 2 weeks in your refrigerator crisper drawers:  fennel, 1 piece, bunch of salad turnips, quart of tomatillos + a few chili peppers, possibly +1-2 sweet peppers, 2 heads lettuce,  2 bunches kale (can also be dried in a low oven as kale chips for later use), 3/4 pound spinach, 2 stalks Brussels Sprouts (pop off stalk to fit in fridge drawer, or if you have larger place for them, keep on stalk for longer freshness–but even better, just roast and eat them now!)
Garlic 3/4#,  this month is good for use right away or very short term storage.  Keeping in a closed jar (whole heads, in the peel) in the fridge will prolong the life.
Store fresh for a month or two in cold (just above 33F), moist storage in unheated basement or garage, be sure to retain moisture by storing in plastic bags with small holes or buried in sand (or in bags in the back of your fridge or crisper drawers):  1 green savoy cabbage, 1 red cabbage, carrots 5#, beets 3#, white potatoes 5#, bunch leeks
 
Store in dry moderate temps (kitchen counter or pantry) for about a month:  herb bunch,  and carnival squash,  onions 2#.  Once dry, herbs can be store in airtight jar for many months. For longer storage, store onions in cooler temps, in paper bags for moderate moisture, in a dark location.
Store in dry, moderate (kitchen counter) for months:  4 # sweet potatoes

3 week menu for our December shares

Another fabulous menu customized to our share contents, put together by Jackie Starr. Thanks, Jackie, for the great ideas!

WEEK 1

 

 

 

WEEK 2

 

WEEK 3:

 

January Share Pickup, Fresh Spinach!, Menu for the Month

Spinach harvest at Riverland last week (happening in a similar fashion today for tomorrow’s share box). The metal hoops supported the row cover which kept the spinach protected through the deep freezes.

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!

Last Deep Winter (February 7) Share Box

Brrr….It’s a crazy windy day out there.  The upside might be that some of the snow from this past week will be blown off of the low tunnels at Riverland so that there aren’t mountains to dig into come harvest day this week. Remember these photos from last month’s share blog?  Well just imagine what the tunnels look like after last week’s storm! Riverland low tunnel spinach Jan 2015 Riverland low tunnels Jan 2015

Anyways…this weather makes me happy to stand at the warm stove and cook.  I just got Jackie Starr’s Fabulous Menu Suggestions for our share this upcoming week.  Check it out!  There’s even a sweet potato felafel in there and lots of other inspiring ways to enjoy the winter veggies.

Here are the shared contents (and storage/use advice) for this upcoming Saturday, barring any major weather-related difficulties.

Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing) and store cold and moist in your refrigerator:
Spinach, about 1 1/4 pound , from Riverland

These will keep for many weeks in COLD, MOIST storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation

Beets, 2.5 lbs. from Picadilly

Carrots – 5 lbs., from Picadilly
Cabbage (red)from Riverland— sauerkraut or kimchi ideally is made asap, cabbage will store for a while whole, just peel off outer leaves that may have dried a bit or turned brownish/blackish–the rest of the cabbage will still be quite good.

Potatoes – 4 lbs., from Picadilly

Parsnips 2 lbs. from Picadilly (more recipes here)

Optional surplus Rutebagas, Gilfeather Turnips, and possibly Celeriac from Picadilly (Please take what you’d like from the bulk bin at the distribution, these will not be in the share…check out the Recipes in the Storage Tips and Recipes drop down menu.  All of these are fabulous roasted, mashed or even grated into a salad.)

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 lb. (can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator), from Riverland
Onions, yellow, 2 lbs., 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 Riverland

Dried Thyme-bouquet, from Picadilly–great for adding to those hearty winter stews and soups!

These will keep for months at 50-70 degrees—NOT COLD STORAGE:
Sweet potatoes 4 lbs., from Riverland and Picadilly–for a quick and easy snack anytime, make sweet potato fries in the oven (with a little chili powder and cumin!) or sweet potato ice cream!

