No, you are not hallucinating. It's just romanesco cauliflower, in all it's awesome fractal amazing-ness! It also happens to be my favorite fall Brassica: better than broccoli, better than cauliflower, better than Brussels sprouts. We've had CSA members in year's past who couldn't bear to eat it because it was too cool to look at, so here's the solution: get out your phone, take a bunch of pics - maybe some selfies with you and the romanesco together - and then cut into that puppy! I like to try to preserve those minaret-styled florets in their entirety when I disassemble the head - purely for aesthetic reasons - but no matter how you slice it, it's still going to taste fantastic tossed with some olive oil and salt and roasted until crispy-tender in the oven.
Cousin to last week's Chojuro, you're getting Nijiseiki Asian Pears this week. They are light and bright and juicy and refreshing. Not quite as intensely flavored as the Chojuro, but a lot of people prefer them for their tender texture and juiciness. They're easy eating.
Some of you veteran CSA members might recognize the scarlet-orange squash in your share this week called Sunshine. We grew Sunshine in the early years and it was one of our favorites - definitely one of the top three most popular (Delicata, Butternut and Sunshine). We relied on it as our Thanksgiving squash because it stored well, the already-delicious flavor got even more delicious in storage, and you could stuff it like a turkey! But then one year we went to pack the Thanksgiving shares and most of the Sunshine squash had rot spots. We were crestfallen! We grew it another year but had the same problem. We finally gave up on it and have been trialing replacements ever since. The problem is, there just isn't a scarlet kabocha that tastes quite as good or is as pretty to look at. So, this year I decided we'd bring it back and simply give it out sooner, before it gave up the ghost in storage. Nobody at OSU can tell us why it's succumbing to storage rot so much more easily now, but it seems to be a problem ubiquitous to most farms in our network throughout the state.
One of the best things about Sunshine is it's versatility. It has an almost tropical flavor and nice dry firmness when cooked, which makes it a fantastic centerpiece in curry. For soup, I often reach for Sunshine before Butternut. In my pressure cooker, I'll saute up some leeks, drop in a cubed, peeled Sunshine squash, add a couple cans of coconut milk and some water, add a little salt, lock the lid in place, and we have soup for dinner 6 minutes later. You can also make pie with them, or just bake them and eat them as-is (butter always welcome).