Dried Beans, (choice of black turtle, light red kidney, cannelini, or sulfur yellow), hand sorted from Baer’s Best Beans will keep for the next year in dry storage, cold or warm.  As they are fresher now, they typically take less time to cook and need minimal soaking.

Tomato Puree (1 jar), Riverland’s summer tomatoes, pureed and canned by local processor, shelf-stable, no salt added.

Deep Winter Share–fresh picked spinach!

Riverland low tunnels Jan 2015

Here is Meghan inside the low tunnel–how did you think you get the spinach out from a snowy tunnel on a freezing cold day?

Riverland low tunnel spinach Jan 2015

Here’s how farmers in New England harvest spinach fresh from the field in the middle of winter!  Looking forward to the spinach in the share tomorrow, just harvested at Riverland this week.

 

 

 

 

See also Jackie Starr’s Fabulous menu suggestions customized for our January share (click on this link to see it.)

(Hyperlinks on the vegetable names take you to a lot of recipes and information about those vegetables.)

Use these within a week or so (or blanch or make a dish for freezing) and store cold and moist in your refrigerator:
Spinach, about 1 pound , from Riverland

These will keep for many weeks in COLD, MOIST storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation

Beets, 2.5 lbs. from Picadilly

Carrots – 5 lbs., from Picadilly
Cabbage (red)from Riverland— sauerkraut or kimchi ideally is made asap, cabbage will store for a while whole, just peel off outer leaves that may have dried a bit or turned brownish/blackish–the rest of the cabbage will still be quite good.

Celeriac, 2 pieces, from Picadilly (aka Celery root–nice mashed with potatoes and other roots; more recipes here)

Kohlrabi-1 piece, from Riverland

Potatoes – 5 lbs., from Picadilly

Parsnips 2 lbs. from Picadilly (more recipes here)

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 lb. (can also be stored in a tightly closed jar in the refrigerator), from Riverland
Onions, yellow, 2 lbs., 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 Riverland

These will keep for months at 50-70 degrees—NOT COLD STORAGE:
Sweet potatoes 3 lbs., from Riverland

Dried Beans, (choice of black turtle, light red kidney, cannelini, or sulfur yellow), hand sorted from Baer’s Best Beans will keep for the next year in dry storage, cold or warm.  As they are fresher now, they typically take less time to cook and need minimal soaking.

Tomato Puree (1 jar), Riverland’s summer tomatoes, pureed and canned by local processor, shelf-stable, no salt added.

First 2014 Winter Share Pickup Saturday in Arlington

Also check out shareholder Jackie Starr’s menu suggestions and recipe links, customized for this month’s share!

Romanesco Broccoli

Share contents for Saturday, October 25, 2014:

Use these within a week or so (or blanche or make a dish for freezing):
Lettuce-1 head, from Riverland
Bok Choy—1 head of large, from Riverland
2 broccoli or Romanesco, from Riverland
Mixed greens– a bunch or bag, from Riverland
Kale—1 bunch, from Riverland—great in soups, grated and marinated for a salad, or kale chips!
Escarole—great in soups,  from Riverland                                                                                    Rosemary bunch, from Riverland

These will keep for a couple of weeks in your fridge crisper drawer:
Leeks (2 bunches)—keep whole or chop for soup and freeze (no need to blanche) from Picadilly
Salad (Hakurei) turnips – a bunch (cut off the greens and use them first), from Picadilly

These will keep for many weeks in cold storage (keep moist in bag, with some ventilation):
Carrots – 5#, from Picadilly
Potatoes – 5#, gold from Picadilly
Beets – 2#, from Picadilly
Celeriac— from Picadilly, peel and slice or grate as an excellent salad or stirfry ingredient, steam and mash like potatoes,
Cabbage (red), from Riverland—if you are making sauerkraut or kimchi, do that asap
Fennel, from Riverlandnice grated into salads, or slice and roast with other veggies.

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 Alprilla Farm

These will keep for a few weeks in your kitchen or in a cool dry cellar:                                Acorn Squash, 3 pieces, from Picadilly

These will keep for months at 50-70 degrees—NOT COLD STORAGE:
Sweet potatoes 4#’s, from Riverland

Apples, from Glenn’s home to yours

APPLES, part of your November share, come to you from the orchards of Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury. Open until Christmas this year, Cider Hill is worth a visit – fun for everyone, with hayrides, pumpkins big and small, endless cider doughnuts, and of course, several varieties of apples to taste and pick.

On Friday, when it was fairly cloudy and cool in Boston, some Shared Harvest team members took a trip up to Cider Hill, where the sun was shining and a morning spent under apple trees was really our only option.

61840020

The crew minus Jane, weighed down with apples (or not)

After a walk through the corn maze, ample apple picking, donut eating and checking out the animals and experimental hydroponic system, we were pretty spent. On our way out, we were lucky to snag a few moments with Glenn Cook, owner of Cider Hill (along with his wife Karen Cook). Like our other producers, Cider Hill is a small family operation and we love knowing that the orchards and fields have been managed by the same family for almost 40 years. Glenn, all smiles and high energy, is happy to send us apples for our core share, and additional/optional bulk and cider apples, just in time for Thanksgiving and the rest of the hectic holiday season.

Even though most of my apples are being unconsciously snacked on with peanut butter, I can’t wait to put my apples into slaws and sauce (Gala apples make fantastic applesauce). Hopefully, I have enough apples to tide me over until Shared Harvest begins. If not…I’ll have to go back. And while I’m there, I might as well get a few donuts.

61840021

A perfect fall day

 

 

Root Veggies head to the border, then overseas…

Thanks to our guide, Jackie Starr…departures and also returns to good ol’ NE comfort foods.

Shared Harvest Menu week of Feb. 2 from Jackie Starr

Looking ahead to our last pickup on February 8…below is what will most likely be in the share box, plus storage tips.

Share Contents for Deep Winter Pickup, Saturday, Feb. 8:

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):

1 Red cabbage

6# Carrots

5# Potatoes

3# Beets

2 Celeriac

2 Gilfeather

3# Parsnips

2 Kohlrabi

2# Purple Top Turnips

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:

2 Butternut

1/2# Garlic

These will keep for a year or more in dry conditions (closed jar), not too warm:

1 Jar Tomato Puree

1# bag of beans (black, pinto, or cannelini)

What’s this?!

A few of the veggies in the share proved challenging to identify and “what’s this?” was a common question during the distribution.  The answer: “It’s probably either kohlrabi, winter radish or parsley root.” Photos of kohlrabi and black winter radish are below; more pics if you follow the links I’ve included.

Here’s what was in the CSA share distributed in Arlington on November 19: Apples (not in the photo), Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, collard greens, carrots, cabbage, escarole, fennel or parsley root, garlic, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, purple top turnips, potatoes, parsnips, rosemary*, salad mix, salad turnips, sweet potatoes and winter radish.

raw veggie snacks for the cook: carrots, salad turnips, kohlrabi and black radishes

What are you cooking with your share?

Today I’ll roast Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, onion, garlic, purple top turnips, sweet potatoes – all tossed in olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary. In addition to these roasted roots, dinner at our house will include pork chops, collard greens, lettuce salad and apple pie. Tomorrow I will make soup for freezing – squash soup, sweet potato-leek-turnip soup and carrot soup. I’ve found that cooking and freezing part of my share works best for me. I am curious about how other people manage their share.

*Riverland Farmer Rob Lynch had a bit of a surprise a few days ago when he checked the herbs (sage) he’d planned for our share. It was gone. Not wanting you to be herb-less, Rob contacted a neighboring farm and bought in rosemary for the share. Hope you enjoy this special treat!